Author Topic: Living in stealth  (Read 415 times)

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Offline Magnolia88

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Living in stealth
« on: November 10, 2018, 01:16:51 pm »
The Victoria Secret story about us not being a “fantasy” got me thinking. How do they know they’ve never cast a trans model who simply never disclosed her past? It is a lie to say transwomen can’t be every bit as desirable as cis women. Then I thought about what I would do if I had the option to live in stealth. I don’t know yet since I haven’t started my transition yet. Honestly though, I think I would. I know there’s a bit of a stigma to it, but it’s no secret this isn’t the safest world we live in. If I had the privilege of blending in and not being a target, for survival reasons, I probably would. And as proven by this story, we lose so many opportunities just for being us. Again, I don’t know if I’ll end up being passable or not and either way, nothing will stop me from living as myself. I can’t lie though and say I wouldn’t consider being stealth because it would make my life easier and safer.

Offline KathyLauren

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Re: Living in stealth
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2018, 01:32:40 pm »
Living in stealth or not is a very personal decision.  Each of us has to do what is right for ourselves.  For some, safety concerns make living stealth a very desirable option.

Hiding who I was, the need to maintain secrecy, took a lot out of me before transition.  I knew from the start that I could not go from one closet to another.  I needed to be out, so I am out.  I don't go around advertising that I am trans (though I will wear a trans pin or pendant next week for Trans Awareness Week), but if people know, I am fine with that.  If they ask, I will tell the truth.

I am lucky to live in a place where it is relatively safe to do that.  I recognize that many trans folks in other places do not have that same luxury.  For them, stealth may be the best option.
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Re: Living in stealth
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2018, 01:36:02 pm »
The Victoria Secret story about us not being a “fantasy” got me thinking. How do they know they’ve never cast a trans model who simply never disclosed her past? It is a lie to say transwomen can’t be every bit as desirable as cis women. Then I thought about what I would do if I had the option to live in stealth. I don’t know yet since I haven’t started my transition yet. Honestly though, I think I would. I know there’s a bit of a stigma to it, but it’s no secret this isn’t the safest world we live in. If I had the privilege of blending in and not being a target, for survival reasons, I probably would. And as proven by this story, we lose so many opportunities just for being us. Again, I don’t know if I’ll end up being passable or not and either way, nothing will stop me from living as myself. I can’t lie though and say I wouldn’t consider being stealth because it would make my life easier and safer.

@Magnolia88 
I lived as a full-time woman in stealth for nearly 1½ years before I came-out and revealed my secret to my small town.  I was 100% passable and was well accepted as a woman.  Everyone in my town and my close friends (and even a suitor or two)  here were absolutely shocked when I revealed my past.    It was such a relief to no longer carry that weight on my shoulders and to live as a woman more freely that ever before.   
While living in stealth can possibly be necessary for a time, it is best to finally shed that big heavy weight off of your shoulders and out of your mind.   It will make life much more enjoyable with your close friends and future suitors.

You will be much happier when you finally decide to reveal the real you and your past.
Best wishes to you.
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Online Devlyn

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Re: Living in stealth
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2018, 01:48:36 pm »
Degrees of stealth exist. Absolute stealth doesn't. Get pulled over by the police, and the officer sees that Joanie is AKA Johnny. A full body scan at the hospital will show male structures in your female body, and vice versa. You can blend in. You can work and live as your chosen gender. But you can't change your history.

Offline tgchar21

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Re: Living in stealth
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2018, 03:00:19 pm »
Degrees of stealth exist. Absolute stealth doesn't. Get pulled over by the police, and the officer sees that Joanie is AKA Johnny. A full body scan at the hospital will show male structures in your female body, and vice versa. You can blend in. You can work and live as your chosen gender. But you can't change your history.

And both of those issues would largely be mitigated with accepting parents allowing a transition before one has an "adult papertrail" and before puberty respectively.

Offline Allison S

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Re: Living in stealth
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2018, 03:44:31 pm »
It's easy when everyone minds their own business. Lol but that's not a gaurantee either.
I have to agree with Devlyn for once lol... You live "stealth" until you're not. Then maybe they'll judge you and you live with that.

