Sarahjanus's Blog

December 16, 2011

Is cross-dressing a sin?

One of the appeals of the Internet and blogs is that one never knows who may read what you write, as well as the opportunity to read the writings of people far beyond one’s normal reach. A blogger by the name of Lulu Simawati read and commented on one of my posts, so I went to his site and read his material.

I write to give form to my feelings and my thoughts. I access the forums to explore the range of possibilities. The forums reassure me because I can place myself on that range and know that there are other like-minded people around me. They also reassure me because I am within the extremes of the ranges. As a statistician may comment, I am not an outlier.

I have wrestled with my secrets, knowing that because I lied to myself from a very early age, I am now stuck with the visage I have created and maintained for so many years. To dramatically alter that visage now would cause hurt and suffering to my children, my grand-children, and my loving and ever-suffering wife. I describe her as ever-suffering because although my cross-dressing is a secret from her, she has lived through the destructive behaviours that have scarred my life and by extension hers. It has always been a theme of my life that I would like to walk away from this existence and begin again, (or carry on) anew, in a more honest and accurate life-style.

I have also wrestled with my faith and my belief in the existence of God. I have, at times, preferred to deny His existence. I can argue credibly that the Bible is nothing more than a collection of morality tales that are common in one variation or another, to every civilization known to anthropologists. I can argue that the Bible is incomplete because Constantine directed that the Christian elders of the day choose which of the numerous Gospels were most effective and consistent with the central themes, and compile them into a single book. The discarded Gospels may have been insightful if they had been saved and stored. History is usually written by the victors, sometimes at the expense of objectivity, completeness and balance. The Bible suffers from the same effects.

I have watched the Stephen Hawking’s documentaries about the creation of the universe and his very cogent arguments against the existence of God. I prefer the television documentaries because they “dumb them down” to a level I can manage. Even then, I can’t allow anyone to interrupt them because one lost example can cause me to not grasp an entire segment. I am following the news reports of the progress towards finding the Higgs boson, a particle that the scientists are irreverently calling the God particle.

I have returned to a belief in God, faith being a belief in the absence of evidence. I still wrestle with the validity of the Bible and its application in a direct fashion to everyday life. In the course of a recent trip to North Africa, I acquired a local version of an English translation of the Qur’an which I have begun reading. It has been very insightful.

The sum total of this is that I believe I am open-minded. I am developing a self-awareness that I was lacking in my earlier life. I am less an actor now, in my own life and more a participant. However, I have never considered myself a sinner because of my cross-dressing. Of all the acts that I believe I will be judged for, my homosexual youth and my cross-dressing are not on the list, which brings me back to Lulu Simawati, and his blogs. There is a deep and abiding angst in his writing because he sees his cross-dressing as a sin before God. He also mentions a friend who is even more deeply tormented by an undeniable drive to cross-dress and the belief that every time he does, he offends against his God. In my mind, that is a terrible burden to go through life with.

There is a verse in Deuteronomy that says, “the woman shall not wear that which pertainth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment; for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God”. It is fitted in between, being responsible for your brother’s oxen if they get out, and finding a bird’s nest, and is followed by an admonition to not mix fabrics, or wear fringes on your clothes. It is this verse that, I am sure, is causing Lulu and his friend so much anxiety. Just for clarification, I’m not a dedicated student of the Bible. I googled some phrases and was led to the reference and some associated hardline right-wing Christian fundamentalist writings, which were far more hardline than they were Christian, (IMHO).

I’m not as troubled as Lulu by the admonition in Deuteronomy. I have a great deal of trouble accepting much of the Old Testament, and in my own mind, I am more concerned about my transgressions that have caused pain and hurt to others, than I am by this. Is this a rationalization on my part, that I can live by some of the laws of the Bible and ignore others? Or is this something that is an absolute like “you shall not lie with a man, as with a woman”?

If I’m wrong, I’m going to know a lot of people in Hell, but I can’t see God punishing people for a genetic outcome (homosexuality) or a psychological condition (cross-dressing) that is beyond their means and abilities to alter or control. I don’t “feel” that that is God. I have felt like an oddity since puberty. I never quite fit in with my obvious gender and I lived in an environment that was not accepting of variation. I didn’t fight back. In fact I acquiesced. The result is that mine has not been a completely happy life. I feel a bit like a deep cover spy or agent, living the life that was assigned rather than the one chosen. Now, the façade is beginning to crumble, but my God isn’t going to judge me on my sexuality or my gender dysphoria. I believe He is going to judge me on how I conduct my life, how I treat others, how I help when I should, on the acts of goodness or kindness done unknown to others. I wonder if my later life will be sufficient to offset my earlier transgressions, (setting aside accepting Him into your heart and the whole forgiveness and going forward thing). But I do not fear being judged for cross-dressing. Allowing myself to cross-dress, and accepting that part of me is what has put drugs, alcohol and a host of other self-destructive behaviours behind me.




