Swedish group cannot rent because of “ex-gay”


Northern Europe


The idea that homosexuals can change their orientation is quite sensitive these days. In Sweden, a Christian group fought its rental contract withdrawn. Photo from documentary Voices of the Silenced, a documentary about changing sexual orientation

A Swedish cultural centre withdrew its venue for a Christian event at which two speakers would talk about how they became “free from their homosexuality”. While the centre does not want to be part of the message that would be spread, one of the organisers says that the social climate in Sweden is increasingly becoming intolerant.

Initially, Joel Mellin organised a lecture called “LGBTQ – can you choose?” At the event, two speakers would talk about how they got rid of their homosexual orientation after accepting faith in Jesus. One of them is the American Wayne Blakely, who claims to have lived as a homosexual for forty years before he changed.

Joel Mellin booked the Grenna culture centre, but after the venue noticed the expected speakers, it cancelled the venue reservation. According to director Hans-Erik Lugn, the event “is not something that our association stands for”. This reports the Swedish daily Jönköpings-Posten.

Inger Krantz, who is also part of the association that manages the cultural centre, says that she listened to one of the speakers. “He rejected everything called homosexuality and thought it was the work of Satan”, Krantz says. According to her, everyone has the right to their sexuality. “We did not want to be involved and contribute to this. That is why we said no.”

Media one-sided

However, according to Bengt Mellin –not the same as Joel Mellin–, people who speak about no longer being gay discuss an important issue. To Swedish daily Dagen, Bengt Mellin says that media, in general, is “very one-sided” and that in it, “only one type of opinion is allowed to come forward”. “We, therefore, want to give examples of people who have lived as homosexuals but who chose not to do so anymore. We believe that it can be a support for many.”

Bengt Mellin, a member of the Seventh-day Adventists, tells that he wants people listen during the event and to share their lives and testimony. Therefore, he finds it problematic to describe this as conversion therapy. “Then you first have to think about what you mean by the term; it is possible to put different values into it. Often it becomes a jealous image that what we do is seen as some kind of exorcism. But we are not at all in favour of something like that.”

Mellin says he wants to “speak and reason with people in a sensible way, as well as pray for people”. Although the current venue is cancelled, Mellin claims to have backup plans.

As CNE reported earlier, the Swedish government is currently investigating whether conversion therapy should be criminalised in the Scandinavian country.



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