Hmmm... well this was the begining post of a thread at a crossdressing website in the MtF section.
For whatever reason (they didn't give me any) the powers that be there deleted the thread so I'm bringing the discussion over here. Had I written it for this blog I would have tried to angle it a little differently to be a little more inclusive (for the great FtM blokes who drop by here every so often at least). So here restored to existence by the power of the cut-and-paste backup is my attempt to begin an examination, debate and discussion of the Ethical issues of and relating to Crossdressing.
(oh and the thread that got locked was because someone tried to consider as a comparison crossdressing and infant-fetish as compulsions)
The Ethical and Moral issues of Crossdressing
I'm posting this to try and discuss the importan Ethical and Moral Issues relating directly to crossdressing.
I don't want this thread to get locked up like a recent one was so please lets try and keep this discussion sensible, rational and calm. That way we can discuss the big problematic issues for CDs and CDing as well as address the criticisms of us from others.
It will be a long post but that is important and it should be an interesting discussion.
Firstly let me raise a basic argument for the validity of crossdressing and then we can discuss whether the argument holds up and issues with various common dilemmas that face crossdressers from secrecy to obtaining clothes to the closet to relationship issues.
Is crossdressing Ethical?
Crossdressing does not neccessarily involve interacting with the bodies of others. Whenever you interact with anothers body you generally require informed consent for it to be ethical.
Murder, assault, rape etc are acts without consent or expressly against a stated denial of consent. Children and animals cannot give informed consent to sexual acts.
If crossdressing is done for a purely sexual activity and involves anyone else then yes, informed consent is required. Non-sexual crossdressing does not require it. Sexual crossdressing done by ones self does not require consent.
In some things consent is assumed where it is not strictly stated otherwise. This is rare and dangerous. Yet in medicine, like performing life-saving resusitation, transfusions and emergency surgery informed consent is assumed
unless there are clear instructions otherwise like 'do not resuscitate' or 'no transfusions' medic alert jewlery or tattoos or the like.
Thus far crossdressing is Ethical.
This should be considered in several ways. There is harm to rights/freedoms, physical harm, unethical emotional/psychological harm and bizarrely enough till it's explained there is ethical emotional harm.
The consent issue is caused where freedom of action meets freedom of choice over ones own body. Freedom of speech is (debatably) considered constrained by deliberate attempts to cause physical harm. Yelling 'fire' in a crowded theatre is a common example. Telling lies about someone to harm their reputation impacting their social, political and economic well being is another. From this we get laws against libel, slander, perjury etc.
This is a big one. Many people see CDing as a deliberate lie/deception for the purpose of causing harm to social systems or to enable voyuerism or make sexual assault more practically possible, of women by getting access to 'safe spaces' and of men by tricking them into uninformed consent, where they consent to sex with a woman but not a TG woman.
Yet this is not the intention of crossdressers. Nor is it intrinsicly the consequence of it. So while this explains many peoples fear of crossdressing it is a myth not a reality (or its a possibility not a neccessary actuallity, so only if done for that intent would it be unethical) and crossdressing remains ethical.
Crossdressing interferes with no other freedoms directly. People who do not wish to see crossdressers are as free to look away as people who do not wish to see women in the workplace or black people not in chains or gay people kissing and holding hands in public.
Public harassment for example causes harm. It is done deliberatly with the intent to cause suffering or irrespective of the persons desire to look away. This can be difficult for people to grasp exactly. Essentially it is not the expression that is the true cause of the harm, it is the removal of a persons capacity to escape it. Bailing someone up on the bus for example. So long as they can turn thier head and look away or walk away from the speech through the loud-hailer then free expression which is upsetting is not unethical.
Certainly some people can find the views and appearance of others causes them emotional disstress. Literally any thing at all someone wears or says or does can trigger a disstress reaction in someone. There can be found no fair way of accomadating such distresss at others reactions to otherwise ethical expression/views/behaviour as it is easy to have two people each equally distressed at the other. The disstress of two racists of opposing races at the presence of the other is one example. Opposing religious fundamentalists another.
As such, if something is otherwise ethical yet someone finds that emotionally distresing it would not be right to curtail that, the disstress may well be real, but to have others comply to alleviate that disstress would itself be a great wrong! We can feel sorry for the disstressed person, try to help them overcome their disstress and of course enable them to withdraw as much as practical from the source of their disstress but only voluntarily and only to a point.
Example: A racist gets upset everytime they see someone not of their race. On the street, serving in stores, holding positions of authority. Just these people being present and alive may well cause them geunine profound real emotional disstress and pain. Yet it would be wrong to kill those people or to lock them up or expel them for the benefit of alleviating the persons disstress. We can try and help them cope wih the presence of other races, give them counselling and information to overcome their disstress. Thus ethical behaviour and ethical freedoms trump emotional disstress at anothers fair use of their freedoms.
Thus even if it upsets people crossdressing remains ethical while preventing crossdressing is unethical.
Now that gets really dicey for many when the person getting disstressed is a close friend or family member!
Ah but what about indirect consequences of harm?
Example. CD goes out. CD gets recognised. CD's family member suffers embarassment and loss of social standing etc.
Lets try this one for comparison:
Example. Young white woman goes on a public date with a black man in an area with a degree of racism. Is recognised. Womans family suffers embarassment and loss of social standing etc.
Both of these acts were done with no intention of those being the consequences. Those consequences only exist because of the unethical acts of others. Even if those people knew that such consequences were likely are they responsible for the consequences?
That involves determining whether it is right to suffer the consequences of others unethical behaviour by not conforming to that situation or whether it is right to go along with unethical groups by surrendering to their threats to avoid the consequences upon others.
Now thats just an argument for crossdressing by itself being ethical. Not crossdressing in secret or wearing clothes of others without asking or hiding ones crossdressing from ones partner. There are heaps of these sorts of things discussed here every day. Discussing these at a deeper level of ethics and morality may help everyone understand, cope with, consider and decide about these major issues.
Does anyone have issue with the points I've raised? Have views on the Ethics of other issues that face crossdressers?
Remember morality and ethics can be distinctly different and their are different schools of thought in each.
And this bit is really important.
Try not to just say that you think or feel something is right or wrong! This is about deeper truths than just feelings or unconsidered or unconcious or instinctive or reflex opinions.You must try and explain why your view is right or the view your criticising is wrong.
Hopefully we can all learn from such a discussion, hopefully we can all be challenged by such a disscussion and maybe even have our views on things changed by such a discussion.
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