Date of Award
In recent years, discussions about sexuality and gender identity have become a focal point for most Christian churches. Many have come to support and affirm the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community, citing a commitment to Jesus’ teachings of love, peace, and justice. However, a sizable proportion still stands largely opposed to this acceptance. In the midst of a current fixation on the role of gender nonconforming individuals in American society, certain Christians are rushing to the forefront in defense of what they perceive to be ‘biblical’ manhood and womanhood. Although many are adamant that both scripture and human history are on their side, I argue that they are mistaken. Through my presentation, I will share extensive research into both canonical and extra-canonical texts, historical records, and contemporary scholarship demonstrating the existence of those who defy commonly held gender norms throughout Christianity’s two millennia history. Additionally, these individuals are far from confined to the background, taking up space in biblical stories, positions of clerical leadership, and even sainthood. Therefore, it is important to take the time to consider these individuals in context, both in their larger culture and in Christian history, in order to truly reconcile how the Church ought to approach gender non-conforming folx in the present.
Beh, Delaney Marie, "What We Have to Offer: Making a Case for Gender Non-Conforming Space in the Church through an Analysis of Its History" (2023). Undergraduate Honors Thesis Collection. 684.