Bible, Religion and the Transgender Person.

Bible, Religion and the Transgender Person.

S Johnson (Eds)
[Abstract] Full Text [PDF]


[…] “neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”
Isaiah 56:3b-5
Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
Matt 19:11-12

Being transsexual within the Church of England

Sarah Jones was born ‘male’, baptised a Roman Catholic and is now an ordained Anglican priest but also a transsexual within the Church of England.

Davinci’s Last Supper

Was St John transgender?

In Da Vinci’s Last Supper St John is depicted as an androgynous character and some say this is in fact Mary Magdalene who was actually Married to Jesus Christ – see the blood royal, Holy Blood, Holy Grail and Da Vinci code etc.

Jesus had several teen age disciples, the youngest being St. John the Evangelist, the other was St. Philip the apostle. The 15th century painters wanted to represent those young apostles. It is this and this view alone that the church publicly subscribes too, nevertheless the bible when read can expose many contradictions.

“Other paintings from that period (Castagno’s 1447 and Ghirlandaio’s 1480) also show John to be a very boyish or feminine looking figure with long fair hair. This was because John was supposed to have been the youngest and
most unquestioningly devoted of the apostles. Hence he is often shown asleep against Jesus’s shoulder. John, painted as the usual effeminate da Vinci youth, is comparable to Leonardo da Vinci’s St. John the Baptist [6].”

Nevertheless was St John actually Transgender, intersex or a eunuch? This is something that seems to have been overlooked. It is impossible for Da Vinci to have known for certain how he looked unless he had some ‘privileged information’ offered by the church (some say most of the bible has been hidden by the church as some books were in fact written by women.


St. Paul has always been depicted as a young effeminate person until after the death and Resurrection of Jesus. Also notice the lack of head covering – women wore something over their hair in religious paintings and icons.

Mathew 26:20 now when evening was come , he sat down with the twelve
mark 14:17 and in the evening he cometh with the twelve
Luke 22:14 and when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.

However there are 13 in the painting the argument is was this extra person added because there was in fact an extra person there a woman or was the effeminate male actually an ‘effeminate male’ and drawn as such because he was gay
or transgender.

John 13:23 One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table close to Jesus if this was not a woman then was this his ‘partner’.
John 19:26-27 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom
he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your SON!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to HISown home.
John 21:20-21 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who had been reclining at table close to him and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?”

The disciple who Jesus loved not Disciples and following them would suggest outside of their normal group.

Did Da Vinci have information the church has hidden?


As God spoke through Moses to prepare the children of Israel for the conquest of Canaan, He instructed the people of Israel in this way:

“A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.”  [Deuteronomy 22:5]  The apostle Paul repeats this admonition in an expansion found in 1 Corinthians 11:1-15.  Paul calls men and women even to wear appropriate styles of hair that would indicate male or female in faithfulness to God’s design.
However in Deuteronomy 21 this is said!
10 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your hand, and you take them captive, 11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and desire her and would take her for your wife, 12 then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. 13 She shall put off the clothes of her captivity, remain in your house, and mourn her father and her mother a full month; after that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.

However, this does demonstrate the total disregard for females. It maybe that a female can pass easily and be nonthreatening to men. It could also be argued that crossdressing could therefore have been taken out of context and simply be a means for men to escape violence or concealing their identity for reasons totally unrelated to gender identity confusion.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Matthew 5:3-12

The invisible sex? – Invisibility by crossdressing – the religious context.

This happened when the BBC reporter John Simpson wore a female Burka to pass unnoticed in war-torn Afghanistan. It is for these reasons that dressing as a woman is unacceptable and not for a condition (Gender Identity) that would not be understood until thousands of years into the future.

Beneath the veil… John Simpson (BBC)

“The smugglers insisted that the cameraman and I should wear burqas – the traditional full-length garment of Pathan women – which covers the entire figure and face and is compulsory for all women living in Taleban-controlled Afghanistan.” (John Simpson, BBC)

“Merely putting on the burqa, I found, has an extraordinary effect. It seems to make you disappear. Behind their burqas, women have become an invisible sex in Afghanistan. At roadblocks, guards may look closely at the men in a car. But they simply ignore the women who are mostly immune from being searched, though in one or two places, it is said, women searchers have been recruited now.
In our case, the tactic worked superbly.” (John Simpson, BBC).

