The Instigator
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
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Hypothetical: if gender swap was possible, it shouldn't be legal.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/14/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,755 times Debate No: 66977
Debate Rounds (3)
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To avoid confusion, this is purely a hypothetical situation.
The SCP foundation has an artifact known simply as SCP-113 (, and touching it causes a man to become a woman, as well as vice versa.

If swapping genders was possible, safe, and readily available, should it be legal?

For trans-genders, this would be the ultimate solution, and for others, a kinky way to experiment with sex...
But this also involves more serious issues: criminals attempting to hide their identity through gender change; the integration of a person having both genders in educational systems; increased insecurities of gender identity itself; and so forth.

The complications gender-swapping would completely overshadow the potential benefits.


Thanks, Pro.

Sex refers to a person's biological status. Sex chromosomes, reproductive organs, and internal and external genitalia distinguish one's biological sex. On the other hand, gender refers to the attitudes, feelings and behaviors that a given society associates with a biological sex. People usually associate the two based on cultural norms within that group. Gender identity and expression describe how one identifies and expresses their gender, regardless of whether or not it is the one that is presumed of them based on how they look or their biological sex organs [1].

The default position to this resolution is necessarily Con.

Because one can identify with and express any gender they choose, gender swapping is both already possible and legal.

Perhaps my opponent refers to sex swapping and changing one's physical appearance to resemble the opposite biological sex. He claims that criminals may try to hide their identity by posing as the opposite sex, and thus gender swapping should be illegal. Let's pretend Pro does not confuse sex and gender and address the argument. First, one does not need a sex change in order to pose as the opposite sex. People can easily change the way they look by dressing a certain way, utilizing accessories, applying makeup or changing their hairstyle. Second, this concern could be addressed by requiring sex change operations to be legally documented the same way it is required that legal name changes are recorded. People can change the way they look entirely, including as the opposite sex, regardlesss of whether or not they have a sex change.

I'm not sure what Pro means by there being trouble with having "both genders in educational systems."

My opponent concludes by suggesting the option of gender (or sex) swapping might create heightened insecurity regarding one's gender. We have no reason to believe this is true. A person is either questioning or secure in their gender regardless of whether or not sex changes are legal. Moreover, common sense implies that it would be even more frustrating and limiting for someone to identify as the opposite sex, but not be able to fully express themselves in that way. Transexuals feel they live in the "wrong body" and are often uncomfortable with basic interaction and especially sex. Why should they be inhibited from the freedom to have liberty with their own body?

I'll wait for Pro's response to expand on my rebuttal. Thanks and good luck.

Debate Round No. 1


Oops, well that's embarrassing. I'll have to check my terminology next time.

For clarity, I mean to debate that if it was possible, it should not be allowed to physically change one's sex, which is indicated by having a penis or a vagina (or both). I'll go into more detail for Con.

Like Con pointed out, anyone can identity with any gender they prefer. But this is not permanent; people may move from one gender to another over time. Therefore, if trans-gender individuals were given the privilege to change physical sex, then it should be allowed to everyone.

Moving on to the issues I listed before.

While yes, it is possible for a man to disguise himself as a woman and vice versa (this is known as "fishy drag"), imitation can only achieve so much, especially for those who have... obvious features that indicate their sex (facial hair, beer belly, large breasts, extreme pitches of voice, etc). Through changing one's sex, those features would no longer be a limitation, and would even make disguising a lot more effective.

For integration, I mean the systems in society, including education, occupations, and the like. In all of these systems, it is mandatory to have the identification of an individual, including one's physical sex. Like Con explained, if physical sex change was possible, it is very likely the appearance of the individual would change, meaning that the original identification would no longer match. While legal documentation would solve this issue, this would essentially double the amount of identifying documents a single individual would have to deal with. This doesn't translate to the entire companies suddenly having to deal with "twice" the staff, but preventing overpay/underpay and other matters that would risk missing/doubling objectives would require an intense amount of resources and management.

And... gender identification. This one is a rather unknown topic, as Con pointed out, but I do see misinterpretations that might occur. Trans-genders would probably flock at the opportunity, there isn't an argument here, but some groups might see this as another violation towards their beliefs. Strong-end feminists for example, could claim that physical sex change weakens the image of women, with the possibility that females may change their sex in order to be more convincing and influential. Anti-gay activists for another example, could claim that physical sex change is an act of defying God, this as it is rejection of what sex He (She, It, Them) gave them.

Both groups could also claim that physical sex change may be forced by abusive parents who desire a child of the opposite sex, abusive friends who may dare or reject an individual into changing their sex, and abusive companies, authorities, and even strangers who are sexually interested. These all might in fact happen if physical sex change were possible.

I apologize for the confusion Con, you may proceed with what's been restated.


