Pat Robertson: Being transgender is a real thing, and it’s not a sin (video)

Religious right leader, and former GOP presidential candidate, Pat Robertson said on his show recently that he believes transgender people are real, and that there’s “no sin” associated with that.


While Robertson’s entire comment isn’t perfect, it’s still surprisingly positive.

For a major religious right leader to acknowledge that being trans is a real thing, and not simply some kind of “disorder,” and then for them to say that it isn’t sin and he wouldn’t condemn someone for getting a sex change, is a huge deal.

Robertson’s statement is, at its core, sympathetic.  And regardless of how flawed the rest of his quote is, not quoted below but in the video below, these are the kind of positive statements that help a movement move forward, especially one that is less known to the public than, for example, being gay.  Say what you will about Robertson, but this quote is very helpful.

Here’s the money quote:

“There are men who are in a woman’s body… it’s very rare but it’s true, or women that are in men’s bodies, and they want a sex change and that is a very permanent thing…. I don’t think there’s any sin associated with that. I don’t condemn somebody for doing that.”

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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50 Responses to “Pat Robertson: Being transgender is a real thing, and it’s not a sin (video)”

  1. benb says:

    ‘Rare’ is what…from what I’ve read, ‘Rare’, medically is less than 1 in 200,000. I don’t know how the Medical Community defines ‘Very Rare’ but the stats for indicidence of trans seem to run from 1:2500 to 1:1500 up to 1%. In other words, most everyone who says their TS, according to Robertson, are posers who are claiming to be TS to justify their own perversion. His advice is, yes it does theoretically happen but most people are just sinners trying to justify their perversion.

    Oh, btw, if you have the time listen to the whole clip. Robertson’s advice on dealing with a suicidal friend, stealing your husband’s tithing money to keep gas an electricity on, and finding a biblical justification for leaving your physically abusive husband after trying to stay together for 13 years will probably so anger you that you won’t remember-=specifically–why you wanted to shove a King James’s up his ass.

  2. HelenRainier says:

    Confusing them should be the easy part.

  3. Badgerite says:

    Well, this is quite a welcome change. He used to routinely lump the transgender community, as well as gays, in with rapists and pedophiles. Praise the lord, and all that. About f-cking time.

  4. Thom Allen says:

    Good point. “Back in my time, I was a hell raisin’, whiskey drinkin, whoremonger. A real red blooded “Murican. Now, I’m in the runningof Baptist Pope.”

    When you asked about the “source” I was going to venture, “Marcus Bachmann?”

  5. Monoceros Forth says:

    Indeed! I find myself wondering if the claims of promiscuity aren’t just part of the legend though. You know what I mean: claim to have been wallowing in sin and moral turpitude until being healed by the love of Christ and all that. (But always mention the sin-wallowing, with a wink and a nudge, just to let people know you were a red-blooded man back in the day.)

  6. emjayay says:

    I listened carefully and I didn’t hear him ever say anything about gay people. That’s what he may be thinking in the back of his mind though.

  7. emjayay says:

    Well, I wouldn’t. That was a hypothetical of what he might be thinking. Even if he doesn’t quite know what he is thinking. But I bet he sort of thinks that men who change sex are sort of like full time gay drag queens. I have no idea how many men who transition to being women are gay, although I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a higher percentage of gay men than in the general population.

  8. Thom Allen says:

    Neurosyphilis can cause dementia. Could explain Pat’s tenuous contact with reality, why he claims to hear those voices carrying God’s message that he often misinterprets, illogical conclusions drawn from his reading of the bible. Does he really have it? He claims to have been very promiscuous in his high school and college days. And syphilis was reasonably common at that time. But real evidence? No. Just following Karmanot’s lead re: Pat’s limited numbers of “little grey cells.”

  9. Monoceros Forth says:

    I’m curious about something: this is the second time you’ve implied that Pat Robertson caught syphilis at some point. I’m not doubting you unduly but what’s the source?

  10. Zoe_Brain says:


    It will also be used by certain radical activists to “prove” that Trans people are agents of the Patriarchy, inherently anti-GLB etc etc and not only get them thrown under the bus, but run over a few times to make sure they’re dead.

    Those people are a minority though, and more influential outside the US than in it.

  11. Thom Allen says:

    “Pat” Robertson’s first name is really Marion. But he doesn’t use it as he considers it too effeminate. Perhaps his parents knew something that we don’t . . .

  12. Thom Allen says:

    Maybe “abomination.” “Sin” is just too mild to characterize the malignancy that is Pat.

  13. Thom Allen says:

    I heard that he only has two gray cells and they’re connected by a spirochete. ;^)

  14. chris10858 says:

    I have to agree with John. This is huge. I grew up in evangelical churches and a major religious figure like this coming out with a positive statement for trans folks is a powerful tool politically and religiously to help trans folks.

