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Section: Halacha   Category: Tshuvos
Shevet HaKehosi: Can Women/Girls Wear Men's Clothing For A Stage Performance?
Often during plays and performances a girl performs the role of a man.  The Shevet HaKehosi (2:258) was asked if it is permissible to wear articles of clothing of a man before an all female audience.

Rashi says (Ki Seitzei 22:5) that the issur of cross dressing is so that a person of one gender does not use their disguise to mingle with members of the other gender.  According to this, since the performance is before a female audience there is no Issur D'Oiraisa.

However says the Shevet HaKehosi, we see that there is an Issur D'Rabbanan to groom yourself the way the opposite gender does.  Since grooming is a totally private matter and is not used for any public purpose, he proves from here that it is assur M'D'Rabbanan even if it is not for the purpose to be able to freely mingle.  Moreover says the Shevet HaKehosi, this applies even to a single article of clothing and not only if the person is wearing a full wardrobe of the opposite gender.

The Rema says the minhag that it is to be Meikil for Simchas Purim or Simchas Chassan V'Kalla, however the Bach argues. However for any other purpose it is clearly assur.  The Chochmas Adam says that even if we were to rely on the very unclear Heter for Purim, in our generation we should be more careful because of the general lax attitude towards tznius.  

Important Note: We bring this tshuvah as a starting point for discussion and not to convey any halacha.  We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. One should learn the tshuva to verify the accuracy of our interpretation.  Please understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions.