OPENPRESS: Singapore Bans Speech by Gay Activist Rev. Troy Perry, Founder of MCC Church (Aug 31)

Friday, August 31, 2007

Singapore Bans Speech by Gay Activist Rev. Troy Perry, Founder of MCC Church

Published on: August 31st, 2007 02:07am by: JimBirkitt

Veteran gay activist Rev. Troy Perry banned from speaking in Singapore; local gay activists circumvent speaking ban to share gay rights message.

Los Angeles, CA (OPENPRESS) September 1, 2007 -- During 40 years of gay rights activism, Rev. Dr. Troy D. Perry, founder of the predominantly gay Metropolitan Community Churches, has been picketed, taunted by Right Wing extremists, and arrested for civil disobedience. Perry knows what it is to be the target of hate mail campaigns and the recipient of death threats. Occasionally, a church or organization has canceled a speaking engagement by the outspoken gay rights leader.

But recent actions by Singapore marked the first time an entire country had banned Perry from public speaking engagements.

Rev. Perry was part of a recent six-member delegation to Southeast Asia from Metropolitan Community Churches. The delegation, led by Rev. Pat Bumgardner, chair of the Moderator's Global Justice Team of MCC, was scheduled to conduct speaking engagements, workshops, and worship services in Malaysia and Singapore, and to meet with gay rights groups.

"I've had enough experiences for three lifetimes," said Perry, "but this was the first time an entire country banned me from public speaking. I was allowed to enter the country and told that I could speak one-on-one with individuals, but I was banned from delivering my public speech." Perry was scheduled to deliver a speech, "Metropolitan Community Churches and the Gay Christian Witness" before a coalition of LGBT rights and LGBT pride groups.

Gay male homosexual sex is illegal in Singapore, though lesbian sex in private is not criminalized. Penalties for male homosexual acts, while seldom enforced, are severe.

"All over the world I've observed it time and time again: the LGBT community always finds creative ways to make our voices heard in spite of oppression and intimidation. We always find ways to get out the message that all people deserve equality under the law, and that all of God's children, including gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender persons, are worthy of dignity and God's love."

Despite the intimidation, the public event took place as scheduled in Singapore City on August 8 -- with Rev. Perry and Rev. Bumgardner in attendance. Organizers identified three plainclothes police officers in the audience.

"The Singapore government may have banned me from delivering my speech, but the event's organizers saw to it that my voice was heard," said Rev. Perry.

LGBT activists had prepared a PowerPoint presentation of Rev. Perry's life with photos from the pictorial book, "Troy Perry: Pastor and Prophet," including pictures of Perry with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, U.S. President Bill Clinton, U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein, and other religious, political, and social leaders.

Then they read aloud passages from four books authored by Rev. Perry. "They used the words from my writings to give me voice and to share my beliefs about human rights for LGBT people," said Perry.

"But what happened next was simply a stroke of genius," he enthused.

"The organizers announced that, while I couldn't deliver my public speech, I had been told I could answer one-on-one questions from individuals. So for the next three hours, from 9 PM to midnight, I answered one individual question after another. Of course, I was answering them out loud in front of the audience, so I was actually able to share far more information than if I had only delivered my speech," said Perry.

"There's a saying that when a door closes, God opens a window. That's also true of LGBT activists," said Perry. "When Singapore officials closed a door, Singapore's LGBT activists opened a window."

"I am so proud of LGBT activists across Singapore and Malaysia. They are working to secure the human rights of LGBT people in their countries and are doing so in the face of great cultural and political opposition," added Perry. "And let me also say how thankful I am for spiritual activists such as Rev. Pat Bumgardner, senior pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of New York, and Rev. Boon Lin Ngeo, the first openly gay clergyperson in Malaysia, who were part of the recent MCC team. They are working hand-in-hand with national and regional activists to further social and spiritual justice across Southeast Asia."

Rev. Dr. Troy D. Perry founded Metropolitan Community Churches in 1968, one year prior to the Stonewall Riots. Today Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) is the world's largest and oldest Christian denomination with a primary, affirming ministry to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons. Known as "The Human Rights Church" for its commitment to social justice, MCC has almost 300 local congregations in 28 countries. Additional information on MCC can be found on-line at or by writing to

To Arrange Media Interviews With
Rev. Dr. Troy Perry or Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Contact:

Jim Birkitt
Communications Director
Metropolitan Community Churches
P. O. Box 691728
West Hollywood, California 90069

For More Information, Visit: