Some people experience feelings of incongruence between their biological sex and their gender identity. As a result, they may identify as transgender.
Yes, God loves you. He knows and loves all of His children, and He is aware of the challenges you face. President Thomas S. Monson explained: “That love never changes. … It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve [it]. It is simply always there.” (“We Never Walk Alone,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013, 123, 124.)
President Russell M. Nelson taught: “More than anything, our Father wants His children to choose to return home to Him. Everything He does is motivated by His yearning desire” (“The Love and Laws of God” [Brigham Young University devotional, Sept. 17, 2019], speeches.byu.edu).
Sister Sharon Eubank taught: “I testify you are beloved. The Lord knows how hard you are trying. You are making progress. Keep going. He sees all your hidden sacrifices and counts them to your good and the good of those you love. Your work is not in vain. You are not alone. (“Christ: The Light That Shines in Darkness,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2019, 75–76).
“Church leaders counsel against elective medical or surgical intervention for the purpose of attempting to transition to the opposite gender of a person’s birth sex (“sex reassignment”). Leaders advise that taking these actions will be cause for Church membership restrictions.
Leaders also counsel against social transitioning. A social transition includes changing dress or grooming, or changing a name or pronouns, to present oneself as other than his or her birth sex. Leaders advise that those who socially transition will experience some Church membership restrictions for the duration of this transition.
Restrictions include receiving or exercising the priesthood, receiving or using a temple recommend, and receiving some Church callings. Although some privileges of Church membership are restricted, other Church participation is welcomed.
Transgender individuals who do not pursue medical, surgical, or social transition to the opposite gender and are worthy may receive Church callings, temple recommends, and temple ordinances.
Some children, youth, and adults are prescribed hormone therapy by a licensed medical professional to ease gender dysphoria or reduce suicidal thoughts. Before a person begins such therapy, it is important that he or she (and the parents of a minor) understands the potential risks and benefits. If these members are not attempting to transition to the opposite gender and are worthy, they may receive Church callings, temple recommends, and temple ordinances.
If a member decides to change his or her preferred name or pronouns of address, the name preference may be noted in the preferred name field on the membership record. The person may be addressed by the preferred name in the ward.
The Church does not take a position on the causes of people identifying themselves as transgender.” (General Handbook,38.6.21)
Yes. Church members need you and want you. If you identify yourself as transgender, we know you face complex challenges. You and your family and friends are just as deserving of Christlike love as any of God’s children and should be treated with sensitivity, kindness, and compassion.
The Church is “for the perfecting of the saints” (Eph. 4:12). Members are not yet perfect but are striving to become more like the Savior.
Not everyone around you will be perfect in expressing love, compassion, or sensitivity. In the world today, it is easy to find offense and to cause offense. Significant challenges can make us vulnerable to unintended offenses due to misplaced words or misguided comments. As members of the Church, we are all learning and growing.
All are welcome to attend sacrament meeting, other Sunday meetings, and social events of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are many ways to participate at church both in Sunday meetings and in other capacities such as callings and committees. You are encouraged to attend, be active, and look for opportunities to share your talents and skills by serving in your ward and stake.
All who attend are expected to avoid creating disruptions or distractions contrary to worship or other purposes of the meeting.
Since circumstances vary greatly from ward to ward and from person to person, bishops and stake presidents counsel with Area Presidencies to determine how to address individual situations sensitively, such as the use of restrooms and attendance at various meetings and activities.
Most Church participation and some priesthood ordinances are gender neutral. Examples include being baptized and confirmed, partaking of the sacrament, and receiving priesthood blessings. However, priesthood ordination and temple ordinances are administered according to birth sex.
All of Heavenly Father’s children are welcome at church. If you have chosen to transition, you may still be eligible for baptism and are welcome at Church meetings. See the section above and General Handbook,22.214.171.124.
Sister Michelle Craig taught: “Latter-day Saints come in many shapes and sizes, but ‘all are alike unto God’—'black and white, bond and free, male and female,’ single and married, rich and poor, young and old, lifelong member and recent convert. No matter who you are or what you’re dealing with, you are invited to the Lord’s table” (“Spiritual Capacity,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2019, 21).
God promises that if we obey His laws, we will have eternal joy. He always keeps His promises. If you identify yourself as transgender, you can make and keep promises to God. You can walk in His light and participate in His Church.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson has observed:
“Everyone has gifts; everyone has talents; everyone can contribute to the unfolding of the divine plan in each generation…. So many of you are doing your very best. And when you who bear the heaviest burdens of mortality stand up in defense of God’s plan to exalt His children, we are all ready to march. With confidence we testify that the Atonement of Jesus Christ has anticipated and, in the end, will compensate all deprivation and loss for those who turn to Him. No one is predestined to receive less than all that the Father has for His children” (“Why Marriage, Why Family,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 52).
