So...erm, I guess I'm "coming out" in church today.
I mean, no, obviously, it's not like I'm "closeted" there, but there are those for whom sexuality seems to be somewhat opaque, and I've never made a big deal or "announced" my orientation publicly. That's about to change.
I have formed a small group, and for the first time in our parish history, our church will be represented in the Portland Gay Pride Parade this year. I did receive permission to do this, but was encouraged to keep our group discrete because of pastoral concerns about some church members who may not be totally comfortable with the idea. It was a compromise I was willing to accept, because I think even appearing in the parade at all is a big first step.
So, speaking privately to people I knew would be supportive, I set up a small network and was delighted that everyone I invited was interested. That was that, I thought, until a member of our clergy staff said, "Do you think you should announce it to the congregation?"
I said, "Hrmmm...well, I thought we were keeping this discrete?" But the priest had wondered if maybe there would be people who would feel upset if we didn't tell them and open it up to everyone; people who will be unhappy that we are going are going to be unhappy either way.
We decided to run it by the vestry, at which point one member reminded us that we recently voted to become a "welcoming and affirming" congregation, and pointed out that we would hardly be living up to that if we had to secretly march in the parade.
So here I am. I can hardly believe that all these years after quietly disappearing from church because I felt unworthy to attend as a gay person until I got "fixed," I'm going to stand up during a service and invite people to a gay pride parade.