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Pentecostalist pastor bans transvestite

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Pentecostalist pastor bans transvestite
17:53 CET+01:00
A 58-year-old transvestite from southern Sweden has been told by a pastor in Hässleholm that he is not welcome to hold a lecture at the local Pentecostalist church hall.

Claes Schmidt, who also goes by the name Sara Lund, had been invited by the Zonta women's organization to hold a talk about human rights in a hall rented from the town's Pentecostalist community.

But on hearing that the International Women's Day event would include a talk from Schmidt, Pastor Magnus Jonegård told Zonta they would need to find another venue.

"He cancelled their booking," said Schmidt.

The pastor explained to Zonta that a lecture held by a transvestite would break church regulations. The rules, he pointed out, forbid any activities that "run counter to the church's basic values with regard to relationships and sexual morality."

Schmidt, who runs Malmö's Slagthuset event centre with his wife of 35 years, said he could not be found wanting in the relationship stakes. He also rejected the notion that his transvestism had anything to do with sexual morality.

"It's about gender expression. It has nothing to do with morality," he said.

As for the pastor's claim that he was just following the rules, Schmidt was scathing.

"That's what they said in Buchenwald during World War II: It's just the rules."

According to Schmidt, the church has in fact broken its own regulations by not permitting him to talk.

"In the rules for renting out the hall, they talk about taking care of the vulnerable and protecting basic freedoms and rights. That also happens to be exactly what I talk about in my lecture," he said.

The Local has tried to contact Pastor Magnus Jonegård but has not received a response.

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