Pride. And prejudice.
I am, at the time of this writing, not entirely clear how to really start this conversation. So I will just start writing and tell you what happened and let you build your own conclusion or join in the conversation. I have waited for a day to start writing, but I don’t really have a good beginning of the text, anyway. So I’ll just write.
So this last weekend Malmö Pride started.
I have not really taken part of the festivals before. Maybe I have gone to one or two workshops or seminars, but not beyond that. Which is, to be frank, kind of odd really. Because I have, for all my lifa, had all the reasons to parttake as an LGBT+ ally. In retrospect, it seems I just never really got around to it.
For full disclosure; I have always had openly gay people in my family and growing up, it was no more a mystery to me that some people fell in love with people of the same sex, than that others fell in love with people of the opposite. Love is the natural here. Love is the norm. So when people around me talk about “gay love”, “gay sex” or “gay marriage”, I kind of always become sort of uncomfortable. Because the way I grew up, I regard this as Love, Sex and Marriage, respectively.
The fact that I have not been to a pride-festival before makes me somewhat sad and inexplicably feel guilt. It feels as if I should have.
Anyway – this year I finally went. I have several people in my family whom I wanted to support and it just felt natural. And I am happy to have gone. (And to keep going to some smaller events, throughout this week). I feel that it somehow is my duty to show my solidarity and my pride to even be in this amazing family.
Then, last Sunday, I was going to preach at my Salvation Army corps. So I went in uniform, as one usually does. And on the bus someone sat down next to me and begun a conversation.
This is in itself nothing unusual. It happens a lot. But this time the mood of the conversation was different than usual. The person decided to sit down with me and start condemning the Pride festival, the “LGBT movement” and “homosexual life style”, right there, on the bus. I made a few comments to the effect that I strongly disagreed and that I liked the whole deal with the festival. To which my co-traveller answered;
But you are in the Salvation Army, for God’s sake!
You are supposed to be against gays.
And the s/he left.
And now I am left with a terrible, terrible realisation that the movement I am a part of, the Salvation Army, has become a symbol of opposition against LGBT people.
When people see the uniform, and recognize it, it does not anymore testify to a faith of a loving God, of good news to all mankind, of Soup, Soap and Salvation. But it testifies of exclusion, opposition and in worst case hate. And it makes me very, vary sad. Right now, I can’t really deal with what I am feeling. People who see me in uniform might automatically think that I am “against homosexuality”, instead of someone to trust. It feels, genuinely, as the movement has spoiled it’s testimony and it scares me and makes me sad.
I am not sure how to move forward in this.