Cross-Dressing As Evidence of Prostitution or of Art

Specific laws criminalizing so-called cross-dressing – – – wearing clothes not appropriate for one’s sex/gender – – – are now relatively rare.  Even in the 1970s, courts opined that the very notion of cross-dressing was losing some of its coherency.  Meanwhile, other courts were declaring that such laws were unconstitutional as applied to persons they described as “true transexuals.”

Instead, more indirect policing of gender appropriate clothes occurs.  For example, a Memphis television station reports that three men were arrested for “prostitution” seemingly based on evidence that they were wearing “provocative female attire.”  While the report is somewhat unclear as to whether or not there was other proof of solicitation for commercial sex, the mention of female attire – – – and provocative at that – – – by law enforcement seems to be offered as sufficiently explanatory.


“Javi and Gabi” by Jon Uriarte

Meanwhile, a photography project by Jon Uriarte has been garnering attention; it consists of full-length portraits of men wearing the clothes of their female partners, “taken in the space shared by the couple.”  It’s interesting because it conveys the degree of gender segregation – – – or not – – – in clothing.

And it is also interesting to contemplate which if any of Uriate’s subjects could be charged with prostitution given his attire.