Like every year since 2007, LGBT Christians and their families belonging to different Christian communities in Italy, Spain, Malta and Poland will be remembering the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on 17 May with a series of prayer vigils. The biblical verse for this year’s commemoration was taken from John 15:12, “This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you”.
Does it make sense to come together once again and say enough to this kind of violence still present in our society and in our Christian communities? In times of COVID-19 pandemic, what is the point of keeping watch and pray on this day? It has been 14 years since the first time the young people of Kairos, a LGBT Christian group in Florence (Italy), came up with the initiative to pray for the overcoming of such violence in our Christian communities.
Vincenzo Guardino from CRISMHOM (Christian LGBT group in Spain) shared his views on the importance of praying together on this day: “Daniel is one of those young persons who did not make it and decided to take his own life. Why continuing to live when those persons who ought to love and protect choose, instead, to condemn? Why carry on when our parents do not accept us? Daniel is one of those persons who experienced first-hand what it means to be a victim of homophobia. Listening to these stories cannot leave us indifferent. These prayer vigils are not just a simple moment of prayer or a gesture of compassion towards those who suffer. They aim, above all, to raise awareness on this form of discrimination and violence that still afflicts our society and our Christian communities”.
According to Daniela Di Carlo, an Italian Waldensian pastor and theologian “Praying for the overcoming of homo-, trans- and biphobia means freeing God from those cages in which we have imprisoned him. Cages that served to water down the radical nature of the Gospel of Christ which places every person at the centre”.
Fr. Andrea Conocchia, a Catholic priest in Rome engaged in pastoral care of transgender and transsexual persons, insists that “Prejudice and judgment must be banished. Above all, I strongly believe that we, as the Church, can learn to put this into practice“.
Anna Battaglia, an ally and mother of an LGBT son argues that “The Catholic Church is of considerable weight in Italian society, as far as the problem of homo-, trans- and biphobia is concerned. A simple word of the Church would be enough to ignite such change in Italian society. Therefore, I hope that all of us can become a witness of this change within our churches and society at large”.
How many Christian communities are willing to accept this invitation? How many others will once again choose to look the other way and walk away?
The list of prayer vigils being held this year.
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