Monday 2 August 2010

Changing Attitude at Leeds Pride

One of the commitments Changing Attitude has made this year is to become more involved with the various Pride events taking place around the country. This weekend it was Norwich and Leeds and I preached at the Pride Eucharist at All Hallows Leeds at 10.30 on Sunday morning.

Following lunch we drove to Leeds parish church before taking leaflets to the stall in the market place and the banners to Millenium Square where crowds were congregating for the beginning of the march.

The Some Christians are Gay banner atracted instant attention and people wanted to be photographed in front of it throughout the march.

We also had the Christians Together at Pride banners which had first been used at London Pride this year.

Our stall in the market place in the heart of Leed's gay quarter was up and running from 1pm and attracting a lot of attention and a great variety of conversations.

Body and face painting was available across the road from us, and the gifted artists created some amazing transformations.

Conservative Christian web sites would have you believe that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are obsessed with curious sexual practices and use gay pride events to dress provocatively. The following picture shows the crowds in Leeds, thronging the gay quarter beneath the main railway line to York. I always wonder who are the sexually obsessed people when I mingle in an LGBT crowd, where orindary people have an opportunity to express their extraordinary, creative, God-created selves for a day.

Those of us who marched and staffed the stall all day from All Hallows church and other congregations in Leeds, lay and ordained had an amazing time. Many people asked us those of us wearing clerical collars whether we were really priests. such is the damage being done by conservative Christians to the image of the church. People at Pride expect Christians to be strongly prejudiced and anti-gay. When people discovered that we were straight and gay people marching in solidarity with LGBT people, there was instant delight.

Jack Parkes, aka Doorman Priest, has posted a report of his experience at Leeds Pride for the first time (encountering students past and present) and he's worth reading for a more extensive account of Pride and for the what it feels like for a straight priest to be there where assumptions about your sexuality can't easily be explained away.

Every time Changing Attitude and other pro-LGBT Christian groups and congregations are present at gay prides across the country, we reach out and communicate God's love and passion for all humankind in our infinte and glorious diverity. Praise be to God!

Colin Coward


  1. Thanks for the link - it may improve my visitor stats!

    It was, indeed, a brilliant day and a very positive one at that. Looking forward to next year already!

  2. It looks to have been a lovely day all around!

  3. Rev Steve Smith4 August 2010 at 16:17

    Yes it was a great day and a privilege to have been there supporting Leeds PRIDE 2010.
    Thanks to Changing Attitude for all your support and especially for the banner which was such a blessing to so many people.

  4. I have long had an issue with "Gay Pride". While I do not believe that being gay is a sin per se, I do believe that pride is a sin. Also, I have had issues with the concept of being proud of being gay as there is nothing I can do about being gay or not - it is not a choice, surely one should not be proud, anymore than I should be proud of my blue eyes or grey hair.
    Recently, I have (finally) understood that there is a confusion between Pride (in the gay sense of the word) and pride (in the moral sense of the word). Gay Pride is just shorthand for saying that I am not ashamed of what I am.
    Now that I have understood, I hope to go to a Pride celebration soon, sorry that I will be missing Brighton as I am out of the country.

  5. Does provocative clothing include Arsenal t-shirts?