being stealth vs. being out

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I know most trans-people try to be as stealth as possible - some going as far as changing towns to escape from their past as the opposite gender. But for me, because of my circumstances, this simply isnt an option for me. I have no choice but to be up front about who I am and what I'm doing. There are many times when I wonder what it would be like to be treated as a woman, full stop, but I doubt that will happen. Ah well.

to stealth or not to stealth ...

I always found that stealth has it limits. Although a lot of people don't consider me a 'normal'' (if sucht a creature really excists) girl/woman I can pass, weirdly enough, when people get to know me. Which is kind of weird.

But what about partners, close friends and so on?? Na complete stealh is impossible if you want to have close relations with people. I comes out sooner or later :(

Another thing, the most as a woman I felt was with one of my ex' gf who knew of the past (she was in a class I helped teach about transgenders and genderexpression)


What seems to be...

What seems to be the developing policy at work is "Treat them as they are". In the transition period (from the time they return to work in the "correct" gender until some point in time after that, acknowledge the previous gender presentation. Answer questions and the like. But after that period, any reference or question is considered "out of bounds". New people brought into the environment are not told the transitioned person's history (and telling the history, other than the person themselves, is grounds for dismissal). Existing customers may know the person's history, but new ones won't.

Me? I'll likely - at least at first - be in that mixed situation both at home and work, as many will know my past... But, I'm hopeful. I'd prefer to not have to move. And, even if we did, we'd end up being a Lesbian couple where people kept asking who the father was.. And why the kids look like both of us...

There's no right or wrong answer. Most of the people I've talked to - that have been in deep stealth - have been outed now and again anyway... Life for us is not easy.


Sarah_S's picture

I don't think I could live

I don't think I could live stealth, Though I don't see any reason to tell people I'm not close to.

Atm almost everyone I hang out with know that I'm transgendered, because they all knew me beforehand. They're all still my friends, family and nice neighbours. I don't see why I should run away from acceptance to live in stealth fearing if someone might figure it out...

but that's just me ^^

Sparrowchild's picture

I think you're making a lot of assumptions

I don't agree that most T-girls are stealth. I know a very few that are, but for the most part, most of the T-girls I know are out. This is for those who have transitioned and are 24/7.

And to clarify, by 'out' this means that they go about their daily lives as themselves and don't really care about other's perceptions of them (other than the usual social expectations that apply to all women.)

Personally, it has become pretty unimportant on a regular basis what my past was. True, some of my stories of children and family are somewhat 'edited', but I am pretty comfortable with the 'edits' at this point and no one particularly notices or cares.

For a long time I assumed that I was made. I took the attitude that I was who and what I was and if someone was uncomfortable with that, it was strictly their problem. And I have had very few difficulties with that. Yeah, there's the occasional 'sir', but in most of those situations it is not deliberate on the part of the other person. They just picked up on some cue and responded. And remember, it is much less of an offense to refer to a woman as 'sir' than to refer to a man as "ma'am". So, if someone is unsure, guess what?

When my wife and I are out shopping or whatever, we are much more likely to be seen as a lesbian couple than me as a T-girl. And it doesn't bother to be seen as a lesbian, it's part of who I am. And besides, how many lesbians do you know who are male?

But then, too, we are in a pretty liberal part of California, so few people really care. There're a lot weirder folks than Denise and me walking around out here.

A lot changed for me when I stopped feeling guilty about myself. People pick up on that vibe and start looking for reasons why. Your feelings of insecurity actually invite additional scrutiny.

This isn't just a trans issue, either. A lot of 'genetic' women I know, have expressed challenges with self confidence in public. So, some of this is a trans thing and some is just a girl thing.

And when a gentleman holds a door for me, I smile sweetly at him and thank him. Most times I get a smile in return. Makes a girl feel good.

So, if you're feeling guilty about all of this, deal with your feelings and get right with yourself. Then when you go out into the world, they see the confident woman you really are.

Hang in there, girl,


Mistress of the Guild of Evil [Strawberry] Blonde Proofreaders

To be or not to be... ask Schrodinger's cat.


Mistress of the Guild of Evil [Strawberry] Blonde Proofreaders

To be or not to be... ask Schrodinger's cat.

I think Stealth is a myth, for most of us.

Oh sure, there are those who can, seemingly effortlessly, portray a completely female presentation that defies detection, and can go Stealth, easily. For most of us though, passing without notice is beyond the best of presentations...more than tons of makeup or perfect clothes choices can convince onlookers that we are natural girls.

