“The Importance of Being ‘Prideful'” By Gerda and Allen Keiswetter, UU Church of Arlington, VA

Gerda and Allen Keiswetter, UU Church of Arlington, VA
Gerda and Allen Keiswetter,
UU Church of Arlington, VA

Imagine thousands cheering because you love your child. We have been marching in the Capital Pride Parade since 2005 to celebrate our transgender son Asa. It is a spiritual high each year for us. The street crowd is amazing — LGBTQ people and straight people of all ages, singles and families, babies to grandparents of all races and ethnicities. The mood is always intensely positive, and the love is palpable. Shouts and even hugs from parade watchers are common.

The UU and PFLAG groups usually co-mingle as they march next to each other. For some lining the parade route, these contingents represent the churches and parents they would have liked to have had but didn’t, and the persons they would have liked to have trusted with their most important secret, but couldn’t. Increasing over the years, the crescendos of applause and cheering also express gratitude as more religious congregations have marched to tell the GLBTQ community that they are welcome in their churches, synagogues and mosques.

We love that UUs march, whether the desire to participate comes from their own families, their friends, having a great time, or the fundamental aim of “equity in human relations.” It is important that UUs are there both to help those who need us, and to show that our religion is one of inclusion.

Capital Pride is always held on the second weekend in June, which is typically hot, often a bit rainy, and draws huge crowds nonetheless. We arrive by late afternoon to line up, and then parade for 1 ½ miles through the gayborhood around Dupont Circle until we are hot, sweaty, exhilarated, and our feet and our smile muscles are very tired. Join the Parade!

Allen and Gerda Keiswetter have been members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington for more than 25 years. Allen served as Board Chair and co-chair of the capital campaign and building committees. Gerda has taught Religious Education and chaired the UUCA Nominating Committee. Both have also been active in Metro DC PFLAG, where Allen served as President for four years and Gerda has been facilitator of a support group for more than a decade.