Is there a moral duty to disclose that you’re transgender to a potential partner?
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Is not disclosing that you were assigned male at birth, as a transgender person, sexual assault by fraud?
In some jurisdictions like England or Israel you can go to prison for not disclosing that you were assigned male or female at birth.
Recently, I was listening to an interview with comedian Lil Duval.
Duval stated that if he slept with a transgender person, but was not aware that they were transgender, how would be disgusted. Lil Duval said that he would be so hurt and angry that his choices were taken away by the dishonesty. So much so, that he would have to commit the crime of murder.
The question that seems to be floating around on social media; is does a transgender person have an ethical or moral obligation to inform a potential sex partner of his or her transgender status before the two people have sexual relations?
Some people within the LGBTQ community claim that disclosure could put trans people in great harm.
However, given the possibility of transphobia and the risk associated violence, would prior disclosure maximize the safety of the transgender person?
I posed this question to my private instagram page. I found that the majority of people agreed that trans people should indeed disclose their history. Most people agreed that disclosure would constitute a “best practice” in terms of safety and all-around satisfaction.
In my opinion, I feel that some people might feel traumatized by having had sex, unwittingly, with a person of the same gender assigned at birth. Or even, perhaps, if gay or lesbian, with a person of the opposite gender assigned at birth.
In fact, I also believe that trauma ought to count as a harm.
The sex of one’s partner matters a great deal to an overwhelming majority of people. That is, few of us, including straight people, gay men, and lesbians, would be indifferent to the sex of a potential partner. For example, if going on a blind date, most of us would want to ensure that the other person on the date is of a particular sex. That seems like a standard procedure. Rather than just leaving it up to the matchmaker and saying “hey surprise me.” Right?
In conclusion, you would also assume that if a man or a woman was straight then they would only be attracted to someone of the opposite sex. It simply stands to reason. Therefore to put a straight man on a blind date with another man would be unethical.
In the United Kingdom, trans people can face rape charges and potentially a lengthy prison term; if they fail to disclose their gender history to their sexual partners. Why is this not common practice in the United States?
Under UK law, deceiving someone about the nature of a sex act makes them incapable of informed consent.
This means penetrative sex may amount to rape if the partner claimed they were unaware of a transgender person’s history. Under section 74 of the sexual offences act it gives the definition of consent: “A person consents for the purposes of this act if he/she agrees by choice and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.”
Non-disclosure of gender history can thus be seen as deception and a breach of the Sexual Offences act, challenging the “freedom and capacity” of a partner to consent to sexual activity.