I will be away until August 13th, and will join you in worship for the last two weeks of August. But on Saturday, July 13th, I was privileged to be asked to be a speaker for the third Castro Valley Pride (CV Pride) event. I’m excerpting from my speech here:
Castro Valley is such a great place that everybody here wants to be a part of it. In my faith tradition, we talk about our desire to promote and affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and we especially mean those who have been historically on the margins—those who may not have felt welcomed to be authentically who they are. I am here to say, YOU, are worthy, just as you are, regardless of your sexual or affectional orientation, whether you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, genderqueer, or straight. You are welcome HERE, in Castro Valley, regardless of your orientation, or your race or ethnicity, because you are worthy and
whole just as you are.
Unitarian Universalism has had a history of being a welcoming place for LGBTQ people. In fact, the minister who preceded me here, who came in 1980, was invited to be the minister even though he was clear with the search committee that he was gay and OUT.
For me, It’s really been in more recent years where it became crystal clear that as a straight person, more than acceptance I needed to stand up for people who were facing persecution, oppression, and who were left to deal with vulnerability, and a lack of access to the rights and privileges that I took for granted. Everybody wants to be a part of the great stuff in the world; the people who live here in Castro Valley and the surrounding area, want to be a part of the great things we’ve got going on here.
But here’s what’s so great. By the creation of this local community event, CV Pride, and through your attendance and support of this kind of welcoming and affirming activity in solidarity, you are a part of the health and wholeness and yes, the healing and renewal of this community. YOU are a part of making Castro Valley a really great place to live, to raise your families, to be a part of. Your participation, gay and straight, encourages acceptance in the schools, the coffee shops, the parks, the dog run, the restaurants, the Village and Boulevard, the rolling hills, the performing arts center, all the places that makes this place valuable and the
delightful heart of the bay.
Today we celebrate by coming out, as LGBTQ and friends and allies, and the great strides we have made in the country, by the Supreme Court’s striking down of DOMA, and by the ruling that makes the old Prop 8th gratefully a thing of the past. I have the delightful power invested in me to sign marriage licenses for committed and loving couples, many of whom have been dedicated to each other as long as my now adult children have been alive—some even longer.
It becomes more valuable, more of an exceptional place here, when we create this welcoming community together. It’s so much better when we can all be who we are meant to be, without persecution or fear of sharing all of who we are.
And sometimes we just need to hear it aloud: YOU ARE WORTHY. YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE GORGEOUS AND FABULOUS AND WHO GOD MEANT YOU TO BE. YOU, AND YOU, AND YOU, AND ME, TOO! CV Pride!