Saints in Drag

Posted by Censor Librorum on May 7, 2008 | Categories: Lesbians & Gays

Manila Archbishop Caudencio Cardinal Rosales  scolded members of one parish for allowing  gay men dressed  as female saints and queens to participate in the Santacruzan processional.

He added the incident prompted him to issue a letter saying that any parish or chapel that will use gays in a procession honoring the Virgin Mary will not be allowed to have Mass.

The  Philippines observes the Flores de Mayo festival every  May. The highlight  of the celebration  is the Santacruzan, a procession that features beautifully dressed young women portraying queens and women religious figures  from the past.reina-elena.jpg

Santacruzan recalls the search for the Holy Cross by Queen Helena and her newly converted son Emperor Constantine the Great. They found it in Jerusalem and brought it to Rome to joyous thanksgiving.

“We should keep sacred what is sacred,” Cardinal Rosales said as he admonished parishes now to allow gay men to play Saint Helena and other female roles traditionally given to local beauty queens.

“The procession is religious. (But) what the parishes do is organize a parade. That’s an insult to the Blessed Mother. Instead of pious young women, gay men are paraded, which makes (the procession) ridiculous,” he added.

Danton Remoto, a professor at Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University,   and head of the LGBT rights group, Ang Ladlad, said many gay participants were low-income  people who had spent for expensive gowns they would wear in the procession “out of the goodness and love in their hearts for the Virgin Mary.”

Remoto went on to say “In the eyes of God, everyone is equal. Some of these gay men have saved a lot of money for their gowns and they were doing it because they believed in the Virgin Mary. They need understanding, not condemnation.” “There is really no intention to malign the Catholic Church,” he added.

Cardinal Rosales dismissed the charges of discrimination against individuals with “homosexual inclinations.” “I’m not angry at gay men. But, I am against what they’re actually doing.”

What’s that, I wonder? Having sex with each other, or dressing up  as the Virgin Mary and St. Helena and parading down the main street?    The  Cardinal wasn’t specific about what he was against.

I have  mixed feelings about  cross-dressing gay men participating in the procession:

Can’t we have religious  events in which the leading female  roles are limited to women? It seems to me to be arrogant and disrespectful for these men to assume women should step aside for them to participate–especially if it is to turn a religious procession into a drag show.

However, I also feel that if  these men are compelled  by faith to witness to the roles these female figures played in their religion, then I feel they should be welcomed to participate as such.

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