Gender dysphoria is a real and growing phenomenon.
In society, there is much debate and confusion about what it means to be male or female. Transgender people can feel trapped in the wrong body, ashamed of their bodies, and misaligned with people of the same biological sex and associated stereotypes. They feel more internally aligned with their perceptions of the other gender. Factors like same-sex or multi-sex attraction and past trauma or abuse can (but do not always) contribute to gender dysphoria. Distress can be so great that a person may become suicidal, try to transition genders socially by altering names, dress, and appearance, or transition physically using puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy, or surgery.
God loves people with gender dysphoria. He doesn’t see them as worse sinners than others; he offers the same redemptive plan to all. His Word transcends time and culture to guide us in all of life—including gender and sexuality. He doesn’t make mistakes. God creates each person distinctly male or female for a purpose. Any sexual expression outside of God’s design is destructive. If we align with his design and follow his will despite our struggles and cultural pressures, he will transform us to reflect his image and we will find peace and joy.
Setting the Record Straight
- God loves transgender people. God so loves LGBTQ people, and anyone with gender dysphoria, that he sacrificed his only son to make a way for them to be redeemed and restored to an intimate relationship with him (John 3:16). Christ gives new life to all who trust in him (1 Cor 6:9-11).
- Christians can struggle with gender dysphoria. Many Christians with gender dysphoria faithfully and joyfully surrender their sexuality to God’s design. (1 Cor 10:13, John 10:10)
- Feelings are real, but not always reliable. Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, we’ve all inherited sinful natures with desires contrary to God’s design (Romans 7:14-18). Healthy sexuality is determined by our Designer, not our desires (Psalm 19:7-11). We should try to understand feelings, but we should not always follow them. If feelings don’t align with biological sex, it doesn’t mean we should try to change genders.
- You are not denying your true identity if you follow God’s plan instead of your desires. We are so much more than our sexual feelings and desires. God designed each of us for a specific purpose to reflect his image and glory. Through Christ, God offers us a new identity as his children—forgiven, righteous, and clean. Christ’s blood determines a Christian’s identity and value (1 Cor 6:9-11). To answer God’s call is to accept an identity defined by God and to follow his will in all areas of life.
- The Bible only affirms binary categories for men and women. Though masculinity and femininity are expressed in diverse ways in the Bible, male and female are distinct, complementary, and essential to God’s plan (Genesis 1:27, 2:18-22); they are not identical or interchangeable. We are instructed to not practice sex like the opposite sex (Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:18-32), dress as the opposite sex (Deut 22:5), or embrace other-gendered expressions of identity (1 Cor 11:14-15), but to glorify God with our bodies (1 Cor 6:19-20).
- The best scientific studies of gender transition treatments and surgeries reveal that they do not significantly improve long-term quality of life. Studies even show that suicide rates for those who transition are much greater than their peers (Decision Memo for Gender Dysphoria and Gender Reassignment Surgery, Obama Admin Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services 2016)
More Biblical Insights
God loves you and has your best interests in mind. You matter to God. He created you for purpose and set eternity in your heart. No earthly relationship, change of identity, or body transformation will satisfy you—only God’s perfect and true love can satisfy you. His instructions lead to life.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
Living out your sexuality in ways other than God’s design is condemned in Old and New Testaments.
“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22)
“… they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another...” (Romans 1:25-27)
“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)
It’s not your body that needs to be transformed, but your mind. God can make you new. By the Holy Spirit, he can renew your mind and transform you to be more like Jesus.
“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 6:19-20)
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 12:2)
Self-denial is counter-cultural, but Christ says we must deny ourselves and follow him to truly live. Culture tells us to transform our bodies and conform our minds to our desires. Jesus calls us to follow him, and let God transform our hearts and minds to conform every area of life to his will.
“…If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?” (Jesus Christ, Luke 9:23-25)
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Jesus Christ, Matthew 11:28-29)
It is loving, not hateful, to refrain from supporting sin and to kindly tell someone the truth about sin.
“[Love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” (1 Corinthians 13:6)
- God loves you and made you in his image. Ask Christ to heal you spiritually (Romans 10:13).
- Be honest with God about your feelings. Ask him to renew your mind through his Word to understand his purpose in how he designed you (Romans 12:1-2).
- Balance the many voices affirming gender transition with studies and stories of those who regret transitioning.
- Find mature Christians and a support group like re:generation where you can be known and loved and explore any underlying struggles (Titus 3:3-7).
If you do not yet have a personal relationship with Jesus, check out How Freedom Can Begin Today.
Begin to study God’s design for sexuality and gender using the resources below.
Detransition Studies and Stories
- “God and the Transgender Debate: What Does the Bible Actually Say About Gender Identity?” by Andrew Walker
- “Mama Bear Apologetics Guide to Sexuality: Empowering Your Kids to Understand and Live Out God’s Design” by Hillary Morgan Ferrer
- “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment” by Ryan T. Anderson