Question: "Can a person be born with the wrong gender?"
Answer: We live in a confused and fallen world, and that confusion extends everywhere, so that even the most basic questions, like “what gender am I?” become difficult for some people to answer. Some people claim they were born as the wrong gender, or at least in the wrong body. A man may believe he is actually a female, but his soul is “stuck” in a male body. Such claims receive support from others who advocate a “gender-neutral” society. But those who view gender distinctions as nothing more than arbitrary labels or a “box” to be broken out of are actively rejecting God’s design in creation.
Fundamental to our understanding of human sexuality is that God created two (and only two) genders. Currently, the world likes to consider gender (based on a social construct) as having nothing to do with sex (based on physicality), but the Bible makes no such distinctions. The Bible cuts through the world’s confusion simply: “Male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). All the modern-day speculation about multiple genders—or even a gender “continuum” with unlimited genders—is unbiblical. An individual may claim to be transgender or “gender-fluid,” but that doesn’t nullify God’s design and purpose in creating him or her.
Children growing up in this confused world are bombarded with messages of confusion. Little boys are told they don’t have to be boys; girls are told they might not really be girls. Whatever they feel they are is what they are—boy, girl, or a mixture of the two. The world tells them it doesn’t matter. The confusion and ambiguity are reinforced in many ways: gender-neutral days at school, the banning of terms such as boys and girls in the classroom, the proliferation of unisex restrooms, curricula that promotes homosexual marriage, etc. It’s little wonder that some people grow up struggling with their sexual identity. But our Lord warned against leading children astray: “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble’” (Luke 17:1–2).
Some people today state that they have “felt like the opposite gender since they were children.” But how would one know that? To what are they comparing their feelings? How people feel is all they know, and, for each person, how he feels is “normal” for him. Any comparisons to other people’s feelings would only be an assumption. Some people may become convinced that they “felt like the opposite gender” at some point in their lives, but they don’t truly have a baseline comparison.
Given enough conditioning, any one of us can be convinced that we identify more as the opposite gender. Too often, certain individuals are labeled as cross-gendered because of natural differences in mannerisms and responses, and those individuals “back-paint” the concept into their understanding of their childhood.
But this reimagining of one’s childhood is different from wishing to be another gender. A person can wish he was the other gender for many reasons, but that doesn’t make it internally so. A parent can instill that desire in a child, or a child can observe benefits enjoyed by the other gender and desire them. The child can also desire to be seven feet tall, but it doesn’t change reality.
The Bible says that God created “male and female” and He pronounced His creation “very good” (Genesis 1:27, 31). God’s plan was perfect, but, as with everything in mankind’s sphere, perfection was corrupted by sin. Sin negatively impacted the entirety of creation, hurting not only humanity's relationship with God, but with one another and the rest of the created order. Our world is fallen, and the effects of sin permeate everything. Diseases, birth defects, natural disasters, sinful acts, and the negative results of others' sin and our own sin can all be traced back to the fall. Sometimes these negative effects come in the form of naturally occurring anomalies; other times they are more directly traced to specific sin. Could an anomaly sometimes occur in gender, physically or mentally? We acknowledge that a person can be born with a combination of male and female organs—although one’s true, biological sex can be determined through medical tests.
This we know, that we are involved in a spiritual battle for our souls. The world seeks to conform us to its mold, which is why we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1–2). Satan attempts to deceive us and urges us to question God’s plan. One of the devil’s ploys is to make us dissatisfied with how God made us. To some he whispers, “You’re fat and ugly.” To others, “You’re stupid and clumsy.” And to still others, “You look like a boy, but you’re really a girl.” In each case, the underlying message is the same: “God messed up on you.”
This we also know, that the whole creation groans for release from the curse and damage of sin (Romans 8:20–22). The ruin wrought by sin is addressed through the redemption of Christ. Through salvation, Jesus Christ grants us forgiveness of sin, reverses the effect of our poor choices, and compensates for our brokenness.
Each of us faces a different set of battles. Yet Christ sets us on the path to victory. Hebrews 12:1–2 states, “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The cross is key. Jesus pioneered our faith, and He will perfect it. His victory will be ours as well.
Some may battle heterosexual temptation, greed, pride, anger, or any number of sins. Someone else may battle gender confusion. Regardless of the battle with sin and the devil’s lies, the question we must answer is, “Is Christ and His redemptive work sufficient for our battles?” Jesus definitely claims to be sufficient for any and all of our battles, and He desires to sanctify us through His Word of truth (John 17:17).
As children of God, we should be content in this life (Philippians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 12:10). We realize that we all have limitations, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. But through Christ those limitations will not interfere with the plan God has for us to honor Him and serve Him. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
If a person feels he or she has been born as the wrong gender, the answer is not gender-reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, cross-dressing, etc. Those are simply worldly ways of acquiescing to the devil’s lies. “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6). And God does not make mistakes. The one who feels he or she was born in the wrong body needs, first and foremost, to experience the transformative power of Christ. When we “participate in the divine nature,” we escape “the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:4).