Category: Local News

WATCH: It Cannot Be Bad To Be Gay, Says Priest On Xarabank: ‘Where There Is Love And Sincerity, There Is God’

‘Love your children. Always, no matter who they are’

A progressive priest by the name of Fr Kevin was interviewed on Xarabank, where he stressed that it cannot be a bad thing to be gay, because God created all mankind… with all variations included.

“It can’t be bad to be gay because God created it in his plan for mankind, with all our variations. When a person knows at the bottom of their heart that they are gay, they are recognizing the way God created them, and are accepting themselves”.

Fr Kevin works as a Theology lecturer at the University of Malta and also sits on the Church tribunal.

The Xarabank team, when uploading clips of the interview to their social media site, conceded that they had actually asked Archbishop Charles Scicluna to speak on the show. He instead sent Fr Kevin, insisting that the public would want to hear what he has to say.

Last week, the popular current affairs programme interviewed two River of Love members, a religious group promoting Christian values, including aggressively promoting heterosexual values.

One of the members, Matthew Grech, made waves and angered many after, on X Factor Malta, he spoke of how he used to be a homosexual but after much effort is now a straight man. He continues to promote efforts to convert people back to heterosexualism.

Asked to speak on the issue and react to the two member’s statements that they are no longer gay, Fr Kevin said that if a gay Catholic person is being true to themselves, they should not change and will hurt themselves by failing to accept who they are.

Fr Kevin highlighted the troubling views of internalized homophobia.

“People who do not accept themselves, or maybe parents who do not accept their homosexual children, this can create internalized anger towards themselves.”

Fr Kevin spoke of his brother, who is homosexual. Xarabank presenter Peppi Azzopardi asked whether he ever tried to dissuade his brother from being gay. Fr Kevin said that in reality, he was changed for the better by his brother and the people he came into contact with through his brother.

The refreshingly progressive priest spoke of young people asking him to join them in coming out to their families. He described a moment which touched him where a young person, who was frightened of admitting to the priest he was gay. After being gently prompted to open up, the young man wrote down that he was gay on a small piece of paper, and upon seeing Fr Kevin’s acceptance he burst into tears with relief.

Asked whether the priest had any final message to the public, he said:

“Love your children. Always, no matter who they are. Accept yourselves, be sincere and share your stories. On the Church, the Church should not be seen as a rigid institution but as though it is population of people always changing and always exploring”.

Source: Lovinmalta.com

Maltese Association of Psychiatry

Press Release 23.02.2019 – The MAP notes the recent debate on homosexuality and especially the statement reported in the media that homosexuality could be a psychological disorder. The MAP would like to publicly and clearly state that this is not the view of the local psychiatric community, nor is it the view of any established psychiatric or psychological association. This is because homosexuality has become understood scientifically to be a part of the spectrum of normal human behaviour, and is not to be considered as an illness. The same consideration applies to people who are transgender. For the same reason, psychiatry does not endorse and in fact condemns so-called conversion therapies, and does not support terms such as ex-gay, which are misleading. It is to be noted that adjusting to living a gay or alternative lifestyle in a hostile or critical environment can and does lead to emotional and psychological distress and that this is not to be mistaken for a person’s sexual orientation as leading directly to the distress.

Say No To Abortion Lies: Maltese Pro-Lifers Fined For Spreading False Rumours About Gay Rights Lobby

They claimed the gay rights lobby received funds to lobby for the legalisation of abortion in Malta

Pro-life lobby Gift of Life and politician Ivan Grech Mintoff have been forced to pay a combined €4,000 to the Malta Gay Rights Movement after claiming it was being funded to promote the legalisation of abortion in Malta.

In 2015, Gift of Life and Grech Mintoff claimed that the MGRM was secretly being funded by Planned Parenthood, a major American NGO which provides reproductive healthcare, including abortion.

This is because MGRM had in 2011 received a $10,000 grant from the International Planned Parenthood Federation, of which Planned Parenthood is a member, to develop proposals for a Gender Identity Act, which has since become law.

