It was only last week that news broke out that the Pope was resigning. Honestly, I was kind of happy. Any upheaval within the church reminds me of why I left it. There were too many questions and no answers in return. I was 17 years old when I told Papa that I was no longer going to church. His look told me that he wanted to hit me, but he didn’t; he just walked away. It was a turning point in a young mans life now non-Catholic life.
Who knew that 28 years later I’d be staging a short-lived campaign for a transgender woman for Pope! Amanda Lepore for Pope! The Pope’s resignation inspired me to create this mini campaign when going to Evita, in Hollywood, last Tuesday night.
And because of this little idea, I had the pleasure of hanging out with Amanda. Over the years, I’ve done many works of art inspired by her. She’s a muse in my life and I wish I could know her better. I especially love her courage to be herself; it’s inspiring to be different and to honor that difference.
For the evening, I made a digital image taken from Jason Wu’s doll of her. I inserted a gold cross and the papal hat. Oh how I would love to own one of these dolls, but their either impossible to get or super expensive. I am, however, lucky to own the Swatch by David LaChapelle with Amanda’s face on it; it’s genius!
On the back of my leather jacket I ironed this image that read “Amanda For Pope.” After a few photo ops, I gave her the jacket. I hope she wears it proudly. I also handed out stickers, but my campaign for her as pope ended rather quickly. I was empty handed within minutes; I should have made more. Would have been cool if everyone had been wearing one.
During my morning walks for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been plastering stickers in my neighborhood with different images of my LITTLE Pop series. The image featured here is a photo of the same sticker I handed out at Evita. I call it “Handicapped.” Many years ago, Amanda's decision to transition into a woman may have been considered a handicap or even a mental disorder. Nowadays, it can be revered as an act of courage and honesty. Thank you Amanda for being you.
I like the idea that each one of us, in one way or another, is handicapped regardless of who we are or we think we are, this includes the Pope. And so maybe instead of feeling happy for his resignation, I’ll think differently and remember that he to is one of us; he too is human.
George Orwell said it perfectly, “The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.” It's easier said than done, but words to live by nonetheless.