Ramón Fossati has spent the last three decades portraying Jesus in multiple Easter parades, a popular choice to take on the role during the spring celebrations. However, due to his sexual orientation, Fossati has been banned from future performances, based upon an instance of exposing his shoulder last year, which is deemed inappropriate.
According to Metro, Fossati’s exposed shoulder was accompanied by him waving his arms in an “ostentatious” manner. As a result, he was accused of “ostentation and parody” by the organizer of Valencia’s Holy Week Celebrations, Junta Mayor de Semana Santa Marinera. In addition to his accusations, Fossati is believed to have given “false blessings” to attendees of the parade. However, despite the accusations, Fossati claims that he was simply getting into character and portraying Jesus as he would have been during the time of the crucifixion. In addition, Fossati addressed the exposed shoulder that he is accused of. He states that although Jesus is portrayed with shoulders exposed and covered, he opted to only expose one shoulder last year, in an attempt to make the portrayal less risqué for those that are not in agreement with so much exposed skin. Unfortunately, the plan backfired.
Fossati understands that dress code is strictly enforced during the Easter parade, but did not think that it would apply to him in his attempt to portray Jesus accurately.
In past parades, women have been fined for menial violations such as wearing dresses that do not go down below the knees.
As a result of exposing a shoulder and giving false blessings, Fossati has been fined €60 (£47), brought down from an original fine of €300 (£237) after an appeal, and is banned from Easter parades for four years.
Fossati claims he was not given an actual reason for the ban and fine, according to the Daily Mail. However, he suspects that others might be jealous of his popular portrayal of Jesus, or maybe perhaps it is because he is gay.
“I was not given any reason for the ban. It could be jealousy. Or maybe it was punishment for being gay.”
Fossati is not sure that being gay is the reason for his banning, but thinks it might play a role in it. Many that are unsure or unaware of his sexuality would be offended that a gay man would portray Jesus Christ. He just does not understand it, especially since his home town is aware that he is gay and no one there has any issue with it.
“But everyone where I live knows my sexual orientation and it is not an issue. I am deeply religious and this is the worst thing that could happen.”
Despite his banning from the Easter [arade, Fossati will most likely attempt to portray Jesus again when his ban has expired. It is a role that he loves and is quite dear to him. It is a great privilege to him to portray Jesus Christ on Easter during the Easter Parade. He hopes others will stand by his side and support him.
At this time, there has not been an official response for gay and lesbian activist groups about the matter. In addition, the Vatican has also failed to reply to the issue. It may be because the issue is isolated and has not been fully identified as a result of Fossati’s sexual orientation. However, it is anticipated that there may be comment on the correct amount of skin Jesus Christ impersonators may show off. Although both shoulders may be bare, or both shoulders covered, it seems odd to many that revealing one shoulder and covering the other is an issue that should result in a ban from future Easter parades.
[Image via Iurii/Shutterstock]