However, GoL and Grech Mintoff claimed the funding was actually intended for MGRM to lobby for the legalisation of abortion in Malta, for which an IVF law permitting embryo freezing was actually the precursor.

“BREAKING NEWS! Are the Malta Gay Rights Movement being supported by international abortion promoters Planned Parenthood?” Gift of Life posted on Facebook. “The drive to legalise abortion by stealth under the disguise of embryo freezing is now clearer for you to understand.”

Grech Mintoff dedicated a part of his F Living TV show Exodus to these rumours and repeated these allegations on Facebook, stating: “In brief she [representative of MGRM] admits to taking money from murdered children to fund her own personal agenda”.

MGRM subsequently sued for libel and magistrate Francesco Depasquale ruled in their favour this morning, ordering Gift of Life to pay €1,000 in damages and Grech Mintoff to fork out €3,000. In Grech Mintoff’s case, the court noted that his allegations were particularly severe and that, as a politician, he should be particularly responsible to the truth.

In his judgement, Depasquale ruled that MGRM’s $10,000 grant originated specifically from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, and not Planned Parenthood, and that the link between this grant and Planned Parenthood’s abortion services was frivolous at best.

“The court understands that the topic of abortion is in the public interest and that it can trigger diverging and strong views, but this doesn’t mean that one should just invent arguments and reach conclusions against an entity on the basis of very remote circumstances which are substantially false,” he said.

“Everyone has the right to their opinion, to air that opinion and defend it in public, but no one has the right to twist facts so as to damage their adversaries with the intent of harming people’s trust in them.”

MGRM was represented in this case by lawyers Cedric Mifsud and Gianluca Cappitta.

Source: Lovinmalta.com

Psychologists’ body takes on X Factor’s ‘ex gay’ singer: ‘no such thing as homosexual disorder’

“Homosexuality is not a pathology, mental anomaly nor psychological disorder” – Malta Chamber of Psychologists says after “ex gay” campaigner Matthew Grech releases interview

Malta’s Chamber of Psychologists (MCP) has issued a statement in the wake of an interview with the “ex gay” campaigner Matthew Grech, who starred in X Factor Malta and denounced homosexuality as being “incompatible” with Christianity

“Homosexuality is not a pathology, mental anomaly nor psychological disorder. In line with our sister association in America (APA) we appeal to all to support us in the removal of the stigma of mental illness which shrouds people of lesbian, gay and bisexual orientations,” the MCP said. 

In a debate with Gabi Calleja, who today heads the Equality Ministry’s human rights and integration directorate, Grech insisted that the idea of a fixed sexual orientation had been questioned by the APA in 2014, and suggested that the association had said that homosexuality is a psychological disorder.

READ MORE • X Factor singer releases film taking on ‘must-stay-gay culture’ in Malta

“In a democratic country, I have every right to believe and proclaim that homosexuality is a psychological disorder. Therefore, the country is refusing to provide psychological help to those who believe this; to those who want, and have every right, to seek it. It is a denial of basic human rights,” Grech – who says he was converted over from homosexuality after becoming Christian – said. 

But the Chamber of Psychologists reiterated that the notion of gay conversion, as a therapy or simply even as a concept, was harmful and noxious to persons from the LGBTIQ community. 

“It not only rejects a group of individuals based on unfounded promises, but also promotes a lack of tolerance to diversity within our community. In fact, being gay is not something which deems the need for a cure or transformation, and the very implication of such is a form of homophobia,” the MPC said. 

“As a body we promote respect and equality for all persons and we strongly condemn any practices, public outcries or vociferous attacks on any minority group or section of our population. The discipline of psychology is concerned with the health and well-being of humans and groups, and we consider such behaviours to be a direct threat to public well-being. 

“MCP also promotes the importance of learning to know, accept, love and respect oneself for who we are; a practice which leads to our psychological maturation and integrated sense of self. Denying our true nature may in itself lead to psychological difficulties, and denying our sexual orientation – if it so happens not to be hetero-normative – is in fact known as internalised homophobia.” 