Projection of homoerotic feelings?

It could also be that those that see a man dressed as a women feel homoerotic feelings – rather the problem resides in denial of sexuality than in the crossdresser. As was the case in a recent television program where a pre-op transsexual duped a group of men into believing she was a genetic female. This I argue is again due to the men and not the crossdressing person. The same argument could be used for men that rape women using the excuse, “she was wearing a tight dress! What does she expect?!”


The term ‘abomination’ is freely distributed throughout the bible. Almost no-one or thing escapes being one:
And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation? 34 That ye shall say, Thy servants’ trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians. Genesis 46:28-34
Leviticus is particularly fond of ‘abominations’

9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. 10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: 11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination. 12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you. 13 And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, 14 And the vulture, and the kite after his kind; 15 Every raven after his kind; 16 And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, 17 And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, 18 And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, 19 And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat…  Leviticus 11:9-19
41 And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination; it shall not be eaten. 42 Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination.
19 Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness. 20 Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her. 21 And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech,  neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. 22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. 23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.

It is interesting 22 is always brought into the sphere, despite 20 and 21 being far more socially prevalent!

The Eunuch

Often transgender people are faced with insensitive churches and on many chat shows they get the usual attacks that gay people have faced. The following discusses the transgender part in all this. It is obvious that when the old testament and New testaments were written there was no understanding of transgender people in the modern context. The nearest we can assimilate transgender people to is eunuchs. As it is the eunuch that appears as an ‘intersex’ person and is treated as such.

[…] “neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”
Isaiah 56:3b-5

So as far as the bible is concerned we can glean transgender people are acceptable? And Eunuchs throughout the Bible seem to be a decent lot!

Ok, lets now address those who attack transgender people either in church on religious groups that openly attack transgender people on television studio discussions.

Well the obvious thing people react with is:

He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
Joh 8:7

However, there is a better passage to quote in these situations:

Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! James 5:9

Ok so assuming you are a transgender person and don’t have sex although as a eunuch little thought has been given to receiving it from others. Nevertheless in this scenario the transgender person has their place in heaven.

Now lets look at the most common passage quoted in any media! This applies mainly to Gay Men however, it can in a way also apply to transgender women. It also applies to Female-to-Male in an abstract way.

Leviticus 18:22
“You shall not lie with a male as with a women, it is abomination”
Leviticus 18:22
“If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death….” Leviticus 20:13.

Slaughtering Gays is  extreme!

When the Leviticus author discussed bestiality, he prohibited men from having sex with animals, and then prohibited women from having sex with animals. The author was specific with genders when discussing bestiality. Yet in 18:22/ 20:13 only males are prohibited from having sex with other males, whilst there is no prohibition on lesbianism. This would make the author (who was allegedly under the supervision of “The one God” while writing the text) appear inconsistent, unless he was referring to a specific practice rather than homosexuality in general.

Three times we are told that the laws set forth in chapters 18-20 are to prevent the Israelite priests from engaging in the religious practices of the Canaanites. Chapter 20 even begins with a discussion of the Canaanite god Molech. So already we see that the context is that of idolatry.

Going further, upon transliterating it is known that the word used to describe the sexual acts in 18:22 and 20:13 was “toevah”, which almost always referred to idolatry, or things religiously unclean.

An idolatrous practice of the Canaanites in worship of Molech that involved homosexuality was that of religious prostitution. There was one specific form of such that fits the description in 18:22 and 20:13 perfectly: The male prostitute would dress up as a woman and even wore a mask of the Goddess Astarte (Molech’s mate), so it was as though this male was a female. The customer would be a man, a man who would lie with a male as if he were a female. This specific ritual did not involve lesbianism.
Thus the author’s absent reference of female with female, the context of idolatry, and the use of toevah in the texts all make perfect sense. This could not be said if the author was referring to homosexuality in general.

One last argument in support of this view is that according to Biblical historians, actual, loving homosexual relationships were frowned upon in Canaan during that time period. It is nonsensical to think the author of Leviticus was referring to a form of homosexuality in Canaan that did not exist at the time.


Priests of South Sulawesi, Indonesia of the Muslim Bugis Society

The Bissu are usually described as imagined to be hermaphroditic beings who embody female and male elements gender transcendents and as having a ritual role.

