The recent Walter Isaacson biography of Leonardo da Vinci depicts a brilliant, erratic, lovable man – a giant of both art and industry - a true Renaissance man. Leonardo was also a gay man, something that he didn’t hide. He had long relationships with male lovers, even while he lived at court. What happened between then and now?
In our day, we have had to fight for that kind of acceptance of ways of living and loving that don’t conform to a traditional standard of heterosexual love or no love at all. Both science and the experience of countless human beings have confirmed that humans live and love in many ways, naturally. The joy and goodness I see in my many LGBTQ friends give me cause for hope that our human race can continue to become more loving, more compassionate, more accepting of difference.
My friends have taught me much, through both honest discussion and gentle confrontation. They have helped me grow in my understanding. They have helped me move beyond “tolerance” and “acceptance” to real celebration of the rich variety of human life and experience – and that’s where PRIDE comes in. PRIDE is affirmation, celebration, solidarity, and compassion, all wrapped up in one.
As we study Jesus’ behavior with people who had been pushed to the margins of his society – poor people, lepers, disabled people, and notorious sinners – we see that Jesus did not distance himself. Instead, he chose to become their allies: to walk with them and respect them in front of everybody. If we wish to emulate our Lord Jesus today, we must become allies of marginalized people in our world. An ally doesn’t stand by and listen to a hurtful remark or “joke,” but responds firmly. It’s all part of our baptismal vow to “respect the dignity of every human being.” JBM