Objection: Transgenderism Deceives Others

This article is about the argument raised against trans people that we are deceiving others by acting like a gender different than our sex. For the matter of whether it is possible for sex to change, read Sex Cannot Change.

Often the argument is brought up against transpeople that they are deceiving others by presenting a gender different from their assigned gender. First, let me point out yet again that this only applies to some trans people. People have no difficulty deducing I have and have always had a male body except for one person who assumed I was a transman born female.  Drag queens and drag kings and mock the gender binary and many genderqueer people who publicly criticize it do not feel the need to pass as one gender or the other. This is not out of concern about deception but because we the gender binary doesn't rule out lives and the more our lives contradict the binary, the less influence it has.

The matter of passing and going "stealth" is debated with the trans community. On one hand, going stealth contributes to our invisibility and persecution. An openly trans person, however, gives trans people a good name by showing our family and friends that trans people are healthy, well-adjusted people too and that fears are unwarranted. On the other hand, because of the prejudice against transpeople, a person in stealth has a better shot at getting a job, making friends, getting a date, and taking advantage of cisgender privilege. Each year, sometimes dozens and sometimes hundreds of people are murdered just because a cisgender person feels threatened by their gender variance. While don't agree entirely, we do agree going stealth is a moral option.

We reject that stealth or any gender expression is deception because our true gender is the one we express. A transwoman, like Rev. Erin Swenson, wears dresses and uses a feminine voice


The objection about gender is that acting like a gender you were not born deceives other people that you are not your birth gender. A trans person will disagree with the premise; we believe that our new gender is our true gender while our assigned gender was false. By expressing our gender identity, we are showing our gender as it really is and as it should be. If, on the other hand, we did not express our gender identity, only then would we being deceiving other people. Honesty is the quintessential aspect of coming out. There is massive incentive for us to lie about who we are but we are compelled to be honest.

I have, at great cost, ended my deceitful life and devoted myself to living in the light of the truth. . . . I deeply disagree with the charge that I am being deceitful and a source of shame for the people of God. On the contrary, I believe that the truth I live in is a truth the people of God are struggling to understand.  Erin Swenson, answering the accusation that she was deceiving others.


The objection regarding sex is that by expressing ourselves as the opposite sex (those who do), others will think we really are that sex and that is deceptive.

Remember how I previously oversimplified my own definition of sex in order to use a simpler, operative definition? That operative definition finally breaks down here. Those who study sex and gender intensely reject that sex can be defined by Nature because Nature has too many exceptions, asexuals, hermaphrodites, isogamists, sequential hermaphroditism, and, of course, intersexuality. We believe that humans interpreted the human body in light of our need to simplify and use binaries and triads to explain our world. Cultures believed that everything could and should be divided into binaries and triads and that included our bodies in relation to age (children, adults, and some cultures add adolescents), race (in American culture, black, white, and sometimes brown) and reproduction (male, female, and in some cultures a third sex). Thus, sex is divided for the same reason as gender stereotypes. Therefore, sex itself is a gender stereotype. Now you can appreciate why I did not start us out that deep.

All that to say, sex is but another gender attribute and therefore under the same morals as the rest of gender as discussed above.

My second response is that your sex is no one's business but yours, your partner, and whomever else you choose. Strangers have no right to know about your genitals, no more than they a right to your age, weight, sex life, fertility, or any other personal matters. The idea that everyone should know what's between your legs comes straight from the errors of pro-binary thought which believes your life destiny is bound up in your sex organs. The hallmark of transgenderism is rejection of such determination. We all have a right to privacy, and our sex is covered by that right. For this reason I think the whole argument is about semantics: what is a matter of deception and what is a matter of privacy.