    It’s like the statement Pope Francis made recently about gay priests and such. It’s a big deal to a lot of people in those circles and thus empowers those in the LGBT community.

    I also think it provides cover for more right-wing politicians to approve ENDA inclusive of trans protections as well. They can cite goold ‘ole Pat. :)

  15. chris10858 says:

    Wow… having grown up in evangelical churches myself… this is huge for the trans community. Hell must’ve finally frozen over. LOL

    The next time a transgendered person gets flack from an evangelical co-worker or family member, they can cite Pat endorsing it as not being sinful and real. While it shouldn’t matter to the transgendered person, it could be used to help repair some pain and distance with loved ones who don’t understand and feel it goes against their religious beliefs.

    No matter how old a person is, almost all of us yearn for acceptance by our loved ones. This just might be able to help trans folks with their religious loved ones.

  16. karmanot says:

    I am holding my tongue, but it’s not easy. I totally agree with Zorba.

  17. karmanot says:

    Eloquent try Thom, but I doubt Pat’s 10 grey cells can handle critical reasoning.

  18. Thom Allen says:

    But Pat, if a man is transgendered and becomes a woman, he still has a man’s DNA. So when the new woman (still genetically male) has sex with another male, isn’t that still homosexual sex and baaaaaad according to your sheeple? Or is homosexual sex solely dependent upon the outward physical characteristics and NOT DNA? But isn’t DNA how God decides who is a male and who is a female? Well, except for people who are intersex? Isn’t the transgender person ALREADY the sex that s/he wants to be? You said that there are women born in men’s bodies. So she’s already a woman, right? And what about someone who hasn’t totally completed transgender surgery? When that person has sex, isn’t it homosexual sex regardless of the sex of the partner? What about people who are born intersex? Can they have sex with both males and females without being sinners? Or are they sinners because that makes them promiscuous?

    Please get back me with your explanations since you seem to have raised many more questions since your generous, healing and christian statement. That is after you finish having sex with your donkey which is permitted in your state, but may be frowned upon by the bible, unless you continue to cherry-pick.

  19. dula says:

    In Iran, the state will pay for gender reassignment and send you a new birth certificate in a few weeks. But they will hang you if you’re gay. Some gay men are getting sex changes to be able to be with men openly, though they are not transgendered. Perhaps Pat (how androgynous) saw the same documentary I did and thought it would be an easy way to put gays in a box he could understand, while not angering the God in his Koran, I mean Bible.

  20. Zorba says:

    Well, I certainly hope that you are right, John, and I also hope that Robertson’s quote can soften up at least a few bigots on the other side. Or, as you said, at least confuse them. ;-)

  21. No, what I meant was, I’ve had experience using good quotes from bad people for years, and it helps – helps soften their side up (or simply confuse them). It’s why I used to go on O’Reilly all the time when we were going after Dr Laura, he liked me, and came around on a lot of our issues, and good words from Mr. O were not unhelpful in tilting his audience even slightly more to our side. Considering where the transgender movement is in terms of public acceptance and simply visibility (outside of the progressive community), having a big fat mean right-winger who generally hates all of us not be hateful is, in y experience, quite helpful in the long-run. It’s not everything, but it is something in terms of its usefulness IMHO, and in my humble experience :)

  22. Zorba says:

    Well, I am older than you are, and I am perhaps more jaded, as well.
    In my own experience, it has been the fact that so many advocates were fighting for civil rights, women’s rights, and against the Vietnam War that finally led to progress. It was not that a very few way on the other side of those issues may have come out with a very few statements that were supposedly on our side.
    And Robertson saying some little thing positive amounts to nothing.
    It is nothing but Dust in the Wind.

  23. Indigo says:

    His first comment, delivered sotto voce, was the most honest, “I don’t understand all that.”

  24. HolyMoly says:

    Other than the surprising position he took, there is one thing that really sticks out to me about what he said:

    “—I— don’t condemn somebody for doing that.”

    It seems to me that he’s got a bit of a God complex, thinking that he himself has the power to condemn. I don’t know, maybe it’s an unfortunate choice of pronouns on his part…but then again it could be a Freudian slip.

    It would make sense, considering how he twists and contorts the Bible to fit his notion of what is right and wrong. He has done a bang-up job over the years of forming God into The Pat’s image…hatred, bigotry, greed, and all.

  25. Pretty much. Don’t trust a word he says. I doubt this will have much of an impact anyway and I’m sure religious bigots will continue their intolerance of transsexuals.

