By Jo Clifford (From Seeds February 2022)
In every era there have been more than just two genders. G*d loves the diversity of the world and of people.’
These were the words introducing the main exhibition in Frankfurt’s Bible Museum, and I was hearing them in the company of a Christian youth group who were being shown round the museum, which was exploring gender diversity in the Old Testament.
The asterisk in the middle of Gd’s name indicated that, according to research, the Divinity themselves was gender diverse; and when Brix Schaumberg, the German Queen Jesus, and I performed a bit of the play and answered questions at the end, the young people proudly said: ‘Christian youth around here are all queer’.
And they all saw the copy of The Gospel According to Jesus Queen Of Heaven that I’d signed and which had been put in a display case next to the most amazingly beautiful illuminated medieval bibles illustrating the androgynous nature of the first human beings.
In the week I was there, I met schoolchildren, teacher training students, church groups, university chaplains, trans activists, confirmation classes. . . all being shown round this amazing, beautiful, visionary exhibition. I remembered my own confirmation classes and wondered what would have happened if this information about gender diversity
had been available to me. How many years and years of useless suffering I would have been spared.
Or what would happen if this information was available to every Christian church everywhere?
And how miraculous that this should all be emerging now. I wrote and performed a play about these questions way back in 2002 – God’s New Frock* – and by a strange coincidence it was being performed (in Italian) by an Italian theatre company in Berlin the same week I was in Frankfurt.
I never expected that to happen. . . nor that Queen Jesus would be translated into German, performed by a trans man, or that I would get to see the film of it being screened in a Women’s Centre to an audience of queer people so deeply moved by its message.
In the play, Queen Jesus talks of the unstoppable change that is coming. But actually, it is already here. And far deeper and more radical than anything I could ever have
imagined. . .
*God’s New Frock was first produced at The Tron Theatre in Glasgow. It introduces ‘a boy called Billie who really wants to be a girl’ but who isn’t allowed to show it, and ‘a god called Jehovah who’s got a wardrobe full of frocks. A closet he’s afraid to show anyone.’