The Bugis of Sulawesi have four accepted genders that include a fifth para gender identity. In addition to male men (oroane) and female women (makunrai), there are calalai (masculine females), calabai (feminine males), and Bissu who act as priests.
At the beginning of time they believe the gods decided they would bring life to our planet. They sent one of their most aspiring deities, Batara Guru. However, Batara Guru was not good at arranging things. To do all of this, two Bissu were needed. So the gods sent down two bissu who stood with Batara Guru as he descended. And when they arrived, the Bissu set about making everything blossom – they created language, culture, customs [adat] and all of the things that a world needs if it is going to blossom.

Similar to Adam and Eve there was Sarawigading who desperately wanted to marry with WeCudai but she lived on an island in the middle of the lake. To access her he needed a boat but did not have the strength to cut down a tree to make one – the Bissu descended from heaven adorned with the strength of both man, woman, human and god and enabled the tree to be cut down.
Sometimes the bissu are described as transvestites, but this seems to be a misunderstanding. As their dress is unique to them and not of the ‘opposite sex’ that combines male and female features.

To be a bissu one has to incorporate aspects of all genders. In most cases this seems to mean to be born as an intersexual – hermaphroditic individual, however, there also seem to be some cases in which a Bissu  is physically fully male or female.
It is believed that one is born with the ability to become a Bissu . This can be shown in a baby whose genitalia is ambiguous. Ambiguous genitalia [see intersex] is not enough to ensure that you become a Bissu . Ambiguous genitalia need not be visible – a birth male who becomes a bissu is believed to be female on the inside. By the age of about twelve, if a child demonstrates a close connection with the spirit world, they are groomed to become a Bissu . In the past, such a child would be apprenticed to the royal court. Nowadays, a child will become the apprentice of an individual Bissu . After many years of training and undergo a number of tests, an apprentice Bissu  such as lying on a bamboo raft in the middle of a lake for three days and three nights without eating, drinking or moving. If the apprentice survives this and wakes from the trance fluent in the sacred bissu language Basa Bissu or Bahasa Dewata (language of the gods), they are then accepted as a Bissu .

It is believed that those who are some kind of a ‘gender threshold’, also stand at the threshold between the zahir and the batin or the obvious and the hidden world. This idea corresponds to the ancient Muslim idea of the khuntha and the mukhannath being ‘guards of sacred boundaries’ and to the traditional role that many intersex and transgender people have in certain other traditional Muslim societies , but in this case it seems to be of ancient local origin.

The Bissu is usually consulted when a special blessing from the powers of the batin world is needed. This might for example be the case when a Bugis person is leaving Sulawesi for the Hajj, the obligatory pilgrimage to Makkah.

This is, of course, not in vein with orthodox Islam, but it has been tolerated by local Muslim authorities, as long as it does not include any act that is clearly against the Shariah.In this special case it means that the spirit and the Bissu`s powers should not be considered as in any way independent from Allah`s power, because He is the only one who is to be worshiped.

In day to day social life the bissu, along with the calabai and the calalai, is allowed to enter the women` s parts of the houses and villages as well as the men`s.

The main role of the Bissu, then, is to bestow blessings for just about anything from crops to marriage. Bissu have altered some of their practices, though, such as walking on fire because it is believed to be contrary to Islam.


Although seen as an extreme regime by many, transsexuals in Iran are treated quite well by the state following a decree by the spiritual leader, Ajatolah Homeini, that transsexual women be treated medically, and were created by god in this way.

This may not be ideal for those who are not transsexual, but it does demonstrate even in regimes that one would assume are very much driven by spiritual study, that there can be some confusion about just how badly treated transsexual people are.

Useful Links


Citation: See “The Children are Free: Re-examining the Biblical Evidence on Same-Sex Relationships” by Rev. Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connoley; “Homosexuality and Christianity” by Jeramy Townsley; “Transgender Warriors Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman” by Leslie Feinberg; and “Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse” by Rembert Truluck.

Also check out “A Defense Theory: An Analysis of Six Critical Texts Used To Condemn Homosexuality” by Royce Buehler at, which goes into greater detail on “toevah”, and the religious context of Leviticus 18-20., BBC.