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Deuteronomy 22:5 – Cross Dressing

Prince Charles & Camilla in matching kilts (skirts?)Cross Dressing, Transvestism, Transsexuality


Recently, on our FaceBook Group, someone asked about Deuteronomy 22:5 with regard to cross dressing, transvestites, and transsexuals.  These are a few thoughts on the matter.


A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God.  ~ Deut. 22:5




1.  The biblical interpretation of the word "abomination" relates to any act of uncleanness as set out in the Holiness Code, such as eating shellfish (I DO love my lobster!), trimming sideburns, touching the skin of a dead pig (should we stone all football players? - just kidding), wearing clothes of two kinds of material (polyester/cotton? - check the tags on the clothes in your closet).  The list of abominations is long.  How can we discuss one abomination (cross dressing) to the exclusion of all others?

Sameness - Natural and Unnatural

Deuteronomy 22:5 - Cross Dressing 12.  When the Bible was written, Jewish society was very much about "sameness" - i.e. what was considered "natural" and what was "unnatural".  When trying to keep "a people" together, things work well when traditions and rituals are followed.  That means that men should appear as men and women should appear as women.  
My personal experience with "sameness":  Since the majority of the population is right-handed, it was considered "natural", and to be left-handed was "unnatural".  Both my mother and my brother were born left-handed (as am I).  Both of them had their left hands tied behind their backs in school to force them to use their right hands - i.e. to make them "the same" as the others.  
My brother is an artist, and he believes that it affected his brain, and that he would be a better artist if he had been allowed to be left-handed.  (Although now right-handed, he’s still an amazing artist - see his website Garry Hamilton).  
Thank heavens this tradition was not enforced by the time I started school.  I remain left-handed.
This is another reason why same-sex relations were considered an abomination.  The concept of sexual orientation was not understood until 1869, so it was thought that everyone was heterosexual, so gay sex would be considered "unnatural".  We now realize that for gay people it is UNNATURAL to have sex with the opposite gender.)

Pagan Customs

clothing in bible days3.  It was the practice in Egypt, which the Israelites had just left, for women to participate as merchants and to dress as men would, as merchants.  It was historical and had nothing to do with homosexuality or trans or drag queens.  God wanted His people to stay separate, and not adopt any pagan customs. 
4.  Pagan women would appear before the goddess Astarte or Ashtaroth in male armour as a sign of devotion to her.  Men would wear female attire and let their hair grow long to emulate the goddesses they served, to show their devotion to them.  Again, God wanted His people to stay pure and not adopt any semblance of these pagan rituals. 

The Value of Women

5.  Since women had no value other than that of property, it was considered unmanly or shameful for a male to assume or play the role of, or look like a woman.   Conquering armies often raped their enemies, making them "as women" to shame and denigrate them, and again we have the concept of men having sex with men - i.e. one of them taking on the role of a woman. 

From the Talmud: 
Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has not made me a woman.
If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do. 
Exodus 21:7


And finally, one last thought, if we are going to follow the Holiness Laws, why are we not killing more people who work on the Sabbath?

For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy day, a sabbath of complete rest to the LORD; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.  ~ Exodus 35:2