17 May is the International day against Homophobia, transphobia and biphobia (IDAHOBIT). On and around that day Christians from all over Europe will gather together with their LGBT sisters and brothers to pray for violence and discrimination against LGBT people to stop.
In Italy, many Catholics and Christians from other denominations will organise vigils, services, marches and prayers, and will invite all people of good will to be part of the change, and bring violence and discrimination against the LGBT community to an end. The slogan chosen for this year, taken from Isaiah 43, 1-4, is “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. You are precious and honoured in my sight, and I love you.”
The Commission for Faith and Homosexuality of the Italian Baptist, Methodist and Waldenses Churches wrote an order of service (you can find it following a link below), in which they state: “At times, we feel tired, discouraged, or unable to face big changes. We prefer to hide away safely, to carry on with our daily routine, to rely on the stable mentality of division and hatred against LGBT people. We love in secret and we pretend not to see what makes us feel uneasy”. Once again, it is time to stop to give in to “the banality of evil”.
According to the volunteers from Gionata, the leading LGBT Christian website in Italy, they often wondered how to provide a positive image of their intentions for prayers, an image of hope that could go beyond the episodes of violence and contempt LGBT often experience, and which are the very reasons why we gather to pray. The Bible verse that has been chosen this year (“you are mine, you are precious and honoured in my sight”) reminds us that God loves us and that each of us is incredibly precious in his eyes and means to be a hopeful and positive sign.
A video on the vigils was commissioned to a director. In the video, we are asked: “Are we able to love our sisters and brothers, our neighbours, whatever their language, race or sexuality?” (you can watch the video following the link below). Each of us is called to answer.
The vigils against homo and transphobia will be once again an ecumenical moment to build a better world for everyone, including our own Christian communities. Will you come along? We’ll wait for you, wherever you are.