Attitude CAN go a long way toward acceptance and even, if we're REALLY good about it, convincingly appear as natural females. I mean, hell, MOST women out there are just average looking, right? Role camouflage tells us that if we dress the same and act the same as natural women, most folks will just see us and then, look elsewhere. People, for the most part, are out on their own "missions" and seldom look at anyone else thinking, "Is that a guy or a girl?"

For myself, I am either much better in my presentation than I think I am, or people either don't care, or simply aren't concerned with trying to see beyond the obvious visual cues of makeup, clothing, and ATTITUDE. I don't draw attention to myself, but I don't shrink away from close contact with others either.

I DO know a couple of girls who, after surgery, went completely stealth and have normal female lives now, complete with spouses/boyfriends. One even married a man who already had kids with a former mate, and is completely accepted as a female mate by him. I don't know if he knows, but she tells me that he doesn't, and won't if she has anything to say about it.

Unless you're lucky enough to have been blessed by your genetics, or a massive amount of cash, allowing you to present completely as a pretty woman via the surgical route, the best you can do is learn to present as...average. Look around you. SEE what other women wear.. where they wear it... and imitate what you see. I ain't pretty, by a LONG shot, but I seem to pass effortlessly by being convincingly AVERAGE. At 64 years of age, almost everyone with whom I interact, misjudges my age, believing me to be younger than I actually am. Likewise, they seem to accept that I AM female at first glance. Either that, or they just don't give a damn what I am, as long as I don't bother them, or intrude on their "missions." I have actually sat in a nail salon and had women compliment me on my hairstyle (my wig, but I don't tell them that.) I had a LONG conversation with a woman, and when I finally felt comfortable enough to trust her, I told her that I wasn't a "born woman," she was shocked.
BTW, I am about 60 pounds overweight as well, and I have lived in the same town for over 20 years, only the last three as Cathy.

Like I said... Look around you. MOST so-called "natural women" don't go out of their way to dress pretty or act pretty. They dress comfortably,and they relax into their "missions" whatever they might be. Around where I live, they wear jeans, sneakers, loose tops and jackets or coats, and minimal makeup... so that's what _I_ wear, with the exception of a bit more makeup to cover the blemishes on my face. There are surprisingly few differences between guys jeans, and ladies jeans... mostly the labels, which can't be seen if a jacket or coat covers said label.

Dorothy, I DO understand your reticence and reluctance about "seeming" to appear as a female. I had the same doubts about my appearance and presentation. I found, however, that my attitude... acting as if I BELONG in a place... dressing as others around me dress, that acceptance came more easily. Take heart, Dorothy. There IS no perfect woman. I've seen pics of some of the most famous, beautiful women in the world, without their makeup and pricey clothes. Most of them look like someone you'd see at Wal-Mart... not on the red carpet at some award show.

Everyone tries their damnedest to just "fit in." Especially if they are, like us, Trans. We seem to feel that we have to be prettier, or better, just so we can be accepted. We DON'T! We just have to blend in and be...AVERAGE. That's me. Ms. Average, and I'm very happy to be just that... Average.

Hugs and love,
Catherine Linda Michel

As a T-woman, I do have a Y chromosome... it's just in cursive, pink script. Y_0.jpg

I live in relative stealth

although I've been outed by the tabloids a couple of times - though that was years ago. My neighbours know, I've lived in this house since before I transitioned. One or two still consider me something of an unknown quantity, though if they have to interact they've all been polite. What they think is their affair, I don't care.

I've worked as female since transitioning, over twenty five years, and as far as I know people accept me as I present, a slightly overweight, middle-aged female. I get conversations about all sorts of female things, including periods, hysterectomies, child birth and contraception. Those who get to know me however slightly, know me as a bike-nut who has two cats, who knows about all sorts of weird things like dormice and the TdF.

I try not to tell lies, I just don't correct wrong assumptions. They know I've been married but I don't say the word wife, I use 'ex' and usually refer to my ex as 'they'. I also never talk about being a little girl, I say child. I can say I had a favourite doll and a tea set, because I did so that obscures things a bit. I also tell them I have two brothers, so learned to play football and even got hurt playing rugby with them. Okay, so I'm different, but so are lots of women.

I remember standing watching the British Road Race championships in Abergavenny and some character appeared who was easily identifiable as a man in women's clothes, the woman next to me, to whom I'd been talking for the past hour nudged me and pointed at the poor person I mentioned who I hadn't at that point seen, and said, "What d'you think that is?" I shrugged and said, something neutral like, 'They could do with some help.' I've also had another transsexual approach me and ask for directions, and I'm absolutely certain they didn't read me. Sadly, their booming voice and size tended to give them away.

