Is G*d trans*? asks Catholic trans* religion teacher

Theo Schenkel criticizes trans*bashing in the Nashville shooting

The trans*religion teacher Theo Schenkel thinks: An open church should welcome trans* people. Their experiences are a "treasure". However, it is not only today that Schenkel wants to celebrate the international day of trans*visibility. A guest post.

Theo Schenkel*

The international day of trans*visibility (transgender day of visibility) is celebrated annually on March 31st. So far, the day has mostly been observed in the queer community or in secular society.

However, the date should actually be just as interesting for the Catholic Church. After all, trans* people are not particularly visible in the Catholic Church either. The Day of Trans* Visibility can be an important reminder for the Catholic Church to make trans* people visible in the church and in church history and to take their spiritual needs seriously.

The asterisk

Trans* is spelled with * to include terms like transgender, transident, and trans and to make it clear that there are many different forms of trans*genderness.

Gender plays a role in church

In many topics of the Catholic Church, gender plays a role, either obviously or unconsciously, because, for example, access to ordained offices is regulated by gender and clear role expectations are often associated with gender, even in voluntary work.

An open church must dare to question these rigid notions of femininity and masculinity. She has to ask herself whether, for example, trans* women are welcome in pastoral offers for women, or which offers also include non-binary people (and that too, but not only when it comes to the question of toilets).

Trans*experiences as treasure

The experiences that trans* people have in everyday life differ from those of mainstream society. They regularly experience in an extremely impressive way what expectations are associated with the topic of gender and what effects these have on their own lives.

These experiences must not only be regretted as tales of sorrow, but must also be considered a precious treasure by the Church.

Is G*d trans*?

Ultimately, it could even be claimed that G*d is trans* because the Bible itself speaks of G*d in both male and female forms. There is talk of both the loving mother and the protective father. So why does the church pay so little attention to trans people?

God as a man with a white beard. Trans people question the depiction of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

Many trans* people decide to adopt a new name and no longer use the given name. In addition to canon law questions as to whether and under what conditions trans* people may be admitted to a sacramental marriage or to the priesthood, such a decision is often an important step that could be accompanied by a ritual.

A church that claims to stand up for the oppressed must also stand up for trans* people. It must take a stand against discrimination, both within the church and in society.

Nashville rampage exploited

The shooting spree in Nashville on March 28 is currently being increasingly exploited by anti-trans actors. After it was reported that the killing spree was allegedly carried out by a trans* person, voices were immediately raised warning of the danger posed by trans* people.

However, the majority of people who go on a killing spree are cis and male. So far, however, no one has come up with the idea of declaring cis men per se as violent criminals and a danger to the safety of children.

One* equals all

So it would be much more appropriate to ask why, in the case of minorities, one person tends to infer the whole group; but not for the majority. Criticism of American gun policy remains the same whether the perpetrator is trans or not. Letting yourself be tempted by this tragedy to make life difficult for trans* people would be exactly the wrong way.

Ultimately, every day should be a day of trans*visibility; in the church and elsewhere. I hope that through my visibility I can show other trans* people that trans* people can be just as happy as cis people and that I can give insights into our world of experience to those who have had little or no encounters with trans* people can.

Theo Schenkel (27) is a Catholic religion teacher and part of the "Out in Church" movement. 125 employees of the Catholic Church in Germany have come out as queer in an ARD documentary.