A topic that can’t be avoided, matched with the Scripture that can’t be avoided. Much in the way that folks expressing hatred or discrimination against gays and lesbians quote from Deuteronomy or Leviticus or some passage in Romans, so too it seems those who spread hatred against the transgender community and call themselves Christian.
Here are the Scripture passages at the heart of the hatred against transgender individuals:
“A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 22:5
How do we define the gender of clothing? How do we as a society determine what each gender can and cannot wear? There was a time when women only wore skirts and dresses, now they wear slacks and pants and power suits. There was a time when men wore stockings and heeled shoes and powdered wigs and make-up– many of these men were our country’s Founding Fathers and members of Congress.
“No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the LORD.” Deuteronomy 23:1
So a victim of mutilation or someone who has undergone a surgical procedure as a result of testicular cancer or gender identity dysphoria cannot enter the Kingdom of God or be welcome in a church? That doesn’t seem to reflect in the intent of an all-loving, most merciful God who loves all His creations. There must be a specific reason why or a specific “assembly of God” being mentioned here and the theory is that we are talking about the Holy of Holies within The Tabernacle that has housed the Ark of the Covenant. Up to this point, Deuteronomy and its Laws were established to promote ritual purity for the priesthood and the 12 tribes of Israel for the purposes of preparing appropriate sacrifices and burnt and sin and wave offerings before the altar in the tabernacle that houses the Ark of the Covenant. To establish its holiness and to ensure the purity of this sacred space which God inhabited, He set out Law which He expected Aaron and Moses and the 12 tribes to follow and adhere to, knowing full well that these Laws would be nearly impossible for a flawed mankind to follow to the letter. After all, it is also quoted in Scripture that none are righteous but Jesus.
Anyone with a physical abnormality or disability or amputation, for the purposes of presenting themselves to the Holy of Holies, was not ritually pure enough to enter that sacred space, according to Deuteronomy.
However… the New Testament and Jesus’ new covenant to the people establishes a new set of rules to live by and new perspective on the Law of Moses.
“For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.” Matthew 19:12
This is a rather enlightened and inviting view from Jesus, recognizing that in terms at least of men with or without male genitalia, all who can receive his blessings and forgiveness and invitation to the table of communion will. And it seems gender has very little to do with who is invited or not. Jesus is here to save souls– not be concerned with pieces and parts and anatomy. For our bodies are finite but our souls are forever.
Then there are Genesis 1:27 and Mark 10:6, which echo each other in the sentiment that “God made male and female.” Which is certainly true enough… God made our bodies and each of us was designed according to His plan….
However, God’s plan is clarified further when Jesus Christ arrives and begins his ministry. Paul in his letter to the Galatians, regarding who can be saved through Jesus states:
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
Gender is rendered irrelevant when it comes to being in union with Christ. So relax my transgender brothers and sisters! Take a deep breath and relax. A true follower of Christ, who is pure of heart and good intentions, with love for God and for our neighbors, can be in union with Jesus. We can come to the table of communion and be forgiven of our sins without fear of compromising our true and honest selves. God knows us, knows what’s in our souls. We have no need to be ashamed of ourselves or our bodies. We have the freedom to be physically and emotionally true people before the Lord.