I've done all sorts of things, done talks on several subjects (not transgender)including to schoolchildren and as far as I'm aware I've been taken as I present. I suppose I could be completely deluded but I'm happy.

Just be yourself, don't draw attention to yourself and smile - it helps a lot.



Well, I can only comment

Well, I can only comment from my own perspectives. For me passing is quite easy and I'm still pre OP. The last few months I've been scuba diving with my girlfriend and different dive instructors and as you maybe think now even there I passed. No I'm not hiding and yes I usually wear bright colored bikinis under my wetsuit. At parties I'm not hiding either, I dress to impress.
Very few friends know about my past, and last saturday, a friend told me something which surprised me a bit but also felt quite nice. She told me, whereas in the beginning, when we first met, she still could see a bit of male, when she tried. During those last two years it changed so much, that she keeps forgetting about my past and only see a young woman. Even as I usually stand out of the crowd, wearing short skirted gothy outfits to dance parties.
Yes nature seem to have had some mercy, making me so easily passable, sometimes making me believe it would be unfair compared to other, not so lucky, TG people.

In normal everyday life I'm just the average girl, wearing jeans, sneakers or boots, blouses most of the time and I'm too lazy to put on any makeup.

About being open, being out - well, I found a nice balance here I think. I'm not denying my past, when I'm asked directly. All my girlfriends did and do know, because being lesbian, the sex question will come up.
But I'm not going around and advertise the fact of my past either. I just live the every-day struggle called life. Many people will probably see that as living stealth, some will not.

I don't think there is just one or right way.


== There is not only one truth out there ==

== There is not only one truth out there ==

kimmie's picture

I'm in your boat

as while preop I still passed readily and of course after 21 years full-time and post-op ten years now, not an issue, I take my passability pretty much for granted now. I am as close to stealth for the most part with the exception of work since I work in a government related position and that selective service question will out you all the time.

As usual it is a mixed bag in life. Total stealth is nigh impossible but mostly stealth, yes. The usual issue is about relationships and you mentioned girlfriends. Could you possibly PM me as to how you dealt with your partners in how you told them or felt them out?


stealth? what's stealth?

Early in my transition, i made for myself the decision to be me. I have shredded the male parts, but i know i cannot overcome my genetic inheritance. So why chasing a stealth life? no. In my evolution i am more and more uncovering an extrovert side of me. as i am uncovering many other sides, from goth to kinky sex. no. never stealth. never let life pass in the nameless "normality".

My experience is that now, after 2 years in hormonal theraphy, and 40 years of life, and waiting for my turn under the scalpel, i just like to be me. I just like to be seen. So i dress feminine, somewhat overfeminine in my own way. You can picture me with a long skirt, a corset, long blonde hair with a very generous touch of blue.

I am definitely *not* stealth. I know i cannot be a woman, just for the hints my body give out.

but this don't stop to be me, to have a boyfriend, to be in love with him, to be proud whenever i go out of my home.

I found in myself a combactive emotion. when i encounter someone who will mistreat me, i will react, i will take what is mine. my female identity. i doesn't offer a choice, i take what is mine for the most precious part of me i own, myself. i can become really aggressive in this regard, if pushed.

Because i am me. this is the only thing i have. so i am saying "hey! i am here, i am female, i am myself."

I think my life is here to be lived. to be viewed, to be joyful shared with the people near me.

Living stealth? not for me.

I have shredded the big great lie when i finally ceased to be a male. I never had a necessity to begin living another lie, to be a complete female. I just i am not that. I can be, i can work to be the nearest i can to a female. But i simply cannot be one. No one can truly be one using human treatments, only birth decides the genetic pattern. So why substitute a lie with a lie?

but... but if you know a magic ritual to help me to become *completely* female... or if you just have a spare wish from a genie of the lamp, please tell me. Because this is what i feel. Acceptance of reality simply doesn't erase the inner desire i have and feel. This is just one of the compromises life is asking from anyone of us.

I decided simply to complete my transgendered path, the path to find myself. and to be true to this path and to myself, and accept who i am. To enjoy myself and work hardly to live happily my life.

this is my experience, this is the only thing i can say to you, the only thing i can share. Myself.

If you ever do a vacation in Rome, near the colosseo, and if it happens to you to see a gothic transwoman with an unnatural hair color, please, feel free to say hi!, i will be very glad to chat with you!


Beverly Taff's picture


Stealth? What's that?

Yeah well I do know, so I'm just portraying my attitude to it all.

