Christianity is widely acknowledged to be a patriarchal theology. Yet, the primary voices of The Marien Revelation are women. On your blog and Facebook page, you are a strong advocate for gay rights. Do you see yourself as a voice for those whom mainstream Christianity has marginalized?
In a way I do. As an artist, as much as you want to deny it, your work often reflects your ideology. My preference for strong woman characters, not only in this novel but also in my previous work, is owed to my upbringing by this type of women. Understanding their struggles and sacrifices has allowed me to develop those voices. In addition, being a gay Mexican writer in the United States, I cannot speak from any other position.
In our conversation, Miguel discussed the ways in which artists have adapted interpretations of Jesus and of Mary to reflect themselves. We talked about the tendency of European artists to depict fair -haired, blue-eyed versions of the Holy Family, and of Latin American artists to show Mary with Hispanic features particularly in renditions of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
His interpretation, then, of Jesus with a male lover, flows naturally from a desire to identify. “Being on the margins myself … you want to find a way to identify with the majority.” He also acknowledged that “there is 2000 years of difference between what we consider gay today and having a male lover back then. A relationship between two males – why does it inspire the hate that it does?”
On the subject of controversy, Miguel was very clear that it is not his desire to provoke conflict; however, he said,“my own journey has taken me to the place where I feel very strong to take on whatever comes…to defend my place in society.” “People ask, ‘are you afraid?’ I cannot live in fear. I cannot allow fear as an artist to stop me from birthing this story. I’m at a point where I’m ready to discuss it – to stand behind this.”
Your writing appears to be an appeal for rational discourse, for a middle ground in this polarized world. One area in which American society in particular has become incredibly extreme is sexuality. As a society, our views of sex seem to be either prudish or pornographic with little room for an embrace of the physical. Yet, in The Marien Revelation you incorporate the full range of both heterosexual and homosexual relationships, from the sacred to the profane in both. The language used evokes the lush physicality of older translations of the Bible, particularly the Old Testament. Can you expand upon this a bit?