Four years ago, my husband, Drew, and I started a Parents and Families Support Group at St Francis Cabrini, our parish in Littleton, CO. Somewhat reluctantly, but with shared challenge to “walk the talk,” our little group marched for the first time in Denver’s GayPride Parade on Sunday, June 22, joining the local FLAG group. Denver’s weekend PrideFest is reputed to be the 10th largest in the country with more than 200,000 attending.
What an amazingly awesome experience we had! At the parade start there were maybe 30 people in the PFLAG group, but at the end we were so surprised to realize that at least another hundred people had joined the group as the parade passed! There were thousands of people along the route, often 5 or more deep along the curbs, and more on rooftops, balconies and in windows. Everyone was cheering, hollering, whistling, applauding, and yelling “thank you’s”! It was a most emotional experience, and all of us commented how glad we were to have sunglasses on to mask our tears.
Drew made a sign, “Hooray, Hooray, Our Son Is Gay!” to express his feelings of the morning six years ago when we left a short meeting with our former pastor, who was so positive and encouraging with us about our son’s coming out. Mine said, “Always Our Children” and the name of our Cabrini Parents and Families Support Group.
The parade route passes in front of the Cathedral where the crowds seemed the deepest, way out into the street. Among them were six or so protesters with huge signs of condemnation. But their jeers were negated by the deafening cheers of the crowds surrounding them.
It was such a fabulously uplifting experience of affirmation that we will definitely participate again next year, and know others will join us once we share how exhilarating it was.
We missed our son, Mike, who had recently moved to Washington, DC, and knew he would have loved to have been there with us. He was quite surprised to learn we marched with no prompting from him, and told us how proud he was of us and all the members of Cabrini’s group.
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