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What does the Bible say about homosexuality, same-sex attraction, & being transgender?

This information  is reprinted with permission from the St. Hugh of Lincoln Episcopal Church of Elgin Illinois.  This collection of scripture was compiled by several members of their congregation whose LGBTQ family members have experienced hurt and rejection from people who told them that God condemned them because of who they were.  Our goal is to highlight some of the many messages of love and inclusion that are in the Bible, and to help people consider the original meaning of the passages that have been used to condemn LGBTQ people (sometimes called the "clobber verses").

God loves LGBTQ people

Nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Rom 8:38)  This message is for all people, including LGBTQ individuals.

God did not make a mistake in creating LGBTQ people. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:113-14)  Sexual identity and gender identity are components of a person’s personality, and as such are part of who God made each of us to be.

All people are justified through Christ, including LGBTQ people.  “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19), therefore, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” (Romans 5:1, 2). This is not to say that being LGBTQ is a sin, but if it were, it would certainly be forgiven.

All people have been intentionally created by God, including LGBTQ people. Isaiah 43:1.  “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”

On Inclusion

God welcomes people of all genders and sexual identities.  “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  (Galatians 3:28)  Also “…God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.”  (Acts 10:28)  Jesus gladly socialized with people that the religious establishment disapproved of. (Matt  9:11)

The Church needs its LGBTQ members. “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)


The early church welcomed non-gender-conforming people.  One of the first recorded baptisms by the apostles was of an Ethiopian eunuch. (Acts 8:27)

Jesus warned against using anti-gay slurs. The NIV translation of Matt 5:22 reads “anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court”.  The original Greek text does not include “sister”, and the word “raca” is most likely a transliteration of the Aramaic word “rakkah”, which is the feminine form of the adjective that means “to be tender, weak, or soft”, so this would be comparable to calling a man a “sissy” (or worse).  [8], [9]

On Relationships

Love is a gift from God: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

God made us to be in relationship with Him and with each other: "it is bad for man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18)  It would be inconsistent with God’s loving nature to create people who were gay and then condemn them to a life of loneliness.  Heterosexual marriage is presented as an example (rather than a definition) of how God puts people in relationships; in Genesis 2:24: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”   The clause “that is why” points back to 2:18. 

God creates community and families, uniting people together: "So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." (Matthew 19:5).  God can and does create unions with all types of people, including LGBTQ individuals.

Celibacy is good if one is called to it, but it is not for everyone (Mt. 19:11-12); marriage is good, too ("better to be married than to burn with passion," 1 Corinthians 7:9).​

Examples of love between people of the same gender in the Bible:​

          David and Jonathan. “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.” (1 Samuel 18:1) David says of Jonathan: “Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.” (2 Samuel 1:26).​

           Ruth and Naomi  -  Ruth expresses her devotion to Naomi with, “Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God . Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17).

           The Centurion and his servant (Matt 8:5-10). The word used for “servant” here, “pais”, was commonly used to describe a servant who was a romantic partner of the master. [6]

On Gender

All people, including LGBTQ individuals, were created in God’s image: "So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27, NSRV) The use of the two primary genders in this passage is likely a “merism”, a figure of speech by which a single thing (in this case, humanity) is referred to by a phrase that lists several of its parts, but does not list all components.  In the other creation passages, day and night are specified, but not twilight; seas and land are mentioned, but not creeks or marshes; vegetation on land but no reference to algae. [10] This passage also indicates that God is not limited to a single gender.​

There are several characters in the Bible who were non-gender-conforming, meaning that they did not behave according to traditional gender roles, or that they were not physically typical of men or women. [4]​

          Jacob preferred to be with his mother at home, enjoyed cooking and was smooth-skinned, in contrast to his brother, who        was hairy and preferred to hunt and be outdoors. (Genesis 25)        

          Joseph, Jacob’s son, was given an “ornate robe” by his father (Genesis 37:3); the Hebrew word used here for the robe (ketonet passim) is used elsewhere to mean “the kind of garment the virgin daughters of the king wore” (2 Samuel 13:18).​

          Deborah (Judges 4-5) was a judge of Israel, acting as a prophet and military leader at a time when women were treated like property and valued by the number of children they could bear.​

          Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the palace women in the story of Esther, helped Esther to become queen.  Ebed-Melech also was a eunuch,  who saved the life of the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 38).​

          The man carrying a water jar, whom Jesus indicated would take the disciples to the room for his last supper, was doing work that was normally done by women, and yet was given this part to play in Jesus’ ministry (Luke 22:10).​

The Bible contains feminine images of God, in addition to the masculine metaphors of “Father” and “King”. [7]

          God’s wisdom in Proverbs is personified as female (Proverbs 1:20, 8:1, 9:1), and Christ is the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24).​

          Many references to God describe actions associated with women: nurturing life in the womb (Psalm 139:13), giving birth (John 3:5-6), and protecting children (Matthew 23:37).

To find an LGBTQ-affirming church near you, you can use the directory.

For an in-depth look at the “clobber passages”, this article reassures Christians who want to honor God’s word that the Bible does not condemn loving, consensual same-sex relationships.  This website also includes links to many helpful LGBTQ resources.​ contains many essays written by Christians who are LGBTQ+.  This article explores the reasons that some people have trouble accepting transgender individuals.

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