I'm only half way there and will forever be only 'half-way-there' cos my brain is somewhere inbetweenie.

I'd be quite happy to live as a woman full time but it's not that vital to me anymore. I suppose the anti-androgens and the estrogen have done for my libido and needing a physical side to my relationships is now a non-starter. So I live sometimes in Femme mode and sometimes in Homme mode as the mood or more correctly the need takes me.

I've just been in a discussion with an online psychiatrist about sexuality fluidity and we've been chatting also about gender fluidity. As far as I'm concerned now, there is little physical aspect to my gender condition because I have no libido. Consequently for me, gender is all in my head.

That, in my wierd book, allows me to see gender as a fluid condition and there are no 'external, environmentally gravitational' elements to its' direction of flow. I see my gender condition as something like a 'Lava lamp' with femininity and masculinity seemingly rising and falling with internal changes. Does that make sense to anybody else? That's the nearest I can get to making sense of it.

With such seemingly constant but irregular changes, it's virtually impossible for me to go 'stealth'. How other people treat me is of little consequence provided they don't physically hurt me or attack me. I'm almost inured to any other sort of abuse.

I've developed a hide like a rhino (but I moisturise it at least twice a day.)


A day out in St Pauls' Cathedral and in the middle of Soho, China-Town, London. No hope of stealth for me is there?

Anyway, why should I be forced to go in stealth? I'm not harming anybody though I'm in your face and proud of it!!

Flying the banner to push the boundaries of tolerance


Growing Old Disgracefully

The Palace, Sept 4th 1.jpg

Growing old gracefully? (I doubt it.)

Don't Label Me.

When I first came out... I told everyone... I even corrected those who called my by my proper gender. (female) But after a while I realised that if I let people make their own decision... they made the right one more often than not. I didn't deliberately 'go stealth' but after a while I just wasn't being called SIR except on the phone.

These days even though I'm almost 6' tall, 350lbs and balding with bad skin and no figure to speak of... I "pass" and other than dating I'm successful in just being me...a woman.

If I could recommend anything... Let stealth happen... if it does great if not that's great too... People who move to another town aren't really looking for a new start so much as getting rid of their existing start. To stick around and try to get the people who already know you to accept you is a pain.

I remember (quite painfully) when mid transition my mother told me she was moving in with me because her doctor said do it or I'll put you in a home. My mother could NOT NOT NOT accept that I was passing as a woman. So we went to get her a new doctor and the doctor asked... and is this your daughter? Mom stared. So we got her into a new church and the women there asked... and is this your daughter? Mom gaped. Then we went out for dinner and the waitress asked...Would you ladies like anything to drink? Mom began to question what she was seeing...

You have a tough row to hoe sticking around... but stealth can be achieved a tiny tiny bit each week until one day the scale tips and you won't even notice it until one day you're crying you eyes out and thinking about how your life has changed... you'll smile briefly before crying yourself inside out... but when you're done you will have a renewed confidence.

I hope your garden turns out as you like it.



Mom was kicked out of a public pool for being in the ladies change room. She had a hernia at the time and a bit of her tummy stuck out through her stomach wall... she was able to explain it away but I could only sit in the corner and giggle myself practically unconscious in nothing but my towel. (I'm pre-op) Nobody even mentioned me or looked sideways for that matter.

Pamreed's picture

I could be be but choose not to

I transitioned back in 1998 and have been on hormones since then and I am post-op. The last several years I have no problem passing as a normal female. I have even had conversations with other women at like airports. Where we talk about our children and am asked how my pregnancies went. As these are people I will proberally never see again I just tell they went ok and move on!! As someone else said earlier I am 64 but most people guess me in my late forties or early fifties. I wonder how much HRT has to do with that? Anyway back to the subject. I have too many ties to my old life I do not wish to sever!! Family, past accomplishments in my field of work, etc. Also I was in a closet for so many years hiding who I was, I don't want to turn around and go back into another closet!!!! Also I have been very active in educating folks about being trans and am an activist for trans rights!! I have talked at all kinds of schools from high schools up to universities about being TS and what that really means, I also talked at churches and also at my place of work. I have talked to the US Congress and representatives of President Obama and here in Ohio to our state legeslature. I have also been working with Senator Sherrod Brown on his re-election an advising him on transgender issues!! I even got to meet with Howard Dean the Chair of the National Democratic Party. So I guess I am partially stealth in that in my everyday life I am a woman! But in my personal life I am out and in my efforts for change I am out. I am even exploring running for political office here in Ohio. I have gone through training with Emily's List and am creating a network of pople in the political field.

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