The Orthodox Pages




















Question 242

Hi, Father  if a homosexual has a sex change, can they marry in the Orthodox church to a person of the opposite sex?


Answer to Question 242


This sounds like a trick question, but a valid one. There are actually two answers – a yes and a no, but for different reasons. 


The first is for people who are born hermaphrodites meaning that they are born with both male and female genitalia. In many cases the male genitalia is hidden and the person might be brought up as a female only to discover in puberty that she has feelings associated with a man, doesn’t develop breasts and begins to grow facial hair. On closer examination doctors discover that the person does have male genitalia and is not actually a female because he doesn’t have a womb and ovaries. An operation is performed to reveal the male genitalia and the birth certificate can legally be changed to show that the person was actually a male and not a female. In such cases the Church will marry them because it is not actually a sex change, but a clear case of mistaken sexual identity.


But someone who has what we commonly call a sex change is not actually changing his or her sex. A man for example wishing to be a female is having himself castrated which is in itself a sin. The doctors simply make an opening that could be considered a female genitalia and is given hormones to help him grow breasts, to reduce body and facial hair and give him a slightly higher pitched voice. These are all external, but internal he is still a man, he cannot be given a womb and ovaries. He can legally change his name, but his birth certificate will still say that he was born a male. When applying for a marriage licence in the Orthodox Church he may tell the priest that his name is Maria and he may even look like a Maria but he has to produce a birth certificate which will say that he is in fact a Mario. So in this case the church will not marry Maria/Mario to another man.