“We exist. We are humans. We deserve dignity!”, Maltese rainbow Catholics have cried on the occasion of Malta Pride Week 2019.

Driving the news

This Sunday marks the end of Malta Pride Week 2019.

The theme for the celebrations this year – “From Riots to Rainbows – 50 years since Stonewall” – marked half a century since the demonstrations at the Stonewall Inn in New York that were a turning point in the gay liberation movement.

According to the Malta Gay Rights Movement, some 8,000 people took part in a Pride Parade Saturday afternoon in Valletta.


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The big picture

One of the groups that took part in Pride Week was Drachma, an association that describes itself as “a space open to all persons of good will who seek sexual and spiritual integration”.

According to its websites, Drachma “includes lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered and intersex persons, as well as friends of LGBTI persons who wish to meet to pray together and explore the intersections between sexuality, gender, gender identity, faith, spirituality and religion”.

Though it admits to being inspired by Catholic tradition, values and spirituality, Drachma is open to people of all faiths or of none, in a spirit of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.

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Go deeper

In a press release for Pride Week, Drachma recalled the history of the gay rights movement – from Stonewall to the present day – and said Pride celebrations have been “an attempt by the LGBTIQ+ community to have itself counted and respected”.

But it hasn’t just been the struggle of non-faith-identifying lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people, the organisation recalled.

LGBTIQ+ Catholics have also played their part.

“We may think that faith has had very little to do with the LGBTIQ+ liberation movement around the world.

“That is not really true. Even before the Stonewall Riots, in America, the first Catholic and Christian LGBTIQ+ groups started working for integration of faith and sexuality and striving for social justice”, Drachma said.

The association gave the examples of Dignity USA – celebrating its fifty years this year – or the European Forum of Christian LGBT Groups, which has been active for nearly four decades.

“We wish other Catholics would join us in this march because we are proud of our faith, proud of our church and proud of who God made us!”, Drachma cried.

“Together we bridge-build with the Church because we believe in dialogue with all faiths and the LGBTIQ+ community”, the organisation explained.

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Why it matters

Drachma celebrated that it is the second-oldest LGBTIQ+ rights movement in Malta and, because of that, has played an important part in the nation becoming the most gay-friendly country in Europe.

“We celebrate Pride and we keep on doing so, because we believe that there are still LGBTIQ persons in our families, in our neighbourhoods and in our towns that still feel emarginated and in the periphery”, Drachma concluded.

“We need to express this hope, especially for those who cannot be with us today to celebrate our dignity and our humanity. We need to remind ourselves that more still needs to be done for everyone to feel ‘safe’, ‘loved’ and ‘proud’. 

“This is our Pride. This is what we celebrate! This is our hope!”

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PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.