This week I saw this question in my moderation queue:
I want to ask about clothing, about woman not wearing what belongs to a man. I need explanation on that because i feel deut 22 vs 5 is misunderstood.
That looked like a fun topic, so I thought I’d take a crack at it.
Let’s start by looking at the verse quoted:
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. – Deuteronomy 22:5
Now some will use this passage today still to say that women shouldn’t wear pants, but I don’t think that’s what this is talking about. Rather, I think it’s pointing to a larger issue that we still struggle with today in our culture. Actually, I think we’re struggling with it more than ever: that of gender distinction.
Throughout the Bible, gender identity is clearly defined as a boundary that should not be crossed.
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. – Genesis 1:27
From the very beginning we see God creating two, distinct genders, and throughout his law, from that Deuteronomy passage above to
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. – Leviticus 18:22
Notice the same word is used: abomination. Again, we see the same issue in Romans:
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. – Romans 1:26-27
I believe at the core of the Deuteronomy passage is the issue of gender identities and being true to them. We should not attempt to deceive others or ourselves about our gender, because it calls into question a distinction that God created in humanity for a purpose. This issue has never been stronger than today. In some public schools, gendered washrooms are being replaced by unisex ones, including unisex change rooms. Teachers are being told they may not correct a child if he says he’s a girl, or she says she’s a boy. Gender is being taught as something fluid, a state of mind, something you can decide on for yourself. We used to tell children they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up, president, fireman, teacher, whatever. Now they’re being told they can be a man, woman, both, or neither.
It flies in the face of the order God placed into our very species, and I believe yet another attempt of the devil to undermine God as creator. Whether your wear pants or not is not going to change your gender, or how people perceive you. Men used to wear tunics that today would be considered dresses. But, to deliberately change your voice, your mannerisms, to pass yourself off as being something you are not. That, I believe, is the core issue, and should not be done.
What are your thoughts on this topic? What do you think this passage in Deuteronomy is talking about?