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Trans women are not real women


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After 5 votes and with 2 points ahead, the winner is...

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Round 1
This debate shouldn’t be opinionated, but it is since people are convinced that you can be whatever you believe nowadays. Very well, I will defend my opinions to the fullest. First, I need to ask you a question. Do you believe gender is a social construct? 

If so, please explain why and how biological sex and gender are not linked.
This debate can be defined in one of two ways: 'woman' in terms of gender identity (i.e. those who identify as women), and 'woman' in terms of biological sex (those who have the sex characteristics typical of the female sex). While my opponent did not define this anywhere, I will go ahead and assume they are using 'woman' to refer to biological sex, because otherwise anyone who identifies as a woman (which all trans women do. That's what makes them trans women) would be a woman and my opponent would have to debate against a truism.

In this way, my opponent's question is irrelevant. In the realm of gender, trans women are obviously women because they identify as such. If I can prove that trans women are biologically women as well, I will have won this debate from every possible perspective and definition. Even if I do not succeed in proving this fully, I will show later on why gender is a more useful metric than biological sex in regards to defining what a 'woman' is as well.

To begin, let's state the obvious: No one sex characteristic can define an entire sex. A woman who removes both her breasts because of breast cancer is still a woman. A woman who is born without XX chromosomes (Whether that's because of Swyer syndrome [Female sex characteristics and XY chromosomes{1}{2}] or some other chromosomal abnormality), if said woman has every other defining sex characteristic of a female (breasts, uterus, muscle/fat distribution, hormones, etc...), lives as a female for their entire life, and is, for all intents and purposes, a woman, is still a woman. Any attempt to classify a woman who has every sex characteristic typical of the female sex, except for their chromosomes, as a male is operating on a meaningless technicality. There is no good reason to call that a woman like the one I just described a man.

If my opponent would like to argue that a woman with breasts, ovaries, a uterus, female muscle/fat distribution, a female endocrine system, who has been living and recognized as a woman for their entire life should, upon discovering they have XY chromosomes, be considered a male, I wish them the best of luck in that argument. It is the most useless way of determining gender that ignores actually meaningful ways of distinguishing biological sex.

Given this fact, it is then obvious that sex is not defined by a singular characteristic, but is a gradient between male sex characteristics and female sex characteristics.

Trans women are able to land, on that gradient, just as far towards the side of female sex characteristics as many cis women do. Trans women can have:
  1. Female muscle/fat distribution (because of hormone replacement therapy)
  2. Female endocrine system (because of HRT)
  3. Female genitalia (breasts, vulva, vagina) (because of surgery)
  4. Female voice (because of surgery and/or practice)
  5. Female appearance
  6. etc...
If, on the gradient of male - female sex characteristics, trans women are able to be just as far to the side of female sex characteristics as a cis woman who, for all intents and purposes, still should be called a woman, trans women are therefore able to biologically become women.

Since the vast majority of trans women will, through gender-affirming care, reach this point, it can then be said that the vast majority of trans women do become biological women.

Therefore, trans women are women both biology-wise and gender-wise.
Round 2
A woman is defined as a biological female, at least by my standards. 

What is a woman, then?

A woman is a biological female, born with XX chromosomes, female genital, more estrogen than testosterone, a menstruation cycle, a uterus, and other traits such as wider hips for childbirth. Men, however, are not born with these traits. A man is a biological male born with XY chromosomes, male genital, more testosterone than estrogen, and other traits such as broader shoulders or natural facial hair. Sex indeed is linked with gender, as it resonates with features of both genders and determines the gender at birth. No matter how much you try, you cannot change your gender. Believing and doing are two different things. 

Even if you cut off your genitals, take hormone pills to change your voice, use puberty blockers, or for men attempting to transition to women, wear makeup and take medication to experience periods, their chromosomes are still what they were given at birth. Yes, while you may gain more masculine or feminine traits when transitioning, it doesn’t change your chromosomes. 

