As Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea gets ready to make its world debut, advanced readers brought into question the nature of the book as it pertains to the Trans community. In the book, I mention that “God does not make mistakes” in regards to creating those on the LGBT+ spectrum, and it left some questioning where the stance with the Trans community would fall within that statement.
Although I do live a life surrounded by members of this community through my personal network, I came to the humbling realization that I didn’t know much about it. Unfortunately, this is the case for most of us within the LGBT+ community. We must do more to educate ourselves in support of our brothers and sisters. Having lacked sufficient knowledge to tackle the subject, I didn’t feel it was appropriate to speak in-depth on the matter within the book’s scope until I had had the chance to conduct more profound research on the Biblical implications and its contextual accuracy. I hope to include such crucial information in future editions of the book and ask for the community’s forgiveness for the oversight.
This being said, preliminary investigations brought up the same conclusions I made in the book — God doesn’t make mistakes. So bear with me while I explain. We must be cautious in using that phrase as it has often been weaponized against trans individuals to invalidate their feelings and decision of transitioning. This is not my intention. Instead, I mean that God did not make a mistake in allowing such thoughts and uncertainty to be present in the Trans population. You are not a mistake, and you are not “broken” as many Christians would like you to believe.
The Biblical scriptures often weaponized against the Trans community are found in Genesis and Deuteronomy. Let’s take a look:
So God created mankind in his own image,Genesis 1:26-31
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
A woman shall not wear a man’s apparel,Deuteronomy 22:5
nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment;
for whoever does such things is abhorrent to the Lord your God.
Before moving on, it’s essential to understand the difference between the terminology of transgender, transsexual, and transvestite. Transgender is a blanket term referring to those who feel their gender identity is different from their sex assigned at birth. Both transsexual and transvestite are more specific in meaning. Transsexual has a connotation leading to believe that a medical procedure has been done (either by surgical means or hormonal therapy) to make one physically look more closely to their gender identity. It is important to note that this term has negative implications as it has historically been used to assume that such individuals have had some mental illness that has led them to such decisions. This is not the case and thus the term should be avoided unless we as a society take a drastic turn in our treatment of this community. Transvestitite refers primarily to cross-dressing.
Let’s first take a look at the implications of Genesis in a Christian’s argumentation against the Trans community. In this verse, and throughout most of the early chapters of Genesis, the Bible is repetitive in ascertaining that God created male and female. Most Christians will use this as proof that creation’s original intent was for a binary gender system. As I have covered in the book, in those early chapters of Genesis, the very prose is meant to convey that God establishes contrasting elements. He separated the light from darkness, heavens from the earth, land from water, and such comparisons extend out into humanity with the creation of man and woman. Still, this does not mean that everything is concisely black and white.
Everything God created, He created on a spectrum. Though the verses in Genesis say he created night and day, we cannot ignore the existence of dawn and dusk. Though He separated the light from darkness, white light falls under a spectrum of various colors (a rainbow is a perfect example) and wave frequencies. Even in the darkest of nights, if one were to take a camera and shoot a long exposure shot, the minimal existence of light would still create an image once exposed to the camera’s sensors. Though he created plants and animals, there can be variations across different characteristics within the same species — think of the different variations of finches, a bird, in their beak styles and size depending on their local environment. The examples of such spectrums are numerous, and it is unreasonable to believe the same would not apply to humans on multiple fronts. Just because the two extremes of our species are male and female does not make us limited to a binary system. If everything else in God’s creation exists on a spectrum, it is logical to believe that so do we on a much more complex level.
Throughout the dissection of the gay-bashing verses in my book, I point out that contextual evidence must be considered before drawing conclusions on interpretation. The same applies to the verse in Deuteronomy. Solomon Olusola Ademiluka of Kogi State University in Nigeria conducted a study on this verse as a basis against the controversy happening in Nigeria’s Christian communities of women wearing pants/trousers as a direct contradiction to Christian doctrine. Many traditional Christian communities still hold onto the misinterpretation of such texts to prohibit women from wearing clothing traditionally attributed to men. Ademiluka inadvertently makes a case that serves the Trans community well in his study and dissection of this verse.
Much of the Old Testament laws were created with the sole purpose of setting apart the people of Israel from their pagan counterparts. In many of these pagan religions, transvestitism and transsexuality were often a question of ritualistic worship than a means of mere identity. Because of this, the practice was looked down upon due to its attribution to the worship of foreign gods. As God was vehemently opposed to any form of idolatry and worship of other gods and idols, such prohibitions were held as the highest priority for the Jewish people.