Thanks for your response, Pro.

I would agree that sex changes should be legally available to everyone (with potential limits like age restrictions and insurance standards), though I imagine only people who identify as transgender or transexual would seek those operations. In fact they are already legal and currently being improved for better safety and results.

Pro claims that without sex changes, people can only alter their appearance in a minor way and thus do not pose a risk to society. This is false. Many cross-dressers and transgender people pose as the opposite sex without having surgery, and could easily pass as they intend. Some examples include but are not limited to

Really a woman:
Really a woman:
Really a man:
Really a man:

I've selected only facial images because people can alter their body image without surgery, such as through stuffing their bra or restricting their breasts. People can also change their voice naturally through will, or by taking hormones that deepen their voice as well as affect their body hair and other anatomical distinctions.

Pro dropped my argument from autonomy. I pointed out that one's body belongs to one's own person. To suggest that one does not have proprietary ownership of their own body, and that the majority should be able to dictate how one's body is displayed essentially makes people slaves. We don't say that people cannot get tattoos or piercings just because some people don't like them or agree with them. Even though tattoos, hair cuts, make up, etc. affect the way people look, they are legal. Americans have the right to free expression.

I explained that people who receive sex changes can have these surgeries legally documented, much like people having their names changed have to get it recorded for reference and data keeping. This will protect against the possibility that criminals altar their sex to hide from the law. Pro claims "this would essentially double the amount of identifying documents a single individual would have to deal with." Note that Pro never explains how or why that is true. Having a record of something doesn't mean something has to come up in every single transaction.

Pro continues, "This doesn't translate to the entire companies suddenly having to deal with 'twice' the staff, but preventing overpay/underpay and other matters that would risk missing/doubling objectives would require an intense amount of resources and management." I'm not sure what this means. What does overpay/underpay have to do with sex changes? We have no reason to believe the option for one to have a sex change suddenly translates to massive bureaucracy throughout society.

Additionally, it must be noted how improbable the likelihood of potential abuse is. First, sex changes cost a lot of money [1] and a criminal would likely not be able to afford such a surgery on a whim. Second, surgeries create drastic and often permanent changes to the body that can be life altering [2]. One who is not transgender or transexual would likely not want to pursue such an expensive and dramatic procedure to avoid being caught for a crime. Aside from that, Pro does not offer any other realistic threats to society.

Pro writes, "Trans-genders would probably flock at the opportunity, there isn't an argument here, but some groups might see this as another violation towards their beliefs." This argument doesn't make sense. If transgender people are currently suffering and experience traumatic isolation, depression and dysfunction on the basis of their disorder, why punish them further by restricting them from something that they want? Pro seemingly defeats his own argument here. If this is important (and common) to so many people, and they would choose a risky and expensive procedure just to be happy, they should have that option.

Pro argues that it's possible for some feminists to suggest changing one's sex in order to achieve political or social status. That is a pretty outrageous suggestion with little to no reasonable support, but sure it's possible. In that case it might encourage society to rethink paradigms of gender dynamics to avoid such drastic measures. I'm not really sure many people care what extreme feminists or extreme religious zealots believe for that matter. If conservatives do not believe in sex changes, they do not have to get them.

In conclusion, Pro states "Both groups could also claim that physical sex change may be forced by abusive parents who desire a child of the opposite sex, abusive friends who may dare or reject an individual into changing their sex, and abusive companies, authorities, and even strangers who are sexually interested. These all might in fact happen if physical sex change were possible." It is important to note that many things are possible, but only the probable ought to be considered.

On that note, I've already agreed with certain regulations on sex change operations such as minimum age requirements. This is reasonable as society has imposed restrictions on things like driving and other contractual agreements based on one's age. Therefore this complication of forced sex change from one's parents is inapplicable. Moreover it is highly unlikely that one can or would get a sex change on a dare. Pro has to prove that this unlikely scenario ought to be considered. It's POSSIBLE that one chokes on a pretzel, but pretzels are still legal. It's possible that any surgery will kill you, but many (most) are legal.

We have no explanation as to how abusive companies or strangers who are sexually interested could force sex changes.

Back to you.

Debate Round No. 2


I am aware that trans-gender operations currently exist, including surgery and hormone therapy. However, I was not referring to these when I had this argument in mind. In fact, absolute sex change is impossible, as it would require the alteration of an individual's DNA in every cell of his or her body. DNA analysts have yet to find a method of replacing DNA with a high success rate, without the great risk of also provoking cancer.
This is why I referred to this argument being hypothetical, with an object like SPC-113 that would alter one's physical sex without the need of incisions or other preparations. If this was readily available and easy to perform, it would also be cheap; if it was not readily available or difficult to perform, then of course it would be expensive.

