Controversy and Celebration Easter’s Intersection With Trans Visibility

Controversy and Celebration: Easter’s Intersection With Trans Visibility

Just a few Sundays ago, Christians joyfully celebrated Jesus’ resurrection, singing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today!” with zeal, greeting one another with God’s peace that surpasses all our understanding, and reciting the story that love has the final say.

For many, that Sunday was a double celebration because Easter coincided with Transgender Day of Visibility, which is observed yearly on March 31. Many of us thought it was a lovely (divine, even!) coincidence, and oh-so-appropriate that the day of resurrection, the day when we proclaim the power of love over hate, was also a day to lift up our trans family, each created in the image of God, celebrated for who they are and how they contribute to all that is good and right in the world.

However, not everyone had a good day. Oklahoma’s state school superintendent, Ryan Walters, called it “demonic” to do this on Easter, but that is just the point. They aim to destroy Christianity and our country,” followed by, “Celebrating ‘Trans Day of Visibility’ on the same day as Christ’s Resurrection is a new low for America. Forgive them, Father, for they do not know what they are doing.”

This rhetoric, while not surprising, still shocks.

It’s not unexpected given what we’ve come to anticipate from characters like Superintendent Walters, whose kryptonite appears to be rainbows and glitter. This is the type of discourse we anticipate from fundamentalist Christians, who are known for their hatred and fearmongering.

However, it remains alarming because we are aware of the implications of such speech, particularly when it comes from individuals in positions of power. It is widely acknowledged that people who are 2SLGBTQ+ are not predisposed to suicide because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but are at a higher risk because of how they are treated and stigmatized at school, work, and in the grocery store.

And for many people of faith, this rhetoric is spiritually disturbing since we have personally observed God’s presence and heart in our trans siblings. We’re unfamiliar with the threat that Superintendent Walters believes the transgender community poses. Transgender people are treasured, valued, and necessary members of the Christian community. Without them, we are incomplete.

The Church celebrates Easter for a season, culminating in Pentecost, which commemorates the Holy Spirit igniting the hearts of our ancestors, leading to a deeper understanding of one another and “praising God and having the goodwill of all people.”

As Easter approaches, we hope Superintendent Walters will resurrect love in his heart and join us in resisting forces that separate, oppress, or deny freedom and dignity to all people. After all, it is the season!

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