X Factor singer releases film taking on ‘must-stay-gay culture’ in Malta

X Factor contestant who stoked controversy over gay conversion claims to premier ‘ex-gay’ film in London

X Factor contestant Matthew Grech
X Factor contestant Matthew Grech

A former X Factor Malta contestant who courted controversy for declaring himself to have been ‘converted’ from his homosexuality, will premiere a film in London of his experience with Malta’s ‘must-stay-gay’ culture.

Matthew Grech had already made his mark first as an RnB singer and later, in a series of religious video-blogs published in the aftermath of gay conversion therapy accusations against the evangelist preacher Gordon John Manché.

Manché has always denied having carried out gay conversion therapies, and after protests by Malta’s gay rights community, gay conversion therapy was outlawed in Malta.

In 2018, Matthew Grech – a member of the River of Love Christian movement led by Manché – appeared on X Factor, and described homosexuality as a sin in comments aired before he went in for his audition. The judges put him through to the next round of the singing competition. His comments raised a social media backlash as critics voiced their displeasure and disgust with Grech’s anti-gay remarks.

Grech, formerly homosexual himself, reminisced about his ‘sinful’ ways prior to his ‘finding God’. “I used to lead a homosexual lifestyle and then I found God,” he said, “For a long time, I stopped following my passions to follow Jesus. There can be love between two men or two women, yes. But only friendship love. Everything else is a sin.”

Now Grech will feature in the film ‘Once Gay – Matthew And Friends’, which will premier in February in London. “Standing for ex-gay in the must-stay-gay culture”, is the film’s tagline.

The film credits similar productions such as ‘Voices Of The Silenced’, a film about men who no longer identify as gay and the Core Issues Trust, a British Christian organisation which focuses on issues of homosexuality.

The film features Gordon John Manché and Ivan Grech Mintoff, the self-styled leader of the right-wing conservative Alleanza Bidla, and other friends of Matthew Grech.

Grech’s comments on X Factor prompted a reaction from the equality and justice ministries, which said the airing of his comments on television and YouTube were “dangerous and place many vulnerable adolescents at risk”.