The Meaning of Pride

The Meaning of Pride

Mars and I were walking down in Greenwich Village one sunny day a few years back, when I glanced casually aside at the wall we were passing. We were under one of the innumerable fabricated construction awnings, so the whole area felt hidden, but I suddenly tuned into the plaque: The Stonewall Inn. 

The events that began at the Stonewall Inn in 1969 marked a monumental change for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Americans. Stonewall, which occupied 51-53 Christopher Street, was a gay bar that was raided on June 28, 1969. Patrons and a crowd outside resisted, and confrontations continued over the next few nights in nearby Christopher Park and the adjacent streets. This uprising catalyzed the LGBTQ civil rights movement, resulting in increased visibility for the community that continues to resonate in the struggle for equality.

New York State Historic Site”

There is a unique feeling that rushes in when you discover you are standing where history was made. All at once, Marsha P. Johnson rose up in my mind, but behind her, a parade of others: Harvey Milk. Bayard Rustin. RuPaul. Laverne Cox. Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon. So many more, both known and loved and unknown and unremembered. My own experiences as a bi, now pan/sapiosexual woman. Complexity and freedom, danger and opportunity.

We celebrate Pride in the US in June because of the uprising at Stonewall (June 28, 1969) when queer folx – trans and LGB++  – decided they had had enough of being policed and intimidated just for whom they loved. The following year, NYC hosted the first Pride parade, to begin a movement to reclaim queer identities, and to say “we are worthy and whole, we are proud of who we are.” I was able to take my son to the 50th Anniversary of Pride in NYC, World Pride. It was a joyful event (though long and boy, did it start late!), but even then we were seeing how important it was to stand firm for LGBTQIA++ rights – because the backlash is strong, and now we have no illusions about how quickly rights gained may be lost. 

This year, Blue Ridge Pride is on Saturday, Sept. 21. Please plan now to put on your “yellow shirt” join our UU Asheville Pride + Team. Our activism, our love and support and presence, matters. These are still our days to fight for all that we love.

Happy Pride, beloveds – all are welcome here.


Rev. Audette