Transgender, and transvestite, are modern words that were not in use during the days when the writers recorded the inspired word of God, thus you cannot find a direct reference in Scripture that uses these words. There are principles, however, recorded in the Bible to help us understand the true nature of the transvestite.
Until sin entered the world, God’s creation was perfect. In Genesis 1:27 we read, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” This truth is confirmed in another account of the creation given in Genesis 5:1-2, “When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them.”
Sin began with a question of the truth. In Genesis 3:1, Satan tempted Eve by asking, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Questioning the created order, and applying human logic, rather than the word of God, leads people into sinful activities, which they justify in their minds. Such mental gymnastics in no way change the truth, but it helps people to feel better about their fallen state. (Philippians 3:17-21)
Once sin entered the world, God’s perfect creation became perverted in many ways, including confusion between genders. This may be clearly seen in Deuteronomy 22:5. “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear woman’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.” This is perhaps the most direct biblical prohibition against transvestitism. If God detests the practice, it is sin, and the bible here offers a strong warning and prohibition.
Deuteronomy 23:1 says, “No one who has been emasculated by crushing or cutting may enter the assembly of God.” Because there is forgiveness and grace through the gospel of Jesus Christ, I will let God be the judge of all things, but it is easy to gain discernment from this scripture for not going through surgical procedures for sex change, if it might hinder a person’s ability to worship the living God.
In Psalm 139:13-16, David wrote, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
The Psalmist reminds us of the miracle of life, and the God who created us. Transgenderism, homosexuality, and all other sexual perversions were not a part of God’s perfect design. Those engaged in alternate lifestyles often feel empty, or cheated. There is an emotional disconnect, so that they feel that they are one gender trapped in the body of the opposite gender. It may be that they are born with a propensity toward this perversion. We all have a sin nature, and a propensity towards what is forbidden. It may be that their circumstances and the events of their life led them in this direction. This is how the devil works on us all. They have a spiritual hole that they try to fill with their perversion, which can never satisfy. But, there is hope, healing, grace, forgiveness, and a new life available to all sinners, through faith in Jesus Christ.
In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus affirmed God’s design in gender when he said, “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be untied to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” God’s design in gender was to provide for procreation as well as fulfillment within the God ordained marriage relationship. Anything outside of the biblical model is a perversion of what God intended.
How then can we account for the person who feels more at peace with himself or herself as a transgender or a transvestite? Paul wrote in Romans 1:28, “Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.” Herein lies the root of the problem. Those who continue in any sin, do so with a disregard for the natural created order, or the will of God. By denying and justifying sin, people justify their actions in their minds so that, to them, the truth becomes a lie, and the lie becomes the truth. This same passage gives a strong warning for those who do such things.
Another biblical warning may be found in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offender nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” While sexual immorality is at the forefront of prohibition in the passage, the reference is to all who continue in a sinful lifestyle, whatever it might be. Interesting to this discussion is the Greek word, here translated as male prostitute. It could just as correctly be translated as effeminate male, and thus be a direct reference to the transgender issue.
An interesting verse may be found in 1 Corinthians 11:15-15. “Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory?” I believe that Paul here writes from a cultural perspective. In the culture of his day, men wore short hair, and women wore long hair, as a part of their identity. In our culture, it makes no difference at all, to me, how long, or how short, a person’s hair is, regardless of their gender. The principle that we should take away from this verse is that Paul cautions that a man should not try to look like a woman, and a woman should not try to look like a man.
These verses, and more, shed light on the current debate. True peace and happiness comes to the person who is able to be happy and at peace with themselves, just as they are. Spiritual peace comes to a person when he or she confesses their sin, repents, asks for forgiveness, and trusts Jesus Christ into his or her heart, as Savior and Lord. Transvestitism, and transgenderism is sin before Holy God. It is the same in God’s eyes as any other sin, and the cure may be found in Romans 10:9, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” It is the same for all people, regardless of his or her sin. The good news is found in Romans 10:13, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.