Criminals, regardless of their ability to avoid being linked to their activities, always pose a threat to society; if sex change were possible (on a DNA and physiological level, as described in the fictional article), then the possible ways an individual could imitate to escape identification would only increase. I understand that current methods of imitation without surgery or hormones can be quite effective, but this only aids the potential.

Individuals would also find ways to avoid regulation and documentation. This has happened already in the past with alcohol, which was temporarily banned in America between 1920 and 1933, by bootleggers smuggling the substance into unregulated ports. Illegal substances such as cocaine continue to manufactured and dispersed across America to this day, despite enforcement being much stronger in recent times. While traffickers and manufacturers have been caught and arrested before, illegal substances still run rampant, and affect individuals of a wide age span.
If sex change involved a procedure, then the lack of regulation would still be a possibility. Examples of unregulated procedures include botox injections, where unlicensed practitioners can avoid being held accountable for the act.

Con says that Americans have the right to free expression. This is true, but in other countries people are actively oppressed. Uganda for example, has attempted to pass bills that would render homosexuality and transgender illegal. Even with the 2014 Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act being denied on August 1st, homosexuals and transgenders in the country currently face persecution, and Uganda plans another anti-homosexual bill very soon.
Radical religious zealots have also revealed their potential influence in this case, with many accusing Scott Lively, a pastor heavily imposed against homosexuality rights, being the main influence of these bills.

I will abandon my other points, seeing that your counters mainly emphasize a lack of reasoning. I have nothing against homosexuality and transgender, but that I also see the ignorance of others being disastrous if complete physical sex change were a possibility.

[2] Tracy, Sarah W. and Caroline Jean Acker; Altering American Consciousness: The History of Alcohol and Drug Use in the United States, 1800"2000. University of Massachusetts Press, 2004


I'd like to thank Jeonsaryu for a quick and fun debate.

Pro's argument is limited to the possibility that criminals in particular will utilize sex reassignment surgery to avoid prosecution. I have already addressed this far-fetched concern. First, I noted that sex surgery would have to be legally recorded and documented much like a name change. My opponent argues that people might avoid the rules. In that case, he is defeating his own argument. In noting that people break the law (he included the example of Prohbition), all this proves is that things will still happen even if they are illegal. By that logic, why criminalize sex surgery? People will still have it done anyway by working around the rules. Of course it's unlikely, which is why Pro's argument that people will avoid the rules of documentation is also unlikely and thus irrelevant. Most of the time, people obey reasonable laws either because they are just, or breaking them would result in penalty. Pro hasn't proven that it would be easy or likely for criminals to do this.

Second, I pointed out that it's already possible for criminals to change their appearance through things like makeup and contacts. Pro agrees, but says sex surgery is more drastic and it's just another tool to avoid identidy. In that case, why not criminalize makeup all together? It's just another tool to conceal identity. Sure some people want it for cosmetic reasons... the same way a lot of people want sex reassignment surgery for cosmetic or even medicinal reasons. In other words, just because something could be abused definitely does not mean it ought to be illegal. Knives can be abused but are legal. Thus far, Pro hasn't given us any statistics or examples that prove it is likely criminals will have their sex changed to avoid prosecution. I have argued that it is unlikely on account of the severity of the operation, and more importantly the cost.

People can risk having procedures done from unlicensed or unregulated practiotioners, but doing so is dangerous. By keeping sex changes illegal, Pro would be encouraging those desperate enough to find a doctor willing to perform the surgery on them in a way that might be unsafe and undocumented. Pro's suggestion of criminality is putting people who want or need the surgery (for their mental well being) at unnecessary risk.

Pro's argument that people are oppressed in other parts of the world has absolutely nothing to do with the laws or rights of this country. Just because women, gays, etc. are oppressed in Uganda does not mean they are or should be oppressed here. Ergo, please extend all of my arguments regarding the right to personal autonomy and free expression. In this country we have the right to free speech and the right to look however we want.

My opponent has dropped (and conceded) the vast majority of my arguments. I've pointed out that transexuals experience traumatic isolation and depression as a result of their disorder. Why prevent them from seeking a personal procedure if doing so causes no immediate harm or danger to anyone else? The only threat Pro came up with was far-fetched and unsupported. If a transexual in Chicago has sex reassignment surgery today, the majoroty of people in that city would have no idea or concern. If surgery is important (and a common desire) for so many transgendered people, and they would choose a risky and expensive procedure just to be happy, they should have that option. Pro has failed to provide a reasonable explanation as to why they should be made to suffer instead. EVEN IF a few criminals did change their sex (which I must reiterate is a ridiculous assumption), it's no reason to penalize non-criminal transexuals.

Please extend all of my dropped arguments from throughout this debate.

Thank you again to my opponent, and good luck.

Debate Round No. 3
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