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LGBTQ part 11 – Continued conversation

This entry is part 13 of 14 in the series LGBTQ and the church
Following many words and much wrestling with the scriptures, doctrines, and my own faith, I have come to find, that no matter how I read the biblical text, I can never escape from my commission to love the Lord with all my soul, with all my heart and with all my strength. And to love my neighbor as myself.  Unless Jesus came into the world to condemn it but rather to save it, then it’s not my role to judge the world, or any other person.
When I then delve down into the depths of the Bible, I understand that I do not have much ground under my feet to speak soundly either for or against GLBT (issues). The only thing that I can deduce with all possible clarity is that I am called to love all people regardless of gender, sexuality, nationality, social status and political opinion. Yes, I am even to love my enemies and pray that God will bless them.
How then shall I be able to move forward to, in a sensible and dignified manner, continue to discuss these issues? Can I do other than to tolerate (simply allow) GLBT persons to be who they are and to actually love them? How can I learn more (in order) to live near to and in Christian fellowship with these my fellow human beings and siblings –  joined by faith?
For my part, I am now a card-carrying member of RFSL and have been part of the startup team of EKHO, the Province of  Scania. EKHO is a special interest organization that works to create a safe place where LGBT people can have freedom and encouragement in their Christian faith.
Here in Malmö EKHO will host an open cafe for conversation and fellowship once a month with the first meeting taking place on January 26 Please contact us if you want to join with us.
Ekho works therefore to:
·      Provide a living and liberating community for GLBT persons
·      an environment that provides care and social security
·      liberation and justice for GLBT persons in Christian churches and denominations
·      to actively carry out and in collaboration with others, further awareness of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans support available through members’ active work in their own church
·      ensure that every individual be able to feel the strength of being a whole person, created in God’s image
·      that every individual must be able to accept, respect and rejoice in their ability to fall in love with someone of the same sex and feel that it is a gift from God, reflecting God’s love
·      to respond to ignorance and fear of GLBT issues with the insight of GLBT persons.
RFSL—The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights is a non-profit organization that works with and for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT). It is non-partisan and not affiliated with any religious organization. 

RFSL was founded in 1950 and is one of the world’s oldest LGBT organizations. It currently has approximately 4,000 members.)
EKHO – The Swedish Ecumenical Group for LGBTQ Christians
We believe that LGBT and Christianity are fully compatible; you can be Christian and have a same-sex relationship.
Click here for more information
Worship and EventsWe organise discussions and social events once a month)
Here is an excerpt from the Ekho folder:
EKHO has since the early 80’s been a driving force to make Sweden an open country where Christian GLBT persons can live and work in their churches and communities.
Ekho seeks to move forward socially by providing enlightening work through various hosted programs, services, information activities, camps, youth work, telephone and personal counseling.

Discrimination on the basis on sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited in the areas of employment, and provision of goods and services.
In Gibraltar discrimination on the basis on sexual orientation is prohibited only in employment.
Legal gender recognition of trans people

The United Kingdom has administrative procedures to obtain legal gender recognition compulsory genital surgery, however with compulsory divorce.
Partnership recognition

In the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) same-sex couples are able to enter into a registered partnership. It also provides registered cohabiting same-sex couples with a set of limited rights. 
The UK civil partnership law does not apply to Gibraltar and Guernsey.
Parenting rights

Same-sex couples are eligible to jointly apply for a child adoption and each other’s biological children. 
Medically assisted insemination is available to lesbian couples.
The UK legislation on these issues does not apply to Gibratar, Guernsey, Isle of Man and Jersey.
Criminal law on hate speech/ crime

Sexual orientation and gender identity (only in Scotland) are included in the law on hate and violence, and are recognised as aggravating factor. The UK legislation on law on hate and violence does not apply to Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man and Jersey.
Freedom of assembly/Pride events
Pride events have taken place with authorisation.
Criminal law on age of consent

The age of consent is equal for all sexual acts.
Translation: Dr. Sven Ljungholm
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Series Navigation<< LGBTQ part 12 – coming outBefore you “come out” as a LGBTQ ally in church… >>

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