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Re: Living in stealth
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2018, 04:07:17 pm »
It's easy when everyone minds their own business. Lol but that's not a gaurantee either.
I have to agree with Devlyn for once lol... You live "stealth" until you're not. Then maybe they'll judge you and you live with that.

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Offline DawnOday

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Re: Living in stealth
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2018, 04:35:19 pm »
I had to learn and get over that the greatest hurdle in my journey is not the haters. They are a known unknown. The biggest hurdle is me and how much I can be influenced by their bs. It is a very strange position to be in after all these years of  secrecy. To be happy with who I am. To wake each day, excited to see what it brings.  To realize, I love me.
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Offline Janes Groove

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Re: Living in stealth
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2018, 05:27:20 pm »
I don't hide it, but I don't advertise it, unless it's a longer term relationship or a friendship situation.  So I guess I'm somewhere on the stealth spectrum.  I can't remember the last time I got misgendered.

That said, I do wonder about people who live in absolute stealth.  Let's say one is living that way and someone makes a transphobic comment.  Do you just sit there and take it?  Is silence consent? Or would that be enough to make you break cover?

Personally, if it was a situation where I was working and a customer said it, I'd probably let it pass.  Other than that I think I would say something.
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Offline Lynne

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Re: Living in stealth
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2018, 06:58:38 pm »
I don't hide it, but I don't advertise it, unless it's a longer term relationship or a friendship situation.  So I guess I'm somewhere on the stealth spectrum.  I can't remember the last time I got misgendered.

That said, I do wonder about people who live in absolute stealth.  Let's say one is living that way and someone makes a transphobic comment.  Do you just sit there and take it?  Is silence consent? Or would that be enough to make you break cover?

Personally, if it was a situation where I was working and a customer said it, I'd probably let it pass.  Other than that I think I would say something.

Very hard question, depends on a lot of factors so I don't think that there is a right answer here. I don't think I would out myself just to prove a point but I probably wouldn't let them get away with a transphobic comment.

Every situation is different so who knows, maybe if I would feel that it would really make sense to reveal that I'm trans, if it would benefit someone greatly... I would. I believe that I have no obligation to divulge that information until it's absolutely necessary and I would not judge anyone who stays silent and avoids confrontation about the issue, sometimes that's the smarter and safer thing to do.

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Re: Living in stealth
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2018, 08:15:24 pm »
I will just state my opinion here.... everyone of course has to make their own decisions regarding this subject.

Living in STEALTH as a trans-woman or a trans-man must revealed to the affected party when a relationship moves into a romantic involvement...  well before a kiss or serious petting with a romantic prospect it is a certain obligation to come-out to them and reveal your past.

It is only fair and only right for the other party...  it may make or break the deal but we can not mis-lead or be deceptive in relationships that move into matters of the heart.  They will either stay with you or break it off.

just sayin'
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Offline Lynne

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Re: Living in stealth
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2018, 08:23:49 pm »
I will just state my opinion here.... everyone of course has to make their own decisions regarding this subject.

Living in STEALTH as a trans-woman or a trans-man must revealed to the affected party when a relationship moves into a romantic involvement...  well before a kiss or serious petting with a romantic prospect it is a certain obligation to come-out to them and reveal your past.

It is only fair and only right for the other party...  it may make or break the deal but we can not mis-lead or be deceptive in relationships that move into matters of the heart.  They will either stay with you or break it off.

just sayin'
Danielle

I can totally agree with that. I would even say that very close friends deserve to know as well. On the other hand I don't feel I'm obligated to tell casual acquaintances that I'm trans.

Offline yayo

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Re: Living in stealth
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2018, 10:30:28 pm »
I live stealth. I’m certainly no VS model, but I’m definitely a “fantasy” for a lot of guys I know who don’t know about my background. It was a very ignorant comment.

Living stealth has limitations. I’m grateful I can live this way, but it can feel somewhat disingenuous at times.  I have a few people very close to me who know my background...and I’m honestly much closer to them than most of my friends. Dating someone who doesn’t know is a particularly draining experience.

