The marches provide a place of community and awareness for those who have shed their LGBTQ identity by embracing Christ.
Organizers of the Freedom March, a new gathering of Christians who have overcome their LGBTQ "lifestyle" and are now following Jesus' teaching, have developed marches in cities across the United States to bring like-minded people together. The first march was held at the Sylvan Theatre in Washington, D.C., in May 2018. The event offered speakers and worship and is slated to be an annual event held in May each year.
New Freedom Marches are already being planned. Next the group will hold one in Los Angeles, California on Sunday Nov. 4, 2018 at Pershing Square. Orlando, Florida will follow in late 2019. Planning for this march is already underway.
Jeffrey McCall, the founder of the Freedom March, who once lived as a transgender woman named Scarlett, has let go of that identity and is now leading this movement. He says, "I was transformed through the grace of Jesus and found that others have been as well. These marches are a way to ensure that others who have overcome are not feeling isolated and alone. There is an entire community of people who have made this transformation, and we are here to support them."
McCall stresses these marches aren't about hate for people who live LGBTQ lifestyles. They're simply about bringing awareness to the world about individuals who have made this transformation and building a community for them, and to let individuals who left LGBTQ lifestyles to have a platform to share their stories. This purpose statement is echoed by Pulse Nightclub survivor Luis Javier Ruiz, who has had his own transformation and is a major developer of holding a Freedom March in Orlando next year.
"I've always said it's not about gay to straight. It's about lost to saved," says Ruiz. "Through the Freedom Marches, we want to spread messages of love and acceptance for people who have shed their LGBTQ identity and show others that we do exist. These marches are our platform to educate, encourage others and share in a community. We've had a great response from people, other community groups and churches."
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