Monday, December 19, 2011

LGBTQ Nativity 4: Queer Magi visit Mary, Josephine and Jesus

“Queer Nativity” by Marie-Louise Thurton

Three queer Magi bring gifts to Mary, Josephine and baby Jesus in a Nativity scene sculpted by Marie-Louise Thurton as the LGBT Nativity series continues at the Jesus in Love Blog.

A series of queer manger scenes are being posted here before Christmas to reimagine the Holy Family in liberating, loving new ways.

Thurton describes herself as “a young, queer, genderqueer woman of colour in Toronto, Canada.” She blogs about LGBTIQ catholic issues at Radical Mary (http://www.radicalmary.ca/). Thurton started from scratch and used plasticine to create a Nativity in which everyone’s gender is ambiguous. Instead of the traditional three kings, her Magi are a drag king, a drag nun and a LGBTQ-rights activist.

Thurton’s vision is grounded in historical reality. Biblical scholarship suggests that the Magi were eunuchs -- people who today would be called gay or transgender. The Magi played the shamanic role often filled by eunuchs, an ancient term for GLBT people. For more about queer Magi, see our previous post “Epiphany: 3 kings or 3 queens?

Thurton updates the symbolism of the three Magi by creating these characters:

Queer Magi by Marie-Louise Thurton

Gold is for Jesus as king. Queer kin(g)ship is represented by a mustachioed Magi who is a drag king or maybe a transman.

Frankincense is for Jesus as priest. The orange drag nun Magi is Sister Unity of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. “She is someone who represents priestly-ness to me,” Thurton explains.

Myrrh foretells the death of Jesus. The activist Magi wears a pink triangle and commemorates those lost to HIV/AIDS, homophobia and transphobia.

The Magi visit a Holy Family named Jesus, Mary and Josephine. “I gave Mary suspenders because you can't tell if it's with a skirt or pants. Josephine could be wearing a dress or a robe, whatever you like! They all have halos because halos symbolize the aura of love. Jesus is holding the world because Jesus loves everyone in it. I also added a mirror to his crib because I felt that the colour was political...so I figure it's better to make room at the Inn for all of us,” Thurton says.

Queer Holy Family by Marie-Louise Thurton

Click here to view the whole 2011 Queer Nativity series.

Click the following headlines to see other images in the Queer Nativity series:

Queer Nativity 1: Manger scene as gay adoption party

“Blaine and Patrick's Adoption Party 1” by Baub Alred

The image highlights the radical nature of Christ’s birth in two ways -- by presenting his parents as an inter-racial couple as well as a same-sex couple.

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“Adam and Steve, the Gay Shepherd Couple” by Archbishop Mark Shirilau

Some of the shepherds in Bethlehem on the first Christmas must have felt same-sex attractions... An outdoor light-up Nativity scene.

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Queer Nativity 3: No room at the manger for LGBT people

“Nativity Bouncer” by Jon Trouten

There was no room at the inn for the Holy Family, and there is no room in many churches today for LGBT people who want to get closer to Jesus.

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For more about the lesbian and gay Nativity scenes, see our previous posts:

Gay and lesbian nativity scenes show love makes a family
(My reflection on how and why I started doing queer manger scenes)

Conservatives attack our lesbian and gay Nativity scenes

Video: Gay and lesbian manger scenes show love makes a family

Gay and lesbian Nativity cards

Keep coming back for more queer Nativity scenes now through Christmas at the Jesus in Love Blog !
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