Saturday, October 9, 2010

Transition: Slealth or Out?

Updated: 10/09/2010

The decision to go stealth (to not disclose that you are trans) or live out is complicated as their are benefits and drawbacks from either lifestyle and what works and fits for one person may not be the case for another.

I personally do not want to live a stealth lifestyle but I can understand why some would want to. There are times when I just want to live my life like everyone else and not let my gender define me in any way; still, I lean to the out side because I think we need a presence who is willing and able to stand up and say to others, "I'm going through this and you are not alone".

Also if people know who I am, I can educate them to the realities of who we are and what we want, need, and deserve. I am out because I want to make this world a better place for trans people... Still part of me wants to just be me, no strings, no labels, just me...

This question or conflicted philosophy is my motivation for this article. You see, while I am out and proud of who I am, as I start my new job I find myself wondering who and how to out myself to at work... I am sure I will (I already have to my boss), I just started think about this the other night... People there just assume I am a lesbian and that is that. It is kinda nice to not think about my gender for once in my life and just be seen for who I am. I'm not pretending, it is just a non issue.

This being said, I think it would do no good to write a long post on what I see as a very personal decision so I invite my readers to instead post a short explanation of how they feel about it and why they feel that way.

Again I understand everyone feels different about this so that is why I want comments...

Thanks for your contributions.


Gin said...


I am a firm believer in living out. We are transfolk and part of that is we came from one place and are headed to another. To deny where we came from is to deny all the good in our lives prior to transition. I don't hate the man I was forced to live as at all. I made the best of his life. But as I move forward, I join a community of people who need heroes, role models and teachers. I am a teacher by trade and I see it as part of my life's work to educate people about us, let them know who we are and why we must do what we must. To run away from the past, to hide behind a skirt and be fearful of being found out is not the kind of life I want. I see people like Jenny Boylan and Donna Rose as role models, people who take the bullets for us. We must not be afraid to follow them.

love, Gin

Sophie said...

All of the above, but a practical point too.
Going stealth means nor knowing if the whole set of small dishonesties that involves are really worthwhile. And the more it goes on, the more it becomes a burden that gets really hard to lay down.
By itself, that's just one of the pro's and con's. But if you ask the question, 'Am I FIRST going to be stealth or out', there's a certain knowledge basis for going forward that you'd get from being out,positive or negative, that stealth doesn't provide.

Teagan said...

I spent the last 30 years covering something up... I'll be damned if I'm going to spend the rest of it covering something else up.

Katherine said...

Sophie, you said "Going stealth means nor knowing if the whole set of small dishonesties that involves are really worthwhile. And the more it goes on, the more it becomes a burden that gets really hard to lay down." ... Hmmmm. Not sure I agree with this...

This implies that people who do not disclose that they are trans are lying to people. My question is, what are they being dishonest about? For instance, if I do not tell my co-workers I am trans, what am I lying about? Am I even lying? How am I being dishonest? If they find out and I get fired for being trans would they have justification for firing me?

I think implying that the stealth lifestyle means living a lie or is in some way being dishonest is a very slippery slope that others can use as justification for treating us negatively.

Also, Gin, while I agree that living out helps people realize we are here and we are real people, I do not agree that living a stealth lifestyle always translate to hiding... Some people just want to move on and there is nothing wrong with that. After all, isn't the point of trans activism to make being transgender a non-issue? I know I hope for a day when that is the case.

Hope you do not see this as argumentative, just asking your opinion.