What the Bible Says about the Idea of Transgenderism
Humankind’s potential for self-destruction through the lusts of the flesh appears to be limitless. While there is nothing new in the sensual sins and wanton debauchery that we witness in our culture, technology has undoubtedly advanced its influence. And one such sin is being promoted in an apparently fanatical fashion: transgenderism.
What Is Transgenderism?
The subject of transgenderism, includes, specifically, “Trans-sexuality, cross-dressing,” and seeking “gender identity development,” i.e., physical identity through radical surgeries, and hormone treatment; and, more broadly, “gender atypicality” that includes “myriad subcultural expressions of self-selecting gender,” and “intersectionality” with other “interdependence” movements, i.e., feminism, homosexuality. The idea of transgenderism has its roots in the primordial rebellion of humankind to the creation order of God.
Ancient pagan rituals would have included some aspects of transgender practice. More currently, social anarchists such as the otherwise brilliant French social critic, Michael Foucault, argued that Christianity, in particular, has leveraged its cultural “powers” (a recurring them with Foucault) to repress human sexual expression. Foucault taught that gender is a social construct, not a biological fact. The absurdity of such thinking was largely unchallenged in the 1960s and 70s when Foucault and others were teaching such dogma in prestigious universities in Canada, France, and the United States.
Perhaps, we felt that it was too ludicrous to engage. Recently, in 2019, when a former United States Vice-President was asked how many genders there were, he responded, “At least three.” Such a frighteningly fallacious response by a person of influence constitutes an unmitigated endorsement of Foucault’s radical deconstruction of reality. For someone to affirm, with a straight face, in serious dialogue, “There are at least three genders” is an Orwellian case study in, “doublethink,” “newspeak,” and the “thought police” writ large. To speak seriously about a gender other than male and female is surely the untenable subordinating to the inconceivable.
The Medical Truth about Gender Dysphoria
At one time it would have been unnecessary, but it, now, has to be said: The American College of Pediatricians should be awarded a courage award for stating the obvious:
“Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: “XY” and “XX” are genetic markers of male and female, respectively – not genetic markers of a disorder. The norm for human design is to be conceived either male or female. Human sexuality is binary by design with the obvious purpose being the reproduction and flourishing of our species. This principle is self-evident.”
To those who suffer from “gender dysphoria” (the new diagnostic language in DSM-5 replacing “Gender Identity Disorder” in DSM-IV-TR), feeling trapped in a person of the opposite sex, the prestigious association responds with merciful scientific clarity:
“No one is born with an awareness of themselves as male or female; this awareness develops over time and, like all developmental processes, may be derailed by a child’s subjective perceptions, relationships, and adverse experiences from infancy forward. People who identify as “feeling like the opposite sex” or “somewhere in between” do not comprise a third sex. They remain biological men or biological women.”
Then, how do otherwise smart people fall for the newspeak of Michael Foucault and Kimberlé Crenshaw, and, increasingly, advocate for public school textbooks that endorse transgenderism? How is it that parents in Long Beach, California, who oppose transvestite “drag queens” (invited by former First Lady, Michelle Obama) reading to their kindergartners, are considered “haters?” And that leads us to the Scripture that describes this incredible cultural transformation.
Photo credit: Pexels/WendyVanzyl
The Biblical Truth about Gender
Sexual sins, including transgenderism, were among the most heinous practices of the peoples living in Canaan. The lessons of their judgment because of deviant sexual practices remain as ominous warning signs to us today. When we prefer unbelief to faith in God, in order to advance the lusts of our flesh, we inevitably, and often irretrievably, destine ourselves for judgment. In the cases before us, the people groups living in Canaan digressed from what is clearly shown in creation and in God’s Word—that we are born as either male or female, and that our God-given human sexuality is divinely sanctioned, and most beautifully expressed as complimentary (man and woman), and within the covenanted bonds of matrimony (husband and wife)—led to a veritable infestation of the land, which “vomited” the people from the land, and led to judicial hardening of their hearts, and their ultimate destruction.