Grech, a member of the evangelical community led by Gordon-John Manché, declared that it was not possible for a Christian to be gay, as they would have forsaken the word of God. When asked whether Archbishop Charles Scicluna was wrong to celebrate mass to gay Catholic society Drachma, Grech said that “would be going against the word of God”. 

Source: maltatoday.com

Transgender Healthcare: Leaving nobody behind

The mantra associated with the Sustainable Development Goals is that of leaving nobody behind. In taking bold steps to develop health care services for transgender persons, we are effectively giving testimony to the fact that, for this Government, leaving nobody behind is not merely a slogan but is something we work to achieve assiduously every day.

Transgender inclusive health care can profoundly increase the quality of life for transgender persons. This service may only have an impact on a few hundred persons and their families but, for us, every single individual and their needs is of paramount importance.

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of witnessing first-hand the clinic for gender well-being delivering services to transgender persons. This service is the result of months of hard work by a multi-disciplinary team of health and social care professionals who took up the challenge of planning clinical services for transgender persons. The development of these services is being implemented as laid out in the transgender health care policy document.

The document was launched for consultation in April last year and in-depth discussions were held with transgender persons and civil society organisations representing them. We also liaised with the LGBTIQ Council and the Malta Gay Rights Movement. I believe that the manner in which we worked to formulate this policy is an excellent example of the way in which health systems will continue to be shaped in the 21st century.

In the design and development of services for transgender persons, health professionals embarked on a process of co-creation. This means that while scientific evidence remains the backbone of clinical services, planners and health system policy-makers are increasingly acknowledging that service users are experts in their own right and have a clear contribution to make in service design. I am grateful to the professionals and the service user representatives who worked closely to develop clinical pathways that will primarily ensure the safety and effectiveness of the interventions provided but will also respect the dignity and legitimate expectations of service users.

At the start of the year we changed the legislation on entitlement to medication by including gender identity and sex  characteristics-related conditions in the list of conditions for free treatment. As a consequence, transgender persons who have had to pay for their treatment for years are now able to obtain treatment free of charge through the gender clinic.

However, transgender persons do not merely require medication or surgical interventions. Indeed, the social, psychological and emotional support provided to transgender persons as they embark on the difficult gender transitioning journey are equally important to ensure success. In fact, persons may be referred to access services  by doctors, psychologists or social workers, since some persons will opt only for psycho-social support and intervention whilst others will opt to undergo surgical interventions to align their physical characteristics with their gender identity.

In developing these services, we have drawn on the experience and assistance of other countries, tailoring the programme to fit our contextual realities and our legal framework. There is still, however, much that remains to be achieved. In the coming months we aim to continue providing training for our multi-disciplinary team, as well as more generic awareness training throughout our health service. We will also start offering surgical interventions where these are required. We aim to eventually have a service that will be considered a model for other countries to follow.

None of this would have been achieved had we not put in place the necessary legal framework that makes it possible to change legal gender. We sought to transform civil liberties in this country and we did. Our track record speaks for itself.

Mr Fearne is the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Health

Source: independent.com.mt

30 persons have used transgender clinic since its opening two months ago

The clinic is served by a number of medical professionals and offers counselling, hormone therapy and surgery advice

Thirty persons are making use of a transgender clinic, staffed by a multi-disciplinary team, since its opening in November.

The clinic, located in Mtarfa, offers services including counselling, hormone therapy and advice on surgery to people who identify as trans.

Health Minister Chris Fearne said the clinic was opened with the aim of catering for the unique medical needs which such persons might have and which were previously not being addressed by the public health system.

“Professionals such as endocrinologists, social workers, surgeons, family therapists, nurses, and a speech and language pathologist are available at the clinic to give their advice and services to those who need it,” Fearne highlighted.

Anyone entitled to use the public health system in Malta is also offered the necessary free medicine on the Government Formulary List at the clinic.

The clinic was opened on 14 November after the government conducted a public consultation on the needs of trans persons in April to June last year.