Also, if gender is a social construct, any man can raise his hand and claim to be a woman, with or without transgender surgery. What limit is there to it after that? I mean, I can claim to be a green hairbrush and I’m encouraged for this irrational behavior somehow. Many trans people also say that they’re just born this way and that God messed up their gender. How can He if they don’t believe He actually exists? If gender is a social construct there is no right or wrong answer. I can’t be a bigot for saying there are only two, since it’s just a matter of opinion. 

Because people rely so much on my truth and your truth, there can’t be an objective truth. Right and wrong, good and evil are only different perspectives. But, there is an objective truth. No matter how much you lie to yourself and tell yourself that you’re this or that, you know deep down that you are what you were born as. You cannot change basic biology.
My opponent seems to have completely ignored literally everything I said, but I'll respond to their arguments anyways.

"A woman is a biological female, born with XX chromosomes, female genital, more estrogen than testosterone, a menstruation cycle, a uterus, and other traits such as wider hips for childbirth."
My previous arguments show why chromosomes are not an important sex characteristic. If someone has all the sex characteristics of a female, but has XY chromosomes, is there any good reason to call them a man instead of a woman? There obviously isn't. In 99.9% of contexts, it is a more useful distinction to call them a woman. Chromosomes on their own change nothing, but having a uterus, ovaries, female hormones, female genitals, etc... These are all meaningful traits where having said traits actually meaningfully changes something about the individual. Chromosomes are not.

I could choose to claim that someone is a man if they have a certain amount of testosterone in their body and a woman if they don't. This distinction would needlessly exclude cis women who have abnormally high testosterone levels who still nonetheless have all of the other female sex characteristics. If they have all of the other female sex characteristics except they have a higher testosterone level than most women, they obviously still deserve to be called women because calling them 'men' based on that pointless technicality is meaningless.  In the exact same vein, calling someone a man or a woman based on only their chromosomes is meaningless, pointless technicality.

The above shows, once again, that there is no single sex characteristic that differentiates the male and female sex. What does my opponent think about people with XXX, XXY, XYY, or other chromosomal abnormalities? Do they think those are all separate genders? My opponent can not dodge this question by saying that people with chromosomal abnormalities still have male or female sex characteristics. Either chromosomes define sex or they don't.

A woman who lives their life as a woman, sounds, looks, identifies as, and is considered to be a female while also having all sex characteristics typical of the female sex, but they have XY chromosomes, they are still a woman. Does my opponent agree with this or not? If they do not agree with that, it is obvious how this is a meaningless distinction that would unfairly call someone a man when they are obviously, for all intents and purposes a woman.

If they do agree with that, they logically must concede that chromosomes do not determine sex.

If you discovered today that you had the chromosomes of the opposite sex, does that suddenly change anything about you? If you're a man, do you honestly think that there is any logical reason that you should call yourself a woman if you found out you had XX chromosomes? Is there literally any usefulness to doing that? Do you seriously believe that is an accurate way of classifying your biological sex even though you have all the sex characteristics of a man?

This is all one, big long way of saying that any argument which distinguishes sex based on chromosomes is, at best, self-contradicting and, at worst, ridiculous.

My opponent concedes that trans women can have all of the meaningful sex characteristics of cis women, so this resolution is obviously false for all the reasons I have presented.

Of course if someone claims to be a hairbrush you don't have to believe them, because they cannot meaningfully be said to be a hairbrush. There is no way for a living person to meet the criteria required to be considered a hairbrush. On the contrary, a man can, by all reasonable and useful metrics, become a woman. Nobody is claiming to be a hairbrush.

My opponent says I 'cannot change basic biology.' So let's see what biologists have to say:

"There are people born with Y chromosomes who are female, and it is not that rare." -Philip Batterham, president of the International Genetics Federation[1][2]

"...gender identity is a biological phenomenon." -Joshua D. Safer, MD, FACP, Boston University Medical Center

"The popular belief that your sex arises only from your chromosomal makeup is wrong. The truth is, your biological sex isn’t carved in stone, but a living system with the potential for change.

