This week I’ve noticed rainbow flags appearing everywhere I look. I was greeted by one at the front of my Sainsbury’s local and it reminded me that our nation is celebrating Pride Month again this year. The rainbow represents the LGBTQI+ movement. The acronym represents lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning, and intersectional communities. The + acknowledges the existence of other ‘evolving acronyms’ that can’t find room in the main collection. The inspiration for Pride Month comes from the 1969 Stonewall Riots that took place at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, New York. The LGB community at the time sought to establish places where gays and lesbians could go and be open about their sexual orientation free from the fear of violence and being arrested. Over the past fifty years, much of the world’s stance on LGBTQI+ rights has shifted dramatically thanks to the activists who pushed for greater freedoms and acceptance. But despite the cultural shift, many still feel like outsiders.
Often members of the LGBTQI+ community have led difficult lives and continue to struggle daily. The trans community, for instance, has some terrible statistics with one in four (27%) of trans young people attempting to commit suicide. From all the data currently available, having transitioning surgery doesn’t change this number. Helping them in their struggles isn’t simple which is why I feel sad when I see a corporate logo rebranded with a Pride Flag. To my mind, the selfish corporate rebranding, obligatory comments from public figures, and societal virtue signalling seem to be the laziest attempt imaginable to help a deeply troubled group. When I look at the ASDA logo with a Pride Flag pasted over it I feel sad for everyone involved. This virtue signalling isn’t helping anyone other than particular corporations’ bottom lines.
The Bible, I believe, is very clear on God’s position regarding same-sex relationships, but His response to sinners is outstandingly generous. Jesus, when meeting with sinners and tax collectors and the rejected of His day, chose to spend large amounts of time with them. He didn’t just wave support from a distance to appear compassionate. Instead, He listened to them and got to know them as individuals, and they loved Him for it. In a world that is eager to signal how much they support the outsider without actually attempting to help, it is worth remembering what true love looks like – time, effort and sacrifice. True love costs us and Jesus knew this as He went to the cross to die to rescue us from judgement. If we want to do more than say we love our neighbour, we have to actually go and spend time with them, listening to the individuals before us. Only then can we effectively help by sharing the good news of God’s love for each of us as sinners.