Our fourth post in our “Hey Gays, Why So Proud?” series is brought to you by Matt Demarest. This is Matt:
Matt’s a preacher’s kid, so he’s been around the block when it comes to understanding the tension between the LGBT community and the church and he desperately desires to be part of the solution. My friendship with Matt is, in my opinion, the result of a divine coincidence which culminated in an instant bond formed over Waffle House food at midnight. I doubt either of us could ever have imagined that night would result in our keeping in touch via Skype, email, and Facebook over the past two years, but I’m so thankful it has. Matt’s love for the Lord, his fellow believers, and his desire to see Christ’s freedom experienced by all emanates from him and we’ve had many a soulful conversation about how to fix the brokenness we see around us.
We asked Matt, “What does Gay Pride mean to you?” And he said this:
For me gay pride is not an event, or a parade; rather, it often a long journey, that LGBT people must make. For me, there was a day when I decided to be proud of who I am. I mean proud in the sense that I am a good person, with integrity, who can walk tall knowing I am exactly who I am supposed to be. Gay pride, believe it or not, is not only a parade to LGBT people, but a time for us to stand up and share our pride in who we are. It is a time to remind others and ourselves that we are not broken, needing to be fixed. We are proud to stand together to be who we are as individuals and a community.
We display our passion, because our journey was sometimes rough. We are proud to be alive, because many did not make it through the journey. We also use this as a chance to remember those who have stuck with us through our coming out, and to honor our gay elders for taking a stand so our voices can be heard even louder in this generation. Most of all we are proud to be a part of a chosen family with our community.
If it were not for this family many of us would not have a family to stick buy us and accept us. Many LGBT people are single and have no children and many feel alone in their journey, so we get to accept welcome each other, sharing our collective wisdom. I am proud of our chosen “family” we did not have the luxury of choosing to be gay, but we sure do have the option of choosing our brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, matriarchs, friends, and our partners. I am also gratefully proud of my straight friends who chose not to be ashamed of being friends with a gay person, even if that meant they got ridiculed or questioned themselves. It is a fact that it will take both groups to help repair the damages of the past.
Finally, what gay pride means to me is that I am proud to be a Christian and a child of God. I would not deny being a child of God to the gay community nor deny that I am gay to the Christian community. I am proud to come as I am, just like God asked us to. I am not proud of how we are treated, but I am proud of those who are taking on the responsibility of loving our persecutors even though they may not know how to love us back yet…. yet that is… LOVEboldly family, I am proud of YOU for being part of our community.
Got a response to Matt? Leave it below. I’m sure he’d love to respond!