Gay men in Andalucia call for acceptance and recognition in Holy Week

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By Thomas Hill
Gay rites - calls for recognition in Andalucia's Holy Week celebrations.
Gay rites - calls for recognition in Andalucia's Holy Week celebrations.   -   Copyright  AFP

A group of gay men in Spain say religious authorities accept their help in traditional religious rites, but refuse to acknowledge their sexuality.

The men are members of brotherhoods who create and display ornate floats featuring effigies of the Virgin Mary for Holy Week celebrations in Andalucia.

Anthropologist Rafael Cáceres says there has been an unspoken understanding. He said: "There was an acceptance that someone who was a Virgin Mary dresser was homosexual, but didn't talk about it."

Businessman Antonio Muñoz Tapia said he played a leading role in his brotherhood, but was snubbed when he asked to give a reading at the start of Holy Week.

"I don't understand this religious hypocrisy of supporting the brotherhoods, but then not having the same rights," said Antonio Muñoz Tapia.

Fashion designers Victorio and Lucchino say they faced a backlash after their marriage in 2007, with one letter to the editor of a Seville newspaper calling for them to be banned from participating in the dressing of the city's Virgin Mary float.

"There was a group of brothers who said that because we were married, how could they allow us to dress the images, which we felt was so unfair," said Vittorio.