by Joey Rodil
In “Advent and Queer Bodies,” Joey Rodil waits with his queer siblings, in the face of homophobia and transphobia, for the coming of Jesus whose table is for all.
But we’re still waiting…
This past summer, I remember walking in my neighborhood in Chicago to meet a couple of friends. As I approached a group of men waiting outside a restaurant, one of them yelled, “Look at that f@& in short shorts. F@&!” Walking by myself, my body seized with fear and I learned quickly that I am more of a “flight” person when I feel my life is in danger. I crossed the street and ran down the sidewalk as I passed them. For a second, I feared they might attack me physically, but fortunately they only resorted to verbal harassment.
As a cisgender gay man, I am used to these occurrences, but I know that others have fared far worse. As of November 2018, the Human Rights Campaign reported 29 transgender deaths this year*. My transgender siblings were violently killed. Their queer bodies and lives taken away from our community because… well … we’re still waiting.
We’re still waiting for our bodies to be viewed equally as human.
We’re waiting for our bodies to not be seen as a threat to the church.
We are waiting for a time to be able to walk down the street and not fear being verbally harassed or a victim of a violent crime because of the way we express ourselves.
Can our bodies be valued by our character and personality and not be defined by the way in which we express our gender, sexuality, and choices we make for our queer bodies?
The season of Advent is a time of waiting and a time of reflecting. Jesus is on his way into the world, and he’s about to shake some stuff up. He’s about to enter into a world ruled by an oppressive empire and speak truth to power.
Yes, I’m still waiting. I’m still waiting for Jesus to show up here on earth to come dine with me. My siblings are waiting for Jesus to show up here on earth to come invite their queer bodies into the family of the church and into the community of believers. I envision a table surrounded by my transgender siblings, drag queens, leather folks, club kids, femmes and the church eating together as one equal body.
Perhaps I can say, I may be stuck in an Advent season waiting for hope to arrive. But I can’t fully say I’m still waiting because there are many advocates on the front lines bringing awareness to homophobia and transphobia. There are many advocates helping queer-identifying youth find homes after being kicked out upon coming out to their families. There are many advocates naming the victims of the Pulse shooting in Orlando and the names of transgender folks through the #SayHerName campaign.
Hope is coming, and we’re waiting. My queer siblings, friends, and family are waiting for a hope such as the one found in the witness of Jesus. Until then, we’ll keep moving forward, and we’ll keep fighting.
*Human Rights Campaign report