With the superbly positive movements within the Church of England in the air* it was wonderful to be at Pride celebrating the opportunity for those in the LGBT community to parade through London. As parents of a LGBT child we believe that we don’t have that privilege to march but we wanted to offer our heartfelt support to all by standing alongside the route and cheering them all.
Initially we stood silently next to the Christian Voice protesters as they shouted the verses they felt applicable from the Bible, ignoring the context of the verses. They seemed content to raise their voice to accentuate their opinions that those within, and those supporting, the LGBT community were destined for the fiery pit of Hell. We wondered whether anyone was listening or being persuaded?
Our banner, unchanged for the past 2 years, just stated “Proud Christian Parents”, as seen above at the top of the blog post. With all the colours of the rainbow and its message we hoped it would engage with those whose childhood wasn’t that supportive and to know that the church was supportive and offering encouragement to both them and their parents.
Almost immediately we saw people who had tears in their eyes as they mouthed thank you. We saw people making the shape of a cross with their hands as they nodded : was it acknowledging their past, possibly influenced by the church?
Parents came up to us and gave us hugs, expressing their joy of bringing up their LGBT child. One lady proudly said that she was the opposite to us as she “was bisexual but had raised 2 wonderful children” whom we were then introduced to! Then others, predominantly men, from the front of floats, including the Stonewall float, ran back and hugged us and said thanks. It wasn’t “us” but it was the banner which seemed to resonate with them so strongly regardless whether they had a faith or not.
What depth was this trauma in their lives which with a simple banner they could discover encouragement and then joy?
Pink News reported that Christians wanted people to know that love is love, and not hate our a way to hell. Did the various banners engage with those marching whereas the Christian Voice protesters attempted to engage by loudly proclaiming Biblical verses? It speaks possibly volumes of how we could engage with others.
Our overriding memory is one of utmost joy.
Joy in the faces of those marching, that they felt so free to be as God truly intended. The joy in those faces when they realised that the perceived contradiction of Christian love meant they were truly welcome. The joy in the faces of those who have had troubled upbringings with possibly unsupportive parents, or parents who had struggled, as we once did, with bringing up our LGBT offspring. For we were deemed to be fundamentalist Christians once, our realisation that Christ would (and does!) love unconditionally was our saving grace.
To every member of the LGBT community who feels a little like Pride was a one day wonder we encourage you to know that God’s love is continuous.
To parents of LGBT children that there are communities out there such as Diverse Church Parents, FFLAG, New Roads and LGBT Lincs who can offer support.
To those within the community likewise Diverse Church offers such generous and warm support, we’d encourage you to make contact.