Love is love.
Love is also a lifestyle. It’s not always as easy as you’d want it to be to choose to do the loving thing but it makes life so much sweeter when we do.
I had the sweetest time when I celebrated all kinds of love at Manchester Pride on the Saturday of bank holiday weekend. I am, as far as I know, straight. My son, however, is trans and many of my friends cover all aspects of the LGBTQI rainbow. My ministry as the kinky vicar covers ministering to those who have had their personhood ignored or worse, abused by misunderstanding church people. And I was ordained at Pride 2 years ago. I am proud to be a part of such a vivacious celebration of Manchester and its people. I wore my white fetish dog collar and represented my fetish.com family with their awesome ‘Being Normal is Boring’ T-shirt. Because I’m living prove that Fetish and Faith can go hand in hand.
I love that this year there were almost 100 Christians walking with pride, by far the largest number I’ve seen in my 4 years at Pride. Some of them were familiar faces, many were not. We had a real life nun amongst our number this year and when she was introduced to my favourite nuns, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence my heart just burst with delight.
Of course, me and my son spent some time with the beautiful sisters, snapping selfies and finding out about their latest campaign, aimed to help those suffering in Chechnya. This is love as a lifestyle. These sisters make a difference. They raise funds, they raise awareness and they raise the bar when it comes to outrageously adorable frocks.
We met our friend Ripper Moff and he took us over to meet his fellow rubber men. Ben has a phobia of masks and as such has always been scared of the rubber men and the human puppies at the parade. Well we lived some love and looked his fear in the face and made friends and took selfies with many gorgeous guys in rubber, latex and pup masks too. I was proud of my son for facing up to something that has petrified him for so long. It was lovely to chat to these guys too. Oh and share a few ‘arfs’ with the puppers.
We spent a long time waiting around this year for the parade to start and were saddened to find out the reason we were delayed was a group of ‘Christians’ protesting the parade with a barrage of nasty anti-LGBTQI posters. It’s a shame, really, that we Christians walking with pride weren’t closer to the front of the parade. Because we all responded with a flood of love for our pride family. We would have stood up to those haters, those blinkered folks who’s lifestyle is mired with hate and centered in fear and we’d have shown them the real, deep, transforming love of Christ.
Love lifestyle was rabbis and vicars and Quakers and more standing together to have a photo because we were all walking with Pride. Love embraces all. Love lifestyle was Reverend David Grey telling everyone how glad he was to see them, hugging people and sharing his huge, smile that shows the depth of love in his heart. I’m proud to call David my mentor and even when he’s telling the worst puns ever, I love him deeply. He embodies the love lifestyle. He shares his love with those of faith and none and he has the most amazing ministry with Creoginity.
From the left: Ripper Moff, Benji, Me and Rev. David Grey
Love shared is love magnified. We are all human and we celebrated our humanity at pride that day. Our fabulous, glitter covered, rainbow wrapped humanity.
This year the crowd was a little more subdued. I don’t know if it was the fact they’d been stood around for close to 3 hours when we hit the streets or if it was because they’d seen the so called ‘Christians’ protesting earlier on. However, when they saw our banners and boards and our smiles and waves we started to get yells and whoops of appreciation.
I gave out many a free mum hug on my way round. I told each person who asked for an embrace that they were amazing ‘cos they are. It is a beautiful thing to share hugs. I’ve seen other Christian mothers do the same thing at Pride parades and I wanted in on that love. Every person deserves a proud mum hug and I was super proud of every single person in that crowd, from the babies to the OAPS.
We of course stopped for a moment in front of the usual gathering of hate preachers, we’re not sure if they were the same as the ones who held things up, but they’re there every year. Fenced in and heartily ignored by the fabulous crowd around them. We all gave the crowds our Thanks for choosing to stand around and drown out the hate. Those people showed the love lifestyle right there. Their bright colours and proud smiles, waves and chants drowned out the hatemongering of the unenlightened behind. I feel heartily sorry for them. Living in fear and guilt and hate. Everything Jesus came to free us from. Poor sods. If they’d only open their eyes and see the beauty of the world and it’s tapestry of unique beings and opportunities to love and be loved…then they could truly live.
I lived. I might have been knackered from standing for hours, for trotting a pace (we had a huge lorry behind us, I didn’t want to get squished) and occasionally running to catch up after giving out a well-deserved mum hug but I was alive with joy and love and happiness. I shared smiles and high fives with people I didn’t hug and I felt myself buoyed along by waves of warm wishes.
Love is love.
Love is a lifestyle and I am proud and happy to live it.
And I urge you to do the same. Live in love, act in love and let love embrace you.
Be proud of who you are. You are amazing. You are unique and I am proud of you.