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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 5, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 01
Drag queen and two women to replace Three Kings in Madrid's Epiphany parade
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Drag queen and two women to replace Three Kings in Madrid's Epiphany parade

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Madrid's traditional Epiphany parade will go on as usual on January 5, but with a twist. This year, instead of the Three Kings, the stars of the show will be a drag queen and two women performers.

The annual Three Kings parades are a beloved feature of Spanish Christmas celebrations, popular with children. Traditionally, three local men dress up as the Magi, or Three Kings, from the Christmas story and parade through their town or village, handing out sweets.

This year's alternative version was proposed by the Orgullo Vallecano association, a Gay Pride collective in Madrid's Vallecas neighborhood.

'We planned to do a parallel parade, but when we proposed it in the municipal council, they told us to join the main one,' a representative told El Mundo (in Spanish).

The 'Three Queens' float will carry the rainbow flag, and a flag aimed at children with the words, 'Participate, dream, and imagine.'

'It will be a giant chariot with mothers, fathers, children - and super diverse,' drag performer Dnoé Lamiss said.

'It's yet another example of the diversity of Madrid,' said Carla Antonelli, an LGBT rights activist and Socialist Party politician.

The substitution of queens for kings was approved by Madrid's mayor and city council - the first left-wing municipal government in Spain's capital since 1989. Elected in 2015, Madrid's city government is based on a coalition between the Madrid Ahora party - supported by the leftist Podemos coalition - and the Socialist Party.

The rightist People's Party, which controls Spain's national government, and the center-right Citizens' Party are in opposition.

Both parties complained that the addition of a drag queen marred the parade's traditional form.

'We support Gay Pride and the rest of the celebrations, but we believe the Kings' Day should be respected as a religious holiday,' said José Luis Martínez-Almeida, the People's Party spokesperson for the Madrid City Council.

'Sometimes, a Cavalcade of Kings must simply be what the children expect it to be - a Cavalcade of Kings,' tweeted Begoña Villacís, a council member for the Citizens' Party.

Lamiss told the Spanish newspaper El País that it was odd to object to female kings when in the traditional parade, a white actor would put on blackface to play King Balthazar.

'Why can a white man paint himself black to play Balthazar, while I who am black cannot make Balthazar a magical queen or a page?' she asked.

Singer La Prohibida - also known as Amapola López - said the new addition to the parade would enrich the traditional festivities.

'The parade is for children, and it will be a party for the children. There will be no glitter, no crowns, no different dresses... It is a festive thing, but it is neither the Carnival of the Canary Islands nor Gay Pride,' the drag queen told El Mundo.

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