November 20, 2009
According to the cliché, those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it. LAvander Los Angeles seeks to educate the queer community on its own history so we can learn from past mistakes and continue to build on the successes of our pioneers in order to secure a brighter tomorrow. One of the great heroes of the movement on whose shoulders many of us stand is the Rev. Troy Perry, founder of Metropolitan Community Church.
On Wednesday, November 18, 2009, California Faith for Equality and Roots of Equality co-hosted "A Night with Rev. Troy Perry." 25 people gathered to hear the legendary hero who married his first gay couple in 1969 and tried to sue the state of California for its recognition -- only to be laughed at and dismissed by the courts back then. No one is laughing now. Rev. Troy Perry also fasted to raise money to help defeat the Briggs Initiative -- and won! As one of the co-founders of Christopher Street West Gay Pride Parade, Troy wanted to make sure LGBT people were visible and once and for all assert that closets are for clothes! Now retired, Troy still finds time to be grand marshal at Pride parades and continues the struggle for equality and social justice.
Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong, ordained with the Metropolitan Community Church and Interfaith Organizer for California Faith for Equality, asked Troy what advise he would give young people today. He responded by saying, "Young people need to stick with the movement and not just give up after one or two losses." Indeed, after Prop 8 in California and Question 1 in Maine (as well as 31 states total with discriminatory marriage/family policies), it would be easy to feel discouraged and leave the movement, but Troy, having founded MCC 41 years ago (a year before the Stonewall Riots in New York), is a living testament to the power of faith and patience. He also encouraged the LGBT community to make sure people of faith are on the forefront of this movement. This is the work that California Faith for Equality continues to embark in.