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Holy Week 2022 Begins -- Trans Thoughts On A Clobber Passage.


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Several discussions I have recently had with friends have once again opened my eyes a little bit wider.  One person was quoting the Deuteronomy 22:5 passage about Women wearing the things of men had come to the realization that the word translated as woman was one that simply referred to weaker or less able people which a translator had incorrectly described women. A more correct reading is that you should not send your 80 year old grand dad into hand to hand combat wearing full armor of the day.  In the next verse is says that Men shall not put on the things of women.  Discussions go on that this means CDing was recognized even back then as a sin, or pretending to be a woman to avoid being in the army was a problem for them (plausible to me) but that one falls apart later on when male spies were sent into one of the towns that Israel was going to conquer disguised as women.  Enter the passages from Leviticus (15:19 to end) about women having their period and how the woman was Ritually Unclean any time she had a vaginal discharge of blood and rituals for cleansing and becoming ritually clean. The passages also mentions a man touching her garments during her unclean time as also being Ritually Unclean.  Deuteronomy is actually recognized as Leviticus 2  a book for the priests who did the duties before God and if they were not Clean could not do the service their community thought they needed.  Since Deuteronomy 22 is actually about neighborliness those interpretations and understanding seem to fit the two verses that look pretty strange in the middle of the passage if taken in regard to "sexual perversion" which is  part of it.  It is amazing how many people see so much sex stuff in the books.  Really.

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I stumbled upon this verse in Deuteronomy as a kid, and it haunted me for decades. It's only in the past year that I have revisited this and realized that context is necessary. Surely my daughter, who likes to grab my sweatshirts, sweaters and jackets, is not in deep sin every time she puts them on, right? In fact, I feel honored that she wants to "put on" a piece of her father and that it helps her feel closer to me when I'm away (my wife and I have been separated for awhile).


I am a Catholic Christian now and very much love the Church. While many Catholics are (deeply) imperfect, the heart of the Church's teaching on love, sexuality and the body is a beautiful thing. I found this short letter from a Catholic priest to a read asking about cross-dressing recently, and it gave me consolation. If it's OK, I'll reprint it here:


First, let's take a look at the biblical reference you make in your question. It comes from Deuteronomy 22:5 (this and the quotations that follow are from the New American Bible):

A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for anyone who does such things is an abomination to the LORD, your God.

Now let's look at the verses that follow:

If, while walking along, you come across a bird’s nest with young birds or eggs in it, in any tree or on the ground, and the mother bird is sitting on them, you shall not take away the mother bird along with her brood.

You must let the mother go, taking only her brood, in order that you shall prosper and have a long life.

When you build a new house, put a parapet around the roof, so that you do not bring bloodguilt upon your house if someone falls off.

You shall not sow your vineyard with two different kinds of seed, or else its produce shall become forfeit, both the crop you have sown and the yield of the vineyard.

You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey harnessed together.

You shall not wear cloth made from wool and linen woven together.

You shall put tassels on the four corners of the cloak that you wrap around yourself.

Many of the precepts in Deuteronomy are intended to define culture rather than morality. They are ways of legislating common sense, social order, and appropriate behavior. As you can see, the precepts cited above do not really fit into the cultural and moral context of our own time.

As far as I know, the Catholic Church teaches little or nothing about the morality (sinfulness) of cross-dressing. I could find nothing about it in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. For some who practice it, it might be an indication of a gender identity issue or fetish, which may have some moral implications, but from what you say, this apparently is not the case with you.

I have always found it somewhat mysterious that our American culture finds it generally acceptable—even cute or alluring or business-like—when women dress in men's clothing, but often recoils when men dress in women's clothing.

I have to admit that I do not understand why men would want to dress in women's clothes—in public or private. Neither do I understand, however, why anyone would say that it is sinful to do so. Yes, it would be sinful if one did it to deceive, for sexual gratification or for other nefarious purposes. But for a man to wear women's clothes because it makes him feel good seems pretty harmless to me.  - Father Bill

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8 hours ago, EasyE said:

But for a man to wear women's clothes because it makes him feel good seems pretty harmless to me.  - Father Bill

As someone raised in Catholic Church until the age of 17, I can appreciate this letter and the views of Father Bill. He seems very nonjudgmental and non-condescending.


I had also found this passage in Deuteronomy in my early teens and it bothered me. I was never comfortable talking about it with anyone especially a priest. At the time, it would've been nice to have someone with an attitude like this Father Bill. These topics were never talked about in the many Catholic Churches or Catechism classes I attended back then. I had assumed crossdressing was an extremely rare issue and something to always keep to yourself.

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Yeah, Deuteronomy is the "2nd giving" of the Law.  I'm no religious scholar, but I think it has to be viewed in context. 

Aside from the basic Commandments, much of the O.T. law was directed towards the establishment of a theocratic state mostly administered by the priests.  And that state wasn't the end goal, as it was supposed to be a picture of God's intent for everyone.  Obviously, that had issues...and even the issues are part of the picture.  


Male vs female clothing appears in the text next to other similar ideas....mixed fabric, mixed animal teams, etc.  The picture in this is one of separation - that believers have a separate kind of life and existence that unbelievers don't share.


And Father Bill correctly identifies the mitigating social/cultural factors.

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