Story By: William McGee, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
A popular Brazilian drag queen has left the controversial Universal Church of the Kingdom of God after months of alleged abuse and death threats from its most devoted members.
Sophia Barclay, 20, who boasts 62,000 Instagram followers, revealed she had been subjected to months of insults and abuse from the church’s faithful, culminating in threats of violence and even death.
The young drag queen joined the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) five years ago, but announced she was leaving the church in a video posted to social media.
In the video, she says: “Every time I post a photo, there’s a showdown in the comments.”
She claimed that the insults and threats are made by the church’s most God-fearing members.
She continues: “Every time I post a photo, I get over 100 comments from people insulting me, saying I’m going to hell because I’m gay.
“People, this isn’t love, this isn’t respecting your neighbour, you understand?”
Barclay has appointed lawyers and filed a police report over the threats she has received, one of which reads: “You’re going to die and you’re going to hell. We’re going to make your life hell.”
Another threat from a devotee read: “I’m just going to tell you, be careful on the street because we are watching your steps.”
The church has responded to the accusations, claiming it has not identified any aggressors among its members and reiterating that it accepts diversity, having publicly announced that gay people were “welcome” in the church in 2015.
Despite the church distancing itself from the comments, Barclay has said: “I’m never setting foot in the Universal again. The church did away with my belief, did away with my psychological health, I’m not leaving home, I’m in panic and I’m undergoing treatment.”
The UCKG has a long list of controversies including suspected money laundering, charlatanism, witchcraft, and even running an illegal child adoption scheme.
The ViralTab page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.