Pride and Equality Day Ritual: Grateful, Proud, and Connected

By Diann L. Neu

Pride ritual

Gather a rainbow flag and ribbons, bread, wine.

Call to Gather

June is LGBTIQ+ Pride Month and today is DC Pride Day. So welcome to our SAS Pride Day Ritual: Grateful, Proud, and Connected! This day and this month we recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer people and our allies have had on local, national, and international history. Remember the White House lit up in rainbow colors in 2016, and marriage equality, among other historical markers.

This year we gather not simply to celebrate the rights and achievements of same-sex loving people, and especially not to capitulate to corporate interests that simply see our rights as a way to expand their markets. We gather also to rejoice that LGBTIQ people and our allies are working on and bringing together many struggles for justice—especially for immigrants’ rights, against racism, in support of Muslims, to protect the environment, and many more. While we will focus tonight on the same-sex love aspect because of this day, what is also important is that we are grateful, proud, and connected.

Naming the Circle        
Let’s share our names and mention in a word or phrase one way we have been changed by an LGBTIQ person.

Song: “Singing for Our Lives” by Holly Near, And Still We Sing © 1990 Hereford Music

We are Justice-seeking people, and we are singing, singing for our lives. (2x)

We are queer and straight together…         We are gentle, angry people…

Litany of Pride

Let us name LGBTIQ people who have been working for change.

Our response: Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate Sappho, poet from the Isle of Lesbo, whose words inspire us.

Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate Ruth and Naomi, whose love models women’s commitment to one another.

Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate Gertrude Stein, whose writings influence generations.

Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate Audre Lorde, lesbian womanist poet, who challenges us to expand justice struggles.

Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate Del Martin, Phyllis Lyon, and Edie Windsor who started the ball rolling for marriage equality.

Proudly, we claim you.

Who else? Speak their names.

Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate all LGBTIQ and straight sisters, brothers, friends, and allies, named and unnamed, known and unknown, who put their lives on the line for justice.

Proudly, we claim you.

Song: “Singing for Our Lives”

We are Justice-seeking people, and we are singing, singing for our lives. (2x)

A Call for Solidarity

Listen to LGBTIQ+ people who call for our solidarity. Think of the ones you know. (Spoken by four different people.)

  1. I am your friend. For a very long time I have been reaching out to you, listening to your dreams, talking with you about my life. I work for Black Lives Matter. I am right here with you.

Response: You are not alone. We are with you too.

  1. I am your co-worker. I work next to you in so many places. I am the doctor who comforted your dying mother. I teach your daughters and sons. I am your therapist. I am your waitress and bus driver. I am your pastor, rabbi, cardinal, priest. I am right here with you.

Response: You are not alone. We are with you too.

  1. I am your colleague. I stand beside you in so many places. I am the campus minister who marched next to you as we advocated for LGBTIQ+ rights and marriage equality. I am the nun by your side at the women’s shelter where you volunteer. I am the social worker who supports your sister at the mental health center. I am the immigrant worker who meets you at the food pantry. I am right here with you.

Response: You are not alone. We are with you too.

  1. I am your family member. I am your neighbor. As you support my coming out, you give me courage. As you support LGBTIQ+ people and inter-connected issues, you give me strength to say I am right here with you.

Response:  You are not alone. We are with you too.

Song: “I Am with You” by Kathy Sherman, CSJ , Always With You ©

I am with you on the journey, and I will never leave you.

I am with you on the journey, always with you.

Responsive Reading Celebrating Pride
We are grateful for the gift of our lives and the gift of others in our lives.

Each of us is created with dignity and worth.

We are called to love each other and to do nothing to others that we would find hateful to ourselves.

We honor the many ways that people live and love.

We repent of our silence in the face of cruelty in our schools and communities. Our silence leads to death.

Love does not exclude. We are all worthy.

We suffer when LGBTIQ persons are oppressed, excluded, and shamed by religious people who overlook the fundamental call to justice in our scriptures. We pay special attention to queer immigrants—all are welcome.

