Joseph Doucé, gay Baptist pastor and pyschologist who ran the Centre du Christ Libérateur in Paris, was born into a poor, Catholic peasant family on April 13, 1945, in Sint-Truiden, Belgium. He demonstrated passions for religious studies and languages (French, German, English and Italian, as well as Dutch) in his youth. After serving in the military, he settled in France in 1964. In 1967, he converted to the Baptist faith and, after studies in Switzerland, became a pastor. From 1970 to 1974 he served parishes in Lens and Bethune.
Long aware of his homosexuality, Doucé began studies in psychology and sexology with the goal of founding a center to serve sexual minorities. From 1974 to 1976 he studied pastoral and psychological needs of sexual minorities at the Free University of Amsterdam, partially supported by a grant from the World Council of Churches.
In 1976, Doucé moved to Paris and opened the Centre du Christ Libérateur (CCL), reportedly in a pornographic theater. It was apparently the only space he could find to do this ministry at that repressive time in France. Doucé soon developed a network of supporters from the professional classes in many different countries and was able to relocate the CCL to rue Clairaut.
The CCL held meetings for transsexuals, transvestites, gays, lesbians and pedophiles. It published a small magazine ILIA, meaning Il Libère, Il Aime ("He Liberates, He Loves"). Doucé performed blessing ceremonies for couples--homosexual as well as heterosexual. The CCL's publishing arm, Lumière et Justice, published Doucé's diverse works on topics such as transsexuality, gay & lesbian couples, pedophilia, and sadomasochism. Because CCL and Doucé reached out to a broad spectrum of sexual minorities, his work was often controversial. He did become a French citizen in 1982.
Doucé and CCL were founding members of the International Gay Association (later the International Lesbian and Gay Association). Through his IGA contacts, Doucé became aware of the AIDs outbreak and was one of the early educators about this disease and epidemic in Paris.
In the late 1980s Doucé and his partner Guy Bondar opened a bookstore, Autres Cultures ("Different Cultures"), on rue Sauffroy, in the heart of Paris. Colleague Andrej Koymasky noted that "the shop offered a lot of interesting sexological literature in various languages that could not be obtained elsewhere. I clearly remember the time when a large stone had been flung through the windowpane in the door..it was a warning."
Bondar reported that on the evening of July 19, 1990, two men in plainclothes knocked on their door, showed badges indicating they were police and asked Doucé to accompany them for questioning. He never returned and on October 24, 1990, his badly decomposed body was discovered in the forest of Fontainebleau, southwest of Paris. It has been claimed that Doucé was the target of the Rensignements Generaux (RG), a branch of the French national police that investigated political subjects. The RG had a reputation for illegal and corrupt activities. The French interior minister disbanded the RG, partly as a result of the controversy over Doucé's disappearance and murder. His murder has never been solved.
(Information for this biographical sketch taken from:
Transidentite, the website of Tom Reucher at http://syndromedebenjamin.free.fr
The Memorial Hall at http://andrejkoymasky.com
The Guide magazine, December 1995 issue, found at http://www.paedosexualitaet.de/lib/GuideDec1995.html)
Biography Date: March, 2007
Baptist | Centre du Christ Liberateur (France) | European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups | Clergy Activist | International Human Rights | France | Paris
“I studied with Joseph at the Rueschlikon Baptist Seminary in Switzerland and, as a family we stayed with Joseph in Bethune in 1971 where I preached in the two churches of which he was pastor. Joseph told me of his sexual orientation and I recommended he contact the World Council of Churches to apply for support for his further studies, which he did. When I again travelled to Europe in 1990 I planned to visit Joseph but, tragically, he was murdered just before I arrived. A man before his time. Courageous. Such integrity. ”
– as remembered by Harold Pidwell on September 5, 2017
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