I disagree with whomever said you’re obligated to disclose before it even gets to kissing. One could argue it’s preferable...but I certainly don’t feel obligated to do so. I’ve dated men for over a month without telling them...but certainly the most rewarding relationships I’ve had have been with men who knew my background.

EDIT:

ALSO, to the person who asked about people making transphobic comments when you’re in stealth...I was once on a bus with a guy who I’d been going out with when a trans woman boarded. I commented that she was pretty and my date said “that’s a man.”

I looked him dead in the eye and said “how dare you. If she feels like a woman, she’s a woman.” He asked me to chill. We finished our date. I never saw him again, but he texts me from time to time. You can stand up for trans people without revealing your background.

Offline Karen_A

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Re: Living in stealth
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2018, 11:05:22 pm »
Living in STEALTH as a trans-woman or a trans-man must revealed to the affected party when a relationship moves into a romantic involvement...  well before a kiss or serious petting with a romantic prospect it is a certain obligation to come-out to them and reveal your past.

It is only fair and only right for the other party...  it may make or break the deal but we can not mis-lead or be deceptive in relationships that move into matters of the heart.  They will either stay with you or break it off.

While it is theoretical for me (Not stealth and still married from 'before' though 20 years post-op), I have always believed in a middle ground...

Unless and until a relationship gets marriage type serious, one does not owe a romantic partner that explanation...

Let me explain my reasoning...

Until then IMO, all we owe them is being ourselves and who we are and being emotionally honest with them and ourselves. It all comes down to one's sense of self... if we really see ourselves as women, we don't owe anything more than being ourselves with those we don't tell... If someone is attracted to who we are, does that obligate us to tell them  every thing that they might object to? I don't think so...

We deserve not to have all of our lives and significant relations be determined/limited by people's initial misconceptions about transsexualism... and I think there are few "muggles" that don't have significant ones.

We have a right to be who we are... and for some having changed sex is far from teh biggest part of that... and as the years go by it feels smaller and smaller.

So why EVER tell (assuming one passes well enough)... Well once things have gotten serious and you or they are considering making a significant commitment to each other, that changes things...

Before making that commitment , IMO they do have a right and need to know because it can have effects on THEIR lives and the relationship long term if it comes out...

If  such a commitment is being contemplated, they do need to know of any big 'skeletons' in our closets, and we their's...

I have expressed the same opinion for years.. and have gotten blasted by both extremes... so I know it can't be too far from sensible! ;)

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Offline IAmM

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Re: Living in stealth
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2018, 11:42:17 pm »
Such a dilemma with no real answer.

Can I live in stealth? Yes I can... for most of the world to see, perhaps all. Can it come crashing down if anyone found out? In a heartbeat.

This is such a sketchy area. I absolutely hate that glitch in the matrix when someone finds out that I am trans. That reset pause. Some people step through that curtain and never think twice, some do a double take and if given enough time take hesitant steps and go past it, and some will turn around and never see the me behind the veil of their perceptions. Too many shut me out entirely for me to readily and openly admit that I am trans. More than anything else I despise that blank look before they understand what I am saying because I don’t know how it will end. Can we move on as we were a moment ago or are you going to shut me out?

It is not even that simple. If you have enough friends one of them will not keep their mouth shut, guaranteed. I have have had a friend ask a waiter after I left, Hard to believe she was not born a girl huh? It was at a restaurant near my house and I go there often, he is gay and indifferent but told me I should be more careful who I told.

Still not that simple. Just happened this morning so still raw. My group of friends are pretty tight, we get together often. There are nine of us, four couples and my one widowed girlfriend who says that she will never be with a man again. My one friend’s husband before we got seated paid more attention to me than I was comfortable with then said, I better sit next to my wife before I get in trouble. She said, Too late. She went to the bathroom with me then later and as we were washing our hands she looked at me in the mirror, close to tears she says, You are not even a girl. I don’t know if I feel more guilt for not firmly making him know before now that behavior like that was unacceptable or pain at how someone I thought understood me actually sees me.

