God of many names and boundless compassion, strengthen all who have come today. As this legislative body gathers, let us take a moment to reflect on this month of Gay Pride.
I was once asked what does it mean to be gay, my cheeky answer, “to be happy!”
For many being gay was the opposite of being happy. Many youth, teens, and young adults saw their sexuality as a defect. One that was so bad that they could no longer bare live. They felt as if they were alone. Many were hurt in unspeakable ways. Others lived in fear of what might happen. We must learn from our past and not let this continue. We must find ways of acceptance and seek justice for all.
For many AIDS changed their lives. I remember 20 years ago sitting with my uncle as he told me brief stories of living as a gay man in San Francisco from the 50’s through the late 80’s. As he recalled the AIDS epidemic he recounted it like a soldier wanting to forget the war, his snippets were short and filled with pain and sadness. It is sad that it takes a tragedy for people to realize that Gay people are people, they have families and they hurt.
We remember leaders like Harvey Milk who brought the Gay community in San Francisco out of the Closet and Barbara Gittings who fought the APA to removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, and the myriad of others who who made inclusion today possible.
For those who are no longer with us, for those took their own lives, for those who died of AIDS for the forefathers and mothers who risked everything, let us take a moment of silence to remember them.
Time of Silence
As you convene and go about your work in this session, I implore you to think about the lives that are impacted by the laws you pass, their interpretation, and their implementation. Especially when it is so easy to legislate discrimination in order to keep the status quo and to make the majority “comfortable.”
We know that we are still not done with the fight for LGBT acceptance. As children, teens, and young adults are still bullied we have an obligation to let other know that we will not stand for that.
As other states refuse to recognize the humanity of transgendered people we must let others know that we will not stand for that.
We must continue to be the example, we must continue to advocate, and we must use the power of our county, and her resources to fight for equality and justice.
We are in a unique place where our voice for justice is heard and is an example for the world.
I implore you to take the time to think about inclusion, to think about the lives your work touches, and if you have a faith to pray to your God and ask for guidance and if not, to look to your neighbor and recognize their humanity and and seek a way to find justice and compassion in your legislating.
Let us boldly go forth into the world, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit of justice and the Love that can truly change the world. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen