by Jen Morin-Williamson
This article was originally published in This Good Work.
As June has ended, you may have heard a lot about Pride Month, which occurs during June every year. Pride Month celebrates people who identify as LGBTQ+ and their allies. Originally, the Pride movement grew from a remembrance of the Stonewall uprising in June 1969, which is considered the beginning of the gay rights movement.
I wanted to share just a bit in case you were wondering why Pride Month is important for us as Catholics. When we look at how Jesus lived and what He said, we cannot miss His message of love and reconciliation. That message was radical at the time, and it still is today! Jesus loved people first. He especially sought out marginalized people who have suffered physical, emotional and religious abuse because of their identities. Jesus wanted to share the Good News that God loves everyone regardless of how their community perceives them. Accepting that love, marginalized individuals could be reconciled into the community.
I know countless people who identify as Catholic people of faith and as LGBTQ+ people. These identities are not just how they view themselves, but rather how they understand God made them. To deny anyone part of their identity feels like denying the inherent dignity with which God made them, which is in God’s own image.
I am often asked about the letters LGBTQIA+ – what do they mean, and why are there so many? LGBTQIA+ is an acronym meaning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual. There are so many because people are trying to put a single word to one aspect of their complex identity. And the “+” refers to newer ways to think about identity like pansexual, cis-gender, gender-fluid or nonbinary. Currently people who identify as LGBTQIA+ and their allies often use the term “queer” as well. If you’d like to learn more, please check out these links:
This way of thinking about the Catholic Church and how we can be inclusive of the queer community can be uncomfortable for some. But we always reflect Jesus when we choose love over judgment and exclusion.