Photos by Baub Alred launch the LGBT Nativity series at the Jesus in Love Blog. A variety of fun and beautiful photos of queer manger scenes will be posted here between now and Christmas.
Five people submitted images for our LGBT Nativity contest, and more are expected soon. They reimagine the Holy Family in liberating new ways because, after all, love makes a family. Their creations can free viewers to experience the divine in new ways and empower those who have been excluded by church tradition.
“Blaine and Patrick’s Adoption Party” is a three-part series by Baub Alred, a digital artist living and working in Champaign, IL. His images highlight 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. The figures obviously come from a traditional Nativity set, but Alred expands their meaning beyond Bethlehem with a witty title suggesting that this could be a contemporary gay adoption.
Mixing and matching Nativity sets to create queer scenes can encourage LGBT people to approach Christmas with a childlike spirit again. Alred brings back the fun of the Christmas, which can be a lonely time for LGBT folk who may be estranged from family and the hyper-hetero imagery of the typical manger scenes.
Surely the love between parents and child is sacred now as it was 2,000 years ago, even if the parents are queer. Alred succeeds in expressing their love by placing the two fathers close together in a realistic pose that brings the toy figures to life. The photos are tinted yellow with darkened edges, evoking the antique feeling of old-fashioned Daguerreotype photography. One image focuses tightly on the Holy Family, while the rest of the series presents a larger view, either with animals or with human visitors.
Alred’s playful photo of gay shepherds (above) is a reminder that surely there were a few shepherds who felt same-sex attractions while keeping watch over their flocks by night in the field around Bethlehem when Jesus was born. The modern names suggest that the story is as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago.
His inter-racial manger scene (below) shows Jesus with two fathers. A price tag is visible, perhaps hinting at the price that Jesus will pay at the cross. Traditionally this somber reminder is provided by a Magi who brings the baby a gift of myrrh, a spice used for embalming.
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.
“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.
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.
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. Instead of the traditional three kings, her Magi are a drag king, a drag nun and a LGBTQ-rights activist.
Queer Nativity 5: Matthew and Joseph are pregnant
“Matthew and Joseph are Pregnant” by Andrew Craig Williams
Christmas is about a miraculous pregnancy: a baby born to a virgin. If God can do that, then why not make a man pregnant? Andrew Craig Williams envisions a man carrying the Christ child in his womb.
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 !