About WFAA's #PeopleOfPride: In conjunction with #DallasPride events, WFAA is sharing the stories of members of the LGBTQ community. To join the conversation, share a photo or video with your story using #PeopleOfPride
PART ONE: RICH THOMAS
My name is Rich Thomas, and I'm a member of Cathedral of Hope.
I ended up in Dallas because I met a guy, I met a man. I was working in conservative church ministry at the time and those two worlds don't line up.
I ended up in Dallas because I met a guy, I met a man. I was working in conservative church ministry at the time and those two worlds don't line up. None
We ended up moving here. It didn't end up ultimately working out. But, I'll always appreciate him for for helping me change.
When I first moved here, my boyfriend asked me if I wanted to go to the 'big gay church' in Dallas. Sure, let's go to the 'big gay church' in Dallas.
I wanted it to work, but I didn't believe it could.
Every tradition I've ever participated in before, an open communion is a no-no, it’s a blasphemy. there was a moment where they told everyone anyone is welcome at this table and I had spent years of my life worried that I was one of the ones it wasn’t for.
I really didn’t come out on purpose but it was long overdue
I spent the last 28 years at least, either trying not to be or pretending not to be gay.
It’s just hard to come out, I mean if you grow up in a traditional - I mean it’s easier than it was - but it took me 43 years.
Pinned to the sun visor in my car i have the first rainbow thing I ever wore right after the Orlando incident happened.
When I walked in the door, they were pinning little rainbow ribbons. I had resisted that symbol my entire life. This was the first time I had ever embraced it and thought no, this is important.
Most of us here have some kind of story of being pushed out or shoved out or marginalized or misunderstood or shamed.
I am the person God made me, and I’m not ashamed of that anymore.
PART TWO: MARLON AND SHANNON'S STORY
This is the story of Marlon Cortez and Shannon Bailey, who were married at Cathedral of Hope.
Marlon: We met at church. The church actually helped me in particular tremendously with spirituality, also meeting my future… now my husband.
Shannon: The SCOTUS decision came down, I was monitoring it I was at work. I called and I said, wouldn’t it be cool to get married today? Ultimately we came here to the church and that’s where we got married.
Shannon: Even though it’s open and other denominations are doing it, I think Cathedral of Hope and the United Church of Christ are at the forefront of the marriage equality.
Marlon: Years before we met, I kind of actually. I kind of thought you know what? Someday I’m going to be married. I just don’t know where or when.
#PeopleOfPride: Marlon and Shannon's story None
Marlon: So I was like in my thought, I’m going to be ready. At that time, I didn’t have anyone yet, but I was like… I’m going to get ready. So, I bought just simple wedding bands. Seems like a miracle to me because like, I never thought that this event will happen and so soon. We were so blessed. Miracles happen everyday and we got ours.
PART THREE: NICOLE PERRY'S STORY
My name is Nicole Perry and I am a member of the Cathedral of Hope.
One of the biggest things I get here is love every time I come. I always felt welcome no matter what.
I was born and raised right here in Dallas as a matter of fact. I was in the Marine Corps for 5 years, obviously before I started my transition.
Actually, the last year I was active duty that I started my journey of my transition.
It was hard finding other people who could identify with me over it because of the fact that everything was still hush-hush. I’m still a Marine no matter what and that’s something not many people, whether they’re transgender or not, can say.
I was actually at Rockwall, believe it or not. I remember listening to the mayor talk and speak about his concerns. To me those were more spoken out of fear. We’re in there to go to the bathroom. We’re in there to try on clothes. We’re not there for anything else.
In Dallas, I’ve actually found it to be a welcoming community.
We’re able to show the rest of Texas, the rest of the United States - yes, this is the South - yes, this is Texas but here in Dallas, you have a home.
#PeopleOfPride: Nicole Perry None
PART FOUR: CATHEDRAL OF HOPE
What you see every Sunday at Cathedral of Hope has been happening for decades, but it can still seem unique. The largest LGBT church in the country is right here in Dallas. WFAA’s Bradley Blackburn brings you the stories of people connected by Cathedral of Hope.
Cathedral of Hope offers hope for LGBT members None