Thus says the Lord God: Though I removed them far away among the nations and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a little while in the countries where they have gone. – Ezekiel 11:16 (NRSV)
Pride Month hits different when you live in a small town in the middle of the country. It’s not the stuff of movies where the whole city transforms into rainbows and neighbors line glitter-soaked streets for the big parade. Our local parade often has more people marching than spectating, and this year, amid leadership transitions, we’re skipping it altogether.
Where I live, Pride is less about the party and more of a sacred pause. It is our reminder that we can’t wait for politicians to legislate us into liberation; we must protect our trans children. It is a calling forth of queer community to create spaces where we celebrate our wildly wonderful gender expressions and can canoodle with our same-gender sweethearts in the corner pew.
Sure, I have celebrated Pride in the promised land, where a dozen Dykes on Bikes led the parade and the Indigo Girls headlined the festival stage.
I have also sat in my Midwest sanctuary and listened to the testimony of someone who isn’t out at work but is on Sunday morning. I’ve watched as queer elders processed forward to be prayed over by their church. I’ve (embarrassingly) ugly-cried as the choir sang, “No matter what people say or think about you, you are a child of God.”
Queer folks are scattered all over this land, and wherever we gather, however we gather, there is the opportunity to create holy sanctuary in God’s image. The glitter is optional.
Gender-bending God, may every rainbow flag we fly wrap us in the promise of your love.