Transgender Jesus and LGBT Apostles Enrage Serbians

By Diane Anderson-Minshall

Originally published on Advocate.com October 04 2012 1:09 PM ET

A transgender or cross-dressing Jesus, surrounded by other LGBT apostles, is enough to rile many of the devout. That the photograph in question is a recreation of Leonardo Da Vinci's masterpiece The Last Supper has caused so much furor that its display in Serbia has to be accompanied by 24/7 armed guards, according to The Sun. The image, which is part of "Ecce Homo" — a controversial exhibition of 12 different images re-creating biblical situations in the modern world, taken by the Swedish photographer Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin — features Jesus Christ in high heels; at least one of his disciples is wearing S/M fetish gear.

Wallin is used to the controversy by now; her exhibition caused a huge debate in Sweden when it first appeared in 1989. Collectively the photos feature Jesus among LGBT people, leather and S/M folks, and those with HIV/AIDS.

This is the first time "Ecce Homo" has appeared in Belgrade, Serbia. The Sun reported that 2,000 police were on hand to fight back protesters. The exhibition was meant to celebrate Pride this month, but city officials have canceled that event after increasing security concerns and backlash from opposition leaders.

A visitor takes a picture of a photograph in a gallery during the exhibition "Ecce Home" by Swedish artist Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin in Belgrade Wednesday. The Serbian interior ministry Wednesday banned a the LGBT pride parade for security reasons for the second year running, after ultranationalists threatened the march and the influential Serbian Orthodox Church condemned it. The patriarch also demanded that Prime Minister Ivica Dacic take steps to stop Wallin's exhibition, which he called "deeply insulting."

Serbian ultranationalist protesters outside the exhibit display religious icons.

Visitors look at pictures in a gallery during the exhibition "Ecce Homo," including this image of Jesus surrounded by leathermen.

Serbian riot police guard the entrance to the gallery showing the exhibition.

A detail of Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin's Last Supper image.