What Easter Can Teach Us About Trans Visibility

Note: Since 2010, Trans Day of Visibility has existed to celebrate transgender identity separate from media coverage of the very real violence observed on Transgender Day of Remembrance, “while still acknowledging that due to discrimination, not every trans person can or wants to be visible.” 

On Easter, Jesus rose and showed his disciples that he was alive! On Trans Day of Visibility, we let people know that, while we do die, we also live. We live full lives, in spite of how this cisgender-supremacist world sees and treats us.

The disciples were overjoyed and filled with hope when they saw Jesus — once they got over their fear and disbelief.

They left the tomb and broke the news of all this to the Eleven and the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them kept telling these things to the apostles, but the apostles didn’t believe a word of it, thought they were making it all up. (Luke 24:11)

Sure, Thomas had doubts — until he saw the wounds up close and personally.

Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”

Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”

Thomas said, “My Master! My God!” (John 20:26-28)

And the disciples walking to Emmaus were deep in grief until Jesus walked with them and did an impromptu Bible study.

They didn’t waste a minute. They were up and on their way back to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and their friends gathered together, talking away: “It’s really happened! The Master has been raised up — Simon saw him!” (Luke 24:13-35)

Often, people are filled with grief and doubts about their own (or a loved one’s) trans/gender-diverse identity. They might not believe they can ever live a normal, happy life. Seeing you, whether on TDOV or another day, may give them a glimpse of something beyond their tomb of fear and grief. Taking time to explain your path to wholeness can help them see their own life in a new way. Sometimes people live in fear because they can’t see a road to freedom.

Some people may “stick their fingers in your side,” asking truly personal and invasive questions.

If you feel comfortable answering, that’s one thing. If you don’t, let them know it’s a private subject for you. Instead, pivot to a broader related topic.

If they’re [sigh] asking about your genitals, see if what they’re truly worried about is what sex, dating, or having kids will be like post-transition.

Do they want to know about surgeries? Back them up a bit. Talk about basic trans care, and what it looks like where you live — how to get a doctor, a therapist, etc. Protecting your privacy and peace doesn’t have to end the conversation.

After Jesus returned, He told the disciples to be His witnesses “to the ends of the Earth” (Acts 1:8). These days, technology allows us to do that more fully than ever. Today, many churches broadcast their Easter services online. People who can’t physically go, for whatever reason, will be able to celebrate.

There are Trans Day of Visibility events all over the world. A lot of them are also shared online. Trans and gender-diverse people who aren’t physically near an event, or emotionally ready to go to one, will still be able to take part. The sense of who and what makes community is growing and shrinking.

The closeness of TDOV and Easter gives us the opportunity to celebrate both days with a zeal for a new start and appreciation for all the ways we find paths to freedom. Be a witness, whether it’s to the end of your block or the ends of the earth. And have fun.