Manila bishop says against gay men in May parade

Editor’s note: In the Philippines, the word “gay” tends to be used to refer to effeminate, cross-dressing males, who elsewhere may be known as transgender.


5 May 2008

Manila bishop says against gay men in May parade

MANILA (Reuters) – The head of Manila’s Roman Catholic Church has frowned on the participation of gay men in the “Santacruzan” flower festival held across the Philippines every May in honor of the Virgin Mary.

“Gays should not be allowed to participate in Santacruzan since it defeats the true meaning of the celebration,” Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales told the church-run Radio Veritas station on Monday.

“I am not angry at gay men. But, I am against what they’re actually doing.”

In the past, Rosales said, he has refused to say mass to any parish that allows gays in the Santacruzan procession.

Danton Remoto, leader of the pro-gay activist group “Ladlad”, protested against the cardinal’s statement, saying the participation of gays in the May flower procession was not amined at mocking or desecrating the church.

“In the eyes of God, everyone is equal,” Remoto told Reuters. “Some of these gay men have saved a lot of money for their gowns (to be worn in the procession) and they were doing it because they believed in the Virgin Mary. They need understanding, not condemnation.”



6 May 2008
ABS-CBN News Online

‘Gays can join Santacruzan outside Manila’

They may be banned in Manila but in other areas, gay people, particularly the transgendered, will not be prevented from joining the May Santacruzan procession.

“If [gay people] are banned [from joining Santacruzan] in Manila, there are other places where we can join [the event],” Danton Remoto, leader of gay group Ladlad, told ABS-CBN’s morning show, “Umagang Kay Ganda” on Tuesday.

Remoto said that while his group respects Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales’s opinion against gays joining the Catholic procession in honor of the Virgin Mary, the prelate’s statement applies only to the capital city since “it’s not a CBCP (Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines) directive.”

Remoto advised gay people who want to join the Santacruzan to prove their faith in God and to go to other places where priests and prelates allow gay people to join the event.

He added that there are also Santacruzan events that are sponsored by local government units. He said almost half of the “reynas” (queens) in the procession are gay.

Focus on real issues

Meanwhile, Remoto advised Rosales to avoid focusing on “small matters” and use his strength on more important issues such as the birth control issue in the country.

Rosales said gay people should join Santacruzan processions to “keep sacred what is sacred.” He added that people are making a mockery of the sacred event by allowing gays to join the procession.

Remoto explained that the gay people who join Santacruzan procession are those called the transgender, who doesn’t only look like a woman, but also thinks and feels like a real female.

Majority of the transgender gays who join the procession are “the working gays” or those employed in beauty parlors and other ordinary jobs, he said.

“Each gown costs at least P5,000. These gay people don’t belong to the middle class. Hard-earned money are spent for these decent-looking gowns,” Remoto said.



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