I’ve seen how the arguments against homosexuality can be explained away. I would’ve been hopelessly lost in my religion if it wasn’t for that. But i still have my doubts. I don’t know if transsexuality can mesh with Christianity. I’m nervous at church every week, and I’ve been relieved every time we don’t go. I use to enjoy church, but I’m scared to go now. I don’t feel like I can talk to anyone…
Letter submitted by:
What you are feeling is something that many transsexual individuals go through when dealing with their religious beliefs and communities. It is a completely normal feeling for it is a community that you obviously value and the idea of being shunned from that community would be terrifying for anyone.
The bible, throughout history has been used inappropriately by some as a weapon to scapegoat individuals that are different. As you mentioned, being Gay has been scrutinized as a sin by many people over the centuries. Unfortunately, there are people who believe that this also includes Transgender individuals, but these arguments can also be debated. Many arguments against LGBTQ arise from Deuteronomy. The thing to keep in mind, is that many scholars agree that Deuteronomy was created as a set of laws to diminish Pagan practices, encourage healthier living, and increase sanitation within the community. Deuteronomy 22:5 (King James version) states: A woman shall not wear a man’s apparel, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment; for whoever does such things is abhorrent to the Sovereign your God. At first glance it appears that this verse is solely reprimanding transgender and/or cross-dressing individuals, but it also accusing most women in our society because of the word apparel rather than garments. Apparel is translated to mean all things that are related to man a.k.a weapons, tools, ornaments, jobs etc. Furthermore, Deuteronomy 22:11 states that no clothes should be made of wool and linen woven together, and currently there is no outcry from our religious leaders in the mixing of clothing material. So how can you use Deuteronomy as a weapon against LGBTQ when so much of it is ignored? Unfortunately, people pick and choose what they interpret as literal in the bible to help support what they believe and that’s not what religion intended.
The biggest debate with religion and gender has always been the creation story (Genesis 1:26-28). In the Christian and Jewish tradition, God has always been considered male but if you look at the New American Standard Bible it states that Gen 1:27 -God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them. This clearly states that God embodies both man and woman. The problem with the bible is it has been translated in so many different ways that the same verse can have a completely different meaning by changing one word. This is why literal interpretation can cause many problems. The name Adam comes from Adamah, which means earth in Hebrew and is used more as a description rather than a name, which takes away its male connotations. If Adam was created in the image of God you could say that he also embodied both sexes and wasn’t just male until the creation of Eve. For further references and more information on these verses check out: mccchurch.org/download/smallgroups/spiritualtransformationstudies/transgenderstudy.pdf. The bible will always be debated on what was truly meant when it was created but the main idea is that God created all of us in his image and out of love. That is what religion is supposed to be about and you should never be afraid of who you are because someone in the congregation disapproves.
As for your fear in attending Church know that there are many transsexual individuals in the Christian faith. Take a look at the website http://www.transchristians.org/, where you can read stories about other transsexuals and their faith. One of most amazing stories I read was on a Baptist minister who is Transgender which you can read at www.religiondispatches.org/archive/sexandgender/1803/transgender_and_christian%3A_finding_identity.
You will always unfortunately find people who interpret the bible literally and many of their minds will never change. But that’s not Christianity; Christianity is about acceptance, believing that we are all God’s children. If that community doesn’t accept you it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you, just that they haven’t evolved past that oppressive state of mind. Know that there are many people out there who are fighting for freedom of LGBTQ from religious intolerance. Take a look at www.soulforce.org under their resources for more information. Also know that you always have support through us at the Trevor Project and your peers at the Trevor Space, http://www.trevorspace.org/ .