Is crossdressing a sin?

I don’t condone of it myself. I don’t mind gay people but I find it creepy when gay guys dress like girls.

But is crossdressing a sin? Some say yes. Here’s one example where it is classified as a sin of adultery

Deuteronomy also classifies it as a sin, but of course many Old Testament laws and customs are not relevant for Christians.

Yet Joan of Arc crossdressed, saying God commanded her to, and she’s a canonised saint whose feast day was just yesterday. Why the disparity if it is indeed a sin?

I think people who do it to deceive, to come across as something they are not, it is wrong. A man who wants to come across and be treated like a woman by another man, or vice versa, that is wrong.

With St. Joan, I think it was for her protection, a young maiden on the battlefield would have been in danger. Her appearance as a soldier in battle armor would not have made her a distraction or an immediate target. I dont think she was dressed that way to try to come across as a man to another woman.

What about Deuteronomy chapter 22? It sure seems to be against cross-dressing:

Deuteronomy 22:1-30 NRSV-CE (1) You shall not watch your neighbour’s ox or sheep straying away and ignore them; you shall take them back to their owner. (2) If the owner does not reside near you or you do not know who the owner is, you shall bring it to your own house, and it shall remain with you until the owner claims it; then you shall return it. (3) You shall do the same with a neighbour’s donkey; you shall do the same with a neighbour’s garment; and you shall do the same with anything else that your neighbour loses and you find. You may not withhold your help. (4) You shall not see your neighbour’s donkey or ox fallen on the road and ignore it; you shall help to lift it up. **(5) A woman shall not wear a man’s apparel, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment; for whoever does such things is abhorrent to the LORD your God. ** (6) If you come on a bird’s nest, in any tree or on the ground, with fledglings or eggs, with the mother sitting on the fledglings or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young. (7) Let the mother go, taking only the young for yourself, in order that it may go well with you and you may live long. (8) When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof; otherwise you might have blood-guilt on your house, if anyone should fall from it. (9) You shall not sow your vineyard with a second kind of seed, or the whole yield will have to be forfeited, both the crop that you have sown and the yield of the vineyard itself. (10) You shall not plough with an ox and a donkey yoked together. (11) You shall not wear clothes made of wool and linen woven together. (12) You shall make tassels on the four corners of the cloak with which you cover yourself. (13) Suppose a man marries a woman, but after going in to her, he dislikes her (14) and makes up charges against her, slandering her by saying, ‘I married this woman; but when I lay with her, I did not find evidence of her virginity.’ (15) The father of the young woman and her mother shall then submit the evidence of the young woman’s virginity to the elders of the city at the gate. (16) The father of the young woman shall say to the elders: ‘I gave my daughter in marriage to this man but he dislikes her; (17) now he has made up charges against her, saying, “I did not find evidence of your daughter’s virginity.” But here is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity.’ Then they shall spread out the cloth before the elders of the town. (18) The elders of that town shall take the man and punish him; (19) they shall fine him one hundred shekels of silver (which they shall give to the young woman’s father) because he has slandered a virgin of Israel. She shall remain his wife; he shall not be permitted to divorce her as long as he lives. (20) If, however, this charge is true, that evidence of the young woman’s virginity was not found, (21) then they shall bring the young woman out to the entrance of her father’s house and the men of her town shall stone her to death, because she committed a disgraceful act in Israel by prostituting herself in her father’s house. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. (22) If a man is caught lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman as well as the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel. (23) If there is a young woman, a virgin already engaged to be married, and a man meets her in the town and lies with her, (24) you shall bring both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death, the young woman because she did not cry for help in the town and the man because he violated his neighbour’s wife. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. (25) But if the man meets the engaged woman in the open country, and the man seizes her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die. (26) You shall do nothing to the young woman; the young woman has not committed an offence punishable by death, because this case is like that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbour. (27) Since he found her in the open country, the engaged woman may have cried for help, but there was no one to rescue her. (28) If a man meets a virgin who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are caught in the act, (29) the man who lay with her shall give fifty shekels of silver to the young woman’s father, and she shall become his wife. Because he violated her he shall not be permitted to divorce her as long as he lives. (30) A man shall not marry his father’s wife, thereby violating his father’s rights.

See chapter 5 which I put in bold. I quoted the whole chapter for context.

