For this year’s 30th-annual Pride Parade in Toronto, an estimated 1.3 million people turned out.
In Minsk, Belarus, this year, 25 people turned out.
They were attacked and arrested, reports Nikolai Alekseev. In Moscow, where Pride Marches have been banned repeatedly, Mayor Luzhkov calls such events “satanic”; and as in Minsk and Moscow, so too in Vilnius. Mike Gogulski calls attention to the situation in Slovakia, where the objectives of Bratislava’s first-ever Pride March have been characterized by the current parliamentary opposition leader as “tyrannical.”
Such manifestations of undisguised hatred cast what we do in Toronto in a different light. Where freedom of expression may be taken for granted, Pride Parades in the West often showcase the saddest, and most stereotypical, parts of “gay culture” (or at least gay male culture).
Real life, however, isn’t about being young and beautiful forever, or about identity politics. To the extent that the public celebration of “gay culture” becomes associated with superficial beauty and self-regard (not to mention with easy-access porn and narcotics), the clerical criticism of Pride, such as Bishop Alfeyev’s, becomes sadly intelligible.
Intelligible—but not correct.
More correct is the approach adopted this year at Chicago’s Pride Parade by The Marin Foundation. Their representatives went clad in black and carrying signs saying “I’m Sorry”—apologizing for Christians’ frequent persecution of queers.
For may it not be the case that all those glittered and feathered Magdalenes are nearer, and dearer, to the One whom the archpriests and their accomplices deprived of all form and beauty?
“This life has been given you for repentance,” says S. Isaac the Syrian. Can we try to imagine the effect of Bishop Alfeyev leading an Orthodox contingent at a Pride Parade, carrying a sign saying, “I’m Sorry”?
Victor de Villa Lapidis