Yesterday, the Empire State Pride Agenda held it’s annual E&J day – a day that includes both political activism and a very visible public rally. The turn out again this year was phenomenal. Having had same-day and pre-registation in previous years, there was already a full roster of activists before the actual day arrived. Anyone showing up on the 28th with the hope of being part of the lobbying effort were sorely disappointed. Many of those did, however, stick around for the rally. Some of us who hadn’t pre-registered were wiley enough to simply be in the legislative office hallways around the times that our districts were meeting with elected officials or, unfortunately, their staffers.
Buses brought in large groups from across the state with, of course, the most coming from NYC. We ran into old “friends” – people we met last year at our first E&J – and a great many new ones. Clergy were well-represented, as were young people and families. It was heartening to have as many conversations with young folks – gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans – in such a comfortable surrounding.
Of course, the stories about how the church had rejected and hurt so many were plentiful. That was one of the primary goals for Jenna and I – to visibly represent a different face of the church – one that may just lead to a little healing and comfort. Not all religious folks and leaders line up with the religious right, who strive to project their own sense of morality onto all.
Of course, there were also legislative leaders with the same attitude of moral projection. “I can’t support anything that I believe is immoral,” was Senator Farley’s comments about Dignity (anti-bullying act), GENDA (protections for trans-folk) and the same-sex marriage bill introduced by Governor Paterson. There were also many who were supportive of much, if not all, of our political agenda. Jenna and I, being perhaps more visible in collars, had many discussions in the hallways and, if nothing else, gave a different perspective on the “morality” issues.
All told – a very successful day.