Friday, March 15, 2013

Station 12: Jesus dies / transgender people murdered

Jesus dies as transgender woman Rita Hester is murdered in Station 12 from “Stations of the Cross: The Struggle For LGBT Equality” by Mary Button, courtesy of Believe Out Loud


1998: On November 28, 1998 a transgender African American woman named Rita Hester was murdered in Allston, MA. The outpouring of grief and anger over her death inspired the founding of the International Transgender Day of Rememberance. The background image in this piece is from one of these vigils.

Mini-commentary by Kittredge Cherry:

Jesus’ death on the cross is boldly identified with the murder of Rita Hester, an African American transgender woman. A banner carried by people at a Transgender Day of Remembrance march stretches across Jesus on the cross: “How many transgenders have to die before you get involved?” The text on the banner comes from an actual news photo.

Another high-profile murder victim was transgender man Brandon Teena, subject of the movie “Boys Don’t Cry,” who was killed in 1993. The list of unlawfully killed transgender people is long and still growing. Jesus said, “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me.”

“Stations of the Cross: The Struggle for LGBT Equality” is a new set of 14 paintings that link the crucifixion of Jesus with the history of LGBT people.

Artist Mary Button painted the LGBT Stations series for Believe Out Loud, an online network empowering Christians to work for LGBT equality. They invite churches and faith groups to download and use the images for free.

The whole series will also be shown here at the Jesus in Love Blog this week. Click here for an overview of the LGBT Stations by Kittredge Cherry, lesbian Christian author and art historian.

1 comment:

Kittredge Cherry said...

Thanks, Abby, for info on the current correct usage of the word “transgender.” I certainly don’t mean to offend any transgendered people, so I made some changes to the text. However the image is based on history -- a news photo of the actual banner carried at a Transgender Day of Remembrance march. It does say, “How many transgenders have to die…” You can see the original photo on the Huffington Post at this link:

My understanding (perhaps outdated) is that the term “transgender” is an umbrella word for gender-variant people, and does include those from various cultures who consider themselves to be a third sex. I just read the GLAAD Media Reference Guide and it implies this. I welcome your thoughts about that usage. I need to know because I do write about Native American “two-spirit” people in connection with transgender issues sometimes.