Exhibit Number

18

18 February 2021, 23:00:00

18

Image Credits:

Malta is undeniably dominated by the Roman Catholic Faith. The multiple churches in every town & village, its mention as the religion of Malta in the Constitution including its obligation as an institution to profess what's good or bad for society, and the ways of life of its people with religious celebrations and functions dominating summer festivities and all year round.


Any LGBTIQ person that grows up in Malta is bound to grow up with teachings and values indoctrinated by the Catholic Church. Whilst some LGBTIQ persons decide to distance themselves from the Church because of the hurt it often inflicts by members of the clergy, other seek to resolve this internal conflict with wanting to belong to their faith without suppressing their sexuality.


It was in 2004 that Drachma was established for this very reason. Founded by Tyrone Grima, who is still active today, but also led by a number of activists like Mario Gerada and Diane Xuereb for many years.


In its early years, Drachma managed to bring over a number of influential people within the global Church like Fr James Alison in 2007 and 2015 (an openly roman catholic gay priest), Sr Jeannine Grammick in 2008 (who was silenced by the Vatican for speaking up for LGBTIQ people but continued to advocate anyway) and Sr Margaret Farley in 2009 (also a nun and a scholar in Christian Ethics).


Drachma also brought Peterson Toscano twice to Malta, a playwright, actor and Bible scholar, whom through his theatre opened up about his experience when undergoing  conversion therapy in the USA as well as looking at Bible characters from a queer perspective.


In 2008, Drachma Parents Group was founded to provide emotional and faith support to Parents whose children are LGBTIQ. The Group eventually published a book entitled "Uliedna Rigal" with a number of questions and answers that parents of LGBTIQ kids usually ask to support them in their journey of acceptance.


Drachma retains a respectful relationship with the Diocese here in Malta as well as in Gozo and engages in direct dialogue with the Archbishops and members of the clergy. The group takes an active role in representing LGBTIQ catholics in international foras through its memberships.


Drachma LGBTI is currently coordinated by Christopher Vella.