Malaysia Star: Gay pastor leads service, his partner watches with pride

Monday, August 13, 2007

KUALA LUMPUR: Angel Ayala sat in the second row of people, watching with pride as his partner Rev Ou Yang Wen Feng calmly led the faithful through a two-hour Sunday service at a hotel here.

And through it all, Ou Yang, a self-confessed gay pastor knew he was not alone because of Ayala's presence.

“He has been very supportive and it was important to know that I was not alone,” Ou Yang said in an interview yesterday after the service attended by about 100 people.

He said it was important to show other gay people that it was possible to come out together, and to heterosexuals that gay relationships were not just about sex but about “spiritual and emotional love.”

Coming out: Rev Ou Yang (second from left) and Bishop Perry (third from left) with their respective partners Ayala (left) and De Blieck (right) after Sunday service.
The pair has been together for four-and-a-half years and hope to marry when same sex marriages are legalised in New York.

Ayala, a finance manager said he supported Ou Yang’s plan to set up a church in Malaysia.

Ou Yang, 37, is a Malaysian pastor who serves at the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in New York. He is also currently pursuing his doctorate at Boston University.

He hopes to set up an MCC branch here in 2010, before which, friends would help him start a cell group that he said was open to all regardless of their sexual orientation.

Earlier during a press conference, Ou Yang, when asked about opposition from other churches in Malaysia, said as a Christian minister, he would pray for them.

The service also saw Metropolitan Community Churches founder Bishop Troy D. Perry giving a sermon. Also present was his partner of over 22 years, Phillip De Blieck.

Perry said he was thankful for having De Blieck as he was that “special someone” who was there for him through good and bad times.

They married under Canadian law at the MCC of Toronto in 2003 and hope to get the marriage recognised by the California State Supreme Court by this year.

Perry believed the church would be a blessing for the gay and lesbian communities in Malaysia.

He also spoke of his promise to his partner that he would stand by him, when De Blieck was diagnosed with HIV two decades ago.

When asked about his former heterosexual marriage and his two sons, Perry said he was in contact with one of his sons and is a grandfather of three.

De Blieck, 43, said his “greatest gift” to the world and the church was to always be supportive of Perry’s work.

“When I met Troy, I did not know who he was. And I think one reason Troy fell in love with me was because he knew I was interested in him as a person and not the title,” he said.