On Saturday I had the immense privilege of being in my first Pride Parade! I marched with OneGordon at the North Shore Pride parade in Salem and we had such a great time.
We had about 12-15 people with us and the response from the city and crowd was incredible! There was this definite feeling of, “Gordon?! Why are they . . . oh! It’s Gordon people who SUPPORT LGBTQ students! YAY!” It was pretty funny.
We walked by a street preacher dude who was yelling about repenting and such, and I think we drowned him out with our yelling. It mad me sad because we don’t have to be on separate “sides” – there is room in Christianity and other faiths for all people. Being Christian and pro-LGBTQ rights shouldn’t have to be at odds with each other; many of us in the OneGordon section were proving that, but the street preacher dude wasn’t having it. I’m pretty sure it’s the same street preacher that is always in Salem during Halloween telling people to turn away from their touristy witchcraft. I want to tell them to turn away because Halloween in Salem is tacky and but that’s another issue.
I did feel a little weird about carrying the banner; I guess I just didn’t want people to think that I was braver for faring Gordon than I was. I have no problem with people thinking I’m gay – it’s a running joke between Hannah and I that we get confused for being a couple often but are not. Then we say, “Hey, we could each do a lot worse!” I’m not LGBTQ+, but I am an ally so I guess that counts?
After the parade we staffed a table on the Salem Commons with T-shirts to sell and just talked to people. Almost everyone who talked to us – after initial incredulity and us explaining we were not official affiliated with Gordon College – said that they were so happy to see us. There was the guy whose parents went to Gordon and grew up in Wenham who was so happy to see people at the college having conversations and trying to support students. There was the recently out and recently retired Southern Baptist minister who repeatedly told us how proud he was of OneGordon. There were many, many more who were surprised and happy to see us there. OneGordon even won an award from North Shore Pride for a new organization helping students!
Despite getting sunburned on my head – I’m not used to the summer and the shaved side yet apparently – it was a wonderful day! Hopefully this will be the start of a great tradition for OneGordon and a way to support the LGBTQ+ students at Gordon. Maybe we’ll even change the administration’s mind some day.
Finally, some self promotion before I go. My first big piece for Women Write About Comics is up. It’s about my refusal to see the Lord of the Rings movie adaptations and how I am trying not to be a huge jerk about that. Take a look and spend some time reading the other pieces on the site. There are so many talented women writing and lots to read, even if you’re not a comics person!