Trying to link sex, sex chromosomes and sexual dimorphism is also useless for understanding other brain properties.

...the science is clear and conclusive: sex is not binary, transgender people are real. It is time that we acknowledge this. Defining a person’s sex identity using decontextualized “facts” is unscientific and dehumanizing." -Simone D. Sun, Scientific American

Round 3
I did not intend to ignore your arguments, and I apologize if I came across this way. 

To be fair, that is a good argument. Genetic rarities like that happen sometimes, so in that particular case, I would refer to that person as a biological female. With intersex, since there are different variations of such, I think I'd believe that person is what they identify as at that point. I honestly don't know whether intersex people should be male or female, and they're the only people that I'd accept as both, since they biologically are. 

I suppose I do partially agree with that. Unlike a rare case of intersex, yes, some people can have unbalanced estrogen/testosterone levels for their gender. For instance, it might make males have more of a softer than deeper voice. However, if they are biologically male or female, and they wish to transition to the opposite sex, it's not the same. 

There is none, but other than cases with people of intersex, men and women have very clear, different physical differences. I could also list mental, such as women tend to be more emotional, than men. Chromosomes themselves aren't the only factors that determine sex, but they do play into a big role when people who are not born that way try to transition to the other.

 While nobody is claiming to be a hairbrush (that I know of), people claim to be absurd things like a cat, and use cat/catself pronouns. Again, unless intersex , if you are born male or female with all the primary traits of the two sexes, you just biologically can't switch other to the opposite one. It's not possible. 

The first of your sources seems to be talking about intersex. I'm not exactly sure what the second is saying entirely, I'd have to read the whole thing for context. The third, however, I believe is wrong. Of course transgender people are people; just not the gender they claim to be biologically. While many different aspects make up your sex and gender, even if  you take some of the primary ones away, it cannot really change your gender, and can lead to major regret. I will provide examples below. 

Some studies suggest that rates of regret have declined over the years as patient selection and treatment methods have improved. In a review of 27 studies involving almost 8,000 teens and adults who had transgender surgeries, mostly in Europe, the U.S and Canada, 1% on average expressed regret. For some, regret was temporary, but a small number went on to have detransitioning or reversal surgeries, the 2021 review said., March 07, 2023 11:38 AM, Paragraph 10.
Although it seems like a small percentage, taking into account of how many trans people are in the world, that's still a big number of people who regret it. It isn't everyone, but gender affirming care for trans people isn't confirmed to make them happy and feel secure.

Now 17, Chloe is one of a growing cohort called “detransitioners” — those who seek to reverse a gender transition, often after realizing they actually do identify with their biological sex. Tragically, many will struggle for the rest of their lives with the irreversible medical consequences of a decision they made as minors.

Now, Chloe regrets it, but here's the reason why she decided she was trans in the first place: 

“I was going through a period where I was just really isolated at school, so I turned to the Internet,” she recalled. In her real life, Kerschner had a falling out with friends at school; online however, she found a community that welcomed her. “My dysphoria was definitely triggered by this online community. I never thought about my gender or had a problem with being a girl before going on Tumblr.” “The community was very social justice-y. There was a lot of negativity around being a cis, heterosexual, white girl, and I took those messages really, really personally.” “I started being exposed to a lot of LGBT content and activism,” she said. “I saw how trans people online got an overwhelming amount of support, and the amount of praise they were getting really spoke to me because, at the time, I didn’t really have a lot of friends of my own.”

I think it can be concluded that at least with this girl she felt pressured to change, not that she ever felt like a male. I mean, I have asked people before why they feel that they are the opposite gender, and they say it's because they feel like it. Upon asking how so they feel this way, they fail to provide an actual answer. How many young people in LBGTQ+ are in it just because they want to be accepted; not that they truly think they're born that way?

This was taken from New York Post, written by Rikki Schlott, at June 18, 2022, 9:01am.

