I just watched your and your wife’s presentation on the Biblical view of homosexuality. [Here.] I have wrestled with this issue for a couple of years now, and what you said made a lot of sense. I have long thought that the key to understanding any literature, including the Bible, is the context.
I am a Christian who wants to behave biblically. I have been divorced for more than 10 years and yet my sexual desire is still strong. I am strongly attracted to women. Yet I have found myself also drawn, not so much to other men, but to transsexuals, who look and behave like women, and who believe themselves to be women in the wrong body, but have not had their male parts surgically removed. Twice, I have been with such a woman and have felt great satisfaction in their arms. Yet both times I was consumed with guilt afterwards.
I have had two questions: First of all, is homosexuality wrong? If not, then the other question is moot: Is gender in the genes or in the mind? In short, is a transexual woman, or even a cross-dresser who doesn’t have the opportunity or courage to live as a woman, a man or a woman? If she is a woman, then my guilt is false guilt, but if she is a man, then we return to the first question.
I totally understand that the OT verses and two of the passages in the NT refer to homosexual practice as it pertains to pagan and idolatrous worship, just as the condemnation of prostitution refers to cultic prostitution. The sticking verse for me is the Romans passage [Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. — Romans 1:26-27].
If I have to deny myself to live Biblically, I will. But if I am denying myself now, only to find out in heaven that I was being stupid, I’ll kick myself in my redeemed ass.
So two things. First: homosexuality, in and of itself, is no more wrong than is heterosexuality. You’re already familiar with some of my arguments for why that’s true, so I won’t elaborate. (My entire case opposing the idea that God condemns homosexuality—including, most importantly, gay Christians telling their own stories—is found in my book UNFAIR. See also the Not All Like That Christians Project.)
Because all scripture is given in a cultural, doctrinal, historical, linguistic, literary and religious context, those factors must be part of our thinking as we seek to understand scripture.
Romans 1:26-27 was given in a very clear context. There is no cultural indication, no doctrinal indication, no historical indication, no linguistic indication, no literary indication, no religious indication, that Paul intended to blast lesbians and gays in Romans 1:26-27.
Also see A Clobber Passage That Should Lose Its Wallop over on the Unfundamnentalist Christians group blog.
And of course that’s just three online articles. There now exists in the world such an ocean of scholarly work proving that Paul never wrote a word against gay people, that at this point believing that he did is (unlike actually being gay), a choice.
I suspect the question you really want answered, though, is whether or not being attracted to transgender women (with penises) means that you are gay.
But that’s the wrong question to be asking yourself. The right question is, why do you care if you’re gay? Perhaps you are gay, or are becoming so: though pretty rare, some people’s sexuality shifts over the course of their lifetime. So maybe you started off straight, and are now transitioning into becoming bisexual or (though, again, this is doubtful) even gay. If that’s the case then it’s natural for you to find yourself attracted to women with penises, since such a person affords you the opportunity to experience some degree of homosexual sex without too dramatically challenging your notion of yourself as straight.
Though from what you’ve told me this doesn’t apply to you, what is also of course entirely possible is for a straight man to fall in love with a transgender woman, whatever the current state of her plumbing. Make no mistake about this: a transgender woman is a woman—again, whatever her silhouette. If you’ve fallen in love with a transgender woman, you have fallen in love with a woman. In that case your core straightness would remain intact—if, perhaps, a bit adjusted to accommodate the desires of your heart. Which is a beautiful thing.
Bottom line: You fall in love with a person, not their genitals. [Tweet that.]
Don’t worry about whether or not you’re gay, straight, bisexual, or anything in between. All God wants is for you to be whomever you are—whomever he/she made you to be—with integrity and character.
Trust in God and his/her absolute love for you; don’t rush anything; discern the steps of your process; be nice.
Do those four things, and fear not, for then you can be sure to have never displeased God or given yourself reason for regret.