Part II: remainder
I saved for last the two verses most central to arguments over transgendered people. These are, of course, Deut 22:5 and 23:2.
First, the texts, as rendered in the New American Bible.
Deuteronomy 22:5: "A woman shall not wear an article proper to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's dress; for anyone who does such things is an abomination to the LORD, your God."
Deuteronomy 23:2: "No one whose testicles have been crushed or whose penis has been cut off may be admitted into the community of the LORD."
Obviously, the first reference is used in reference to cross-dressing; the second in reference to sex reassignment surgery. Right away, we see one problem with respect to the usage of the second verse: sex reassignment surgery is a very recent occurence. The first such surgery took place (according to Wikipedia) in stages in both 1921 and 1930. The Bible simply *could* not be talking about this surgery; it didn't exist for millennia after the writing of the Bible. A second problem is the tradition the Catholic Church had at one time of the singing "castrati." Whoever forced those boys to...ahem...keep their childhood voices...would, by traditional interpretation, be violating Scripture (and forcing souls out of the Church, presumably to their eternal detriment.)
More to the point, we simply don't know what the original context of these verses was, i.e., what behavior they were trying to prohibit. Guesses for the Deut 22:5 reference include:
1. In Pagan temples, priests sometimes cross-dressed. The Deut 22:5 reference above, then, would concern itself with this worship, and essentially be one more admonition to not engage in Pagan worship.
2. The cross-dressing could have been used as a disguise for a member of one sex to gain intimate contact with the apposite sex. Thus, Deut 22:5 is essentially about avoiding adultery.
For the Deut 23:2 reference, the main consideration seems to have been that this verse was written for a small nation, which needed to increase its population. As Gennee noted in an earlier post, this was revoked in Is 56:1-5; another passage to keep in mind in this regard is Acts 8:26-39. Indeed, it is sometimes interesting that the Bible portrays God as far more willing to change his decrees than "his church(es)" give him credit for doing. In this regard, you might compare Genesis 9:6 with Genesis 4:1-15. You might also compare Numbers 26:52-56 to Numbers 36:1-12 (and note the implication in the second passage of a defect in "God's legislation.") Still one more comparison is to compare Genesis 17:11-12 with 1 Cor 7:19.
Interesting factors surrounding these verses include:
1. The sexes are not treated equally here. (I'm sure that nobody will be terribly surprised at this.) The reference to an "article proper to a man" is supposed to be vague; basically anything that would have been considered "uniquely" male is forbidden to women. This includes not only all male clothing, but also weapons, armor, tools of "male trades," etc. But the reference to "a woman's dress" refers only to one particular kind of robe, worn by women of the time.
2. The surrounding verses almost seem to be a "miscellaneous" category of laws. Many of these laws deal with lost animals; some deal with home safety, mixing items, marriage/sexuality rules, and even a verse on twisted cords on cloaks.
3. No punishment is decreed for this "abomination to the LORD, your God." None.
This, at least, is what I have learned so far in regards to interpreting the Bible on this issue. Next up: some hopefully more optimistic verses.