I still argue that trans women aren't real women, and this is why. 
I apologize if my speech for the previous round was unduly aggressive. In debates like this, it is easy to misconstrue your opponent's tone as substantially more hateful/aggressive than it actually is. Reading my previous speech, I should've given a greater benefit of the doubt.

Nonetheless, I will continue to defend my position and show why this resolution is logically incorrect.

1. Summary
There is only two ways my opponent can demonstrate that trans women are not, insofar as biology is concerned, women.
  1. Sex is based on chromosomes and trans women have XY chromosomes.
  2. Sex is based on a gradient of sex-characteristics and trans women are incapable of being/usually aren't far enough towards the female side of the gradient to be considered biologically women.
My opponent concedes that sex is not solely based on chromosomes. They consider it to still be a factor in determining biological sex, so let's play by their rules and include it as a sex-characteristic.

My argument is simple:
  1. 'Biological sex' is a gradient between female and male sex-characteristics. If one person lands considerably closer to the 'female' side of the gradient, their biological sex is female. There is no one singular sex-characteristic that distinguishes biological sexes.
  2. Trans women are capable of attaining enough female sex-characteristics and losing enough male-sex characteristics that they fall as far to the 'female' side of the gradient as cis women, who are still women, do.
  3. Most trans women will do the above. Thereby, most trans women will land far enough to the 'female' side of the gradient to be considered women.
  4. Therefore, trans women are women.

2. Rebuttals
2.1 Regret
The amount of trans people who regret transitioning is irrelevant to this debate, but even so, my opponent concedes it is in the realm of 1%.

The amount of parents who regret having children is in the realm of 10%[1]. The amount of people who regret having any given surgery is in the realm of 15%[1]. Using my opponent's logic, nobody should have children or have any surgery because they might regret it. The premise is self-evidently ridiculous. Even still, transition regret is far lower than these numbers.

I'm sorry that Chloe (the example of a detransitioner my opponent gave) was in a position in life where she felt the only way she could receive the praise and support she needed was through identifying as trans. But we are getting nowhere closer to ensuring that women in Chloe's position get the recognition and support they need by arguing if trans women are women, so to use her as an example in this debate is not only irrelevant, it is fundamentally contributing to the very problems that lead people to desperately seek validation in unhealthy ways by directing hate towards trans people instead of directing support towards people who need it.

2.2 Identifying As A Hairbrush
People identifying as ridiculous things (like hairbrushes, cats, or whatever else) is, again, irrelevant to this debate because this is not even close to comparable to identifying as the opposite sex.

It is physically impossible for any human being to meet the criteria necessary to be considered a hairbrush or a cat. For someone assigned male at birth, it is completely possible for them to meet the criteria necessary to be considered a woman.

2.3 The 'Immutability' of Biology
Not all sex-characteristics are equal in regards to determining sex. The weight a sex-characteristic should be given when it comes to defining biological sex should be based on how meaningful the difference is between those who do and don't have that sex-characteristic.

Let's create a list of primary and secondary characteristics and one-by-one show how trans women can attain almost all of them easily. I will mark each characteristic that trans women cannot attain with N/A. At the end of this, we will weigh how many trans women can (and often do) attain vs how many they can't.

Primary sex-characteristics of the female sex:
  1. Reproductive organs - (N/A, though trans women do lose all male organs necessary for reproduction [mainly testicles] via surgery[1], thus meaning this neither brings them closer to being biological men nor women.)
  2. High estrogen/progesterone & low testosterone - (Feminizing hormone therapy (FHT) reduces testosterone and increases estrogen/progesterone to levels consistent with cis women[1][2].)
  3. Genitalia - (Trans women lose all male genitalia and gain female genitalia upon having gender-affirming surgery[1][2].)
  4. Breasts - (Upon beginning hormone replacement therapy (HRT), trans women will grow breasts in the exact same way cis women do[1][2]. Both men and women have mammary glands[3], so there is not a meaningful difference in that regard.)
  5. There is no meaningful difference in the brains of females and males[1][2][3].
  6. Chromosomes are barely deserving of being considered a sex-characteristic because if you took someone with XX chromosomes and gave them XY chromosomes, there would be no meaningful difference. If you can live your entire life without even knowing that you have chromosomes that differs from your biological sex, it's safe to say it is a minuscule, unimportant characteristic.

