Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pride in the Burg '08

We spent a few hours on Saturday at the Pride in the Burg event, sponsored by Fredericksburg Pride, Inc., and held downtown in the city parking lot on Sophia Street. Booths lining the lot featured gay-run businesses, social services geared to the LGBT community, pro-gay rights political organizations (that would be the Democrats), gay-friendly (and possibly not so gay-friendly) churches, and an assortment of clothing & jewelry vendors. After strolling the booths, we settled in to enjoy some entertainment. Wicked Jezebel, the all-female all-gay Wammy award-winning rock band, was terrific. My husband thought their cover of “Gimme Shelter” was fabulous, and he’s a pretty harsh music critic. Gaye Adegbalola’s set included material off her new CD, Gaye Without Shame, and she was outstanding as always. There were some lip-synching drag queens and (and this was the first time I ever saw this) drag kings. I’m used to the drag queens dressed in their most over-the-top diva outfits (hello, last week’s Project Runway, anyone?), but the women dressed and performing as stereotypical men was pretty funny: the redneck character munching chips and scratching himself, the ultra-nerd with the pocket protector and receding hairline.

We enjoyed a little lunch prepared by Allman’s and Anheuser-Busch. After tasting Michelob Ultra Amber, I learned that “Ultra” is the beer code word for “light” (I suppose to appeal to men who don’t like the idea of drinking light beer), and that amber to Anheuser-Busch just means brown-colored. If you closed your eyes, you’d swear it was Bud.

I was intrigued by the booth with the big banner proclaiming “Jesus Loves Gays and Lesbians” and felt compelled to engage in a little conversation. The guy I spoke to seemed genuinely sincere in his effort to show the gay community that not all evangelical Christian churches hate gays. But really, there’s no way around it, they love the “sinners” but hate the sins, and his church is decidedly not gay-friendly, even though he was trying to be (being himself possibly gay, according to someone with better gaydar than me). His group was giving out literature that made it clear that adultery is a sin, and sex outside of marriage is adultery. So if you happen to be a member of a group for whom marriage is illegal, well, so sorry, no sex for you. And in fact, it’s not even enough to abstain from sex, since lusting in your heart is also sinful. So you can’t even want sex. So I’m thinking that “love the sinner, hate the sin” actually means that if you’re gay, you’d be welcome in a traditional evangelical church if you don’t ask, don’t tell, if you stop having gay sex, and if you stop wanting gay sex. In other words, could you just stop being so gay?

In a more uplifting conversation, I met Lori McPherson, the warm and welcoming interim pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church, a Christian denomination that is not only inclusive of the LGBT community, but offers them a positive message, ministers to their spiritual needs, and works for human rights in the community. So why would a gay Christian suffer under the damning message of an evangelical church, when MCC is so welcoming? I don’t really get it.

And I also have to put a plug in here for the Unitarian Universalists. We are a welcoming congregation, where gays and straights are equal partners in every way. We are not a Christian denomination, but are an inclusive community that welcomes open-minded thinkers from a variety of religious backgrounds. Our Fellowship includes people who identify as Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Pagans, atheists, agnostics, humanists, and others. 1115 Caroline Street, service Sunday at 11 through August, two services at 10 & 11:30 starting in Sept., Sunday school for the kids, end of advertisement, thanks for reading. I guess that sounded downright evangelical, huh?

Wicked Jezebel performs:

The rainbow gateway to beer and barbecue:

The lovely Miss Fred Pride:

1 comment:

Nicole said...

You'll never see this, b/c it's on an old post, but I'm wondering if they have this every year? I'd love to take my kids with me - is it children friendly or is it more like the one in DC?