It seems St. Markans had been anticipating the Pride Festival for several weeks. This was because a kick off began on April 27th in the Fireplace Room with a preview of the activities. This was followed a week and some days later on the first of four Tuesday Night at the Movies on May 6th with the showing of La Vie en Rose (My Life in Pink). The movie set the stage for the transgender issue which was the theme of the St. Mark’s Pride observance.
A showing of Normal followed by Transamerica followed by Too Cold Out There without You completed the four part series. While the movies and the popcorn provided an environment of entertainment, the topic was serious. This tone was developed and augmented by the hosts, Christie Kent and Ellen Krug, two transgender speakers with personal stories; Deb Thorp, an OB/GYN physician with extensive medical experience in the field; and finally Bishop Bruce Caldwell, with customary anecdotes and an Anglican perspective.
Anticipation continued with the arrival of Allyson Robinson, a transgendered Army officer, Baptist Pastor, founder of Warrior Poet Strategies, Human Rights Campaign leader and fierce LGBTQ advocate. Allyson presented her thoughtful views during the Community Forum on Thursday June 25th on the future of the LGBTQ movement in the Post-DOMA and Post-ENDA World.
Out in Gospel, United Theological Seminary/St. Mark’s partnered (and now friends) presentation was in full display at the Community Panel held in the Fireplace Room on Friday June 26th. Four transgender panelists, Christie Kent, Allyson Robinson, Enzi Tanner and The Reverend Shai G. Wise presented personal views and responded to audience questions at this most informative presentation.
Out in Gospel continued in the sanctuary with a rousing presentation of gospel music performed by Pippi Ardennia, W.J. Moussa Foster, Dr. Robert L Morris, Sanford Moore and headliner, Jevetta Steele. Attendees were treated to traditional gospel songs by these particularly outstanding and talented artists all joining together with the audience in a hand clapping finale of This Little Light of Mine!
On Saturday, Allyson met with interested Festival goers at the St. Mark’s booth in Loring Park. While on Sunday, she and the St. Mark’s parade marching contingent were joined by marchers from St. John’s Linden Hills, St. Mary’s St. Paul, and Gesthemine to round after round of rousing applause from the spectators along the packed parade route. The Pride flag bearers raised the flags a little higher at such a warm reception.
At 2:00 on Sunday the members and guests were entertained by the Danz Mexica Cuauhtemoc. Many marveled at the talent of the young drummers and the graceful, colorful dancers. A repeat appearance by One Voice Mixed Chorus at 3:00 entertained the crowd with their songs from many lands and their enthusiastic performance. The highlight of the four day Pride Festival was the Twin City Pride Service at 4:00 on Sunday afternoon. Allyson Robinson gave the homily (listen online) and returned to the theme of inclusion for ALL LGBTQ persons. Soloists from Friday’s Out in Gospel moved the audience selections sung during the Eucharist. The soaring descant from the St. Mark’s Choir at the recessional moved some to tears of joy.
The smiles on people’s faces throughout the four days and the previous movie nights made all the hard work of planning and preparing worth the effort. Thanks to exceptional generosity of Friends of Inclusion that helped to make the event possible and successful. And also a big thank you to all the volunteers who worked on the events and made them a success.
Photos by Janis Froelig and Kimberly Johnson