A final document on transgender medical care, covering areas such as a strategy for the development or related health services, and gender-affirming healthcare, has also been issued.

Source: maltatoday.com.mt

New “safe space” for LGBTIQ families to share experiences

New initiative launched by President’s foundation

Most parents would step in if they heard one of their children call the other “gay” during an argument, but for Neil Falzon, himself gay, the point took on an added importance.

“I asked him if he knew what ‘gay’ meant, and he said he didn’t but he’d heard it at school,” Dr Falzon, who recently adopted two children with his husband, said at the launch of a new initiative for LGBTIQ families by the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society.

“I slowly explained it to him, and explained that it wasn’t a bad word but that some people used it like that, and then I asked him if he knew anyone who was gay. He thought for a bit and then said that he didn’t. So I explained to him slowly that papà and papà were in fact gay.

“That was the first time I really realised that there was a need for certain discussions about the identity of the family and also about the conversations and social relations children are going to have at school.”

Dr Falzon, also the director of the Aditus Foundation, was speaking at San Anton Palace at the launch of a “safe space” where LGBTIQ families can share their experiences in a secure environment without fear of judgement or prejudice.

The project, Rainbow Families, has been set up by the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society and the Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement (MGRM) to coincide with next month’s Pride Week.

Read more: Video launched to help overcoming prejudice towards LGBTIQ families

Monthly meetings will be held where families can learn from each other’s joys and the difficulties they encounter. The project will also provide participants with the opportunity to engage in debates and discussions facilitated by professionals.

President’s Foundation director Ruth Farrugia said that through its work with LGBTIQ families in recent years, the foundation had realised the need for a space for families, and especially children, to share experiences with others similar to theirs. 

President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca highlighted the importance of the initiative in helping to eradicate the stigma that still exists around LGBTIQ families in Malta and foster understanding and common ground between families of different make-ups.

MGRM coordinator Colette Farrugia Bennett and Alex Caruana, an MGRM member who identifies as transgender, also spoke of the need to reduce isolation for children who are gender non-conforming, as well as for their parents.

The first Rainbow Families meeting will take place on September 13 at 6pm at San Anton Palace. To register, send an e-mail to pfws.opr@gov.mt or call on 21484462.

Source: timesofmalta.com

Vuċi għall-qraba ta’ persuni LGBTIQ

Jiem qabel ma pajjiżna jinxtegħel bil-kuluri tal-qawsalla għall-ġimgħa magħrufa bħala l-Pride Week, il-Fondazzjoni tal-President għall-Ġid tas-Soċjetà nediet proġett bl-isem ta’ Rainbow Families Network.

Proġett li fiċ-ċentru tiegħu hemm il-qraba ta’ persuni LGBTIQ, li se jkunu qed jiltaqgħu fi spazju sikur fil-ġnien privat tal-Palazz ta’ San Anton.Hemmhekk, għadd ta’ professjonisti se jmexxu sessjonijiet interattivi għal dawn il-familji – li anki jekk pajjiżna huwa minn ta’ quddiem fid-dinja fil-qasam tal-inklużjoni u drittijiet indaqs, xorta għadhom qed jaffaċċjaw numru ta’ sfidi soċjali – bħal bullyingstigma, diskriminazzjoni u esklużjoni.

Il-President ta’ Malta Marie Louise Coleiro Preca qalet li dan il-proġett mhux biss se jkun ta’ benefiċċju għall-familji ta’ persuni LGBTIQ għax jingħataw kuraġġ jaffaċċjaw il-ħajja, iżda se jkun ta’ esperjenza pożittiva wkoll għall-professjonisti.

Source: one.com.mt

LGBTIQ families may discuss and receive professional advice at President’s Palace

The garden of the President’s Palace at San Anton will become the venue for meetings of the Rainbow Families Network, established through the initiative of the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society. The network will bring together LGBTIQ families in a secure environment to discuss, among others, their challenges and to receive professional advice. During the network’s launching, President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca stressed on the need for a mentality change so that Malta’s achievements in this sector will reach their fullness.

