Each June, a month of celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ‘Pride’ takes place across the UK. The idea began with the Stonewall riots in 1969 and continued with Pride marches, which spread across the USA. Initially they were protests calling for ‘gay rights’. But today we see parades and events in towns and cities in many countries, celebrating a whole host of sexual identities and practices (LGBTQIA+).
Increasingly schools are holding their own Pride events and encouraging pupils to celebrate an ever growing range of sexual and gender identities they are told they can choose from. Your school may well be holding events and as a Christian you may be feeling under pressure to join in, or you may be worried that not joining in might mean being labelled as homophobic or transphobic.
Let’s have a think about some of the harms of Pride events and how we could respond in the light of the goodness of God’s way.
Inappropriate sexual behaviour
Recently there have been concerns in the media about public displays of sexualised behaviour in Pride events. This all takes place in an event with a carnival feel which has much that appeals to children and young people.
Jo Bartosh, a journalist who is not a Christian, comments in an article:
“Rainbow flags, drag queens, parades and glitter of course have an appeal to children unaware of the sexual and political connotations. To protect children we must be alive to the grown-up reality that there may well be an unsavoury agenda hiding in the shadow of the rainbow.”
Being exposed to such sexualised behaviour normalises sexual practices which may be harmful even for adults. It tears down barriers, making children and young people potentially vulnerable to abuse. (If these things are demonstrated openly, then children will think they are safe and normal). Children are encouraged to experiment and are not warned about the dangers of doing these things.
It is certainly not appropriate for schools to be promoting these kinds of events to you. Your school should be protecting you from this kind of behaviour and teaching you how to keep yourself safe from anyone or anything that might harm you.
Skewed view of normality
Schools are being actively encouraged to celebrate Pride and to champion sexual minorities and extreme sexual practices. The focus on encouraging acceptance of a vast spectrum of sexual identities and behaviours, and even celebrating them, gives the impression they are far more common than they really are and they are portrayed as far more exciting than heterosexual relationships. There are many who want us to stop thinking that man-woman marriage, and therefore traditional family structure, is in any sense the norm.
Ensuring that all people are treated with respect and not discriminated against or treated with prejudice is one thing, but the normalisation and celebration of relationships and sexual practices that go against God’s good design is something very different.
The neglect of God’s good design for relationships and sex
Many young people report that marriage between a man and a woman is hardly spoken of at school, despite this being the likely future experience of the majority of young people. It is sometimes characterised as boring, hardly worth celebrating and at worst that it is actually harmful and should be thrown out altogether. The possibility of saving sex for marriage is also seldom mentioned.
But the truth is quite the opposite:
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1v27
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1v31
God created us and he made us male and female and he designed sexual intimacy as a good gift to strengthen the relationship between a husband and a wife and as the way new life would be created.
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Genesis 2v24
You may well have been taught that denying your desires may cause you harm, but our creator God knows best how we function and flourish – his ways as laid out in the Bible are always good and will do us good even though it may seem hard at the time. We should therefore celebrate saving sexual intimacy for marriage between one man and one woman.
How can I respond?
As Peter wrote in his letter to Christians in the first century, you are also called to follow God’s ways even if this means those around you accuse you of doing wrong.
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2v12
So make sure you treat all those around you with genuine love and respect whilst not participating in anything that might involve celebrating going against God’s ways.