That said, I am sure there would be exceptions to this rule. For example, someone who is playing a role in a play or movie and who has to cross-dress would not be sinning. The same goes for someone like Saint Joan of Arc who had to wear armor in battle. That would also apply to women in the military. If they have to wear clothing typical of a man’s clothing for safety then of course that would be okay. However, cross-dressing just simply so that way you look like the opposite sex would be a sin in my own personal opinion.

how men and women dress depends the time and place you live in. most of what we deedm as women’s clothes today, used to be worn by men

it was not uncommon for medieval and renaissance men to wear silk stockings, and skirted coats among various other things.

but obviously times have changed since then. if you did that now, everyone would think you were gay. unless your’e scottish and they sometimes wear a kilt which basically looks like a skirt.

clothes are just clothes ultimately but depending in the society you live in, they can send a certain message. it’s unfortunate, and shallow and superficial in my opinion but that’s how it is

Is crossdressing a sin? It can be. It depends entirely on the reasons. I present 5 cases.

  1. The Joan of Arc. Someone crossdresses for protection. As other posters have pointed out, it was very much for her safety that she dressed as a man in the army. As another example, look at Mulan. Same deal. Sinful? Probably not.

  2. Theatre. In Shakespearean England (and well before that), women weren’t allowed to act. So to make up for that, young men would play the female parts. For instance, it would have been a man lamenting that Romeo’s a Montague. Sinful? Probably not.

  3. Other costumes. Wearing feminine clothes for a completely different purpose. Take myself, for instance. I was the Earthworm in my 6th grade class’s production of James and the Giant Peach. My costume could accurately be described as a dress. Sinful? Nope.

  4. Deviant fashions. What if a guy just likes skirts and wants to pioneer them for men? Sinful? Debatable. I would lean no, since the division between mens’ and womens’ clothes is cultural, anyway.

  5. Transvestites. Someone actively wants to be seen as a woman. I’m counting it separate from #4 because of intentions. There’s a difference, I would say, between someone just liking having long hair or wearing skirts and someone doing so to be a girl. Sinful? This time, yes.

So in short, the two deciding factors are culture and intention. Culture being things like the kilt. I don’t know anyone who’d say a kilt is sinful. And intention being if they’re doing it to actually pass as a girl in society, versus just being one in a play or wearing the clothes for completely different reasons.

And as another example of completely different reasons, I’m thinking of going as a tornado for Halloween this year. (Instead of a gale. I’m also getting people to be catnip and a slice of pita bread) I’m thinking of wearing a skirt for the costume. Not for any unwholesome reasons. Just so that the tornado wouldn’t suddenly bifurcate at the bottom.

Hey, hey, hey. Gay guys are not the only ones who crossdress. I am perfectly straight, and I have before, in the privacy of my own room. I’m not proud of it, but I have done it (and I never plan to do it again). There are plenty of reasons why a person might crossdress.

For example, it can be very, very funny.

However, I would not say most modern reasons are particularly holy. For example - and this is purely my own perspective - you might want to try to “feel” like a person of the opposite sex you find “sexy”. For obvious reasons, that’s not a particularly good reason to crossdress.

I’ve heard of a guy who roleplays with his girlfriend… 'nuff said.

In short, I would higly venture that, unless you are a teenager in a Shakespearian play, a comedian in a Monty Python-esque line of work, or losing a bet that involves crossdressing as a form of humiliation, crossdressing probably isn’t going to be for holy, or at least morally neutral, reasons.

I agree with the scripture above. However, it’s not always clear because in Psychology we learned of those who do have biological factors, and some feel like the opposite sex trapped in another gendered body. Whether it’s genetic or environmental - it’s probably environmental most of the time, such as a toddler boy being taught to play with dolls and wearing girl clothes might have effects later on how the person views himself. He might think it’s biological, but in this case, it was environmental because he was conditioned. I can’t be certain with every case, as there might be biological reasons. It also extremely varies on culture and what their norms are. Some cultures might think our clothing in America is considered crossdressing: i.e., women wearing pants.

This is a great post! :thumbsup:

There is one thing I do want to comment on though. That would be number 4 in your list. If a person is pioneering fashions for what could be a sinful purpose such as to change culture to be more accepting of sin then that would definitely be a sin in and of itself in my opinion. However, if one is just trying to change styles for an innocent reason then it is not a sin.