Same-sex couples who are upbringing children and families with LGBTIQ children will be able to exchange their experiences in a secure environment….away from prejudices which at times they have to face.

The President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society and the LGBTIQ movement launched the Rainbow Families Network. The MGRM coordinator, Colette Farrugia Bennett, said that the project started after a number of LGBTIQ families confined with the movement that, on many occasions, they find it difficult to speak about their lives in an insecure environment.

“There are families out there who are living a very normal life by themselves; maybe they are not in contact with other families who have similar characteristics and believe that once they meet, they can learn more on how one can lead better certain similar challenges”, Colette Farrugia Bennett said.

The network will not only bring these families together, but they will also meet with professionals who assist them to address their challenges due to the sexual orientation of any member or members of their family.

Ms Farrugia Bennett added, “As a social worker I work a lot with families with trans children and youths, and I realize their feeling of loneliness. When I gathered together families, due to consultation or a personal request, I saw the result of parents speaking to other parents”.

Alex Caruana, a trans person, said he believes that Rainbow Families Network will be of assistance to trans youths who many times feel lost and alone, while their parents are provided with more information about their children’s body and their wish to change sex.

LGBTIQ Neil Falzon, parent of two children aged 11 and 8, spoke on the difference in values such as equality and the respect children receive in families.

President Coleiro Preca said that a change in society’s mentality is needed to ensure that laws, which placed the country in the forefront in the inclusion sector, are implemented. The President added that this network may be opened for other families in the future.

Source: tvm.com.mt

Malta remains role model in EU for LGBT inclusivity

Malta has been a top-scorer in some of this year’s results in LGBT rights studies.

The island – often described as ‘gay-friendly’ – has always been seen to strive towards greater inclusivity for all ages, races and genders, through multiple forms of legislation that work towards furthering rights for the LGBT community.

Since Malta passed the Bill for same-sex marriage in 2017, the country has then gone on to make further progress.

Because of this, the island had another inspiring statistic to add to its ever-growing collection, which was released by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association in May.

It found that Malta scored over 91 per cent in the ILGA-Europe Rainbow Europe LGBTIQ Index, which places it at the top spot out of 49 countries, for a third consecutive year.

Malta was rated 100 per cent in categories such as Civil Society Space, Legal Gender Recognition and Bodily Integrity and Hate Crime and Hate Speech.

For the Equality & Non-Discrimination and Family categories, it received very positive results of 90 per cent and 89 per cent.

The island’s widespread accolades come from the public’s increased embracement of the gay community.  

A poll conducted in 2016 showed that 65 per cent of Maltese people were in favour of same-sex marriage, a huge rise from 18 per cent in similar findings back in 2006.

Many believe, however, that the awareness and inclusion of the LGBT community and those within such community, should begin at an early age.

Maltese schools are required to meet the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act legislation launched in June 2015 by the Maltese government, which is a comprehensive education policy focused on the needs of trans, gender variant and intersex children.

Malta was rated 100 per cent in categories such as Civil Society Space

In a recent report from the LGBTIQ Inclusive Education Report, it said that “all young people have the right to education, but research shows that this is still far from being a reality for many LGBTIQ learners. We firmly believe that the LGBTIQ Education Index and Report can play a vital role in changing this.”

However, Malta seems to be a country that is making great changes to this idea, with it receiving perfect scores in nine out of 10 categories that the report analysed.

The categories included: anti-discrimination law applicable to education, inclusive national curricula, partnerships between governments and civil society, support systems, right to choose gender and teacher training on LGBTIQ awareness. While the Maltese education system is facilitating LGBTIQ curricula and policies, some countries are still far behind such progressions.

The report showed that some countries such as Armenia, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland received scores of zero out of 10, have no regulation or policies to tackle bullying and harassment and promote inclusivity.

There was even a case in Azerbaijan where a psychologist hit a child in front of the parents, because of their toy preferences and the report says that incidents such as this “shows clearly the oppositional position of Azerbaijani government regarding LGBT rights”.

Source: independent.com.mt