Church in Norway holds name change ceremony for 49-year-old transgender woman

Hoff churchPhoto: Brynjar Eidstuen / Oppland Arbeiderblad / NTB

A name change ceremony for a 49-year-old transgender woman was carried out by a Lutheran church in Norway on Saturday – the first such ceremony in a place of worship in the country.

The 49-year-old, Elin Stillingen, completed legally changing her name and gender in 2020. She decided to celebrate the change through a name change ceremony at the Hoff church north of Oslo.

Stillingen noted that, as a member of the Norwegian church, it was very important for her that the event took place in a church.

“I’m a member of the Norwegian church, and I’m also about to come ‘out of the closet’ as a Christian, so this ceremony is important to me,” the 49-year-old told TV2 prior to the event on Saturday.

“Many are grateful for this event”

The ceremony was led by pastor Stein Ovesen, who was supported in the planning process by the Stensveen Foundation, an NGO that provides support to people with challenges related to their gender identity, sexual orientation, or gender expression.

“I know that so many are grateful that this event has come true because this goes deep into the lives of people,” Ovesen said, according to TV2.

However, he did acknowledge that some in Norway disapprove of holding such a marking in a church.

“On the conservative wing, you will find priests who are deeply concerned about what we do today. But for me, this is an important act that expresses the grace and openness that God shows me,” Ovesen concluded.

Source: #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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