Gay PRIDE in Panama

Yes, Panama does have a gay PRIDE parade . . .

It’s certainly not San Francisco, Sydney, New York or Amsterdam, but it is!  And that in itself is somewhat remarkable seeing that since Panama is still officially a Roman Catholic country being gay is still somewhat of a closeted affair.  Not that gay folks aren’t “out”, it’s just that many are careful knowing that they could be fired because of their sexual orientation.  Panama has a long way to go . . . in many way.  But I thought you might enjoy, or not . . . I don’t really care, frankly . . . this view of Panama PRIDE ’13.

The curious, activists, musicians, church goers, and a contingent from the U.S. Embassy. turned out for Panama’s Gay Rights walk at the end of June, but not a serving politician in sight.

In other cities the Gay Parade attracts score of thousands of spectators, and politicians from mayors to lawmakers and aspirants for the highest offices,make much of the opportunity to show their faces and participate in what can sometimes be a two or three-hour extravaganza.

Panama’s event on Via Argentina is a much more modest affair, and is treated with due modesty by the powerbrokers. In a city where political banners are unfurled at the drop of a hat, the promise of snack, a ham, a turkey or some other

Mary McBride, and her group. courtesy of the U.S. Embassy added an eclectic musica touch to the day.

There was also a blood bank underway in a park on the parade route. Not too many politicians there either. Maybe reserving their supplies for the blood sports within the legislature.

Balboa Union Church members were there in force with the clear message that their doors are open to all, but on the political front only activists from the newly registered FAD Party were bold enough to appear with their fellow citizens who were joyfully celebrating the latest U.S.

They all shared in a fun-filled afternoon kicked off by Mary McBride and her traveling quartet at Estatus, a roadside restaurant. Sponsored by the U.S. Government the group was near the end of a 17 country tour where they performed and presented workshop and seminars to young dancers. They left Panama last week for a similar outreaching and performing gig in Costa Rica.

The night before, at the Villadaz Theater, in Plaza De Francia, Casco Viejo, they had headed a show of talented young local dancing groups they had encouraged, ending with Mary’s own unique renderings of songs ranging from spirituals to Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones. Something for all tastes, and it was FREE.

The politicians didn’t know what they were missing. Next year there will likely be some new faces in the corridors of power Maybe they won’t be so shy. A vote is a vote.

Lest some of my homophobic friends want to blame Obama for sponsoring the US Embassy entertainment [Let me count: Obama is a Muslim, Obama is anti-family, Obama wasn’t born in the US, Obama is marching to the drummer of Bush-Cheney – well, there might be some truth to that, now Obama is gay ???.]

Of course the Christians were out too, and this time with a decidedly Christian message. [Thank you Jesus!]

For those of you who don’t read Spanish, the Scripture verse is, “Since God so loved us, we ought to love one another.”

For those who need to see that verse in context [seminary training springing forth], here ’tis:

“Dear Friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.  This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God, but if we love each other, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”  [I John 4:7-12 NIV]

Thus endeth the reading of the Word.

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