Mourning a Transgender Activist at a Cathedral That Once Drew Protests

Who remembers when bearing false witness was still considered a sin? – HEADLINE HEALTH

THE NEW YORK TIMES – The pews of St. Patrick’s Cathedral were packed on Thursday for an event with no likely precedent in Catholic history:

the funeral of Cecilia Gentili, a transgender activist and actress, former sex worker and self-professed atheist whose memorial functioned as both a celebration of her life and an exuberant piece of political theater.

Over 1,000 mourners, several hundred of whom were transgender, arrived in daring outfits — glittery miniskirts and halter tops, fishnet stockings, sumptuous fur stoles and at least one boa sewed from what appeared to be $100 bills.

Mass cards and a picture near the altar showed a haloed Ms. Gentili surrounded by the Spanish words for “transvestite,” “whore,” “blessed” and “mother” above the text of Psalm 25.

“That St. Patrick’s Cathedral would host the funeral for a high-profile transgender activist, who was well known for her advocacy on behalf of sex workers, transgender people and people living with H.I.V., might come as a surprise to some.”

Not much more than a generation ago, at the heights of the AIDS crisis, the cathedral was a flashpoint in conflicts between gay activists and the Catholic Church, whose opposition to homosexuality and condom use enraged the community.

...article continued below
- Advertisement -

The towering neo-Gothic building became the site of headline-grabbing protests in which activists chained themselves to the pews and lay down in the aisles.

The church has softened its tone on those issues in recent years, and New York’s current cardinal, Timothy Dolan, has said the church should be more welcoming of gay people.

Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, did not respond to questions about whether the church had been aware of Ms. Gentili’s background when it agreed to host her funeral.

On Wednesday, he said that “if a request comes in for a funeral from a Catholic, the cathedral does its best to accommodate” …

READ MORE [subscription may be required]. 

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -


- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -