LifeWay Research: U.S. Protestant Pastors See Gender Change as Immoral


As gender fluidity grows more accepted in wider culture, most Protestant pastors remain traditional.

As legislatures in Washington, D.C. and across the country discuss issues surrounding individuals who identify as a gender different from their biological sex, a clear majority of U.S. Protestant pastors see such gender fluidity as morally wrong.

In a study from Nashville-based Lifeway Research, around 3 in 4 Protestant pastors say identifying as a gender different from one’s biological birth gender is morally wrong. Similar numbers say the same about attempts to physically change genders.

“American culture increasingly views morality differently than historic Christianity,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “When pastors articulate Christian teaching, it often sounds very different from the cultural narrative because it rejects a basis for morality centered on the individual.”

Identity Issues

Among U.S. Protestant pastors, Lifeway Research found 72% say it is morally wrong for an individual to identify with a gender different from the biological sex they were born, including 62% who strongly agree. Around 1 in 7 (14%) disagree, and another 10% do not believe it is a moral issue.

In an earlier study Lifeway Research asked the same questions of Americans. Forty-four percent of Protestant Americans and 35% of all Americans agreed it is morally wrong for someone to identify with a gender different from the sex they were born. In the 2020 State of Theology study from Lifeway Research, however, 79% of American adults agree God created male and female.

“Protestant pastors are more likely than Americans who identify as Protestant to consider it wrong to identify as a gender different from your biological sex,” said McConnell. “While most Americans accept the …

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