As I stood huddled underneath an umbrella as it pelted it down, with two friends faces inches from my own, I couldn’t help but think, I wouldn’t be the only one having a little giggle over the irony of it raining on London Pride day. UKIP would have loved it! What UKIP wouldn’t have liked however is that we all just carried on regardless and had the campest little time you’ve ever seen. As one of the guys I was marching with pointed out, there was even glitter in the puddles.
The rain eased and the parade began, but not before I’d made friends with the float behind us and they’d taught me how to get a vodka jelly shot out of a shot glass with my tongue, I’ll say no more.
Back to Jesus, and a very big one at that. If you went along on Saturday to watch the parade the chances are you may have seen a 12ft Jesus knocking around. Well he was with us! We marched as Christians at Pride, which is a mixture of quite a few LGBT affirming Christian organisations and charities across the UK. LGCM (Lesbian, Gay Christian Movement), Changing Attitude, Two23, MCC (Metropolitan Community Church), Liberty Church Blackpool and Diverse Church just to name a few.
I’ve never really put a huge amount of thought into why they call it pride. I guess maybe because it’s obvious, but being part of a parade alongside thousands of people really does give you an overwhelming sense of pride. I was proud of myself, for what I have been through personally. Proud of those I was marching with, for some of the challenges I know they’ve been through. But ultimately proud, that even if just one person in the crowd saw our signs & banners and considered them, we were making a difference.
Having being brought up as a Christian, I sometimes forget that some of the things I find obvious aren’t to others. When we were stood waiting to start walking a girl came round handing out flyers to myself and the guys I was talking too. She was amazed when she looked up at us, nothing to do with me, (I won’t flatter myself!) but because I was talking to a vicar and his partner. She questioned him quite a few times “Are you really a vicar?!” After a short conversation he handed her his card and she said she’d be in touch. I forget that people don’t even realise that there are vicars, and clergy who are gay, who have civil partners and some now, who are even married!
The whole experience was brilliant but having ‘big Jesus’ with us was something else! Granted, I nearly got taken out by him a few times, but he certainly worked the crowd. People expect the likes of Stonewall and Tesco to be there, but you could tell by the cheers and the sheer amazement on people’s faces that they don’t quite expect Christians to be there, and certainly not with a gigantic Jesus! Another advantage of having a 12ft Jesus with us was that because the ‘anti’ Christian protestors had been pushed back so far, they will have been able to see us, but we couldn’t see them! Marvellous! Unfortunately that meant I couldn’t do what I was instructed to do by a member of the crowd from earlier which was ‘Go get ‘em!’ but, that’s probably for the best!
It was a day to be proud, of my friends, my family, and myself, just the way God created me!