(part one is here: http://anarchistreverend.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/the-transfiguration/)
Matthew 20:17-19: While Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, ‘See we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucifies; and on the third day he will be raised.’
After the transfiguration, it seems to be a common refrain that Jesus takes some or all of his disciples aside and has the above conversation with them. Over and over he reminds them of what is to come. He tries to warn them about what faces him (and by extension all of them) in Jerusalem. There isn’t a lot of commentary in the text as to why Jesus felt the need to reiterate this point frequently. Maybe he was trying to prepare them for the unknown future. Maybe he was trying to get himself ready to face what he knew was coming. Maybe he felt the need to keep reminding them because it seemed like they kept forgetting everything he had told them. As life went on as normal; traveling, preaching, healing, it might have seemed as if the things Jesus had been telling them were a long way off, or maybe that they weren’t going to happen at all. So he kept reminding them.
In the beginning of my journey towards transition (and in the early stages of transition itself) I felt like a broken record. I was constantly telling my friends what it was like to be transgender. I kept explaining the process that I would have to go through; the steps it took to see a therapist, to get on hormone replacement therapy, to get surgery. I had to explain how I was planning on getting my documents changed. I kept having to remind people, that yes, I was male even if I didn’t quite look like it yet, and they needed to respect me by using male pronouns. It felt like a constant battle. It was a daily reminder of what I was going through, and it was a daily struggle to keep reminding others what was happening.
Looking back part of me wonders why I felt the need to constantly be reminding people of my transgender status. Was it for my own comfort or for their knowledge? I know at the time I was just about bursting with realizing this new truth about myself. It seemed like I had lived in silence for so long that now I had to restrain myself from screaming from the rooftops that I was trans. There was also a part of me that, once I had finally admitted to myself that I really was male, that I couldn’t hear someone refer to me with female pronouns for one more second. So I reminded people.
At the same time it was easy for people to forget what I was going through. It was easy for them to slip back into using female pronouns. Had I changed my name, I’m sure they would have forgotten to use my new name. And so there was a sense that I needed to be explaining to people how they could be a support to me. I had to explain what it meant to be an ally. Especially in those early moments where I was in the part of transition where the effects aren’t so visible. They couldn’t see me changing, but it was still important for them to respect that internally I was changing.
There was also a part of me that needed to talk about the changes that would occur in my life once I began my medical transition. I needed to talk about the challenges I would face. I needed to talk about how my body would change. I needed to show my friends photos of other people who had transitioned. In this was I was both preparing them for what my body would go through while I also prepared myself.
It was a messy and uncertain time, but we all kept walking that path to Jerusalem as best we could. I kept reminding and they kept patiently listening, even though none of us really understood what was to come.