Imago Dei

I started this blog in the midst of all the heartache and news about the death of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teenager who committed suicide after not being accepted for who she was by her family and church. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about myself and about the LGBT community. But in all my research and church background, I still do not understand what the big deal is against transgender people and transgender rights. What happened in Houston this week was nothing short of fear-mongering and treating people as less than human. And so, I have some theological and moral thoughts on transgender issues as a whole (in laymen’s terms more or less):

Pre-Fall times in Genesis, everything was perfect and simple–God created man. And then He created a woman. There were two genders. Post-Fall and Pre-Church/Pre-Incarnate Christ, things were less simple. One important note is that God said he was going to create humans “in our image.” There’s much debate and research about what that really means. What does it mean to be created Imago Dei? Is it about the physical body? Because if it is, then I can understand the uproar about trans rights. If the Image of God is about our physical body/biological gender we were born with, then changing that distorts the image and desecrates it somehow. However, if you’re basing your whole argument on one passage, you’ve missed the whole picture of being created in the image of God.
We’re “Post-Fall people.” Things don’t work the same way they did at the start of Creation. There’s genuine evidence that gender dysphoria is real–that there are people who do not feel at home in their own bodies or the biological gender they were born as. And yet, they still retain the image of God whether they transition to the other gender or not. They are not somehow less human or less loved by God.
The Image of God was imprinted on every human being. It has more to do with being created in God’s likeness–as spiritual and intelligent beings who have an idea of right and wrong, who love and can reflect God’s love to others–than it has to do with a physical body. What distorts this image is when we do not love God, when we reject His love for us, when we hate each other, and oppress the poor or someone who is Other. Transgender people and LGB people can reflect the image of God just as much as someone who is cisgender or straight. Everyone has the image of God imprinted on them. Everyone has the potential to reflect who God is and has dignity and value.
 After Christ’s coming to earth, even more things changed for humanity. Instead of a God who previously judged His people and expected them to live up to near-impossible standards to please Him, thru Jesus, He said there was grace and mercy–there was forgiveness and love.
So, what is so wrong about being transgender? Why do you keep calling transgender PEOPLE perverts? You know nothing about them or their struggles, but you judge them. Love makes more sense to me. Why are you fear mongering and vilifying someone you don’t even know? Nobody puts themselves intentionally through the struggles trans people have been through just because they have wrong intentions about sharing a bathroom with the gender they’re most comfortable with. The fact that anti-trans people have made this about sex and fear just shows how misinformed they really are. I’m sorry, but who perverted this issue?
I know we tend to not like people who are not like us. What I don’t understand is how we can rip other human beings apart and take away their humanity so we can feel more comfortable while they are treated as less than us. How is this loving? How is this behavior of God in any way? How is this acting like we were created in the image of God–the very God who stepped into our skin and breathed our air and loved us anyway.
(Side note rant: The “Bathroom Perpetrator” myth is nothing more than that. It’s just an excuse to treat trans people horribly.
For those using this argument:
1. Said “guy” is identifying as a girl and just wants to feel comfortable using the restroom/locker room like everyone else. They’re not the enemy.
2. Statistically speaking, a random stranger walking into the wrong bathroom is one of the least likely situations where sexual assault can occur, because most sexual assault victims KNOW the person. (
3. Please show me statistics where this has happened with someone who is TRANSGENDER and NOT a sex offender.
4. Please show me statistics for HOW OFTEN this has happened that you feel the need to purport this myth to scare people.)

2 thoughts on “Imago Dei

  1. Well said! While we may not like other’s lifestyles we need to remember that “every” human being was formed in the image of God, therefore deserving love, respect and awareness of the dignity of their humanity. May God help us!


  2. I really appreciate this perspective. So many times I see mere ‘tolerance’ of anyone off of the gender binary from Christian writers.

    Too many times people try to put themselves in God’s place of judgment, instead of putting themselves in the place of understanding, compassion, and mercy.


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