True justice flourishes when all people can live with authenticity and integrity.

May we work to build a community where LGBTIQ people are celebrated as full and equal members, recognizing their many gifts.

We celebrate sexual and gender diversity as a blessing that enriches all

© Religious Institute, 2010 edited by Mary E. Hunt

The Beatitudes of Pride
(Prayed alternately by two people.) 

Blessed Are you, lesbian, gay, queer, bi, trans, straight sister, brother, friend, ally – you are made in the image of Divine love!

Blessed are you when you dare to bring the truth of who you are into loving relationship with others—you heal and strengthen the body of Christ!

Blessed are you who challenge stereotypes and caricatures—you bring light to the world!

Blessed are you who speak out against religious hypocrisy—you help to birth justice and peace!

Blessed are you when you work for full equality and inclusion—you honor the sacredness of all people!

Blessed are you when you create new kinds of families, families formed by love rather than by law—you live the truth that all God’s people are one family!

Blessed are you who seek to worship in spirit and in truth, whose prayer arises from humble hearts—the Spirit of holiness will inspire and guide you!

Blessed are you who offer comfort to the dying, healing to the sick, food to the hungry, housing to the homeless, presence to the lonely, hope to the hopeless—you are the Gospel, the Good News our aching world so desperately needs to know!

Blessed are you, reviled and persecuted, yet persistent in faith, hope, and love! Rejoice and be proud for in you God’s love is revealed!

© DignityUSA 2003

What are you thinking and feeling this Pride Day and Month? (Sharing)

Prayer of Gratitude for Human Diversity
Gracious and Loving God of Many Names, we praise you for creating LGBTIQ people and our friends. 

For creating all people with dignity and worth, Gratitude!

For honoring the many ways people live and love, Gratitude!

For living with authenticity and integrity, Gratitude!

For working to overcome cruelty and bullying toward LGBTIQ children and teens in schools and communities, Gratitude!

For building a world where all people are celebrated and loved, Gratitude!

For celebrating sexual and gender diversity as a blessing that enriches all, Gratitude!

For bringing people out of their closets and into the full life of religious groups, society, and the military, Gratitude!

For helping us break through the heterosexism, homo-hatred, and transphobia in ourselves, our families and friends, our communities and cultures, Gratitude!  

For embracing us with your love and care, Gratitude!   

For inspiring us with dreams and holy impatience, Gratitude!

For challenging us to believe out loud, Gratitude! 

Gracious and Loving God of Many Names, thank you for creating LGBTIQ people and their friends. Holy Creator, breathe new energies of kindness and love in the world. Wondrous Wisdom, renew our commitment to work for justice for all.

Sharing Eucharist
Blessed are you, Gracious and Loving Holy One, for giving us the food and drink.

May it sustain us on our journey and strengthen us for justice work.

Song: “Believe Out Loud” by David Lohman © 2010 Welcome Song Music

It’s time to believe out loud no more staying silent!

It’s time to proclaim aloud the faith that we hold dear.

It’s time to reach out to the rejected. It’s time to stand up and say, “No more!”

It’s time to create a church in this day where ev’ryone’s welcomed in the door.

It’s time to believe out loud, it’s time to be strong and proud,

It’s time to believe, believe out loud.

Act with Pride This Month  

  • Participate in Pride events.
  • Wear a rainbow ribbon in solidarity with the LGBTIQ community.
  • Remember a friend or colleague who has died from a hate crime or HIV/AIDS.
  • Advocate to end discrimination against LGBTIQ people everywhere, particularly in the workplace, by calling on your legislators to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
  • Promote safe places for trans and gender-nonconforming individuals, including working for safe bathrooms.
  • Donate to a group that works toward LGBTIQ equality.
  • Give your religious leader a book that will enrich hers/his/their understanding of diversity.

© 2017 Diann L. Neu is Co-founder and Co-director of Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER)