I saw a Youtube video about Geraldine Elizabeth Carmichael, a convicted fraudster that happened to be transgender. The narrator in the video mentioned that Some People claim that people might transition between genders to avoid prosecution for crimes committed in their original gender.

This being Meta, I'm not asking if this is the case. I'm instead asking if and when it is appropriate to ask a "has there ever been a case of X".

To continue with the example, would it be acceptable to take accusations against Mrs. Carmichael as the base claim to ask if a trans person ever transitioned to avoid prosecution? What about Chelsea Manning? Or, would I need to dig up Some People's original claim on the matter?


I found the question confusing.

  1. If someone claims:

    There has never been an instance of X!

    You would test the claim by asking

    Has there every been an instance of X?

  2. If someone claims:

    There have been instances of X!

    You would test the claim by asking

    Has there every been an instance of X?

  3. If someone claims:

    I don't know of any instances of X, but there might be some in the future.

    it is unfalsifiable. You can't test the claim.

  4. If someone claims:

    Someone has an ulterior motive for performing this action.

    it is unfalsifiable. You can't test the claim.


Generally, if you can provide a source to show notability for the specific 'There has never been' / 'Has there ever been' claim, I'd say it is on topic (and we do have a couple of well received has there ever been questions).

And generally, you don't have to search for the original claim if you can provide a notable source which repeats the claim. I'd say that holds true even if it is repeated in a relatively weak 'some people claim' form. You shouldn't build your own claim though (so if you have a source that claims X about trans people, but doesn't mention Chelsea Manning, I don't see a reason to include her in the question).

But with this specific example, I'd still consider it off-topic because it's about Motivation. We don't accept questions which ask why a person did a thing, because it's not answerable using verifiable facts.

Apart from that, I'd also be worried about the question pushing a POV (which doesn't necessarily make a question off-topic here, but which might attract downvotes).

Even if there is a case of this happening (which seems doubtful - after all, why go through the lengthy and difficult process of transition, if you could just as well adopt a different persona without going through transition -), what does that mean? That we shouldn't allow trans people to transition? That we should treat trans people who do transition differently? We don't draw those conclusions for cis people (who also do crime), so it seems like a double standard.


A question like this is problematic because it purports to identify intent. How you prove someone did it in order to "avoid prosecution for crimes committed in their original gender"?

On politics SE, where such questions are alas somewhat common, they are closed with a reason like:

Questions asking for the internal motivations of people, how specific individuals would behave in hypothetical situations or predictions for future events are off-topic, because answers would be based on speculation and their correctness could not be verified with sources available to the public.

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