Uplift: Uplifting LGBTQ+ Experience Within and Beyond Unitarian Universalism

Capital Pride is June 8th

By Eric Eldritch

Pride. Hmmmm. I’m not sure how I feel about Pride 2024. How about you?

I have mixed feelings and conflicting feelings in this election year. This year there is a continuing onslaught of legislation that strips away rights for health care, medical consultations, and bodily autonomy. Diabolically, all this builds on the dismantling of Roe. It’s hard to feel the proud part of Pride. I feel the social justice part of Pride. Showing out, speaking up for people in my community, for members of my friends and family in actual danger. It’s time to celebrate, but it is a time of crisis, determination and action.

I’m considering how best to use my time and energy this year. 

Celebrating Pride allows us to experience power and possibility. Wow, I have seen all this unfold in my community, I am sure you have seen Pride events grow in your area too. It’s so important to support the power that comes from visibility, to connect and dream of what is possible. When parades and festivals appear in your hometown, everyone can experience the power of community. There.is.So.Much.To.Do. 

Pride events have an impact. LGBTQ+ people and community allies reveal our authentic selves within the context of community. We create impact. Just by showing up, we live our UU values to validate all people equally and make a statement that we support equal rights year-round.

I’m considering how Pride influenced me to come out and become an out and proud activist. Back in 1987, I saw my first Pride celebration in Washington, DC. I wasn’t out yet, and seeing people openly celebrating filled me with fear and awe. I was new to the city and new to my authentic self. Pride was a distant desire of my heart, and the next year, I stirred up the courage to “visit” Pride Festival Dupont Circle in Washington, DC, and jumped into participation and leadership every year. I still remember attending my first Pride. I felt like I had found my authentic self! Do you remember attending your first Pride?

Celebrating Pride allows us to experience power. I am proud of what congregations in the DMV are doing. I’m seeing my home congregation and many congregations in our area celebrating Pride and LGBTQ+ social justice. This year, led by the Davies UU Congregation, twelve local UUA congregations registered as official parade contingent in the Capital Pride Parade on Saturday, June 8th. The Pride Parade celebrates pride in community, civil rights, and freedom in the District, Maryland, and Virginia Area (DMV) and across the nation. Do you have a Pride Parade in your area? 

I’ve watched Pride grow in my community year after year. It is amazing to see the Power of Pride expand and grow in our community, in our congregations, across the nation, and worldwide. The power of people gathering to celebrate is something we dare not take for granted. How has your community grown? You do not need to host events for thousands of people. Every event, every potluck, every picnic small or large builds possibility and power. Our presence signals the power of possibility. Pride saves lives!

My favorite song is a song of community and personal potential Something Inside So Strong by Labi Siffre illustrates our power. Click the link and sing along!

Something Inside is so strong!

The higher you build your barriers — The taller I become

The further you take my rights away — The faster I will run

You can deny me, you can decide To turn your face away — No matter

'cause there's Something inside so strong!

Celebrating Pride allows us to experience power, possibility and power of possibility!

UUA Welcoming Resources and Washington DC-MD-VA Area Welcoming Congregations 

About the Author

Eric Eldritch

Rev. Eric Eldritch (he/him) is ordained as Pagan clergy with Circle Sanctuary, near Madison Wisconsin and a Third Degree Priestx of Stone Circle Wicca. Eldritch is a member of Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church in Adelphi, Maryland. Annually, for the past 20 years, he has co-coordinated...

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