Today, such lifestyles have nothing to do with the worship of foreign gods, but everything to do with an individual’s intrinsic nature. I cannot pretend to have an answer as to why God allows people to be born into a gender in which they do not feel comfortable or at all like themselves. The truth is that such situations are a naturally-occurring part of life. To deny these individuals their truths is to claim that God is fallible and makes mistakes — an unbiblical conclusion.
Additionally, Ademiluka brings into question the historical evidence that in specific social settings, unisex clothing worn by both male and female were commonplace — particularly within the confines of one’s household. Ademiluka makes the case that because of the similarities in the robes and tunics of the time, Deuteronomy addresses particular instances where cross-dressing was deemed inappropriate. His inference is that Deuteronomy is speaking specifically about cross-dressing in a ceremonial religious setting rather than one’s day-to-day. Mind you, once again, his dissertation and arguments were made without bearing the topic of transgenderism in mind.
Intersex situations are another example of the complexities of humanity that exemplify the spectrum God created in humankind. Intersex is an umbrella term to describe a naturally-occurring phenomenon where an individual is born with multiple genitalia belonging to either or both genders. In many cases, there are no medical implications. In rare instances, health risks can present themselves; however, in both circumstances, parents are usually forced to decide on a sex-defining surgery prior to being fully informed on the matter. Researchers have found that this occurrence has a likelihood of 0.018% chance of occurring during the pregnancy. In a human population of 7.88 billion, that constitutes approximately 1.4 million people worldwide. Has God made a mistake here as well?
Additionally, many Christians will make the point that we are not allowed to “play God” in deciding to physically alter ourselves beyond what God has already created. To back this claim, they use Psalms 139:14 which states: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Though the sentiment is meant to reassure us that we are perfect just the way we are, it falls flat when used as a point of debate against the Trans community. According to Plasticsurgery.org, 13.5 million plastic surgery procedures were performed in 2020. This number was deemed as cosmetic rather than anything necessary for the correction of one’s health. The root motivation for such surgeries is people’s desire to make themselves more attractive or to feel more comfortable in their own bodies. Why then, should we stigmatize transitioning surgical procedures that allow Trans individuals to feel more at home with their own bodies? Why is the vast majority of people allowed to alter “God’s original masterpiece,” when it comes to breast augmentation/reduction, labiaplasties, rhinoplasties, or liposuction, yet we as a society go up in arms about an individual’s right to transition surgeries? This is another great example of needing to focus on the plank in our own eyes before trying to point out someone else’s; in other words — we should mind our own business when it comes to what we do with our bodies.
In conclusion, as believers of a God so incredibly compassionate and loving, it is time we abandoned such radical and literal interpretations of everything we read in the Bible. If we are made in God’s image and His mysteries are complexities we have spent millennia trying to understand, then so do we reflect such mysteries as we spend centuries of scientific study to further understand the nature of humankind. To my Trans brothers and sisters, you are seen, you are loved, and you are incredibly valued by the God who created you and continues to mold you into the person you were destined to become.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,Jeremiah 29:11, NIV
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
Ademiluka, Solomon Olusola. (2013). The prohibition of cross-dressing in Deuteronomy 22:5 as a basis for the controversy among churches in Nigeria on female wearing of trousers. Old Testament Essays, 26(1), 9-10. Retrieved March 14, 2022, from http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192013000100001&lng=en&tlng=en.
Fox, N. (2009). Gender transformation and transgression: Contextualizing the prohibition of cross-dressing in deuteronomy 22:5. Mishneh Todah, 49–72. https://doi.org/10.1515/9781575066042-009
Hegarty, P., Smith, A. Public understanding of intersex: an update on recent findings. Int J Impot Res (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41443-021-00485-w
Sax, L. (2002). How common is lntersex? A response to Anne Fausto‐Sterling. The Journal of Sex Research, 39(3), 174–178. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224490209552139
What does the Bible say about transgender people? Human Rights Campaign. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2022, from https://www.hrc.org/resources/what-does-the-bible-say-about-transgender-people
Yeo, L. (2021, July 13). God is a spectrum of being. More To That. Retrieved March 14, 2022, from https://moretothat.com/god/