Lucy Hicks Anderson: Biologically Male, Lived as a Woman, and Jailed for Defrauding Government

1 Posted by - September 1, 2022 - BLACK WOMEN

Lucy Hicks Anderson (born Tobias Lawson) lived life as a woman in Oxnard, California from 1920 until 1945, but it was later discovered that Hicks was biologically a male. Today she would be identified as being transgender, but during those times that word did not exist and the lifestyle certainly was not approved. Anderson never referred to herself as a transgendered woman, but insisted publicly that a person could be of one sex and belong to the other.

Anderson was born Tobias Lawson in Waddy, Kentucky. In high school Anderson insisted upon wearing dresses and wanted to be called Lucy. Her mother took her to a physician, and the doctor advised her mother to raise Lucy as a girl. Anderson left school at the age of fifteen to work as a domestic. In her twenties, she decided to move west and settled in Pecos, Texas where she worked at hotel for 10 years. She later married Clarence Hicks in Silver City, New Mexico and later moved to California. She continued to work as a domestic, saved her money and purchased property near the center of town. She later opened up and operated a brothel. Lucy later divorced her husband in 1929 and in 1944 married Reuben Anderson, a soldier stationed at New York.


It was discovered that Lucy was biologically a man, and the Ventura County district attorney decided to try her for perjury. The district attorney accused Lucy of perjury when she signed the application for marriage license, swearing that there were no legal objections to the marriage. Lucy challenged the courts and the authority of physicians who insisted she was a male. It was reported that she told the courts, “I have lived, dressed, acted just what I am, a woman.” Regardless of her testimony, the courts found her guilty, but the judge put her on probation rather than send her to prison. Unfortunately, that was not the end, since Lucy had received allotment checks as the wife of a member of the U.S. Army, the Federal government prosecuted her along with her husband Reuben Anderson for fraud in 1946; they both were sentenced to prison. Once Lucy was released from prison to she tried to stay in Oxnard but the local police would not allow it. So, she moved to Los Angeles and remained there until she died.




  • Maurice Runea December 20, 2015 - 10:38 pm

    Thank You for this bit of LGBT history.

  • kimbra May 17, 2017 - 10:32 pm

    If you want to give some trans history, you should probably be accurate (I won’t get on grammar and sentence structure). Trans is who you are, it’s not a LIFESTYLE.

    • Shelli Anne Mulka September 14, 2017 - 12:42 am

      Finally living True to yourself BECOMES your Lifestyle as you progress !

    • nicki October 4, 2017 - 6:37 pm


    • Alouette de Mer October 13, 2019 - 4:49 pm

      You are quite correct. Trans is not a lifestyle, it’s a gender identity. It’s like saying being alive is a lifestlye. Not being dead is a lifestyle. I’m trans, and I don’t obsess on being trans to the point that it rules my every thought. Being trans is who I am and not what I do. The term “lifestyle” is one applied by the uninformed, and it’s often a word used by transphobes and homophobes. It implies being trans is a choice when it is not. The “lifestyle” argument is used by those who practice conversion therapy.

  • Ryder October 5, 2017 - 2:03 am

    You don’t know her biology. All you know is that she was assigned male at birth. Bio sex isnt just genitals. It’s a persons biology. Educate yourself.

    • ks October 5, 2017 - 2:52 pm

      Thank you! I was going to point out that “assigned male at birth” is not the same thing as “biologically male”.

  • Monica October 5, 2017 - 9:23 am

    Oh, damn y’all up in arms about the least little thing! The article was very informative, respectful, and timely. I, for one, found it enlightening! If you are transgender, and living that life, lifestyle, or reality; hell, just live!

    • ks October 5, 2017 - 2:56 pm

      Hmm. What gives you right to tell trans-people what things they should consider “little”? Even if you are trans yourself, your experience and triggers are not the same as other trans-peoples’. If you’re not trans, then, seriously, stop trying to ‘splain what trans-peoples’ experience should be.

  • Sandra October 5, 2017 - 2:35 pm

    What about the men she married??? Does that mean they would be considered gay at that time??? Just wondering..

    • Skylar October 8, 2017 - 2:07 pm

      No they wouldn’t be gay because even if she was assigned male when she was born, she was still a woman at heart. But if she were to identify with her assigned gender from birth (in that sense it would be cisgender for someone to completely identify with their assigned gender) then yes the guys that she married would be gay and she would too if she had identified as male.

  • Bill Pincheon January 22, 2019 - 1:19 pm

    Thanks so much for this glimpse at an early American life rescued from shadows!

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