Yours Truly - Pride Parade 20072007 marked my fifth year participating in the Christopher Street West Parade, better known as the Gay Pride Parade held yearly in West Hollywood. Though each year involved some of the same processes, each year is unique, and has its own memories.

My journey took me to meet my friend Frank, who snapped most of the pictures included in this entry, meeting at the Metro Rail station in Pasadena, slated to connect with a friend of mine coming up from Orange County. Ian is a younger friend, and one whom I met via a few years chatting in an open community chat room. We got along, and eventually met…to this day we keep in contact, and do things together; I consider him a good friend.

As Frank and I embarked on our trek into Hollywood, planning on meeting at the Kodak and connecting with Ian coming up from the Long Beach station, we didn’t know that some construction work was being done in Pasadena. It seemed just as soon as we got on the train we were informed that the train ride would come to a halt, and we were to be transfered on to waiting buses which would skip a couple of rail stations, moving us to South Pasadena where we could move on to-wards the rest of our trip; Union Station which was our connection to the Red Line, and the Kodak Theater.

Needless to say we were late, and when we emerged from the underground tunnel, my cell phone was besieged with “where are you” messages. Luckily a warning text made it to Ian, and he was aware of our travel plight. In any event, we made it down to our group meeting place at the B of A on Santa Monica Blvd.

Another person meeting us was another friend of mine, Lee Walker, a semi retired Episcopal Priest who was able to get away from his part time job serving at my old parish in Huntington Beach. This was important, and quite exciting for me as Frank, my friend of many, many years had never met the two other people who had entered my life during my years of living in Orange County.

Reading of the GospelDuring the service, which was very nice, and always something of a battle of the sound systems, it occurred to me that even though the hustle, and the noise, and distraction of a parade being formed it is possible to worship, and to be a witness to those around us. This was made known during the part of the service where I was able to function as a chalice bearer offering the elements to those present.

As in years past, we made our way over to the French Market Place for a brunch, and aBrunch chance to kick back and relax before lining up, and taking our place for the eternal wait, and trust me….it IS eternal, or close to it! The conversations were jovial, and fun with much sharing and laughter. We got to hear about Lee’s plight with remodeling, and eventually, after the parade, got a tour of his partially demolished (Humpty-Dumpty) abode waiting for the contractor to put everything back together again.

Me and IanOur parade presence this year revolved around same sex blessings, and the stance that the Los Angeles Diocese is willing to stand by committed partners, and that they should received the blessing of the church, as well as ALL people who wish to donate their commitment to God and secure the support of their faith community. To this extent, our T-Shirt displayed a female/female couple as well as their male counterpart standing on top of a cake. This is an important message, but one which is often misunderstood. A church is made of humans, and though we go trough much to be ordained, and ask that the Holy Spirit anoint us to do God’s will….ultimately, we still are humans trying to do our best to make God’s kingdom available to those of us on earth.

Those who wish to use hate, and fight to keep their superiority of gender as the force thatEpiscopal Church Parade holds the keys to the kingdom in a male dominated supremacy seem to think that a church blessing a union is the same as speaking for God. All anyone can do, lay or ordained is ask…no one is God, unless one is so caught up in their own importance or consumed with power. A blessing is merely the church accepting the couple in the eyes of God as two people committed to each other, being upheld in the sight of God as two people living in the reality of their life, shared with the support frame of their faith community.

-:: The Parade ::-

 

Equal Rites One of our neat play on words was the spin revolving Equal Rights, but as in the case of the picture, you can read “Equal Rites.” Our agenda was quite simple, to let people know that the Diocese of Los Angeles supports, and wishes to protect Equal Rites for All people. To this extent, the major theme of the parade exhibition was to bring about the reality of this ideal. It was also a very cool play on words, whoever thought of it gets a cookie!

What I remember the crowed enjoying were the two cars, a bride and bride in one, and aKissing Grooms groom and groom in the other. Each time the couple kissed, I would hear a huge noise from the people watching, and a round of applause; it was quite exciting, and just the right note. I would sometimes see a couple watching the parade, and as I walked by would point to the two people on my t-shirt saying it was them, pointing to the couple and then to the graphic on my t-shirt. I would always get a positive reaction, and a big smile. I also think it proved a good point that we were actually there to provide advocacy.

 

 

Kissing Brides

Of course, the bride-bride car also had their day, and look at that train! This was talked about almost as much as the two ladies dressed in their wedding gowns.

 

-:: Final Thoughts ::-

 

What I found interesting was the reaction to the look of a young man walking in the groupOur Episcopal Punker I participated. He is in his 20’s and has this great look with piercings, and a mowhawk. He belongs to a church in Fullerton and each year I find him there with his mom walking in the parade. The reaction to him strutting his stuff is really positive and wonderful. He walked down the street waving at times the Lambda Pride Flag, and more than once younger people would run up to him and ask, “What church do you belong to?” He would tell them, and keep marching. His youth, and his dedication always pays off. I wish we had more like him.

More than once I saw people giving us a big round of applause, and more than once I saw people giving us a thumbs up which meant to me that we are making a difference, that people seem to look forward to what we shall do each year, that they realize we, as a diocese, is trying to do our part for their well being, and their future, and that they are thankful…..imagin if some of those who could raise a thumb, could get involved, find their work in the world, and allow us as a church to support their choosen passion….just imagine….

 

Church Sign