There is a pervasive myth that trans women are frauds.
It's a pretty gross stereotype rooted in a lot of different prejudices. And it's not new either. Lucy Hicks Anderson was one of the first trans women to be prosecuted by the United States government in 1945, and this important history has been largely overlooked.
Lucy Hicks Anderson was born in 1886.
Trans rights didn't have the same kind of momentum during this period that they did today (the term 'transgender' wasn't used until almost eighty years later in 1965). She began calling herself Lucy when she entered school and insisted on wearing dresses. At age fifteen she left school to become a domestic worker. In 1920 Lucy married her first husband Clarence Hicks (they later divorced in 1929). Lucy had been saving her money and opened a brothel in Oxnard California. It was then that she met her second husband, Reuben Anderson. It was then that the authorities discovered that Lucy Hicks Anderson was assigned male at birth, and the couple was charged with perjury. Lucy responded with absolute determination: “I defy any doctor in the world to prove that I am not a woman. I have lived, dressed, acted just what I am, a woman.” She was released with ten years probation, however the couple were sued again for fraud since she had received allotment checks as the wife of a member of the U.S. Army.
(Above: Marsha P. Johnson, trans rights activist.)
Trans people aren't frauds or tricksters.
Trans people are human beings living their authentic lives. Lucy Hicks Anderson might have lost her case against the state, but she should be remembered for her determination and pride.