1. Male and Female He Created Them
God has not left us without His Word and, thus, His will concerning sexuality. Firstly, humankind is binary. There is no third or fourth category of a human being. Nature attests to what Scripture reveals. Human beings are made in God’s image and created either male or female.
“Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created” (Genesis 5:2).
Our Savior, Christ Jesus, by whom the world was created and through whom it is sustained, appealed to His own Word in Genesis to affirm the divinely created order, and the sanctity of marriage (Colossians 1:16).
“He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:4-6).
The Scriptures not only provide creation-background for what we see plainly in biology, but the texts also show us that God’s creation was—and is— good. Male and female are perfectly complementary in biology, physiology, emotion, and spirit. Humanity finds its fullest expression in the unity of people being made one in marriage, a sacred and inviolable covenant instituted by Almighty God. Thus, it is not enough for us to merely point out the evil and, therefore, the consequent tragedy of sexual sin. We must also be diligent to lift up the beauty and blessings that flow from the created order of a loving God.
2. Sexual Sin as Abomination
Secondly, although the text I would cite is concerned with God’s command forbidding same-sex relationships, one could deploy the transgender movement’s “intersectionality” instrument to include the passage in our study. Nevertheless, the prohibition against same-sex relations is indicative of God’s abhorrence of such wickedness: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22).
3. Cross-Dressing Forbidden
Transgenderism is explicitly addressed in the Bible. This fact reminds us that the phenomenon of trans-sexual expression is not new. The practice is a deviant display of witness rebellion against the created order of God. For those, like Foucault, who saw gender as merely social constructs, enforced by puritanical power structures and subject to deconstruction, the voice of God in the Bible still speaks:
“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).
4. Living in the Land of Unbelief
Thirdly, believers should walk carefully in this present, evil “Secular Age,” as the imminent Canadian philosopher, Dr. Charles Taylor, has described our Post-Christian culture. What did the Lord say to Cain?
“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:7).
Every believer must be alert to the dangerous presence of anti-Christian powers, and demonic spirits of this world, using unrepentant sinners who are beating at the door of our consciences to demand that we accept and approve of what God forbids. God called Israel to be conscious of the seducing powers of the Canaanites, whose wickedness in sexual sins led to divine judgment:
“For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people. So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 18:29-30).
Male prostitutes were marked out by God as those whose wickedness brought judgment: “And there were also male cult prostitutes in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations that the Lord drove out before the people of Israel” (1 Kings 14:24).
We would do well to mark the comments of the old pastor-scholar John Gill (1697-1771) instructing Christians who live in “this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4):
“Now Christ gave himself a sacrifice for the sins of his people, that as in consequence of this they might be delivered and saved from the damning power, so from the governing power and influence of all that is evil in this present world; as from Satan, the god of it, who has usurped a power over it; from the lusts that are predominant in it; from the vain conversation of the men of it; from the general conflagration of it at the last day, and from the perdition of ungodly men, and their eternal destruction in hell.”
Romans 1 and Transgenderism
It is difficult to imagine a contemporary social movement that is more dangerously consistent with the downward spiral of Romans chapter one than transgenderism. Read these words from St. Paul and ask yourself if we are not living in the times that he describes:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:18-22);
“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” (26-28).
“Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:32).
In Romans 1:18-32, the Apostle Paul describes unbelieving man’s descent into a hell of his own making. Unbelief in the presence of the undeniable coupled with intellectual and spiritual anarchy devolves into not only the normalization of the irredeemable but the codification of the indefensible. Reading Romans Chapter One is like living through the last twenty years. For as Dr. D. James Kennedy once said, “When your code cracks, your creed crumbles.” One is only amazed at the rapid rate of decline.
What's the Big Deal about Sexual Sin?
The truth is undeniable: God abhors sexual sins because it strikes at the image of God in Man. Sexual sin, including transgenderism, explicit and exemplarily condemned in the Word of God, degrades human beings. Our women and children will always suffer the most if we allow such corruption to continue without divine intervention. So, the Lord speaks to us today:
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
The gospel is a perennial word of hope. We do not have to fall into these sins. Paul wrote,
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2).
