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Cross-dressing: Does it really matter?

Someone asked me the other day “What is all the fuss about, cross-dressing is only about clothing.  God is only interested about what’s inside a person, not what’s on the outside”.  It prompted me to write this article, “Cross-dressing: Does it really matter?”


The Scriptures reveal that God is very interested in what happens on the outside of a person.  What happens on the outside of a person is an indication of what is happening on their inside (Matthew 12:33).  So what’s happening on the inside of a person when they regularly and habitually cross-dress?


The last time you put on jeans to go out or wore your husband’s socks perhaps because yours were in the wash, were you cross-dressing?  Or perhaps your husband went to a party dressed in women’s clothes, like Mrs Doubtfire or Tootsie.  Was he cross-dressing?


Basically, cross-dressing means ‘to wear the clothes of the opposite gender’.  So under this basic definition that is exactly what was occurring in the previous scenario.  Yet every culture expresses its gender differences in a variety of ways.  What is typically feminine in one culture, ie. a skirt, in another culture is a traditionally masculine attire i.e. a kilt.


How shall we decide then?  It is easy to become confused when such discussions are started.  On what basis do we decide about the rightness or wrongness of a particular habit or behaviour?  In all cases we must appeal to a higher form of authority than what we can feel, hear, see, small and touch – for all these are within the realm of our experience, which of course is highly subjective.  We need answers from a higher source, a power that is aware of our experience yet has triumphed over the weakness that we experience.  We need Jesus and His word.


In deciding about cross-dressing and whether it really matters we must stay centered on the answer.  Why does cross-dressing matter and who does it matter to?  Firstly, it matters to the one cross-dressing. In the next part of this article we will also see that cross-dressing matters to the wife (or if the wife is cross-dressing, the husband). And thirdly, it matters to their children and extended family.


It matters to the cross-dresser:


Let’s look more closely at some of the characteristics of habitual cross-dressing:


Cross-dressing focuses on the desires of the flesh:  A famous Scripture reveals a profound truth: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:22).  Paul continually writes that we are not to be concerned with the things of this natural world.  Children of God are instructed to NOT love the things in the world (1 John 2:15-17), but rather to be concerned with things above (Colossians 3:1-2). Over and over we read that we are to not fulfill the desires of our natural body (Romans 8, 2 Corinthians 10:2-3, Galatians 5).  Cross-dressing leads to an over-obsession with things pertaining to this world, when our focus should be on serving Jesus for ministry to others. 


Cross-dressing does not bring peace and joy but turmoil and anxiety:  It is undeniable that many cross-dressers use their habit to alleviate stress, troubles and depression, just as others use habits such as sulking, smoking, alcohol and manipulation.  These habits are used to mask an inner need for the peace and joy that only God can give.  We read in Romans 14:17 that the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).  In referring to eating and drinking Paul is referring to natural things such as clothing (Luke 12:22-32).  That which causes turmoil, anxiety and stress has not originated from God.  In contrast it is through the Holy Spirit that we are to overcome these so that we may have a peace that the world doesn’t know anything about.  Jesus said that Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27). As Christ’s followers we are to be the most peaceful people around!  If cross-dressing is causing fear, struggle and turmoil in your life, bring it to Jesus and ask for His peace.  Just as we are not to use any natural substance to fill a spiritual void, cross-dressing does not have the power to satisfy the void for peace in the heart of man.


Cross-dressing is the expression of a lie:  Did God create you as a man or a woman?  Which sexual identity are you expressing in your clothing? The Amplified Bible translates Ephesians 4:25 saying Therefore, rejecting all falsity and being done now with it, let everyone express the truth with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one body and members one of another. Are you expressing truth with your neighbour when you cross-dress?  Is your outward adornment consistent with your inward condition?  If not then you are expressing a lie.  God makes no mistakes when He creates.  Hebrews 3:12 speaks of the ‘deceitfulness of sin’.  At the heart of all sin is a lie. The lie says, "It’s Ok, its only clothing. It won’t lead to anything”.  Yet once you yield to the desire it becomes harder to resist.  Inwardly a foothold which the devil can use is being created. 


Don’t let the world lie to you.  You can never actually be a different gender.  There is no fluidness in gender.  God created male and female. period.  The fantasy that you can actually become a woman is a lie.  You will only ever be a plastic, reconstructed man who looks vaguely like a woman. If the Ethiopian cannot change his skin nor a leopard his spots (Jeremiah 13:15-27) why do we think we can change our gender? God loves those struggling with trans-genderism.  He loves them enough to make a way for them to be rescued from their struggle.


Cross-dressing betrays one’s conscience:  What does your conscience say? Does guilt come after the act? The conscience almost always will declare what your heart knows is right.  James writes, “But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.  Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”  (James 4:16-17).   What is the good that you know to do?  Ask Jesus to empower you to stand firm in your conviction to walk in purity before Him.


Cross-dressing is an expression of weakness not faith.  But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23) This scripture is useful to us simply because Paul used the word ‘whatever’.  He is expounding on a principle that may be applied to other circumstances. So let us put it in the context of cross-dressing “because he does not dress from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin”.  Whoever heard of ‘dressing from faith’? Whatever we do we must do from faith.  Believe that which is impossible.  Believe that Jesus has the power to deliver you from a cross-dressing habit so that you may dress by faith in the Lord’s power.  


