What does the Bible say about transgender identity?


Robert Gagnon

By Tyler O’Neil

Last month, a professor and former dean of theology who changed gender identities argued that the Bible defends those who renounce their birth gender, while a leading biblical expert on homosexuality said it condemns them as an “abomination.”

“I was dying last year because I couldn’t live that way anymore. .. I tried to be the best Christian woman I could be and today I get to be the best Christian I can be and the best person I can be,” Heather Ann Clements, former head of the theology department at Azusa Pacific University (APU) in Los Angeles, Calif., said in a sermon proposing a biblical defense of transgender identity. During that sermon, he came out as a transgender man, Heath Adam Ackley. Embracing his identity as a man, he claimed it empowered him to love God and others more.

“The writers of Scripture viewed any attempts at overriding one’s birth-sex as abhorrent, a sacrilege against the structures of maleness or femaleness created by God, and ultimately a rebellion against the Creator who made our bodies,” retorted Robert A. J. Gagnon, an associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary who is considered the foremost expert on the Bible and homosexuality. Gagnon addressed Ackley’s arguments head on.


Biblical arguments for transgender identity

“Thirteen years I’ve been a member of this congregation and I’ve never preached – and I’m an ordained minister,” Ackley said, introducing the sermon. “I was too scared, I couldn’t do it, I was all blocked up. Scales were on my eyes and my mouth was plugged up and I was living in chains.”

Throughout the sermon, and in an email statement to The Christian Post, Ackley laid out his argument that the Bible welcomes transgender people. He referred to three passages – one in Genesis, one in Matthew, and one in Galatians.