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Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday Madness XXXIII

Welcome to the latest installment of Monday Madness, the weekly feature at AoftheA, your real-life true-blue online Twilight Zone.

From the TimesOnline: Evangelical Outrage Over Play Featuring Transsexual Jesus

A controversial play which portrays Jesus as a transsexual woman was defended yesterday by its writer who has herself crossed the gender barrier to live as a woman.

Jesus, Queen of Heaven, has caused a storm of protest from Christian evangelical groups, who picketed the Tron Theatre in Glasgow when it opened this week.

However, their attacks have caused deep offence to the play’s author, who also acts the leading role. For Jo Clifford — formerly the playwright John Clifford — wrote the piece in an attempt to create greater understanding of transgendered people like herself.

The play’s opening night was attended by about 300 demonstrators. Roman Catholics joined evangelical Christians for a two-hour protest during which they waved placards and sang hymns.

Yesterday Ms Clifford, 59, from Edinburgh, expressed deep disappointment in the reaction.

“Most of it is happening because of a complete misunderstanding of what I am and what I am trying to do ... They thought awful, sacrilegious things were going to happen on stage,” she said. Her critics, she added, ought to reread the Gospel. “Jesus said: ‘judge not’.”

Ms Clifford is clear that much of the motivation for protestors is disapproval of her transgendered identity. Not only has she written the play, she also performs the title and only role.

The piece is a sequel to God’s New Frock, which Ms Clifford wrote in 2002 when she was still identified as John. Although she came out to her friends and family at the age of 50, she did not begin living as a woman until five years ago, after her partner, Sue Innes, the feminist writer, with whom she has two children, died.

While God’s New Frock was a partly autobiographical piece about Ms Clifford growing up as a male and trying to suppress her need to become a woman, Jesus, Queen of Heaven, imagines the son of God alive in the present world as a transsexual woman, and attempts to present how she would relate the parables under this transgendered identity. “I have showed the script to priests and they’ve said it corresponds to what the Bible says,” Ms Clifford added.

Which priests?

This kind of tripe that passes for "cultural arts" is blasphemous rubbish - no other way to describe it. There's more culture growing in highway rest stop bathroom stalls on the floors beneath the toilets than in a play such as this. Any gross depiction of Jesus Christ ought to be challenged in the strongest terms possible. This JoJohn Clifford, may God have mercy on his/her soul, is battling mighty strong demons, and their contempt for holiness has taken centre stage - literally.

If I wasn't busy writing the next Great American Novel, I'd write a play about a transgendered bleeding heart liberal who regrets his sex change operation, seeks absolution from his sins, get received into the Catholic Church, marries and has seven children, and then gets martyred by extremist gay activists. It'd be a heck of lot closer to the truth, that's for sure.

Rant over.