But anyway, I personally think that the whole idea of a man wearing a skirt for anything other than a costume or safety (and I can’t think of any safety reasons why a man would wear a skirt) is just plain weird. I would definitely not be attracted to such a man. Scottish kilts are a whole other story though because it is a part of their cultural heritage.

I know you were pointing out chapter 5, but did we really need all the text, especially from 13?..Its so far back in the dark ages I can’t relate to any of those commands!!

By the way, if women wear trousers aka mens clothes, do you think they are sinning?

What about the kilts that the scottish men wear?

This could be said as cross dressing, but on a different level…:shrug:

It’s Sailor Moon! It’s Sailor V! It’s… It’s… Sailor NO NO NO NO NO! :smiley:


There is one thing I do want to comment on though. That would be number 4 in your list. If a person is pioneering fashions for what could be a sinful purpose such as to change culture to be more accepting of sin then that would definitely be a sin in and of itself in my opinion. However, if one is just trying to change styles for an innocent reason then it is not a sin.

#4 was also about women in pants at the turn of the century. Same concept, opposite direction.

I think the world and attire as changed considerably in the millennia since that quote from the Torah/Pentateuch was written. No one wore pants at the time and everyone regardless of sex wore a form of skirt or dress. So what was the author speaking of dressing in the other sexes attire when everyone dressed generally the same? Serious question.

The Romans wore togas and a type of skirt, the Picts and Scots wore kilts. Some Celts still wear kilts, the men. And times and fashions keep changing, it is not static.

Today women wear pant suits, and kilts for men are making a comeback in the USA. And no one accuses these men and women of cross dressing. Our priests wear vestments that look like skirts, and none accuse them of cross dressing. I think dress is relative, and in this case relative is not a bad word, but accurate.

I am sorry that I irritated you. As I said in the previous post, I included the whole chapter for context. I hate it when people cherry pick Bible verses and while sometimes it can be done such as with that verse because the whole context is in that verse, it usually is not supposed to be done. I just didn’t want anyone to accuse me of cherry picking Bible verses. So anyway, again, I am sorry. :frowning:

You’re welcome. :slight_smile:

You know, the culture does change and with the change of culture comes the change of typical clothing styles for each gender. In this day and age, a man wearing a dress would probably be considered a cross dresser, a drag queen, or gay. However, if a woman were to wear a dress she would probably be considered a fundamentalist Christian or someone going to some sort of formal event, or someone going to a funeral or something of the likes.

That said, I would have to say that if a man wears what the culture considers to be women’s clothing and does it out of a motive for cross dressing then I would think that is possibly sinful. I am not sure how sinful it would be. The same goes for a woman who goes against the culture and wears what is considered to be men’s clothing. One part about women though is that sometimes women do wear men’s blue jeans and there is nothing wrong with that unless it’s really obvious and even then I don’t know if there’s anything wrong with it or not. Some blue jeans look very similar for both men and women.

So basically what I am trying to say is that if someone is intentionally trying to cross dress then I personally feel like that is wrong. Whether or not it is a sin, I am not entirely sure. Based on the Bible I’d say it might very well be a sin. But again we have to take into consideration what the person’s intentions are. If they are intending to be safe then it is not a sin. If they are intending to be acting in a play or movie then again it is not a sin. If they intending to look like the opposite sex and try to fool people it easily could be a sin. If they are intending to get some sort of sexual thrill out of it then again that could be a sin too.

I’m just wondering what you mean by “I don’t mind gay people but…”. This comes across as awfully vague in light of Church teaching, moral theology, and Natural Law.

If I were to open a thread beginning with “I don’t mind adulterous people, but what’s the deal with orgies?”

I apologize if I come across as high-jacking your thread, but I believe your putting the cart before the horse.

I can’t speak for him but I think he is simply saying that he doesn’t hate gay people. We’re called to not unjustly discriminate against gay people. Justified discrimination on the other hand is another story. I am speaking of things like when a photographer, baker, or florist refuses to provide services for a “gay wedding”.

Well you, me, and hopefully the OP can agree on that Holly. I am simply reminded of Aquinian thought where the smallest of error can turn into the greatest of sin.

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