The Trinity Delights In My Unique Trans, Nonbinary Identity | Sojourners

The Trinity Delights In My Unique Trans, Nonbinary Identity

Design by Tiarra Lucas/Sojourners

This article is part of the series, The Joy of Being Queer and Christian; new articles will be added throughout the month of June.

I am relatively new to the experience of queer joy. My lifelong journey into this community includes years of not having language to identify my inner experience, surprising revelations as I began to come out to myself, and new community as I came out to others online and in my personal life. And I know I’m still growing, especially in my experience of queer joy as a nonbinary Christian.

My trans nonbinary identity means freedom to step outside of the gender binary. My gender does not define me first; rather, I am first a human and a beloved child of God. This trans nonbinary identity and my Christian faith have always been intrinsically linked; my experience of queer joy is not separate from the joy I have in my salvation. I think of this joy through a trinitarian lens: At its core, my queer joy is the joy of knowing the Father has created my unique identity and calls it very good, that Christ “queers” or subverts the norms of this world, and that the Holy Spirit is continually forming me to love this world as my full self.

I am fully supportive of folks who prefer to think of the first person of the Trinity as “Creator” or “Mother,” especially as a way to queer typically masculine portrayals of God, but I personally prefer to use the term “Father.” I prefer to use this term because it is a common term Jesus uses for the first person of the Trinity, and it is the term Jesus uses for God when he teaches us how to pray (Matthew 6:9-13). And it’s this God, I remind myself, who has given me a unique identity, an expression of God’s own magnificent creativity. I see this binary-breaking creativity in Genesis 1, which makes me reflect on how God’s creation bestows sunrises and sunsets between the extremes of day and night, makes space for marshes and swamps amidst division of water and land, and places planets and supernovae among the sun, moon, and stars. There is no shame tied to my identity because my identity comes from the Creator of the universe. When I see my queer, nonbinary identity reflected in scripture, I feel joy and excitement; my response often echoes the words of Psalm 139:14: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

In the second person of the Trinity, I find joy in how Christ “queers” the systems of the world. When I say “queers” I mean the subversion of the norms that our society has constructed, such as binaries of male and female, rich and poor, human and God. The gospels are full of examples: Jesus upends the conventional order and reminds us that the first shall be last and the last shall be first (Matthew 20:16). He calls out the religious people who are attentive more to their outward appearances than to their inward motivations (Matthew 23:27-28). He denounces the ways of the wealthy, and instead lives as a homeless man during his public ministry (Luke 6:24; 9:58). Jesus clearly states, “My kingdom does not belong to this world” (John 18:36). Not only does Jesus say and do these things, Christ “queers” the Godship by doing something no one expects: becoming human. Jesus then queers death by his miraculous resurrection from the grave. Jesus doesn’t have to share my sexuality or gender for me to see the queer nature of Christ’s actions. These actions bring me joy because they remind me that Jesus identifies with the marginalized and the binary-breakers.

Finally, I find joy in knowing that the Holy Spirit lives within me and is continually forming me into the person God wants me to be. In a world in which so many people in my queer community are facing violence and harm, I am being taught how to love enemies, how to bless my queer community, and how to live into the kingdom of God as a disciple of Christ. My conversations with the Spirit are frank and life-bringing; I feel her in the wind and in my own breath. I take deep delight in living in such close connection, and I am called to keep growing into this life with God, neighbor, and self. I am invited to walk this path, knowing that the Holy Spirit is living within me each day. No one can take this Spirit, this lifeline, from me; that is joy at its finest.

So, this year during pride month, I will choose to deeply settle into this joy. This joy does not deny the reality of the fearful things we face; instead, it is a joy that looks with confidence for the day that every tear will be wiped from our eyes by the God who made us and loves us (Revelation 21:4). When I think of the queer community, I hear Paul’s words assuring us that whatever we face, God is within and amongst us, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). I am overjoyed that I get to be a part of this community, and I stand today in hope for the beautiful things our queer joy will bring to this world.

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