Long May They Wave

cristy cardinal
November 23 2022

By cristy cardinal

“An army of lovers cannot lose.”

–from “Queers Read This!,” a 1990 manifesto by ACT UP

The picture of the flagpole, bent at a ninety-degree angle, and the small scrap of fabric, edges frayed where the flag ripped apart, snapped me back to reality–the reality where our state governments are attacking trans folks and their families, the reality where the Supreme Court is repressively restricting our reproductive rights. The reality where so many things are contributing to the collective trauma of late-stage capitalism.

I was at General Assembly, 2,500 miles away from home, wrapped in the love and dynamic tension of colleagues and congregants. My partner Jay was in Michigan, taking care of my feline overlords. He sent me pictures of the reality back home: someone had yanked the Progress Pride flag down from the front of my house–the house where my kids live.

Tears stung my eyes, and fear filled my body.

I shared on social media what happened and almost immediately, a straight friend sent me a message offering to replace the flag. I said, “YES!” and she told me when to expect it. Jay re-hung the flag, which seemed bigger and brighter this time around.

Then I came home. And I held the flagpole, and moved the scrap of flag through my fingers. The tears came back, this time hot with rage.

I shared on social media again, this time talking about the emotional toll. This was not just vandalism, but violence.

Someone suggested that I fill my yard and cover my house in pride flags. “YES!” I thought again. I made an online wishlist with various flags and shared that as well. Two days later, I came home from the office to a stack of packages on my porch.

I came down with COVID that day, so I thought that the flags had to wait–and community showed up again, when another person offered to come put them in the yard for me.

Never have I felt it more true that “an army of lovers cannot lose” than when I saw this in my front yard.

Tears of joy filled my eyes as I saw the brightly colored compassion and love of community wave in the grass. Queer joy is resistance.

Prayer

Beloved queer kin, you are wholly divine. Your queerness is sacred: may you never doubt it, and may the world come to know it. May the blessings of community surround you when you are scared, and when you are full of rage. And may your pride flags hang from reinforced steel flagpoles.

cristy cardinal's lawn dotted with dozens of small pride flags