EASTER MESS: Transgender Daze


Four hundred and some odd years ago, Pope Gregory issued a new calendar that included regular leap years to solve longstanding problems with the old Julian calendar. And that, evidently, was the last time any Christian fellow properly understood how calendars work–or so this week’s social media shenanigans would lead us to believe.

In the latest nontroversy to affect America’s most affected demographics, President Joe Biden has expanded the annual War on Christmas to a new front with a surprise attack on Easter, decreeing this formerly sacred Sunday to now be the Transgender Day of Visibility instead, after which he presumably spayed all the chocolate bunnies and fried all of the Easter eggs.

That at least is what feckless fundies on twitter would have you believe. In reality (a place that modern fundies have occasionally passed through but rarely stayed for long), Transgender Day of Visibility dates to 2009, established not by our Irish-Catholic president but by Michigan psychotherapist and trans woman Rachel Crandall-Crocker.

And she didn’t decide it should fall on Easter, because of course Easter is never the same date each year, the timing of Jesus’ reanimation being determined by a combination of the Spring Equinox and the full moon, in what is obviously not at all a pagan thing.

I don’t even want to think about what this is doing to the tides.


Look, if people want to worship a corpse and ritualistically consume his flesh during a certain cycle of the moon each year, that’s fine by me. …well, “fine” is an exaggeration, but at the very least I’m not going to interfere, if only because I don’t fuck with that kind of crazy.

But it’s just possible that the sighs and lamentations of these error-prone evangelists might reflect something consequential about the state of mainstream religion in America today–if any of them were the reflective type, that is.

This week, the Public Religion Research Institute published it’s annual Religious Change In America study (another thing that happens every year but which overly salty Easter hams will still call an attack on them, per their talent for making all things about themselves).

As usual, the PPRI findings indicated that more and more Americans are investing their religious sensibilities in…nothing, tra-la-la.

“Around one-quarter of Americans identify as religiously unaffiliated in 2023, a five percentage point increase from 2013,” researchers write. And “nearly one in five Americans left a religious tradition to become religiously unaffiliated” in their lifetime. Every other religious category declined; only the “nones” are gaining ground.

Fewer than a quarter of Americans go to church each week, less than half of us pray, and fewer than 20 percent read a Bible or other holy book more than a few times per year. And since we all know that’s in gold many churches actually trust, they’ll be dismayed to learn that some 58 percent of those polled say they never donate money to a church.

Just so we’re absolutely clear, VERY FEW OF THESE PEOPLE ARE BECOMING ATHEISTS–practically none of the nones identify with that word.

However, that’s actually worse news for major religions, because it means that these Americans are still turned on by spirituality, mysticism, and at least some idea of god.

What they’re specifically not interested in, despite all of that, is church. And it’s hard to argue with their rationales:

“In 2016, approximately three in ten people who left their religion cited negative teaching about or treatment of gay and lesbian people as an important factor in their choice to disaffiliate; in 2023, that number rose to 47 percent.”

Which, yeah. Even worse, “the percentage of religiously unaffiliated Americans who say they no longer identify with their childhood religion due to clergy sexual abuse scandals rose by more than 10 percentage points.” Of that, the fucking Catholics obviously get it the worst, but protestant/kooky denominations are in the news for their own statutory slip-ups quite a bit these days too.

When you run out of scapegoats you have to switch to lambs.


In brief, people are leaving churches more often because, well, why would they stay? “We hate queers, but at least we shelter child rapists” is a tough sell.

Now, it’s easy to draw the wrong conclusions from such figures; in the 1960s, old Anton LaVey, among others, took similar declines in conventional religiosity to mean that Christianity was on its way out in America. In hindsight, we know that the inverse happened, with a religious revival in the coming decades that not only made Christians more popular but also made them angrier than that time I poured Kool-Aid mix into the font.

It’s true that if current trends continue, traditional American Christianity will cease to be a majority in this country; but by a similar logic, if my trend of sitting on this couch were to continue for long enough, I’d develop bedsores and die of starvation.

With that said, the numbers as they exist now certainly do suggest something discouraging is happening in the pews–or, as more and more people presumably think of them, the pee-ews (respectfully pause while the house comes down).

these fractured fundies are indeed having a crisis, but it’s not an attack by Joe Biden, trans kids, secular education, racial reparations, or even Satanists–it’s an attack of conscience that’s bedeviling more and more of the people who used to sit side by side with them on Sundays, but now, in a reverse Mean Girls coup, have now decided they’d rather sit anywhere else.

And rather than engage in the hard work and introspection that such a moment would call for, they’ve predictably decided to worry more about the mote in everyone else’s eye, even in cases where there is no mote and we don’t actually know what a mote is.

Because, well, if they were introspective types with edifying perspectives about what’s going on in the world, they probably wouldn’t be fundies to begin with.

Now, Pastor Bill and his wife Wanda Joe and everyone who still tithes can relax: tomorrow, we will collectively cast the Spell of the Unseeing Eye and America will return to its scheduled days of trans invisibility, thus allowing trans people to again expand and contract their chromatophores at will and blend in with the natural environment.

None of the church’s real problems will disappear quite so swiftly. But hey, “Hear now this, you which have eyes, and see not, which have ears, and hear not: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?”

I forget who said that, but it was probably nobody important.

“Thanks, Obama.”