Life in the Methow Valley is not like life in your other parts of rural America, and it isn't just our beautiful landscape that separates us from the rest. In most of the small towns I have travelled to in the last few years I have noticed a distinct marginalization of the LGBT communities that dwell quietly within their population. 

But here, in the Methow Valley, we celebrated today. And in this celebration, Winthrop, Washington, made a statement today: Small towns do not have small minds. 

On a perfectly sunny morning, over a hundred people gathered on Riverside Avenue to march in honor of Methow Valley Pridefest. Kids hopped around on pogo sticks and rode scooters and were held by their loving parents. Rainbows wafted over the crowd and smiles gleamed from both marchers and spectators. The crowds cheered and waved and hollered as they ambled past the Tenderfoot General Store and Three-Fingered Jacks--the "oldest" saloon in the state of Washington. 

These were the folks that own businesses, raise beautiful and intellectual children, run non-profit organizations and produce and support art. These were the couples who see that our chamber of commerce runs smoothly, our utilities are maintained, and our bellies are full of sweet treats. This march was not solely done by those who are gay/lesbian/bi-sexual/transgender. This march was for one basic purpose: to celebrate love. 

Yes, we celebrated love and companionship in all its manifestations. 

Love in all its forms is tolerated, however it is not always accepted even here. Over the last year and a half, I've seen my friends blush and beam at their wives or husbands yet resist the urge to hug and kiss them in public. They walk side-by-side without holding hands when walking down the street. It's true, Washington state (specifically the more rural eastern Washington) has a lot of growth to make, but on days like this I think we get one step closer. 

Perhaps the most beautiful thing I saw was my friend April and her wife Sam (who were engaged one year ago today) head the march along with their fur baby, Vinnie. And they were holding hands as a married couple. My heart damned-near exploded when I saw them so happy together. They are love. 

So is Vinnie. 

And then there is love like this: 

My dear friend Mo makes Christianity look real good. She is one of the most supportive people within this community (or anywhere, for that fact) I've ever seen. She and her husband have served the world well with their gift of community service and love. I thank the universe/what-have-you every day for positive role models like them. Our children need people like them. 

And the kids! 

The children present at Methow pride were given a lesson today that all people are to be treated equally and respectfully. These are the kids who stand up for the marginalized and bullied. These are the kids who will stop a student and say, "Please don't use the word 'gay' like that. It's not a kind use of the word." 

They are a gentle and hopeful nudge toward progress. 

But it's not enough to dump the responsibility of progress onto these children. We must cultivate the notions of tolerance, acceptance, and respect every day through our own actions. Their progress is contingent upon ours. 

And today, in the Methow Valley, our group marched step-by-step onward. 

Photos provided by Mo, by awesome buddy, me, and the Winthrop, WA facebook page.

Views: 486

Comment by Arthur James on July 1, 2013 at 2:32am

`

The local Baptist reverend in town here (350 pop)?

He initiated the wedding ceremony at a local park.

The wed couple were Jewish. A hired photographer?

`

( after the ceremony and cutting cake and cheese? )

`

The Photographer said before each photo shot . . .

You two can now smile because`Jesus Loves You.

Comment by JMac1949 Today on July 1, 2013 at 8:13am

Out-f*cking-standing!  R&L:

Comment by Din Mutha on July 1, 2013 at 11:49pm

AJ- WA state Baptists aren't like those anywhere else....they are just Christians here. I know. It's weird. 

JMac! I totally watched that movie hours before writing this (son with fever-induced halucinations wants to watch Across the Universe--go fig). I think we're on the same effing page! 

Comment by Arthur James on July 2, 2013 at 3:57am

`

Somewhere in the world it's 5:00AM.

I was @ Open Salon. rita shibr say?

Maybe Rita Shibr made a mistake?

`

Somewhere in the world it's 5PM.

`

This is ref:` Shhhhhh ` quattspeaks.

There's a nice poem ` keep Our S. ?

Keep Our Secrets. Good Morning. Ah!

`

I know a good Baptist who plays guitar.

He is Wendell Berry's Neighbor, friend,

and the Baptist Opens W. B. 's mail.

He sorts and helps Mr. Berry respond.

WEndell Berry gets a bunch of mail.

`

I use to email the rural Kentucky

Baptist gentleman. He's not Kooky.

WEndell Berry is a must sane read.

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on July 2, 2013 at 7:34am

you  live in a paradise, lady! albeit they have modesty in public, which is kinda poignant in and of itself, yes?

blushing alot more sexy  than yknow..feeling yer loved one up on the street...

small town without small mind. nicely phrased.

love should be celebrated everywhere.

not "tolerated".

what kinda shit is that? "ooh yes we tolerate love"

gee that aint christianity.  The only sin, din, is not living life to the fullest.

i alas am fulla sin. but i live in the straightlaced northeast where we intellectually 'tolerate' love but really dont ever, ah, celebrate it. oh my, that would be unbecoming. blah to the northeast. I heading to your valley.

Comment by Rosigami on July 2, 2013 at 8:14am

Din, this is wonderful. Two of my kids celebrate pride every chance they get; been to NYC,  Canada...

I agree with you - we DO need to put this on the children.
They are the ones who will grow up and make BIG DIFFERENCES in how things are.
And yes, it's not enough. We have to teach them by example.

My own Washington community is not nearly so outspoken nor quite so LGBT-friendly. The arty community within it is, though. Proud to be a part of that. Blah to the fundamental Christians here who speak and think  in decidedly un-loving ways at times...

More progress needs be made. 

Comment by Joan H on July 2, 2013 at 8:18am
It's nice when people give Christianity a good name. Great post.
Comment by Anna Herrington on July 2, 2013 at 9:59am

This is great to see! If only more towns were like this....some are, and more will be, and step-by-step....change for the better of humankind!

...and, your friend Mo has a lovely smile  : )

Comment by Din Mutha on July 2, 2013 at 7:17pm

JME-"The only sin, din, is not living life to the fullest."  You, my friend, do well to remind us what we should do.  Love is not to be tolerated, friend. Mosquitoes are to be tolerated. Hardly. Thanks, you.

Rosi! I owe you a big, fat email, btw. Progress is all up in here...at least with those who celebrated with us. And that's all that mattered Sunday. Thanks!!!

Joan- Thanks! And my buddy is a wonderful burst of goodness (but truth be told, I think she's a brilliant person, Christian or no).

JT- Thanks! She does, doesn't she?

Here's a pic of me and my buddy Mo.

Comment by O. Yeh on July 3, 2013 at 6:28am

Beautiful, your post, and Methow, Miss Din. I miss the latter. Hope to meet you one day. Rock on.

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