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  • Writer's pictureJessica Jaymes Purdy

When Holidays and Identities Collide: The Intersection of Easter and Trans Day of Visibility

Content warning: This article discusses prejudice against transgender people and religious tensions.

When Holidays and Identities Collide: The Intersection of Easter and Trans Day of Visibility on a purple background with the image of cracked egg that has three crosses on it. One in pink, one in white, and one in blue. A pink, white, and blue rainbow flows from the crack. Jessica Jaymes Purdy's name and butterfly logo appear over a pink field beside the text and egg.

March 31st, 2024 marks an intersection of two significant observances: Easter and Transgender Day of Visibility. While both hold deep meaning for their respective communities, the overlap has sparked anger among some. Some conservative Christian groups are decrying the dual focus as blasphemous, insisting that only Easter should be acknowledged. They are especially critical of churches planning to honor trans identities as part of their Easter celebrations and the President who, as he always has, declared March 31st as Trans Day of Visibility.


As a pagan and a transgender woman, I see this confluence differently. In a recent Facebook post, I reflected on how the themes of rebirth, renewal, resurrection and living authentically connect these two occasions. Easter commemorates Jesus' triumph over death, a story of hope and new beginnings rising from devastating circumstances. For the trans community, the key resurrection narrative is transition - shedding the ill-fitting roles imposed on us to embody our true selves.

 

My original TDoV / Easter Facebook Post

My response to Caitlyn Jenner saying President Biden shouldn't have declared today TDoV

 

In a world still rife with transphobia, each trans and nonbinary person living openly participates in a revolutionary act of emergence. We defy the conservative Christian nationalists who would see us erased from society. And in embracing authentic self-expression, we forge space for others to step into the light of self-recognition.


The anger at even acknowledging Trans Day of Visibility alongside Easter illustrates a disturbing belief that some identities and forms of sacred celebration are more valid than others. It's a sentiment I'm all too familiar with as a transgender pagan. My spirituality and selfhood are regularly dismissed, even demonized, by conservative Christians asserting a monopoly on legitimacy and access to the public square.


But the reality is that many of us draw strength, meaning and moral guidance from a wide spectrum of beliefs. Paganism has been part of my journey to wholeness as a not just a person, but as a transwoman. The pagan sabbat of Ostara, celebrating the spring equinox, is a time for honoring rebirth and new growth - highly resonant themes for trans people stepping into our authenticity.


Conservative Christians miss the irony in wielding their faith as a cudgel to attack trans inclusion. The very same Jesus they claim to follow was known for crossing lines, upsetting social hierarchies, and embracing those on the margins. He reserved his harshest words for the religious authorities using theology to exclude and shame others.


The unceasing, ever-growing wave of legislation targeting trans rights, especially trans youth, often has its roots in an extreme conservative Christian ideology. But criminalizing gender-affirming care, banning trans girls from sports, refusing to use our names and pronouns, and using false equivalencies to paint us predatory, dangerous threat to women and children is antithetical to Jesus' teachings.


There is nothing blasphemous in my desire to honor both parts of myself, to see the sacred threads connecting rebirth and resurrection with the beauty of trans lives lived openly. If conservative Christians took seriously the command to love their neighbors, they would see that embracing, making room for and listening to trans people is in fact the holiest possible way to embody their faith.

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