Cross-dressing elevates one’s own needs at the expense of the needs of others:  How much time do you spend thinking about clothes, makeup and other cross-dressing paraphernalia?  Is it consuming your life so that you don’t recognise the needs of others? Jesus said, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-26). How does cross-dressing help you to deny your own desires? In 1 John 3:16 we read “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”  Take up the cross of denying your right to dress as you please to minister to others who are in need.


Cross-dressing is in accordance with the course of this world:  There is one easy way to know God’s way.  It is the direct opposite of the way of the world. Does the world hate those who say cross-dressing is wrong? (John 16:18)   Does the world love those who revel in clothing? (John 16:19) Does your cross-dressing cause you to love the things in the world (1 John 2:15)?  The world says ‘do whatever feels right’.  God says, “Be like my son Jesus – walk in purity before me because I have made the way”.


Cross-dressing brings one into bondage instead of freedom:  ‘All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.’ (1 Corinthians 6:12)  The cross-dressing desire drives and compels in a very similar way to any other addiction.  The resolve of the will to take control of the habit is often short-lived with a cycle of guilt and shame often following.  Are you over-powered by the urge to cross-dress?  Do you find it impossible to resist the urge?  While those who advocate a freedom through cross-dressing “they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.’ (2 Peter 2:19)  Anything that is compulsive, difficult to control or when you abstain from it brings anxiety, irritability and depression is a habit that has you in bondage.  Jesus wants to set you free from this bondage (Galatians 5:1)


Cross-dressing fosters a futile fantasy:  A fantasy is not grounded on reality.  As Christians we are base our life and thoughts on truth.  What are you imagining when you cross-dress?  What is going on in your mind?  Our thought life means an enormous deal to God (Matthew 5:28).  The Word says it is dangerous to let our minds run rampant with imaginations and fantasy.  In the Bible, the word ‘thoughts’ is often translated as ‘plans’ and ‘intentions’ (Jeremiah 29:11 and Ezekiel 38:10).  What you continually entertain in your thoughts will lead you into action.  So what do you do with stray, idle and futile thoughts?  Paul wrote when we are battling against idle thoughts For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).  What arguments are circulating in your mind?  Bring them into captivity to the Word of Christ.



Part 2


We are continuing on from our previous article Cross-dressing: Does it really matter?  In the previous article we outlined nine reasons why cross-dressing does in fact matter to the one who is held by its desires.  Now we will move onto addressing why cross-dressing matters to others, specifically to the wife, children and loved ones.


Cross-dressing matters to the wife


Cross-dressing destroys the purity of marriage:  Who are you imagining when you cross-dress?  Are you imagining your wife or another personality?  In Matthew 5:24 Jesus said, But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” God is extremely concerned with what is happening in our mind.  In fact, the mind is our battlefield in protecting our heart. You may say, ‘but I am not imagining another woman?’  Really?  How does your wife regard your fantasy woman?  Does she feel threatened by the ‘woman in your mind’?  Any imagination or thought that takes you away from focusing on ministering to your family is a threat to the purity of your marriage covenant.


Cross-dressing betrays your promise to your wife:  In Ephesians 5 we learn of Jesus’ devotion to the church.  His sacrificial death and life is a model for how husbands are to love their wives, Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (verse 25) When you married your wife you promised “with all that I am and I that I have I honour you and will love you and cherish you all the days of my life”.  You promised her this as a man.  Almost all wives, when they discover their husband’s cross-dressing, will utter ‘But I married a man, I don’t want to be married to a woman’.  Even if you only cross-dress on occasions, your wife will always know that there is a part of you that is not honouring, cherishing and loving her.


Cross-dressing matters to children and loved ones


Cross-dressing is often contrary to love:  I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.” (Romans 14:15)  Is it wrong to put on clothes of the opposite gender? No not of itself, they are simply clothes.  Is it wrong to cause others to stumble and come into grief over what you wear? Yes!  If your children, family or friends are caused turmoil, stress and sadness over your dressing, then you are no longer walking in love towards them.  Galatians 5:13 says For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Ensure that what you to call ‘freedom’ is in fact ministering freedom to others.


Cross-dressing destroys your fatherly role to your children:  To whom are your children to turn to as a model of one who loves and walks confidently as a man?  If you are dressing and acting like a woman, does this not communicate to your children that being a man is not sufficient?  Both boys and girls need to observe men who are secure in their manhood. Boys need this as a model of whom they will aspire to be like.  Girls need to feel loved by a man so they feel safe to trust men later in life. Manhood encompasses a huge variety of expressions – yet each man must ultimately find his confidence in knowing his Creator was not mistaken in his sexuality.


In conclusion, are not we who are believers to walk before the world as representatives and ambassadors of Jesus Christ?  It this be the case we are to act, think, talk and align our whole conduct to be like that of Jesus.  What would Jesus do?  Would Jesus cross-dress?  How would Jesus love those who are bound by this habit?


The answer is clear, He would love them unconditionally, forgiving them for trying to find comfort in the things of the world and draw them closer to Himself all the while saying the same words that He spoke to all mankind, The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18).  Jesus came that those who were oppressed by the need to cross-dress could be set free.  Our message must always be the truth for it is the truth that “shall make you free (John 8:32).