Secondary sex-characteristics of the female sex (defined as sex-characteristics being caused by other primary sex-characteristics):
  1. Muscle/fat distribution - (Trans women will have female-pattern muscle/fat distribution after a few years of HRT[1][2].)
  2. Physical capabilities - (This is far too large of a topic to address in one bullet point, but I did an entire debate where I indisputably proved that trans women will, after a few years of HRT, lose all advantages that biological males have over females in terms of physical ability[1].
  3. Hair growth & baldness - (Trans women will, after a few years of HRT, have body-hair growth that is consistent in appearance, density, speed, etc... to that of cis women[1][2]. Trans women do not experience male-pattern baldness unless they started HRT after already having experienced it[3].)
  4. Voice - (While trans women who did not begin HRT before puberty will have thicker vocal cords than most females, trans women are able to [and most will] develop a voice that sounds indistinguishable from that of a female through practice and vocal techniques. This becomes their natural voice as it merely becomes the habitual way your body exhales air and uses your throat muscles when you want to speak. This doesn't cause the same strain on your throat that something like doing an impression of another's voice would.
  5. Emotions - (Any differences between the emotional intensity, volatility, or whatever else between men and women is caused either by hormones[1] or culture[2]. Culture has nothing to do with biological sex, and trans women have hormone levels identical to that of cis women.)
I could continue to go on, but these are most of the main ones. In summary:

Out of the six primary sex-characteristics listed, one (Neuroanatomy) is not different between sexes, one is such a minuscule characteristic (Chromosomes) it is barely worth mentioning, one is unattainable for trans women (Reproductive organs), but trans women do not have the male equivalent either (meaning this neither makes them more male nor female), and the other three (Genitalia, breasts, and hormones) are completely attainable by trans women in a way indistinguishable from that of cis women.

Out of the five secondary sex-characteristics listed, every single one is attainable by trans women in a way indistinguishable from cis women.

3. Conclusion
I have shown indisputably that trans women are capable of attaining the vast majority of sex-characteristics that most cis women have in a way that is indistinguishable.

As the vast majority of trans women will (or would if they could) get HRT, surgery, etc... It can thus be stated that most trans women will attain more than enough female sex-characteristics to be considered females and will lose almost all male sex-characteristics.

For these reasons, I see no logical reason why trans women shouldn't be considered women.

My opponents arguments around regret and hairbrushes do nothing to prove the resolution. They cannot defeat the objective evidence that I have presented.

Gender is not immutable. That is not hyperbole, it is biology. And, no matter how much my opponent may want to, they cannot change biology.

Round 4
I actually do admit I don't have much else to say, just a differing opinion. I don't see how, even if a cisgender male can gain more female than male attributes, how they're really a female. 

I do respect the fact that you did research and didn't just pull nonsense out of thin air, so thank you for that. 

let's make a specific scenario. A person AFAB decides to identify as nonbinary, and she doesn't receive gender affirming care. Some trans women do in fact preserve their fertility, so let's say this person is AMAB but identifies as a female, with his male genital intact. The nonbianary individual becomes pregnant, and her pregnancy is a success. Both people's birth sex did not care what gender they identified as, and the nonbianary person was still able to become pregnant. I understand that this isn't guaranteed, as there could be a miscarriage, they could've had their genitals cut off ect. But in this this case, their birth sexes overrides what gender they chose to identify as. 

As we know, the only male that can carry a pregnancy naturally are seahorses. For humans, and other species however, (that aren't asexual) the female is the one carrying the pregnancy, and you need both a female and a male to produce offspring. The trans women was not really a woman, as he was still able to fertilize the AFAB woman's eggs. 

As of yet, no trans women has actually ever given birth. Although it can be a possibility and apparently there will be a way for them to do so in the future, as of now they have never actually given birth to a child. 

