Father Louis Darrant, the priest at St George's Church in Malaga, is one of the new faces behind the Diversity Matters campaign, an initiative set up by Torremolinos town hall to promote the importance of inclusivity.
The campaign was launched during last week's Pride 2021 activities by promoter Livan Soto, who described the project as "a critical and introspective look at the way in which the LGBT+ collective is represented".
Father Louis' image was used on a series of promotional posters that carried the message, "I am gay, I am an Anglican priest, I am a son and friend".
The clergyman decided to participate in the project to help people, especially youngsters, who struggle to come to terms with their sexuality.
"If there is just one person who feels more at ease with themselves about being gay, then I will have achieved my aim," Father Louis told SUR in English.
The 44-year-old priest, who took over the St George's chaplaincy last July, has become a popular figure in Malaga province. He has become involved with numerous clubs and associations and he organises participatory activities in order to strengthen community ties.
"Community spirit is hugely important for making friends and bringing people together. Building a community is one of the primary responsibilities of a priest," he explained.
Setting a good example
Father Louis is committed to promoting the importance of diversity, tolerance and inclusion and he believes that Torremolinos is setting a good example for other towns to follow.
"Nobody can be in any doubt about the commitment of the mayor towards the Diversity Matters campaign. His presence at events and his dedication to making the campaign a reality is a full credit to the vision of the town hall," the clergyman said.
Inclusive sports club
The campaign also includes the Diversport project, a sports association that promotes inclusion and wellbeing in sport among the LGBT+ community. Along with various sporting activities, the club supports a socio-educational policy, and the defence of human rights among the gay community. Father Louis believes that this type of club offers the opportunity for people to be their authentic selves and spend their energy and enthusiasm on sport. He also claims that inclusive sports clubs are important and "necessary", even though homosexuality in sport is generally accepted today.
"This type of club is extremely important, because I think there is still a long way to go. Many of the club's members come from cultures where it is still not acceptable to be gay, so I think that knowing they can be part of a recognisable sports association helps them to feel safe," he said.
The energetic priest had been involved in several inclusive sports clubs in London prior to arriving in Spain, and he also played rugby for the Kings Cross Steelers, the world's first gay rugby club.
Father Louis is about to start a new term at St George's Church in Malaga, a city that he now calls his home.
"Being in Malaga has given me some of the best experiences of my ministry to date. I want St George's to play its full part in building a community that will bring value and hope," he concluded.