By Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA Executive Director
What an exciting time for members of Dignity giving prophetic witness to the sacredness of our lives as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Catholics. DignityUSA has supported 12 families at the World Meeting of Families who are sharing their lived experience as LGBT Catholics, or as the parents of LGBT Catholics, through the Equally Blessed Coalition.
I am writing this as the papal jet “Shepherd 1” is landing at Andrews Air Force Base to bring Pope Francis to the United States for the first time. Many members of Dignity have written editorials or have been interviewed recently by various members the media about their lives, and about their thoughts regarding Pope Francis. I am sure many more will be interviewed this week.
Shortly after Easter, one network channel started showing a limited series called The Bible AD. I have watched most of the episodes and have been intrigued. I have no idea how historically exact the facts presented are, but given that it is not a PBS production, I assume they have taken some licenses with history. Regardless, I have been into it and fascinated by all the groups represented: the Nazarenes, the zealots, the high priests, the Romans. The show starts with the crucifixion of Christ, followed by the resurrection, and then Pentecost and the struggle of the followers of Jesus to gather, preach, avoid persecution, and face their own doubts, fears, and internal disagreements.
A blessed and glorious Pride month to all! This year there is more to celebrate than at any previous time in history. As we march, pray, and celebrate, let us give thanks for every act of bravery from every individual who has worked to end systemic oppression of LGBTQ people. Every act of coming out as LGBT, or as a proud family member or ally, every challenge of a hurtful joke or slur, every step taken to witness against injustice, helped to bring us to this day. As we revel in the stunning victory of marriage equality in Ireland and await what is widely expected to be a Supreme Court decision that makes marriage equality the law of the US, we live in a time of incredible social transformation.
Springtime is upon us, and we are beginning to recognize its signs: the blooming of the flowers, the longer, and warmer, days, and the feeling of renewal and new life.
As LGBT Catholics, we are going through a springtime of our own.
In late April, marriage equality advocates gave oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court. This effort started many years ago, when Hawaii was the first state to consider marriage equality, and is reaching its climax; a decision is expected in late June. If the Justices rule in favor of the marriage equality proponents, they will be laying the groundwork for marriage equality for the entire United States. We are hoping that the days of discrimination, our long and hard winter, will give way to a springtime of marriage equality for all.
I was on the most recent QCF webinar when I learned that there was a controversy involving a gay teacher at my high school, Dowling Catholic in West Des Moines, Iowa.
As I learned about the rescinding of a contract offer to gay teacher Tyler McCubbin because school officials discovered he was engaged to be married, I felt terrible sadness that not much had changed for LGBT kids at Dowling since I graduated in 1979. But then I heard of a planned walkout and felt great pride in the students – things have most definitely changed! Perhaps not with the administration, but clearly within the student body.