What I Learned at My First Pride Parade

I experienced something new when I attended the Charlotte Pride Festival. There were rainbows on streamers, flags, and beads. Plus lots of music, smiling faces, hugs (I love hugs!), and yummy food. Much of the event was like parades I’ve attended before.

Pride Takes Courage

Until this year, I wasn’t brave enough to step out and experience the local pride events. My reasons were that the event was too far away or I didn’t know the layout of the city very well or where to park. Back then, I talked myself out of going because I didn’t know anyone there or I might put myself in some sort of danger. The truth was I was still hiding and afraid to be seen with the LGBT crowd.

Whatever my excuse was in the past, it didn’t keep me from experiencing the Charlotte event this year. The main reason I wanted to attend was to help out at our church booth, handing out rainbow necklaces and information cards about our services.

I did have some reservations too, especially when I realized that I would be watching the festivities alone without the support of my new church friends at Missiongathering Charlotte.

What I learned at my first pride parade

Our church float in the Pride Parade

Pride Is Not Always Praised

Our church booth was located less than 50 feet from the haters — hardcore Christians who boisterously yelled, “You’re all going to hell! Repent and turn from your wicked ways!” Nonetheless, the love surrounding the event mostly drowned out the protester’s vile chanting, unless you were focused in their direction.

I was surprised to see at least ten other churches involved in the parade. There are even more gay-affirming churches in the Charlotte area. Unfortunately, there are still many Christians who are afraid to come out as being gay. Others need to accept Christ in their lives. That’s why it’s important to be willing to open the conversations and let people know they are loved.  

Pride Has Some Misconceptions

Leading up to the day of the event, I anticipated that I would see a lot of oversexed young people with tattoos, body piercing, scantily-clothed and dancing in the streets. Perhaps I was imagining the hippies of my day. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I was willing to give it a chance.

What I did see was people of all ages (including my own), with tattoos and some without, some with body piercings, all dressed in a variety of ways. Some were dressed like me (a polo and comfy shorts), some in outrageous costumes, and some barely dressed at all. Everyone was smiling, laughing, having a great time, visiting and meeting new people.

The strangest thing I saw was a few topless women with tape over their nipples. I didn’t know what to think at first, and I concluded that they were probably transgender females to males. After the parade, I asked a friend who is more familiar with the LGBT community than I am what to make of it. My friend informed me that the tape over the nipples is a way to get past the nudity laws. I’m learning something new every day.

I am embarrassed by my naive assumption, and I never want to offend anyone. But, this goes to show you the many misconceptions we often hold about LGBT people and the mistakes we are likely to make in getting to know them. I realize I’m bound to make more mistakes as I get more involved with this community, but being willing to make mistakes is how I will learn.  

Pride Begins With Self-Confidence

The event was fun and such a wonderful experience because there was love all around. Everyone was accepted, no matter how they were dressed or who they were with.

I ended up watching the parade by myself. A nice couple was willing to chat with me before everything got started. Despite what some may think, being at the parade didn’t encourage me to get a tattoo, body piercings, or go topless in the street, although I don’t condemn those that do.

My first pride parade gave me the confidence to identify as myself and feel good about who God created me to be, and not feel ashamed with having an attraction to other women.

It is often said, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  I think the same stands true with people, especially those who are LGBT. We shouldn’t assume someone is ungodly by the way they dress or present themselves. God created all of us, and loves each and every one of us the same. Be willing to accept others as God accepts you.

Have you had misconceptions about others? Perhaps those who are LGBT? You’ve read some of mine, share yours as well, so we can continue the conversation. Thanks.

By | 2016-10-05T10:51:23+00:00 August 29th, 2016|Life Experiences, relationships, Travel Adventure|4 Comments

About the Author:

My name is Susan W (sue) Corbran. I am a writer, a Creative Memories consultant, a volunteer in Children's Ministry at my church, and an advocate for widows and gay Christians. I love helping people - whether it is by sharing my stories; consulting with others on how to preserve their most precious memories - photos and ways to tell their stories; or helping children learn about God - and for them to know that He loves them, no matter what! I am a Mom and a Grandma. I love to golf, travel, read, and listen to music (and play the piano and guitar, when available - simple songs!). Oh and I love to write - so be sure to read some of my blogs. I am a co-author of the book Emerge: Real Stories of Courage and Truth, An Amazon Best Seller, 2015, along with The Call to Soar, an Amazon Best Seller, 2016. An author of the ebook Five Simple Ways to Love Gay Christians You Need to Know Now, 2017, and other numerous blogs and articles for magazine contests. This year, 2017, I plan to publish a series of books for young adult (ages 9-14) in the genre of Christian Life. I also hope to publish a book of childhood memories (to share with my grandchildren). My hope is that God willl be praised and glorified by my writing for Him.

4 Comments

  1. Christine August 30, 2016 at 2:16 am - Reply

    I had almost the same experience . Not a good place for young kids but I saw Gods work being done and I observed people who were either thankful for our church or who maybe thought we were somehow trying to lure them in .. Lol.. That the acceptance had a price tag.. Believe or else! Well mostly what I experienced was love! I had a great time , excellent seat under a shade tree in front of a convience store that served lunch . I watched as the parade begin. It was great!!

    • Sue September 8, 2016 at 3:22 pm - Reply

      Thanks for responding. I appreciate the time it takes to reply. As it is, I’m working on a rewrite of this blog – with a different title – so be sure to keep checking out my blogs every Wednesday.

      • Tim LeVigne September 12, 2016 at 7:18 pm

        Marching with my church in pride (my first PRIDE) was amazing.
        I never once thought what if some of my friends see me doing this, would they wonder if I was gay? No what I experienced was pride to be a part of a church that reaches out to every one, that demonstrate that God made all of us, straight, gay, trans, queer. The LGTBQ IS NOT A LIFESTYLE, it’s not a choice
        I loved showing LOVE
        It was so refreshing to see people being themselves, and seeing others being accepting
        It was refreshing to see the haters voices being shut down by LOVE
        Amazing weekend to support the LGTBQ community
        I follow a Jesus who commanded us to love everyone with out exception or judgement
        Amazing weekend and I will do it again!

      • Sue September 15, 2016 at 1:43 pm

        Thanks Tim. I love my church family – this experience is so new to me – stepping out and up to love others, without fear or condemnation. I love it though, it feels right. I appreciate your remarks.

Please share your comments here