About 300 protesters held a candlelit protest outside a Glasgow theatre over the staging of a play which portrays Jesus as a transsexual.The protest was held outside the Tron Theatre, where Jesus, Queen of Heaven - in which Christ is a transsexual woman - is being staged.It is part of the Glasgay! arts festival, a celebration of Scotland's gay, bi-sexual and transsexual culture.Festival organisers said it had not intended to incite or offend anyone.The Christian protesters gathered outside the theatre ahead of the opening night of the production on Tuesday.
Jesus, Queen of Heaven, which runs until Saturday, is written and performed by transsexual playwright Jo Clifford.
The demonstrators sang hymns and waved placards.One read: "Jesus, King of Kings, Not Queen of Heaven."Another said: "God: My Son Is Not A Pervert."Festival organisers described the banners as "fairly provocative" and said they could be viewed as inciting homophobia.Glasgay!
producer Steven Thomson said: "Jesus Queen of Heaven is a literary work of fiction exploring the artist's own personal journey of faith as a transgendered person."Glasgay! supports the right to freedom of expression and offers audiences a diverse view of LGBT life."This work is not intended to incite or offend anyone of any belief system. However, we respect your right to disagree with that opinion."He added: "We welcome genuinely interested audience members who wish to understand the artistic intention behind this work."
'Christianity marginalised'Pastor Jack Bell, of the Zion Baptist Church in Glasgow, who took part in the protest, said: "We didn't threaten anyone going into the play or any of the cast members."It was a peaceful protest with hymns and placards."You can't blaspheme God and use freedom of speech as an excuse for that."He added: "True biblical Christianity is becoming marginalised through political correctness."If this play had treated the prophet Mohammed in the same way there would have been a strong reaction from the Islamic community, but that just wouldn't happen."Glasgay! is described as "Scotland's annual celebration of ***** culture" and is funded by the Scottish Arts Council, Event Scotland, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau and Glasgow City Council.