  26. AdmNaismith says:

    Right- so long as what a person does is outwardly (even superficially) permanent, these religious f*cks are OK with it. Express something contrary to their penis-in-vagina world, put forth a little grey area, and suddenly it’s all the work of the Devil and you are a disorder.
    Still, I am surprise Patsy R, didn’t dismiss transgenderism out of hand.

  27. In my experience, the exact opposite is true.

  28. Ninong says:

    Being Pat Robertson is a sin!

  29. Zorba says:

    Hee, hee! You’re forgiven, cole. ;-)

  30. Why would a gay man want to be a woman? He’s a gay MAN.

  31. cole3244 says:

    sorry, i meant to type geeks, my bad.

  32. karmanot says:

    Don’t believe it for a moment. It’s like Hitler saying some Jews are OK, because they are blond and blue eyed.

  33. karmanot says:

    “What are we supposed to believe with this guy?” well, that this sick, evil old Christer troll is all about the money.

  34. karmanot says:

    Or that we can’t call him a hog.

  35. karmanot says:


  36. Zorba says:

    At the end of the day, John, I really don’t think that Robertson’s “positive” statement will do any good whatsoever. It’s not a “Nixon Goes to China” moment. The right-wing evangelicals will wind up totally ignoring this statement from this senile old fool, while still hanging on to his every disgusting pronouncement.
    And Hitler was a vegetarian, hated hunting and animal cruelty, and adored his pets. So what?

  37. UncleBucky says:

    A time machine with only one setting: About 4.3 years ago when Terra had a proximity problem with Theia. That’d be nice.

  38. Zorba says:

    Hey, hey, hey, cole! I resent that saying! Given that I am of Greek descent. ;-)

  39. UncleBucky says:

    Oh. Pat Robertson. Who knows? Maybe his morning pills got all mixed up. And he thought he was something he wasn’t. Unlike the people he was pandering to.

  40. Zorba says:

    Yes. Robertson suffers from verbal diarrhea, and I don’t think that his extremely rare, brief instances of sanity will be any help at all.

    Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in awhile. It doesn’t mean that the pig isn’t still blind.

  41. True, but you do realize that this post isn’t about being joyous that gay loves us :) It’s about a strategic benefit to having a right-wing hate monger say good things about you. That’s beneficial culturally and politically. It’s a Nixon goes to china kind of move, to put in geopolitical terms. It’s strategically very useful to have even your enemy say something positive. It’s not about caring what Pat Robertson’s god thinks of any of us.

  42. microdot says:

    Don’t get too excited, that was exactly the same line of reasoning used by the violently homophobic regime of the Ayatollah Khomeni in Iran. In fact trangender surgical procedures are a big business in Iran. Some of the best specialists in the business are in Tehran. It’s kosher….

  43. BrandySpears says:

    I so look forward to the day when LGBT people realize they do not need
    the approval of the religious, both left and right, to affirm

  44. PLAINTOM says:

    I remember his submissive statement but astonishingly enough at this end of this video he addresses the issue of spousal abuse and sides with the wife leaving her abusive husband. I usually can’t stomach these video clips of Pat but he was strangely sane throughout this whole clip. His wording is awkward but overall I was shocked that I agreed with the tone of his statements.

  45. cole3244 says:

    beware of greeks bearing gifts, especially this greek.

  46. Leota2 says:

    That sounds lovely, for today at least. But anything might come out of Robertson’s mouth and it has.
    Sometimes you’d think he was quoting the ACLU; other times—- a Klan manifesto.

    This is the same man who thinks if a woman get Alzheimer’s her husband should divorce her,
    put her in a nursing home and go find someone else. Of course if a man gets Alzheimer’s—he feels their wives need to care for them.

  47. emjayay says:

    If you were a gay guy and you become a woman, then you are a woman attracted to men and you can even be submissive to your husband and all is right with God. Problem solved. Except for the part where God doesn’t make mistakes.

  48. FLL says:

    I think Robertson can rationalize this because it can coexist with his scriptural interpretation of the fundamentalist Christian taboo against sex between men. This is the same logic used by the government of Iran. As of 2008, Iran performs more sex change surgeries than any nation except Thailand, and the Iranian government subsidizes half the cost (!) Excuse me for being unimpressed with this combination of homophobia on the one hand and enlightenment regarding transgender folks on the other. Religious nutcases like Robertson and the Iranian mullahs can take their scriptural taboos somewhere outside the 21st century. Someone please build them a time machine so we can be rid of them.

  49. ArthurH says:

    If you read the quote, what he said is that it is no sin only if a gay person has a sex change operation. It is a half measure.

  50. What are we supposed to believe with this guy? Sure, I guess it’s positive but didn’t he just say women should be submissive to their husbands a few weeks ago. Nothing that comes out of his mouth is worth reporting really because he just says whatever he thinks will send money his way on that particular day.

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