Transgender People And The Image Of God


Over the last couple of months I’ve gotten asked the same question multiple times: How do transgender people fit in with a belief in the “image of God” and the belief that God doesn’t make mistakes?

My first response was to refuse to answer because when you start with the wrong question you get the wrong answer. But I’ve thought about it some more and I want to tackle the first part of the question: the image of God.

What is the image of God? Who is in the image of God?

Your question assumes a couple of things: There is *one* image of God. There is a *right* image of God. We know what the image of God is. I find all of those things hard to believe.

The next time you’re out and about, look around you. Even if you live in a homogenous city or town, you’ll still see a bunch of people who look different from one another. There are some with blonde hair and some with black. There are people with brown skin and peach skin. Some people have freckles. There are a myriad of different eye colors. And even if you don’t “agree” with transgender people, as you look around there is still more than one gender.

Which one of those people is in the image of God?

Unless you believe that only a white, cisgender man is the image of God, then you have to admit that God has a pretty diverse image. God has blonde hair and freckles and brown skin. God is a baby and a teenager and a pregnant woman. God’s image is made up of all of our images.

And God’s image appears in all of us.

Which means that transgender people are as much a part of the image of God as everyone else. It means that God is found in my scars and in my changing face.

When it comes right down to it, the experience of transgender people is an even better portrayal of the image of God than cisgender people because in a transgender person we get a sense of the shifting nature of God’s image.

God’s image reflects the diversity of all of God’s creation. Creation that, since the beginning, God has declared good.

Transgender people are absolutely the image of God. And we are beautiful.

Photo Credit: t_a_i_s

This article was published by Fr. Shannon Kearns