Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Being Proud of Pride

It was disappointing, but not surprising to see Alan Clifford's ill-judged, ungracious and in-tolerant attack on the Norwich Pride Parade held in July (EDP 29/8). The offensive language and aggressive tone says more about him than it does the organisers of such a popular and powerful annual event, and, not for the first time, leading to police intervention. Pride is about tolerance, inclusion and respect, about celebrating difference and creating safe space and common ground. It brings communities together and provides an opportunity to stand in solidarity and for Christians to fulfil our calling to stand up for the oppressed and alongside the marginalised. Nearly 100 homophobic and transphobic hate crimes are recorded each week by police across Britain. Research shows that over half of homophobic and transphobic crime is not reported to the police, many people suffering in silence. 1 in 8 lesbian, gay or bisexual people are the target of hate crime each year. Increased prejudice and homophobic bullying has been reported in families, social media, schools, work places, faith communities, healthcare, sports fields and the criminal justice system. Stephen Fry has been vocal in his opposition to events in Russia. Progress has been made in some areas, shown by legalisation of equal marriage, but now is not the time for complacency. As the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby acknowledged last week, “The church has not been good at dealing with it. We have implicitly and even explicitly supported [homophobia] and that demands repentance.." From equal marriage to ordination, the Church has complex issues to engage with, and must do so with humility, grace and tolerance. Pride is something to be proud of.

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