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Bible passages on transgender & transsexual topics

Introduction: Religious beliefs
about gender; some Bible verses

Religious belief and the different roles assigned to female and male persons:

In areas of science ranging from cosmology, origin of the species, human sexuality, etc. religious conservatives often hold beliefs that are at variance from those held by scientists, researchers, religious liberals, etc. For example, many religious conservatives believe that:

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Origin of the world: The age of the world and the rest of the universe is less than 10,000 years. Essentially all geologists and astronomers believe that the world is about 4.5 billion years old, and the universe itself dates back about 13.8 billion years.


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Origin of the species: God created all of the basic "kinds" of animals shortly after creating the world. Minor changes later produced the full range of species. Essentially all biologists believe that a single-cell form of life came into existence as a result of natural processes, and evolved over billions of years by natural selection to produce the diversity of species, including homo-sapiens (humans).


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Homosexuals: Adults who are attracted only to members of the same gender choose their abnormal, unnatural lifestyle. It becomes an addiction. They can change it with some effort. Human sexuality researchers, therapists, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, religious liberals and others believe that homosexuality is discovered, not chosen. It is normal and natural for a minority of adults and is always or almost always fixed in adulthood.

So, it should come as little surprise that religious conservatives would differ from most others on transgender/transsexual matters. One fundamental difference is whether:

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A MTF transgender person (a genetic male who identifies as female) is currently a male or female, or


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A FTM transgender person (a genetic female who identifies as male) is currently a female or male.

Most religious conservatives define a person's gender by their gentilia and sex chromosomes. The vast majority of religious liberals, human sexuality researchers, therapists, transgender persons and transsexuals define gender by the person's gender identity.

Thus:

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To most religious conservatives, gender always remains unchanged during one's lifetime: a MTF transsexual remains a male and a FTM transsexual remains a female.


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To others, a MTF transsexual is female and a FTM transsexual is a male.

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Biblical passages that discuss gender and gender roles:

We use the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible for the following discussion. We are able to do this freely because it is not copyrighted as are more modern translations .

Most conservative Christians believe that humans were created by God within a binary gender system -- as either males or female. This binary system was set up so that men and women could fulfill their different, firmly defined, God-given roles in the family, the church, the workplace, and the rest of society. This belief is one reason why most conservative Christians are so strongly opposed to any form of gender or sexual expression that is different from the majority, as in homosexual behavior, same-sex marriage, transsexuality, gender reassignment surgery, etc.

They often cite passages that describe males as ruling over females:

  • Genesis 1:27: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." They believe that this male/female binary gender system reflects the nature of God as well as the reality of humanity.

  • In Genesis 2:23, Adam asserted his authority over Eve by naming her:  "...she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." In ancient times, one was believed to take authority over a person or thing by naming it.

  • Genesis 3:16 states directly that the husband is to rule over his wife.

  • Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), women were considered as property to be owned at first by their father and later by their husbands. With few exceptions, women were restricted to roles of little or no authority.

In the rigidly stratified society of the ancient Hebrews, changing one's appearance to that opposite to their genetic sex was considered an abomination. To change their gender identity would also be seen as destabilizing society, as females became males and vice-versa; and as the oppressed became the oppressors, and vice-versa. Similarly, among religious and social conservatives today, if women are allowed to transition to men, then the social order would be disrupted as some of the transsexual men would seek positions of greater authority in the church and family. The natural order of gender -- that they feel has been established by God -- would be upset.

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Biblical passages that discuss gender and gender roles:

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "What does the Bible say about being Transgender?," Bible Question Box, , 2005-JUN, at: http://www.bibleanswer.com/ This is a Powerpoint presentation.
  2. Lynn Montgomery, "What Does the Bible REALLY Say about Transsexualism?," at: http://www.drbecky.com/

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Copyright © 2009 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2011-APR-19
Author: B.A. Robinson

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