Reflection also available on Believe Out Loud’s website!
Easter Sunday. A day of many questions and confusion within a hope-filled community.
We still don’t know exactly what happened that night and moment. We can’t begin to imagination what folks were experiencing and feeling. As we reflected together this year over the snippets shared in the gospels, we immersed ourselves in imagining the fear and excitement of that moment.
Jesus’ followers did not know what was going to happen next or what to do next or what to say next.
After many doubts, they began to celebrate the resurrection not only of the Risen Christ, but the resurrection that erupted within them as individuals and as an emerging tribe what would be known by their love.
Though the future was not clear and would never be clear, they began to understand the transfiguration of the moment and the calling to live into wholeness, adopt and reclaim language, and ultimately to embody the resurrection of their being-ness.
As a trans and queer person of color, as a person of faith and spirit, as a person who struggles with the hallenges of living in a world enmeshed and divided by binaries, the story of resurrection speaks to me on many different levels.
The story of resurrection is a story of transition.
The Resurrection is the beginning of a journey of living into wholeness, a journey of affirming who one always was, and a journey of discovering and/or rediscovering new aspects of who we are—a journey similar to the many ways we transition as trans-identified folks.
Transition is not about medical procedures, changing one’s name, adapting the ways a person dresses, or wrestling with the dynamics of what it means to “pass” or whether one wants to even pass. These are just some of the aspects of transition.
But transition is ultimately about living into you. And that kind of living means different things to different people—it is filled with fear and questions, determination and doubts, hope and wholeness, risks and affirmation.
As people wrestling with different understandings and embodiments of gender, we stare into the tombs of our pasts, we come to recognize that who we were, who we were forced to be, who the world expected us to be is no longer there and perhaps was never there.
Who we are was hidden, and it took the passion of struggle to reveal ourselves to the world.
The bandages that covered wounds of societal and even self-inflicted violence are discarded with humble fierceness to reveal us in our fullness and in our dazzling light.
Resurrection is not about changing who we are. Like transition, it is about affirming who we are, who we have always been, and who we will always be. Just as Jesus revealed (and re-revealed and re-re-revealed) to the emerging Christian tribe, we as trans folk, genderqueer folk, gender creative folk, gender non-conforming folk, agender folk, Two Spirit folk, and the “various-expressions-of-gender-diversity” folk reveal who we are to our tribes, communities, families, and the world.
The Resurrection did not change Jesus into something new but simply affirmed who he always was. Jesus came out of the closet that was the tomb. We as trans people do the same—we affirm who we are, sometimes privately and sometimes publically and sometimes both, coming out of the tombs of closets, binaries, and imposed expectations.
After our journeys of crucifixion, mindful that each journey is different, we emerge as wholeful and resilient selves and souls.
Much like the apostles who ran into an empty tomb, we wrestle with many questions and doubts and disbeliefs imposed on a body they expect to be there, the body they predetermined should be there, but instead encounter a body that is sacred through its scars and a body that is whole despite several attempts by others to break it.
But, also like the apostles, we too have Mary Magdalenes in our lives who advocate with us to share our voices, often not being acknowledged or listened to—trans accomplices who continue to rant with us as we share who we are, both to and with the world in our sacred and sassy mystery of us.
The Resurrection is a transition—a transition that will never end as living into our being-ness is a never-ending transition. One does not complete transition, one does not finish resurrecting—both are ongoing adventures of struggle and resilience, of ups and downs, of tears of pain and tears of celebration.
The Resurrection that is transition is Biblically sparked and continues to spark the emergence and revealing of imperfectly fierce believers who affirm the good news of who they are in their messy wholeness.
Much like the Christian tribe grappling with the possibilities of the future, as trans people of faith and spirit we don’t always know what will come next.
But we are ready to take on the world with our scars as living badges of honor and resilience.
Emergence, affirmation, creation, resurrection, and transition are journeys of is-ness and not was-ness, journeys of both/and-ness mixed with either/or-ness and also neither-ness. Who we are—not only as trans people, but simply and revolutionarily as people—is dynamic and messy, deconstructive and reconstructive, struggle-filled and celebration-ful, confusing and inspiring.
Amen, blessed be.
featured image from: http://jesusinlove.blogspot.com/2013/07/resurrection-added-to-lgbt-stations-of.html
delfin bautista is a native of Miami, FL, delfin is of both Cuban and Salvadoran heritage. delfin is a social worker and activist theologian who is passionate about engaging the intersections of religion, gender, sexuality, race, and justice. delfin is a former member of CTA’s Vision Council, Board of Directors, Anti-Racism Team, and 20/30 Leadership Team. delfin is coauthor of religion and spirituality chapter in Trans Bodies, Trans Selves and also serves on their Board of Directors. delfin currently serves as the Director of the LGBT Center at Ohio University. delfin is a contributor to Believe Out Loud’s blog and “preaches” on their blog “La Lucha, Mi Pulpito.”