The Education Institute of Scotland (EIS), a teachers’ union which represents around 80 per cent of teachers and lecturers in Scotland, will host a controversial play that portrays Jesus as a transgender woman as part of their events to celebrate pride month.
Two extracts of the ‘The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven’, by Jo Clifford, will be performed on 17th June.
The play is a one-woman show played by Clifford which shows Jesus “coming back to earth in the present day as a trans woman”.
The event also includes performances by queer poet Gray Crosbie and drag queen Lady Rampant.
But The Christian Institute’s education officer, John Denning has described the play as “deeply offensive” for Christian members of the EIS.
“This play deliberately re-imagines Jesus as a trans woman and puts words into his mouth that he never said, misrepresenting him. That’s deeply distressing and offensive for many Christians who value him and his teaching above all.
“It is hard to see how a teaching union justifies using the subscriptions paid by its members, many of whom are themselves Christians, to promote this play.”
It’s not the first time Clifford’s plays have stirred controversy. In 2016, the play made headlines after it was performed at a Church of England church in Manchester.
At the time, Clifford said the play was not meant to be sacrilegious.
An EIS spokesperson said: "As we understand it, the spirit of this critically acclaimed play is in homage to Jesus and a reminder that he loved all people equally, raising in this way the awareness of unjust discrimination against trans people. In an interview in 2018, the playwright and actress Jo Clifford said the following about the origins of the play; 'I began to read the New Testament, and found myself increasingly moved by the way Jesus embraced all kinds of social outcasts. I felt increasingly sure that he would also have embraced trans people; and for me, it became a way back towards the strong Christian faith I now have.'"
"EIS Pride events are reserved for our members, and this performance is part of an online Pride event initiated by the EIS LGBT Sub-Committee and approved by our national Equality Committee."