The Reason I Refuse to go Stealth

[Image] Stealth, as written on a hockey stick

Photo by:Andrew Jensen

Going stealth is something which a lot of Trans* people strive for at the beginning of their transition. They hope, as many would, that never bringing up the fact that they were assigned to the wrong sex category at birth would make their life much easier somehow.

I was one of those. When I first started transitioning, I felt that the end goal was to be fully female (whatever the hell that means). I thought that, at the end of my transition, I should be able to just stop mentioning that I was Trans* and fade into the background. I thought that I would just be able to live my life, as just another woman, without being hated or discriminated against because of who I was. I mean, I even lied to my first boyfriend about it. (A story for another time)

Today however, I am of a completely different mind. I have been in the process of transitioning for over 5 years now and, if I wanted to, I could probably go stealth.

I just don’t want to anymore.

It isn’t because I don’t think my life would be any easier if I just stopped talking about being Trans*, I know that it almost certainly would. Instead, it is because I now feel that it would be selfish of me to go stealth.

Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I don’t think it is inherently selfish to go stealth. There are a lot of reasons to make that decision, for or against, and some of them are really good ones. Personal and familial safety are two of the biggest of those, and I would never fault anyone for doing what they need to to survive.

However, for me, I feel as though it would be. You see, I am rather lucky for the most part. I live in Canada (a white, mostly progressive country) as a white, young, passable Trans* person. I do not get threats or harassment while walking down the street. I don’t get told that I am not allowed in Rainbow safe spaces or Women’s Only spaces. I don’t get picked on or made fun of because of the way that I look.

The only time that I get blow back for being Trans* is when I out myself.

This just isn’t true for many Trans* people in my community or even for many Trans* people in the larger Trans* communities. For many Trans* people, they don’t have any choice but to not pass. It isn’t due to any failure of their own, but rather a failure of their genetics or their current situation. However, as a result of no indiscretion on their part, they are thrown into the role of being the public image of the Trans* community.

In this role, these members of the Trans* community have their body and actions policed. Everything they do, everything they say, is assumed to be generalizable to the entirety of the Trans* community. They are forced, often without the knowledge or ability to do so, to defend the Trans* community and all of its members.

And, in choosing to be stealth, as a privileged person with little risk of societal reprisals, I am condoning the mistreatment of those who can’t hide from society’s abuse and harassment. I am choosing to relegate my knowledge of the Trans* communities and the experiences I have gained throughout my transition to the dustbin, never to be used again.

And, that just isn’t fair.

That isn’t fair to me or my narrative. That isn’t fair to the Trans* community. That isn’t fair for the larger Rainbow communities. It just isn’t fair for anyone.

So, for that reason, I actively choose, as I hope to always do, to use my privileged position within the Trans* communities to advocate, fight, and rally for the inclusion of all Trans* people in society. And, I actively choose not to hide or to force the others around me to create my narrative for me.


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