Sydney concert venue City Recital Hall has called for an end to hate after homophobic trolls threatened the venue for hosting a Mardi Gras event presenting a queer “re-imagining” of a traditional mass.
The choral work Requiem Mass: A Queer Divine Rite is being held as part of the 2019 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and is billed as “a radical re-imagination of the formal Latin Mass that adds Queer voices to the canon,” the venue says.
The February 21 event is to “reflect and honour those that have been loved and lost to us, and those who suffered persecution for their gender expression or sexual orientation, particularly in a religious context” and call for “a hopeful future where religion affirms and welcomes all people.”
But a Facebook post promoting the concert drew criticism from homophobic users who blasted the event as “evil” and “satanic,” the Star Observer reported.
“The devil cannot help but to invert truth, beauty and goodness,” one commenter wrote.
“Sodomites are a plague,” another said.
One Facebook commenter suggested “the only way to solve this is to go to that hall, take the hammer, smash all their equipment, throw all their books out and burn it.”
“There is a special place in hell for this assault on our faith,” another wrote.
‘We need to move past hatred’
Responding in an open letter, City Recital Hall CEO Elaine Chia said she expected some backlash but the “vicious, discriminatory and hurtful words, including threats” from social media users were alarming.
“I expected there would be some who were not in favour of this concert, and of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but freedom of speech should never be discriminatory or abusive,” she said.
“City Recital Hall’s stated values are to be inclusive, to champion diversity by engaging with all genres, all peoples, and all ideas.
“The spiteful comments have made it all the more clear that we need to present works like Requiem Mass on our stage.
“We need to move past hatred, embrace dialogue and do our part to build a society where all people can express themselves without discrimination.
“This work is not a satire, nor is it disrespectful of anyone’s faith, including mine. It has been performed in venues worldwide, including churches and cathedrals.
“Music has the power to heal. That’s why this concert will proceed.”