  1. thank you for your concern

    Comment by Lulu Simawati — December 16, 2011 @ 11:10 pm

  2. I believe I am that other person you mentioned 🙂

    First of all, very great post. Honest, insightful and gracious.
    Thank you

    Second, I don’t have the angst and anxiety about Deut. 22:5 or my belief that crossdressing is sinful that you describe in this post. I understand why you would think I do. It seems only logical that if I have some desires to crossdress, and am resisting them, that I must be in anguish. But in fact, I have found freedom and joy in that verse. I do not find God’s commands to be burdens, but in his commands are where we find the fullest life and joy. See my post here – I’m not just saying that because the Bible tells me I should feel that way. I really DO feel that way, and so do many many others I keep talking to who have given up crossdressing because of their faith.

    Third, if you are interested in my interpretation of Deuteronomy 22:5, it’s long, but thorough. Read it here –

    Fourth, those are interesting thoughts you have about the Old Testament, and also about Constantine and the Bible. I have studied these issues and think I may be able to give you some challenging things to think about where those are concerned. I’m interested to hear your thoughts and have a gentle laid back discussion about it. If you are interested, let me know.

    Fifth, you said – “a psychological condition (cross-dressing) that is beyond their means and abilities to alter or control.”

    Do you really think that crossdressing can’t be controlled? Don’t you believe you have the freedom to choose which of your desires to give in to and which ones you don’t? Don’t you do that on a all the time with a whole host of daily decisions? Also, I have a whole group of people I’ve been talking to who have controlled their crossdressing, including myself. So I have to strongly disagree with that.

    Comment by thorin25 — December 17, 2011 @ 9:32 pm

    • I enjoyed reading your response to my post. It was articulate, organized and without drama. I will comment on your points and probably ask some questions. I look forward to an engaging discussion. Discussions are a key part of why I post. I may be delayed in responding in a meaningful way because it is the Christmas season, so there are other priorities for the coming days. I read your response to Lulu’s post but I was referring to the friend that he mentioned without naming. You may be one and the same, I don’t know.

      Comment by Sarah Michelle — December 19, 2011 @ 10:55 am

  3. Fifth, if I may gently say so, I think you have misunderstood the Christian view of God, judgment, heaven and hell.

    We as Christians believe that all people deserve hell, whether or not they are homosexual, whether or not they crossdress, whether or not they steal, etc. You can be a nice seemingly good person and still deserve hell. You deserve hell if you have not loved God and neighbor perfectly which includes every single person that ever lived, except for Jesus. Yes I believe crossdressing is a sin, but it’s not just that one sin that makes us deserving of hell. We ALL deserve it. And yes, many other sins are much bigger of a deal than crossdressing. But none of us can escape judgment for our sins by our own effort. It’s not like God weighs us on a scale to see if our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds. Our good deeds earn us nothing. This is hard to accept, but if we believe in a perfect God, how could he demand anything less than perfection?

    But even though we as sinners are detestable to God because of our actions, he also loves us beyond what we can imagine and he gives us the opportunity to be made clean and saved through Jesus. Jesus, as God, lived the perfect life that we could not live, and as a real human being, he represented us as humans in taking the punishment for our sins. God loved us so much that he punished himself instead of punishing us.

    So if we have crossdressed or murdered 500 people, or avoided both, we can still only be saved through Jesus. But we can be totally forgiven through him. It is amazing and wonderful, God’s love, grace, and mercy. No matter how bad of a life we lived, we can still be completely forgiven through belief in Jesus as our representative and Lord. Even Hitler, if he had known Jesus, could be forgiven and saved. Not because he deserved it, but because of God’s deep love for us.

    Even after we’ve accepted Jesus as our savior, we still struggle with sin. We start sinning less and less, but we still sin. So even if we have crossdressed as a Christian, this does not mean we are going to hell. We are still completely forgiven in Jesus. But this is not an excuse to give in to crossdressing as we should still try to resist it and live lives pleasing to God. Someone who really loves Jesus wants to live for him and live a pleasing life to God. And it so happens that the life God wants for us is the very best life that it is possible to have.

    Comment by thorin25 — December 17, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

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