This approach would mean that even the racist is entitled to learn that he or she is about to have sexual relations with someone who is “one quarter” black.
Colleague 7’s view was that it is not our place to judge the motivations of the partner.
Posing the Question When I first posed my question, only one colleague (“Colleague 1”) was sitting in the faculty lounge.
This colleague’s answer to the question was that yes, a transgender person does have a duty to disclose this fact to a potential sexual partner before there is any intimacy.
I have, for similar reasons, proposed that rather than prohibiting sex-selection abortion (which forces women who have learned the sex of their babies and want to terminate, into reproductive servitude), it is preferable simply to refuse, in places where sex-selective abortion is a problem, to disclose the sex of the fetus to pregnant women.
That way, no one forces them to remain pregnant against their will, but they lack the information that would enable a abortion.
Just as a person has the right to refuse consent to sex for reason at all, no matter how offensive, a person similarly has the right to the disclosure of the facts that would—if known—trigger that refusal, if the potential partner can anticipate what facts would matter to this person.
Colleague 7’s approach is elegant, in a way, because it applies the same criteria to “informed consent” as it does to “consent” itself.This made for a somewhat unusual discussion format, since our lunch-time conversations are typically free floating, and I had hijacked the ordinary spontaneity of the lounge to gather information.In my defense, though, people seemed interested in the question and willing to play along, a testament to the friendly and supportive nature of my colleagues.To distinguish between the harms that do and do not count for purposes of designating a disclosure duty, we must classify the potential partner’s reaction of suffering as objectively reasonable or unreasonable.If we decide that it is to be upset, then we might conclude that the harm that would have been avoided by disclosure does not qualify as the sort of harm with which ethics or morality should concern itself.The conversation that followed was subtle and interesting.