What we see as acceptance, what we see as tolerance is not immutable and can disappear.

My life was a lie before now, not as in me pretending to be male, but all of it. I never told the truth about my life. I didn’t think that anyone could know the real me and want anything to do with it so I lied about everything. I know you don’t understand anymore than someone who is not trans understands how you feel but it is no less real, there are one or two that do understand. I was not bad in any way but I was unwanted and mistreated, and to a child that is always your fault. It is such a problem now that I have transitioned even though I hid from it my whole life, I bring it up all of the time and I am trying to stop that. I will not lie now. As a pathological liar before, I absolutely refuse to lie now. Not for any moral reason, I only have three actual rules I believe in. Take responsibility for myself. Don’t hurt anyone else. Help those I can. That is it. I do not owe my family, the world or the trans community anything. I have paid. I will not lie about me because that pain never ends and I will not live it again. Whatever comes I will face it and never be ashamed again of who I am.

It is not about reality this question, reality is anyone can can know at any time so everyone can know at every time. It is about day to day life and how we interact with the world. It is easier if those closest to us know, but if they know everyone can know. It is about knowing the person across from you may despise you but you are okay with that.

It probably is easier for me but I am learning a new way.

Be safe but also be comfortable with what the world is seeing, somewhere in there is where we belong.

Offline Cindy

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Re: Living in stealth
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2018, 02:18:44 am »

It is a funny thing 'living in stealth' I can totally understand why people wish to, and I know in the paediatric units that I was once involved with that great care was taken to enable a child to grow as their gender without publicity. Some parents broke that quite willingly or accidentally.

I have a couple of comments. I'm not in stealth, I was old  grown up mature had a few miles on me when I transitioned and was well known at my work place etc. I also then went into counselling and well my name and picture was and is all over the place. I have no issues with that BTW.

After I had cancer surgery I was asked to counsel people who have head and neck cancer, particularly people who had lost speech. For some reason the cancer team who looked after me thought that I would be good at it. My being TG didn't seem important to them, my attitude to life and living did.

One of my first clients was a man, we arranged via his speech pathologists etc to meet in a coffee shop and he was unable to verbalise.  He was very frightened and traumatised by his loss of speech. He had a high level career in engineering and was at a senior executive level in a multinational company.

His first question - he had them written down - was. 'Have you had the operation?' Since I have a 1'4 inch hole in my neck that I breathe through I said yes. He looked shocked and wrote "NO' 'the operation?' I looked puzzled and he explained - in writing - that he had checked me out on the internet and found that I was TG. The operation he was referring to was GCS SRS to him. I smiled and said (I can speak with the aid of a valve, the reason I act as a counsellor in this situation)  that I had checked him out and that he enjoyed golf and had a handicap of 6. He smiled and nodded. I then said that if he ever asked a question like that again that I would break his fingers and feed them to him one at a time. I said it with a smile.

You can never be in stealth!

The second incident was my last check up. The surgeon who did the reconstruction on my throat, a muscle graft from my leg that is now my oesophagus - beautiful job! - he knows me and my past as an Immunologist. We were talking about the Nobel Prize being awarded to two Immunologists  (Jim Allison, a great American who I have had the pleasure of meeting!) and a Japanese scientist, Hono? who I haven't met, for critical discoveries in Immunotherapy. He mentioned that he knew that I had help create the immunotherapy for a type of leukaemia and had given the patent to the construct away for nothing (I just wanted it used to cure kids) and he said that I may get a Noble yourself one day ( we were joking BTW).
I replied yes, sure, and it would be the first for a transgender woman - that would shock them!

He smiled and said - if you didn't tell anyone no one would know.

I was quite taken by that. He did a lot of surgery on me and worked in my nether regions to take the muscle graft. He knew I was TG and that I was very nervous of being in hospital. He hadn't met a TG woman before, that he knew of. He was a bit 'nervous' of me when we did the work up consults. His attitude had changed a lot after working on me.

So two things. Be careful of thinking that you are in stealth, the internet can be mined for information.  Secondly, I'm not sure if it really matters anyway in a civilised society.

Sorry for the ramble!!

Offline Katie

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Re: Living in stealth
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2018, 07:16:02 am »
If you fit into the world then great. Why would you even care to talk about your past with people?
 I dont even get this whole stealth thing. I went through transition years ago and now live the life I always knew I was supposed to live. No stealth and no discussion of my past with anyone even dont talk about it with my husband.

If anyone ever were to confront me I would say yes I am trans I am trying to transition into a zebra........... Its called using your head.........

Offline Allison S

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Re: Living in stealth
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2018, 11:33:45 am »
Such a dilemma with no real answer.

Can I live in stealth? Yes I can... for most of the world to see, perhaps all. Can it come crashing down if anyone found out? In a heartbeat.

This is such a sketchy area. I absolutely hate that glitch in the matrix when someone finds out that I am trans. That reset pause. Some people step through that curtain and never think twice, some do a double take and if given enough time take hesitant steps and go past it, and some will turn around and never see the me behind the veil of their perceptions. Too many shut me out entirely for me to readily and openly admit that I am trans. More than anything else I despise that blank look before they understand what I am saying because I don’t know how it will end. Can we move on as we were a moment ago or are you going to shut me out?

It is not even that simple. If you have enough friends one of them will not keep their mouth shut, guaranteed. I have have had a friend ask a waiter after I left, Hard to believe she was not born a girl huh? It was at a restaurant near my house and I go there often, he is gay and indifferent but told me I should be more careful who I told.

Still not that simple. Just happened this morning so still raw. My group of friends are pretty tight, we get together often. There are nine of us, four couples and my one widowed girlfriend who says that she will never be with a man again. My one friend’s husband before we got seated paid more attention to me than I was comfortable with then said, I better sit next to my wife before I get in trouble. She said, Too late. She went to the bathroom with me then later and as we were washing our hands she looked at me in the mirror, close to tears she says, You are not even a girl. I don’t know if I feel more guilt for not firmly making him know before now that behavior like that was unacceptable or pain at how someone I thought understood me actually sees me.

What we see as acceptance, what we see as tolerance is not immutable and can disappear.

My life was a lie before now, not as in me pretending to be male, but all of it. I never told the truth about my life. I didn’t think that anyone could know the real me and want anything to do with it so I lied about everything. I know you don’t understand anymore than someone who is not trans understands how you feel but it is no less real, there are one or two that do understand. I was not bad in any way but I was unwanted and mistreated, and to a child that is always your fault. It is such a problem now that I have transitioned even though I hid from it my whole life, I bring it up all of the time and I am trying to stop that. I will not lie now. As a pathological liar before, I absolutely refuse to lie now. Not for any moral reason, I only have three actual rules I believe in. Take responsibility for myself. Don’t hurt anyone else. Help those I can. That is it. I do not owe my family, the world or the trans community anything. I have paid. I will not lie about me because that pain never ends and I will not live it again. Whatever comes I will face it and never be ashamed again of who I am.

It is not about reality this question, reality is anyone can can know at any time so everyone can know at every time. It is about day to day life and how we interact with the world. It is easier if those closest to us know, but if they know everyone can know. It is about knowing the person across from you may despise you but you are okay with that.

It probably is easier for me but I am learning a new way.

Be safe but also be comfortable with what the world is seeing, somewhere in there is where we belong.
Wow. That was beautifully expressed, I have to say... And I do understand. There's a fine line there and it's almost always invisble. How do I explain my pain around that? I guess I just live with it. What always helps me is thinking to when I'm older in a few decades (if I'm lucky to live that long) and how much all of this just won't matter to me anymore. That alone gives me so much comfort. I try not to get caught up in thoughts of the far future like that, but it really is hard to cope with being trans sometimes. Lately I've been getting mixed up with who is trans and cis. I'm around a lot of trans people so that's been really great and helpful for me, I think. And around a lot of men too... That's all just too confusing for me. Just existing is confusing? I think sometimes I can make it that way because I'm still barely adjusting.

I just really wish I had a group of trans people I could trust. That would be nice.

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