Barbara Foltin: Pride

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June is Pride month and as Rev. Barbara Foltin learned the Pride flag is popular not just with LGBTQ+ people, but their families and neighbors, too.

I keep thinking about this grandfather I saw, driving by in his big truck, looking out his window with teary eyes. It was our Pride Flag giveaway, with a steady stream of vehicles driving through our U-shaped church parking lot, for two hours on a recent Saturday. Parents with babies in car seats in the back of their sedans drove through, as did one whole block of neighbors, getting Pride flags to welcome a new lesbian couple to their street.

Our Bay Area suburb is bashful and residential. People drove through spontaneously, probably on their way to or from getting groceries. Thank God we’re on a main street, so people could easily see the young adults on the sidewalk, waving LGBTQ+ flags the size of bed sheets.

As they drove through and were given a Pride flag, many told us, “My niece just came out” and “I have a teenager who’s trans.” We were privileged to hear these announcements, and I wished I could see the joy on their loved one’s faces when they put up the rainbow flag, now with brown and black stripes.

Then, the grandpa in the big truck drove up, grey hair and Santa Claus cheeks under his mask. As we handed him the folded Pride flag, he reached out his hands to receive it like a birthday cake full of candles.

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“My granddaughter just came out,” he said, looking down at the folded rainbow in his hands. “Wow! Wonderful! Congratulations!”

We erupted in cheers. That’s when his eyes welled up with tears, so we kept cheering: “What a great grandpa you are! Good for you!”

More tears. Collecting himself, the grandpa put the gift down in the empty seat next to him and drove off.

With a Perspective, I’m Barbara Foltin.

Rev. Barbara Foltin is head pastor at Faith Lutheran of Castro Valley.