GLIDE Pride Team – Embracing Community

by Clarissa Mendiola, Donor Cultivation & Communications Coordinator

Twelve years ago, Reggie Johnson found $100 on the sidewalk. In his heart, he felt the money wasn’t his to keep. He held on to it for a week, trying to decide who the money would benefit most. As a long-time resident of San Francisco, Reggie had heard of GLIDE for years and what many would consider luck was Reggie’s call to action.
He decided to come to a GLIDE Sunday Celebration and gave the $100 bill during the offering. Reggie remembers, “That first time at Celebration, I saw people embracing each other and I felt such a sense of love, euphoria, acceptance, and diversity. I said to myself, ‘I think I found a home.’”

As a member of the congregation, Reggie became very involved in GLIDE’s LGBT community, and eventually co-chaired the Gay-Bi Men’s group. Over the years, as GLIDE’s presence in San Francisco’s LGBT community grew, so did our involvement in San Francisco’s Annual Pride Celebration and Parade. In 2009, Reggie organized GLIDE’s Pride Team, comprised of members from our Gay-Bi Men’s Group, LBTQ Women’s Group, and ‘hetero-fabulous’ congregation members. While the Pride Team’s focus is primarily GLIDE’s participation in San Francisco’s Annual Pride Celebration, their larger mission is to educate the world about social justice, unconditional love and acceptance of the LGBT community.

“What I love about GLIDE is that it is really a place where you can truly just BE unconditionally – you can be your whole self and you can be loved, unconditionally,” Reggie reflects. It is that freedom and love that the Pride Team wants to share with the world. Over the past few years, GLIDE’s Pride Team contingent has garnered award nominations, including nods in both the Most Fabulous Float and Most Spirited categories. Now under the co-leadership of Tammy Martin and Martin Soto, Reggie is thrilled to kick off the Pride Celebration this weekend, and he’s filled with gratitude for GLIDE, “People don’t simply tolerate you at GLIDE, they embrace you. There’s a huge difference.”

March with GLIDE in the 42nd Annual San Francisco Pride Parade Celebration tomorrow, Sunday, June 24th! MEET LOCATION: Spear Street (between Mission and Howard) TIME: 10:10am (come right after the 9am service) CONTINGENT NUMBER: 52

Pride Parade celebrators cheer on the GLIDE contingent, 2011
GLIDE’s Pride Team, 2011