Date of Award

8-8-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Religious Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Monique Moultrie

Second Advisor

Dr. Brett J. Esaki Slominski

Third Advisor

Dr. Louis A. Ruprecht, Jr.

Abstract

This thesis traces the historical evolution of the term transgender in the United States, mainly since the Second World War. The history of varying terms and conceptions regarding non-conforming gender identity may help clarify contemporary debates among Christian Evangelicals regarding the creation stories in Genesis and how gender is depicted there. The advantage of presenting a more complex history of Evangelicalism will be to counterbalance the mistaken view that Evangelicals are unilaterally conservative; in fact there is a long history of progressive Evangelicalism in this country. Without a consensus understanding of transgender identity and how it may or may not appear in scripture, churches remain uncertain how best to minister to transgender parishioners. This thesis offers a terminological history that may sustain an understanding of transgender identity within progressive Evangelical churches, and shows how different progressive interpretations of the creation stories in Genesis may serve to promote tolerance and acceptance.

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