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Recently, transgenderism has come to the forefront of controversial identity politics in America. Many transgender individuals feel “victimized” by Christians, most likely because of a misunderstanding of what Christians actually believe when it comes to human sexuality and sin. In this post, we clear up a bit of this confusion, and focus in on the Orthodox Church’s treatment of transgenderism.

The Church’s position on sex and gender

Contrary to popular secular opinion, sex and gender are not separate things. This perspective is fairly new, becoming prominent only during and after the 1950s with the advent of modern gender and feminism theory. For millennia, societies functioned with two modes of humanity: male and female.

In the beginning, God created man with these two modes (Genesis 1:27) and created them to be in communion with one another, just as the Persons of the Holy Trinity are in communion. God appropriates male and female as perfect companions for one another in marriage (Genesis 2:24), and as Christians we must exercise our love and sexuality within these parameters. Therefore, because transgenderism goes against the parameters set by God, it is unacceptable to Orthodox Christians.

Yes, we concede there are very rare cases in which God creates humans who are born intersex. However, these cases have little to no bearing on the current transgender movement, which focuses more on society’s acceptance and “tolerance” of a sinful lifestyle. We focus on said lifestyle moving forward.

Is it a sin to be transgender?

This question is not as simple as it sounds. Let’s look at two different examples.

1. Ever since he was seven years old, Matt didn’t feel like a boy. He experienced life as a girl and wanted to live life as that sex/gender, not the one which God created him. He struggled with these feelings every day, and wondered if they would ever go away. Because he knew God loved him, Matt decided not to “transition” to being a woman. Instead, he continued to struggle with his feelings of dysphoria every day.

2. Ever since she was seven years old, Gina didn’t feel like a girl. She experienced life as a boy and wanted to live life as that sex/gender, not the one which God created her. She struggled with these feelings every day, and wondered if they would ever go away. Eventually, she decided to “transition,” and after hormone therapy and sexual reassignment surgery, she “became” a man and went by the name, “Kyle.”

Of these two individuals, which committed a sin? If you said the second, you would be right. It is not a sin to experience gender dysphoria (or same sex attraction, etc.). The sin lies in acting upon those feelings and desires, and going against the Divine order established by God. Those who think and act this way need our love and our help in accepting the reality of who they are. We are not putty that may be remade into whatever we feel — even if we feel it very deeply. Our bodies are not our own, but God’s, and they are holy (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).


With respect to transgenderism, the Orthodox Church’s position is rather cut and dry: Divine Providence does not make mistakes. There is a purpose to all circumstances in our life, even difficult and seemingly permanent ones, like gender dysphoria. Whatever we may feel, our maleness or femaleness is a biological, psychological and spiritual fact, rooted in our very being.

It is important to note that the Orthodox Church never condemns or hates people. It condemns actions, specifically those that go against the commandments of God. With spiritual guidance, anyone can find the love of Christ and seek true repentance for their sins. Wherever there is repentance, there is salvation. Even in the case of mutilation of the human body associated with a fair number of transgender individuals, they, too, can find peace.

Read More >> The Orthodox Church on Controversial Topics

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4 Responses

  1. It was pointed out some time ago that trans apologists are at odds with homosexual apologists. The person arguing homosexuality is normal will say God made me this way, God doesn’t make mistakes so I need not change. The trans person says God made me this way, God DOES make mistakes, so I HAVE to change, correct what God did wrong. The two groups form a fundamental threat to each other. If one is right the other can’t possibly be. It’s surprising they can coexist in the same parade, marching as they do in opposite directions. The Orthodox position is (I think) God doesn’t make mistakes, we do, and both groups are wrong. Very popular in the culture, of course.

    1. Hi Bob,

      Christ is in our midst!

      What an astute observation! You are correct in summarizing the Orthodox position. God does not make mistakes in the way He creates us. And if we suffer from same sex attraction or gender dysphoria, we can compare that to the man born blind or those possessed by demons. God created them that way for a reason, most likely to serve as an example to others who seek to attain theosis (salvation) by battling against the vices that plague us. It is in our selfishness to satisfy these perverse desires that we fall into sin.

      Unfortunately, both groups are indeed becoming popular in secular culture. As Christians, we must not allow this to anger us, but instead see it as an opportunity to evangelize, live the life Christ asks us to live, and be an example to those who suffer from these conditions.

      God bless!

  2. Thank you for your thoughts and interest in this area. It is a complex issue and not an easy one. The crucial aspect of these issues, is that one be “pastored” well towards the goal of simply living one’s life to the best of one’s ability. As a teacher, we had priestly visits who spoke to staff about the dangers of “homophobia” and so I developed a professional attitude of acceptance towards all gays. I am not the judge, God will judge. My job was to make sure that the young student developed a love for life and to live one’s life to the full. After years of working in a Catholic school, I found most people to be hateful and at times it was intolerable to keep working in a Christian setting. It was on the advice of an orthodox priest who also worked there for short while that I leave such an environment. Through it all, I learned compassion, especially towards youth, who revealed to me that they were gay. What I found remarkable about my experience, was the incredible love that parents had for their teenagers. Parents simply pray for leaders who will minister to their youth with love and acceptance.

    1. Hi Mary,

      Christ is in our midst!

      Thank you for sharing your story with us. You are absolutely correct: having a loving spiritual father makes all the difference. It is most unfortunate that the people you interacted with were hateful and intolerable. Because of this, so many in the LGBT community do not properly understand how God feels about them. We must remember to adorn ourselves with compassion when we approach anyone struggling with same sex attraction or gender dysphoria. We have to meet them where they are, let them know God loves them and wants them to be in communion with Him, and engage in fruitful conversation.

      God bless!

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