One of the main aspects of the female gender is to produce life, and trans women have not accomplished this. Even if they never want to get pregnant, those who have tried have never successfully had a pregnancy. I do not believe that a woman is solely defined as a birth giver, rather as you mentioned earlier as a gradient of different aspects that make up her gender. If a woman does not wish to have offspring, it doesn't make her not a woman anymore. In the same way, if a cisgender woman tries to convert to a male, they cannot impregnate anyone. However, trans men can get pregnant, the reason being because all females are born with eggs, and despite them attempting to change their gender, once more their sex did not care what they identified as and they still managed to carry a pregnancy. 

Another example of this, Plant Parenthood recently made an ad for their company with a nonbianary individual talking about their abortion. From this, we can conclude that she still managed to get pregnant, although she didn't give birth because the pregnancy was terminated. If she didn't terminate it, however, she would've most likely successfully given birth to a child, because she was born a female, with eggs and the primary female traits that makes her a woman, despite what she identifies as. 

What my opponent misses in their argument about an AFAB nonbinary person and a trans female having a baby is that reproductive organs don't care what sex you are. Sperm isn't saying "Yep. We're in a male right now."

Their argument about how, when these two conceive a child, that their reproductive organs 'don't care' what they identify as, but reproductive organs don't care about anything. They don't care if you're biologically male or female, they just perform their function if they can. The AFAB nonbinary person may have female reproductive organs and the trans woman might have male reproductive organs, sure, but consider the following:

If your arm gets amputated, many people will experience what is called a 'phantom limb' where they feel as though the arm is still there even though it is not. This is not some example of your nervous system 'deciding' you still have your arm or that it's 'overriding' your 'identity' as an amputee. It's literally just performing its function. Your body parts don't have opinions, nor are they assigning gender or sex to anything.

Womanhood is not defined by one's ability to bear children. Women are more than glorified baby makers. To say otherwise is completely and utterly reductionist. A woman who can't give birth is not less of a woman.

Who is my opponent to decide that being a woman is based off of reproductive ability? You cannot say that trans women aren't women because they can't have kids but then turn around and say that cis women who go through menopause are no less of a woman then they are before.

Even if all of my arguments about how biological sex is not immutable fail to convince you, this will: A cis woman who removes their breasts because of breast cancer is not less of a woman.

A cis woman who loses their uterus due to endometriosis is not less of a woman.

A cis woman who has to suppress their estrogen levels because of an estrogen-dependent cancer is not less of a woman.

Losing these female sex-characteristics does not make these women any less women for a simple reason: Womanhood is not based on arbitrary sex characteristics.

I can not hope to define womanhood in any way that encapsulates the experience of every woman from every background, but I can say with the utmost certainty that any definition of womanhood based on 'biological reality' is absurd.

A cis woman without breasts or a uterus or what have you is no less of a woman. Any attempt to argue that, by lacking sex-characteristics, trans women are not women must intrinsically look at these women who have lost parts of their body from disease and look down upon them as 'less of a woman'. If such cruelty does not convince you of the utter absurdity of my opponent's position, nothing will.

Argue all you wish about how there are some people who still have male sex-characteristics or some people who don't have female sex-characteristics. I have already shown you all how trans women can (and most do) gain so many female sex-characteristics and lose so many male sex-characteristics it is impossible to reasonably call them anything other than biological women.

I have proven and my opponent concedes sex is more than chromosomes.

What does it mean to be a woman? It doesn't mean to have XX chromosomes.

It doesn't mean to have children.

It doesn't mean to have an arbitrary number of female sex-characteristics.

To be a woman is to experience womanhood.

And to define womanhood by so-called 'biological reality' is indistinguishable from the anti-suffrage movement that tried to use that same 'biological reality' to argue women were incapable. It is as reductionist as it is ridiculous.

"Defining a person’s sex identity using decontextualized “facts” is unscientific and dehumanizing." -Simone D. Sun, Scientific American