drag queens

Crossing the line? ‘Ama Namin’ drag performance sparks online debate

Patricia Kahanap

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Crossing the line? ‘Ama Namin’ drag performance sparks online debate
(1st UPDATE) Drag queen Pura Luka Vega draws the ire of devout Catholics after dressing up as Jesus Christ and dancing to an ‘Ama Namin’ remix, but supporters say the performance was meant to celebrate a complicated relationship with religion

MANILA, Philippines – A now-viral performance by drag queen Pura Luka Vega in a local bar garnered mixed reactions from netizens, which left others wondering where to draw the line between “expression” and “mockery.” 

On Monday, July 10, Pura Luka Vega posted a video where she is seen wearing a costume inspired by the Black Nazarene while jamming to a remix of Ama Namin (Our Father) with an audience.

After the video received backlash from devout Catholics, the drag queen clarified in a Twitter space that it was her way of “actually praising God” and to “challenge our notions of how we worship and we sing our praise.”

“It’s me trying to reclaim as a Christian or as a Catholic what I think can be considered as [an] acceptable form of worship,” she said.

Amid the uproar, Pura Luka Vega posted another tweet on Thursday, July 13, emphasizing that while she understands that her performance was deemed “blasphemous, offensive or regrettable,” critics are in no place to tell her how to practice her faith or her drag.


“That performance was not for you to begin with. It is my experience and my expression, of having been denied my rights,” she said.

Some social media users rallied behind Pura Luka Vega, saying that the performance was meant to celebrate the queer community’s complicated relationship with religion.

One netizen even asserted that she is perfectly fine with the performance if it gets people to pray and to keep their faith. 

Other social media users also called out the drag queen’s critics for demanding respect in spite of the atrocities faced by the LGBTQ+ community because of religion.

https://twitter.com/juusstinnn/status/1678738287274651648?s=20

Meanwhile, some netizens wondered if the performance would still be seen as offensive if done by a cisgendered impersonator instead of a queer person.

Pura Luka Vega expressed the same sentiment in her Twitter space. 

“I was very careful when I did that because I don’t want it to come across as something that’s very offensive. But then again, it was still taken as something that’s very offensive. It made me realize na was it offensive because I’m a queer individual, or was it of other factors?” she said.

‘This is overboard’

Several netizens criticized the drag queen’s “blasphemous” performance for “disrespecting” their faith and “mocking their God.”

https://twitter.com/GG41Treasures/status/1678673862538706944?s=20 https://twitter.com/tempesterJ/status/1678457190775160832?s=20 https://twitter.com/AnikaxRose/status/1678741965767344129?s=20

Some also said that if the queer community is asking for respect, then they should also give the same treatment to other people’s beliefs.

https://twitter.com/ruruignacio/status/1678685886907838464?s=20

Other social media users took this incident as an opportunity to oppose the controversial SOGIE (sexual orientation, gender, identity, and expression) anti-discrimination bill, which has yet to hurdle Congress since it was filed in 2000.

The proposed measure, according to a gender expert, only makes up for the disparity that puts heterosexuals at an advantage and does not include special rights for the LGBTQ+ community.

https://twitter.com/jacedfghjkl/status/1678822004471009281?s=20

Senator Risa Hontiveros said in a statement that while she found the performance “regrettable,” the incident should not be used “to deny rights and protections to a community that has long been marginalized and excluded.”

What are your thoughts on this issue? – Rappler.com

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Patricia Kahanap

Patricia Kahanap is a digital communications specialist at Rappler.