Transgenderism is a sad symptom of a soul in torment. The sin is an especially virulent pathology of the human soul. And the disease is spread by normalizing the forbidden, trivializing its lethality to the soul and to the community; and by naïvely promoting its supposed gaiety. Behind the laughing drag queen, however, is always a tragic and dying soul in need of Jesus Christ’s love.
If, in fact, you or your loved ones have been infected by the strong spirit-killing viruses of this agent of our present evil age, then, you must know: you can be healed. Life and love may be pure and holy before God. You can be fully human. Gospel transformation is not just available but is inevitable when one confesses his sin, turns to the Lord Jesus Christ to receive His mercy, grace, and receives His cleansing power of the cross: His life lived will cover yours. His death offered as a substitute for the punishment of our sins brings you redemption from the devices of the devil and the fetters of the flesh. St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, a notoriously noxious group of sinners, who had been caught in every vile trick of the devil, especially in sexual sin. Paul’s words are most instructive for our study:
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
Did you read that? “And such were some of you” (emphasis added). Our Lord welcomes you into the company of the redeemed. The sin that so easily besets you today will become the chains lying on the floor of that old cell where you used to exist. But, praise God, you are not what you were. You are not what you will be. You are who you are: a sinner saved by grace, a child of God, loved by Him, redeemed by Him, and destined for a life you only imagined.
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1. See S. Stryker and S. Whittle, The Transgender Studies Reader (Routledge, 2006), 1,2; https://books.google.com/books?id=HBRR1isU-VAC. The concept of intersectionality, attributed to UCLA and Columbia Law School professor, Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw (1959–), an intellectually fertile academic who also coined “Critical Race Theory.” See, e.g., Kimberle Crenshaw, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics,” u. Chi. Legal f. (1989): 139.
Association, American Psychiatric. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5®). American Psychiatric Pub, 2013.
Crenshaw, Kimberle. “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.” u. Chi. Legal f. (1989): 139.
Cretella, M.D., Michelle A., Quentin Van Meter, M.D., and Paul McHugh, M.D. “Gender Ideology Harms Children.” American College of Pediatricians. Last modified February 2, 2016. https://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/gender-ideology-harms-children.
Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality. New York: Vintage Books, 1988.
Gill, John. “Galatians 1:4.” In John Gill’s Commentary of the Bible. Bible Study Tools. Salem Media Group, 2019. https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/galatians-1-4.html.
Halperin, David M. Saint Foucault : Towards a Gay Hagiography. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
Hardiman, Kate. “Radical California Curriculum Wants to Start Teaching Kindergartners about Transgenderism.” Washington Examiner. Last modified April 17, 2019. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/red-alert-politics/radical-california-curriculum-wants-to-start-teaching-kindergartners-about-transgenderism.
Kel, Deplorable. “Michelle Obama Library Promotes Tranny Demon, With Baphomet Crown To Children,” n.d. http://silvanuspublishing.com/transgender/666-20/.
Lynskey, D. The Ministry of Truth: The Biography of George Orwell’s 1984. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2019. https://books.google.com/books?id=maBtDwAAQBAJ.
Orwell, G. 1984. Arcturus Publishing, 2014. https://books.google.com/books?id=uyr8BAAAQBAJ.
Stryker, S., and S. Whittle. The Transgender Studies Reader. Routledge, 2006. https://books.google.com/books?id=HBRR1isU-VAC.
Taylor, Charles. A Secular Age. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2018.
“Foucault, Michel: Feminism | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.” https://www.iep.utm.edu/foucfem/.
Michael A. Milton (PhD, Wales) is a long-time Presbyterian minister (PCA) and a regular contributor to Salem Web Network. In addition to founding three churches, and the call as Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, Dr. Milton is a retired Army Chaplain (Colonel). He is the recipient of the Legion of Merit. Milton has also served as chancellor and president of seminaries and is the author of more than thirty books. He has composed and performed original music for five albums. He and his wife, Mae, reside in Western North Carolina. His most recent book is a second edition release: Hit by Friendly Fire: What to do when Another Believer Hurts You (Resource Publications, 2022). To learn more visit and subscribe: https://michaelmilton.org/about/.