For over 100 years, San Francisco’s Delores Park has given a strong heartbeat of the city. It began as a refuge for people left homeless by the 1906 earthquake. Today, a cross section of city dwellers pilgrimage to the hilltop park adjacent to the Mission and Castro Districts to gather, socialize, and play. On sunny days the park becomes “Delores Beach” with sunbathers filling most of the grassy knoll. During Gay Pride, it becomes the gathering place for the annual Dyke March. And on Easter Sunday, Hunky Jesus appears.
Yes, you heard me right. Delores Park has been host to the city’s Hunky Jesus Competition for over 30 years. Every Easter, huge crowds at the park named for the nearby Catholic Mission Delores celebrate the holiday with Easter egg hunts, an Easter bonnet competition, and the main stage event—the competition to crown the hunkiest version of what’s best described as “our Lord and Sexy.”
Let’s face it, most modern-day depictions of the Son of God present him as a pretty good looking guy—a carpenter used to working with his hands, with a hipster beard, long flowing locks and a pretty ripped body.
So it seems fitting that San Francisco—known for its irreverence and eccentricities, commemorates his resurrection with a competition celebrating his hunkiness. Costumes don’t seem complete without a cross and crown of thorns, and stress the more (and far less known) erotic side of the resurrection—with tongue planted firmly in cheek.
The Hunky Jesus Competition is hosted by The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence— the city's beloved sect of cross-dressing nuns who use drag and religious imagery to call attention to sexual intolerance and satirize issues of gender and morality. Members have been dressing in drag-nunnery costumes and hosting events such as this since 1979. In fact, it was Easter weekend 1979, when three men dressed as nuns with habits they had procured from a convent in Iowa under the guise that they were going to stage a presentation of “The Sound of Music” made their appearance on Castro Street. They followed with appearances at a nude beach, a softball game and the annual Castro Street Fair.
So, on this Easter Sunday as in decades past, scantily clad and hunky hipsters will dress to celebrate and commemorate, with a unique fun and wit, the freedoms of the City, the joy of life, in a blasphemous contest to find the “hunkiest” Jesus.