If you feel comfortable talking with a parent, another family member, a friend, or a Church leader, consider sharing your feelings with them. Help them understand what you’re going through so they can provide you the support you need.
Be patient with the people around you, and remember you are all learning together. If those you love have difficulty understanding or being supportive, they may need your help. Treat your parents and leaders with the same kindness and respect you hope they will show to you.
Experiencing gender incongruence is not a measure of your faithfulness. Many people pray for years and do all they can to be obedient in an effort to reduce the incongruence, yet find they still feel conflicts. This is not unusual. The experience varies along a spectrum of intensity for different people and at different times for the same person. The experience may also vary for children, youth, and adults.
The intensity and duration of this experience may not be in your control; however, you can choose how to respond. Some people find it helpful to focus on how their experiences help them learn and grow. Aligning our will with God’s will is an important act of faith that brings great blessings now and even greater blessings in the world to come. (See Doctrine and Covenants 59:23.)
The Savior has a perfect understanding of our unique circumstances. As mortals, our understanding is limited. We can declare with Nephi that we “know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, [we] do not know the meaning of all things” (1 Nephi 11:17).
As you seek answers and direction for your personal journey, you can trust Heavenly Father and the power inherent in the atoning sacrifice of His Son. As Jesus Christ took upon Himself the sins of the world, He also bore every pain and affliction any human being might experience. (See Alma 7:11–12.)
No matter how intense your feelings of gender incongruence may be, this is just one aspect of your mortal experience. How you think about yourself may change throughout your life. Remember that first and most important, you are a child of heavenly parents. Understand what it means to be a child of God.
Sister Joy D. Jones taught:
“The Spirit will confirm to each of us individually our divine worth. Truly knowing that you are a [child] of God will affect every aspect of your life and guide you in the service you render each day. President Spencer W. Kimball explained in these glorious words:
“‘God is your Father. He loves you. He and your mother in heaven value you beyond any measure. … You are unique. One of a kind, made of the eternal intelligence which gives you claim upon eternal life.
“‘Let there be no question in your mind about your value as an individual. The whole intent of the gospel plan is to provide an opportunity for each of you to reach your fullest potential, which is eternal progression and the possibility of godhood’ [“Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters,” Ensign, Nov. 1978, 105].… As the Savior lifts us to higher ground, we can see more clearly not only who we are but also that we are closer to Him than we ever imagined.” (“Value beyond Measure,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 14, 15, emphasis removed).
Yes. Faithful members whose circumstances do not allow them to receive the blessings of eternal marriage and parenthood in this life will receive all promised blessings in the eternities, provided they keep the covenants they have made with God.
King Benjamin taught: “And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it” (Mosiah 2:41).
Research shows that if you experience transgender feelings, you may be at higher risk for depression or suicide. If you are depressed or are contemplating suicide, please know that you are loved. You may want to seek the help of a competent mental health professional. See PreventingSuicide.ChurchofJesusChrist.org for resources.
In the October 2019 general conference, Sister Reyna I. Aburto shared her own life experience with the pain associated with depression and suicide. She explained that “depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental and emotional affliction . . . can distort the way we perceive ourselves, others, and even God.
“. . . Like any part of the body, the brain is subject to illnesses, trauma, and chemical imbalances.
“In some cases, the cause of depression or anxiety can be identified, while other times it may be harder to discern… Therapy or medication under the direction of trained professionals may also be needed.
“Untreated mental or emotional illness can lead to increased isolation, misunderstandings, broken relationships, self-harm, and even suicide….
“Sadly, many who suffer from severe depression distance themselves from their fellow Saints because they feel they do not fit some imaginary mold. We can help them know and feel that they do indeed belong with us. It is important to recognize that depression is not the result of weakness, nor is it usually the result of sin. It ‘thrives in secrecy but shrinks in empathy’ [Jane Clayson Johnson, Silent Souls Weeping (2018), 197]” (“Thru Cloud and Sunshine, Lord, Abide with Me!,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2019, 57–58).
Trust in God
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland speaks compassionately of dealing with depression: “Whatever your struggle, my brothers and sisters—mental or emotional or physical or otherwise—do not vote against the preciousness of life by ending it! Trust in God. Hold on in His love. Know that one day the dawn will break brightly, and all shadows of mortality will flee. (“Like a Broken Vessel,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013, 42).