BI Pride Festival includes support from churches

“I support my queer and trans siblings,” Darío Feiguin, Rabbi for Kol Shalom on Bainbridge Island, said July 15 at the Pride Festival at Waterfront Park.

“Despite the fascist and Nazi ideologies that we witness again, nowadays, even here in the U.S., I think humankind is marvelous and multi-dimensional. All human beings are holy. And as in an orchestra, diversity brings the possibility of harmony. Let’s do that and bring more understanding, sensitivity, music and harmony to our lives.

BI displayed love, acceptance and diversity at the festival as colorful flags lined Winslow Way leading visitors to the festivities celebrating the LGBTQ community and its allies.

Churches, nonprofits, vendors and other organizations hosted activities for kids and adults. On the main stage, performers and musical groups entertained the crowd, and the beer and wine garden was a popular spot on the warm day.

Nestled among the booth village, Deb Dahrling, president of PFLAG Seattle, spent her day speaking with people about being an ally for the LGBTQIA community. Dahrling was thrilled with the response. “We have so many wonderful people that want to find resources that help them tell others how they can be good allies. Or, maybe they have a parent who doesn’t support them, so they come to our booth for hugs,” Dahrling said.

She shared a story of a man who came to her booth and said, “I have a son who came out twenty years ago, and all of his friends knew that our family was a safe place for them. I don’t understand how their parents don’t accept them.”

Dahrling joined PFLAG to help her nephew, who came out to her, and his parents did not accept him. “I went to a PFLAG meeting, and I’ve never left,” Dahrling said.

That afternoon, local clergy spoke up about inclusion and acceptance for trans and gay people and said they were welcomed and cherished in their churches.

Rev. Zackrie Vinczen, minister of Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church, is an openly gay minister. He said, having faith communities that are open and affirming of people from all walks of life is important. “At Unitarian Universalist, we affirm that every person is entitled to an inherent worth and dignity, that each of us has a life worth living and a story worth telling.”

Deb Dahrling, president of PFLAG, talks with visitors about being an ally and speaking up for LGBTQ people.

Deb Dahrling, president of PFLAG, talks with visitors about being an ally and speaking up for LGBTQ people.