Liverpool LGBT+ community to host 'inclusive' event for arrival of American preacher Franklin Graham

Video report by ITV Granada Reports correspondent, Andy Bonner.

The LGBT+ community in Liverpool is holding an event to show the city is an inclusive place in preparation for the arrival of a controversial American preacher.

Franklin Graham is an evangelical Christian and missionary who has publicly proclaimed that God defines homosexuality as a sin.

He is bringing a tour called 'God Loves You' to the Exhibition Centre in Liverpool on 14 May, which happens to be the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

There is strong opposition brewing in the city among members of the LGBT+ community, who are holding an event called 'Liverpool Loves You'.

They want to show that the city is an inclusive place where everyone is welcome.

Rian Bailey-Weir, from the Liverpool-based LGBT+ charity Michael Causer Foundation, said: "He underestimates people's resonance on social media in particular.

"He just thinks this is a good way for him to preach his beliefs without thinking of the consequences of that, unfortunately."

In a letter, Franklin Graham, who is the son of one of the most influential Christian leaders ever, Billy Graham, said he was coming to the UK to share the gospel, not hateful speech.

He wrote: "The rub, I think, comes in whether God defines homosexuality as sin. The answer is yes.

"But God goes even further than that, to say that we are all sinners - myself included. My message to all people is that they can be forgiven."

The Open Table Network (OTN), in Liverpool, have created safe spaces where LGBTQIA+ people can find peace, acceptance and welcome in faith.

Kieran Bohan believes that people of any faith, colour or background can practice

He said: "Those who aren't involved in church and faith can think that somebody like him speaks for all of us. It's not true.

"Franklin Graham wrote an open letter to the LGBT community in the UK in 2020 when he tried to come last time and he wrote as if it were not possible to be LGBT and Christian.

"That's not true."

Metro Mayor of Liverpool Steve Rotheram has previously condemned Mr Graham, calling his views as 'bile' and 'inexcusable'.

Franklin Graham was not available has not provided a comment to ITV Granada Reports, but has said he is not coming to the UK to speak against anybody, rather for everybody.

The Rector of Liverpool says Reverend Graham is welcome to visit any day to meet the diverse people in his congregation.