Anglican Samizdat

November 4, 2009

Transsexual Jesus sparks protests

Filed under: homosexuality — David Jenkins @ 9:26 am

From the BBC:

About 300 protesters held a candlelit protest outside a Glasgow theatre over the staging of a play which portrays Jesus as a transsexual.

The protest was held outside the Tron Theatre, where Jesus Queen of Heaven, in which Christ is a man who wants to become a woman, is being staged.

It is part of the Glasgay! arts festival, a celebration of Scotland’s gay, bi-sexual and transsexual culture.

Festival organisers said it had not intended to incite or offend anyone.

The Christian protesters gathered outside the theatre ahead of the opening night of the production on Tuesday.

Jesus Queen of Heaven, which runs until Saturday, is written and performed by transsexual playwright Jo Clifford.

The demonstrators sang hymns and waved placards.

One read: “Jesus, King of Kings, Not Queen of Heaven.”

Another said: “God: My Son Is Not A Pervert.”

Festival organisers described the banners as “fairly provocative” and said they could be viewed as inciting homophobia.

Glasgay! producer Steven Thomson said: “Jesus Queen of Heaven is a literary work of fiction exploring the artists own personal journey of faith as a transgendered person.

“Glasgay! supports the right to freedom of expression and offers audiences a diverse view of LGBT life.

Let me see if I have this right: the festival organisers object to demonstrators exercising freedom of expression, calling it homophobia, while at the same time proclaiming their right to portray the person whom 2 billion people believe to be God incarnate as a sexual pervert – in the name of freedom of expression.

More on this here.



  1. Not only are you immoderate, you also miscall the organiser’s comments in your commentary. The fesitval organisers didn’t say it “was” a homophobic protest (although it sounds to me like it was), but rather that it “could be viewed as inciting homophobia”. There is a difference.

    Really, if you’re going to be critical, you might at least be accurate.

    Comment by damascusmoments — November 4, 2009 @ 10:31 am

  2. If they are not actually implying that the demonstration was an expression of homophobia, why would they say it was “fairly provocative”? – a rather laughable comment considering the subject of the play.

    Comment by David — November 4, 2009 @ 10:47 am

  3. I think the protest was a mistake. All it really seems to have accomplished is free publicity for the play. Ignoring it would have been better.

    Comment by Kate — November 4, 2009 @ 11:43 am

  4. This is even more interesting in light of the following news story:

    Think they’d have done a play about a transsexual Mohammed? No, me neither.

    Comment by Ellie M. — November 4, 2009 @ 12:11 pm

  5. “The fesitval (sic) organisers didn’t say it “was” a homophobic protest … but rather that it “could be viewed as inciting homophobia”.”

    #1, are you familar with the concept of “weasel words”? The latter statement is simply a roundabout way of saying the former. In any case, since this is obviously the reaction the playwright wanted, his defenders’ indignation rings somewhat hollow.

    Comment by Ellie M. — November 4, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

  6. Ellie, I agree with you. But would you want to be part of a faith whose influence was perceived as controlling by fear?

    Comment by damascusmoments — November 4, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

  7. Sorry Ellie-

    To clarify: at (6) I’m agreeing with you on (4).

    As for your point at (5) re mine at (1), I disagree. I’m very familiar with “weasel words”; I’m a lawyer.

    However, if you take some time to look into the writer’s background and previous work, I think they suggest a different perspective on its message. They’re linked in my post here:

    I was also interested to note a blog written by someone who attended last night and came away considering they needed to investigate the Christian faith… until they saw the hatred displayed by its members outside. Hardly a clever (or Christ-like) advert for Christianity. cf the comment at (3).

    Comment by damascusmoments — November 4, 2009 @ 12:28 pm

  8. As a French transsexual, the playwright Jo is right to make a connection between Jesus the outcast and the transsexuals. The transsexuals across the world are persecuted, harassed, discriminated against, executed and assassinated because they want to make their dream real. The transsexuals are as decent as the heterosexuals (straight people). As transsexuals, we are forced into prostitution by the ‘decent’ straight society which rejects and persecutes us on a daily basis. We are at the bottom of the social ladder. Yes, we all are a Jesus who continues to suffer in a very hateful society.

    Comment by Sophie Lazier (Paris - France) — November 5, 2009 @ 10:12 am

  9. Sophie: Mohammed was an outcast too. Why didn’t Jo write about him? Oh . . . right . . .

    Comment by Ellie M. — November 5, 2009 @ 11:21 am

  10. 8.) Sophie,
    Two things.
    First, in a Christian context, it’s not the act of being outcast that matters, it’s what one does about it.
    Secondly, Are you saying that all transexuals are the divine son of God? Because if you are, you are levelling the most profound insult imaginable to Christians.

    Comment by Jim Muirhead — November 5, 2009 @ 1:45 pm

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