Gay pride heading for Swedish pastor’s town

When Pentecostalist pastor Åke Green courted international notoriety by referring in a sermon to homosexuality as a sexual abnormality and a tumour on the body of society, he can hardly have expected that he would turn his small home town, Borgholm, into a gay destination.

Swedish gay rights group RFSL plans to hold the Öland town’s first gay pride festival this summer.

“Borgholm is seen as the original town of prejudice. We want to change that,” said priest Reine Medelius, one of the organisers of the event, to Barometer magazine.

Green was prosecuted under Swedish laws on agitation against minority groups and was given a short jail sentence. He was later cleared on appeal to the high court. Green said he was dismayed by the news.

“Quite naturally I am not happy about this,” Green told The Local. But he promised that he would not stand in the way of gay revellers.

“I am not planning any activities to coincide with this. Naturally I will be in Borgholm, but I am not planning any kind of demonstration.”

Referring to the gay pride marchers, he said that “each and every one of us has a right to demonstrate.”

The Green affair drew worldwide attention, both from gay rights activists and Christian groups.

The proposal for a Borgholm gay pride festival received a standing ovation when it was put forward at RFSL’s congress in Malmö last month, Medelius said.

Local Centre Party councillor Lisbeth Lennartsson said she thought the festival was a good idea, and hoped it would return in the future.

The Local