Signal boosting: Stealth is not safe

Y’all should be reading Alyssa already, but in case you aren’t, let me signal boost a post to get you started.

“Stealth,” for the uninitiated, refers to pretending one’s gender doesn’t bear the adjective “trans.” It means pretending to be a cis representative of one’s gender, to have been recognized as a member thereof for one’s entire life, and to have never borne a different name. “Going stealth” means hiding a large chunk of one’s past and papering over the resulting gaps with denial and occasional lies. This was once medically mandated for transgender women, who were expected to leave their hometowns and live somewhere where no one knew their history. And it doesn’t work.

Even this picture is overly rosy. Many of us get found out, not because of our path through time, but because of our path through space. Especially in a world where I felt I had to deny this piece of myself in order to survive, I would require the support of the local queer community, but being seen in association with such a community is itself dangerous. I would be spending time among other transgender women and be flagged by association. Deadly raids are the incident that sparked the Gay Pride movement, and still occur in some of these places. Even if I keep my honesty confined to online conversations, these generate records that can be accessed to identify me and my associates. The level of denial and concealment I would have to maintain to make sure that my actual public presence holds no trace of my transness would undo many of the gains I have achieved by transitioning in the first place, and make all of my surviving friendships dishonest and distant.

Read more here.


  1. jane0doe says

    You’re tired of trans people crucifying other trans people… and here you are, a self-styled transsexual crucifying Alyssa for pointing out that stealth is not an infallible refuge. I don’t judge your choice and I don’t think Alyssa is either. But your comment has been filtered for firing off too many of my red flags–loaded language, motivated reasoning, logical fallacies (“transsexual” and “activist” are not mutually exclusive. you’re reading one). Consider it strike one. Please consult the Comments Policy -Shiv