Not All People with Vaginas Are Women

You heard me. I said it.

Not all people with vaginas are women.

I recently read an article about a pastor who was protesting the Texas bathroom bill on the grounds that “God is transgender.” The article featured a photo of a woman holding a handwritten sign that read:


The sign was clearly promoting the idea that some transgender women (i.e. men identifying as women) do not have vaginas and that some transgender men (i.e. women identifying as men) do have vaginas. The idea is that a vagina does not make either of them any more or any less woman, depending with which gender they are identifying.

My natural reaction was disagreement and disgust at the perversion of gender in our culture–at the idea that gender could somehow be a “spectrum” and a “choice.”

And then I realized, that the sign was completely accurate.

Not all women have vaginas. True.

Not all people with vaginas are women. True.

My mind is changing about the concreteness of gender. False.

Let me explain something.

When a woman with gender identity disorder wishes to begin identifying as a man, she is still biologically a woman. Although relatively uncommon, if she wishes and can afford it, she can undergo sex reassignment surgery in which her breast, ovaries, and other female organs are removed, her urethra is extended and rerouted, and a penis can be constructed out of tissue from the forearm or elsewhere.

When a man with gender identity disorder wishes to begin identifying as a woman, he is still biologically a man. More common than female-to-male sex reassignment surgery, men can undergo male-to-female sex reassignment surgery in which most of the penis and testes are removed, the urethra is reduced, and a semi-functional vagina is fashioned.

The process of gender identity change or sex reassignment surgery involves many preliminary steps including psychotherapy and hormone treatment as well as post-operation requirements and risks.

But the truth is that no matter how advanced and “successful” sex reassignment operations become in the U.S., no matter how many men get vaginas and how many women lose their boobs, no matter how much testosterone you inject into your buttocks, no matter how much body hair you start to grow, no matter how deep your voice gets…

Your gender is not determined by whether you have a vagina or a penis. Your genitalia is a result of your already-decided gender, not the determinant of it. Let me make this clear: ovaries and breasts and low vocal registers and oodles of body hair and wide hips do not make you a man or a woman. They are simply an external manifestation of an internal biological reality that CANNOT be altered.

Often forgotten, there are a few letters at the end of the alphabet that are used to scientifically denote a biological fact. The 23rd pair of chromosomes in the human body determines whether a person is male or female. Your mother’s egg carried an X chromosome, and you father’s sperm carried either an X or a Y chromosome. If you are a man, your father’s Y chromosome sperm paired with the egg; and if you are a woman, your father’s X chromosome sperm paired with the egg. Your sex was determined the instant you were conceived.

No matter how hard you try, you cannot change your chromosomes. They define your gender. It is science no matter how much you want to deny it, no matter how many people march with signs, and no matter how loud your voice and how adamant or “open” your mind.

So no, not all women have vaginas because some women want to be men and have had them sewn together. They are not any less woman. And no, not all people with vaginas are women because some men would rather be women and have exchanged their penises for vaginas. They are not any less man.

The time has come to think critically, people. It is no longer acceptable to let your open mind be ransacked by impulsive emotions and fanciful feelings and iconic movements. I like puffy glitter paint as much as the next girl, but just because a protest sign has puffy glitter paint on it doesn’t mean the ideas it conveys are true.

And no matter how much time passes and how many people stop believing it, the truth always holds up. Always. 

Truth holds up infinitely longer than a pithy cardboard sign about vaginas.

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