LGBT to Church, society: Open the doors for us

Aside from alleged deprivation in services and the hate crimes victimizing its members, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community still faces challenges affecting their faith.

Reverend Crescencio Agbayani, one of the hundreds who attendes the Metro Manila Pride Festival at the Luneta yesterday, believed that religions, particularly the Catholic Church and other major faiths, should “open its doors” to the LGBT community.

“The church should open its doors to the LGBT, because if not mawawalan sila ng miyembro,” Agbayani, also a minister at the LGBT Community Church, stressed.

Reverend Crescencio Agbayani of the LGBT Community Church. (Photo by Ghio Ong)

“We do the ministry primarily because churches are closing the doors” for the LGBT, he added.

He shared that some LGBT members would feel uneasy entering churches who would demand presenting themselves as “straight” people when they no longer could not.

“Iyong iba ayaw nang maniwala sa relihiyon, ayaw nang maniwala sa Diyos,” he noted.

Agbayani has been conducting ministry and performing weddings for LGBT couples since 2012, when the controversial mass wedding of lesbian couples in Baguio City happened.

“Hinahabol namin na it is okay to be gay and Christian,” he stressed.

He cited instances wherein certain Christian sects and groups has expressed faith-based support for the LGBT community.

Meanwhile, he noted the Church’s concept on marriage is still traditional, that which is performed only on those of the opposite sexes.

“But Genesis 2:18 says it is not good for a man to be alone,” he said.

The said verse indeed says, ” The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'” However, some versions stressed that a woman would be best to be Man’s partner or companion.

“Ang nagsulat ay lalaki, kaya natural na ang hanap nila ay opposite sex,” he said.

He is set to perform a mass wedding of six lesbian couples in Quezon city this afternoon.

He stressed that “legal or not, weddings of LGBT couples happen in the Philippines.”

“Besides, it reflects freedom of religion,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, LGBT rights group Bahaghari called on people to “dare to fight against the culture of violence and discrimination that pervade our lives.”

The group made the call two weeks after the shooting incident inside an LGBT bar in Orlando, Florida in the United States that killed 49 people.

In a statement, the group added it also calls “for regular jobs and living wages, and free access to health services to all.”

“We believe these are necessary in ensuring that none of us – not thosenof us who suffer the most – gets left behind, because we know that our freedom and liberation is bound with each other’s, because none of us are free until all of us are free,” the group stressed.

Two protesters kiss before photographers at Plaza Salamanca before they proceed to the Luneta in Manila for the Metro Manila Pride Festival on June 25. (Photo by Ghio Ong)

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