Part one of two: The Austin Pride Parade was held on Saturday, September 7, 2013 and 406 Reconciling Methodists participated from 9 churches in the Central Texas and Southwest Texas conferences. Here are some pictures and a story. Learn more about the affirming United Methodist groups that participated in Austin Pride Parade at www.LYN2016.com.
- by Bryan Keith -
Last year was the first time I had ever attended a PRIDE event. You see, I have only accepted my own sexuality within the last few years after years and years of feeling that there was something wrong with me (and those feelings often being confirmed by the Church). So when my girlfriend said we should go, I was excited to be "out" among my LGBT family for the first time. To say it was a moving experience would be an understatement.
What was most moving to me, however, happened even before the parade even started. We parked in one of the Capital parking garages, and when we walked out onto San Jacinto the United Methodists were the first groups we spotted. I was overwhelmed seeing the number of church folk who were there, and I broke down in tears on the sidewalk seeing them and their signs proclaiming the they, and God, loved me just as I am! It was the very first time I felt accepted and affirmed in my sexuality by anyone who called themselves Christian.
As the time for PRIDE drew near this year, there was no doubt in my mind that we were going to participate. And so it was with pride that I donned my red "Love Your Neighbor" t-shirt and marched. This year's experience was equally as moving. What struck me the most, though, was the number of people who said thank you! From parade spectators shouting thank you as we marched by, to a "drag queen" who recognized our t-shirts from the parade while we were in one of the bars after the parade, we received many genuine and heart-felt thanks. There is no question that what we are doing is making an impact and a difference.
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