Sunday, 17 July 2011

Gionata: I am Gay and I am blessed. Drachma LGBT Group in Malta
Interview by Silvia Lanzi, 10 July 2011

Drachma, a well established reality and an opportunity for the maltese gay believers to grow and search, as its rich and complete blog shows.

Here you can find materials, links and reflections on a wide range. In order to find out more about the group I asked Clayton few questions. Here is what he answered me.

Why did you name your Group "Drachma"?

This name established before I joined the group, but this name was something which came out naturally during a prayer session where the group was reflecting on the parable of Luke 15:8-10.

The parable speaks about something valuable which was lost and then found. Did you also feel lost at some point?

Yes, although I never had renounced my belief in God, I was searching for answers and meaning why I shouldn't. Drachma was the answer and the fuel which kept my belief develop and mature.

How did you manage to find yourself?

This journey of finding myself started when I saw the poster about a Public Talk by James Alison on being Gay and Catholic.

At the time (2007) I did not know who he was but the issue of Gay and Catholic was very relevant. James Alison inspired me and through him I got to know what drachma is all about. There my journey started.

Your group is Catholic. A journalist in Italy, Michele Serra, recently wrote an article where he declared that this want of belonging to the Church, despite its rejection, for us homosexuals doesn't make sense. What is your opinion on the matter?

My personal opinion is that the group should not only be Catholic but Inter-faith to welcome EVERYONE. I am Catholic because I was born in a country where it was not even questioned why do we choose to be catholic.

Notwithstanding I have found many religious people within the Catholic Church who have taught me so much - they have also accepted my sexuality to the full and I did not see any form of rejection even though the official status of the Catholic Church is for us to live a life in chastity.

I myself am in an internal conflict at the moment whether to leave the Catholic Church to join another Christian Faith which takes an all-welcoming position. Should I continue 'fighting' with the hope that one day the Catholic Church would change its views?

I believe that one day things will change, but it will require the effort of a group of people and not just an individual.

Your blog is very well set up and full of hints. Do you think this might help the reader to get a different idea of homosexuality from the usual stereotype?

Thanks for the compliment on the blog. I really hope that it does help the reader to get a different perspective.

I do wish that someday we can have our own website with a dedicated person who can maintain it regularly so that we can also have an even more visible space on the web.

Each Christian is a witness of the "Good News". How has your belonging to Drachma affected your life?

I have now a clearer idea of who this Jesus is. It is not someone living on the clouds looking at us from afar. He is among us and with us. We just have to be sensitive to what is really happening around us and there we will find Jesus.

Sometimes it requires us to do things which appear silly, or that goes against the mainstream idea - but Jesus was like that - he was barely orthodox in his ways. He had always surprised people with his words and actions.

Drachma has also allowed me to turn my anger towards the official position of the Catholic Church into love and understanding. Drachma has allowed me to be at peace of my sexuality and this has affected positively my place of work, the groups I joined and the friends I am with.

And as a couple?

If it wasn't for Drachma, I don't think me and Christian (my partner) would have met. It is thanks to the people of Drachma that I decided one day to join them for a social evening and there is where I met Christian.

The main topic of the conversation with Christian was Drachma and I managed to intrigue him to join the group. A few days later we were in love :P.

What kind of evidence can you as a Christian couple give?

As a couple we have many times asked ourselves "why do we choose to be Christian?" and I don't think we have managed to find the answer yet.

But we do believe that the teachings of the Bible and the reflections that come along with has helped us in many ways to realise that we as a couple are not condemned by God.

We are both doing our little part in our community - through our jobs, involvement in voluntary organisations, etc and we support each other on many issues.

This has helped us develop and become more mature in our partnership. We also believe in a christian outlook on relationships, that is, to love one another without harming and exploiting one another and I think this alone is a witness of how Gay Couples can be given God's blessing to enter into loving relationships.

Italian translation: Sono un gay benedetto. In cammino con Drachma, il gruppo di cattolici glbt di Malta

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