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What does Pride mean to LGBT people of different faiths and beliefs?

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Siobhán Anderson

12 / 07 / 19

On Saturday 6 July the Faith & Belief Forum organised an interfaith group of 13 LGBT people and allies from different faiths and beliefs to meet up and attend Pride in London together.

It was really special for us to see so many LGBT faith groups marching in the parade. Some of the groups we saw were Christians at Pride, Imaan, LGBT Catholics Westminster, Quakers GSDC, Keshet UK, and Sarbat.  Our favourite sign had to be “you are loved and you are lovely” carried by Rev. Kate Bottley of Christians at Pride.

Our group members also made their own signs, “LGBT and Faith can go together”, “Coexist” and “God loves Us”. We were delighted that our signs attracted the attention of many of the groups and individuals marching, for which we got cheers, high fives, hugs, and thanks us for our positive messages.  It was not only the faith groups marching who engaged with our messages, but individuals from corporates and many diverse different community groups.

 
Attending Pride in London was also a time to reflect on the acceptance LGBT people of faith are still fighting for in our own communities.  We did see a small number of signs and banners that were anti-LGBT and/ or anti-faith.  If anything, this energised us further to provide positive messages for LGBT people of faith marching and attending Pride.

 

What does Pride mean to you?

We asked our interfaith group to reflect on what attending Pride means to them:

“Being a visible & affirming & active part of the LGBTQ+ community rather than just ‘happening to be gay’”

“Allowing people to express themselves and do what they please without anyone judging them”

“Freedom. Not having to hide any part of me.  Embracing all of my identities, without compromising any”

“Pride is my favourite day of the year! It’s the only day when being LGB or T feels truly celebrated. I love coming together with my LGBT buddies to celebrate how far we’ve come, but also to regenerate and reenergise because we are still fighting.”

“Community representation!”

“I’m in a process of changing, developing, opening up to my sexuality and who I really am. So this year’s pride is more of a coming out for me!”

“An opportunity to celebrate my LGBTQ+ friends and family, be confident and happy with who I am, and fight for the rights we are still fighting for in society!”

“It is a time to connect and recognise the value of self and others. We celebrate, promote love in all its forms, and affirm self worth”

“Connecting with your true self!”

“Questioning binaries and being myself”

 

At the Faith & Belief Forum we know how important it is to create spaces for LGBT people of faith to meet, reflect and spend time together.  Wider interfaith spaces and wider LGBT spaces are not always welcoming and affirming to LGBT people of faith (see: Being a person of faith in the LGBT+ community) and we work through our LGBT+Faith programme to help change this.

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