Three Card Monte, Bailey Style
September 6, 2007
Grasping At Straws and Straw Men
September 11, 2007

Closets Are For Clothes, Stealth Is For Planes

Recently, I read a blog post about an FTM complaining about being judged by other transgender people about living “stealth.” To those of you who feel the need to live secretly, I say this; if you wish to live your life in a closet that is your choice. But don’t be surprised when I judge you for this. For as long as folks with passing privilege hide in their closets, there will be a stigma attached to transgender people because they will be defined by those that don’t or aren’t trying to pass. By being stealth, you’re shaming yourself and those who are like you. If you want to do that, be my guest.

I don’t think you bad, immoral, or unethical for living a “stealth” existence. I would say you’re a coward and delusional, if you think that you can live stealth in todays world. There’s ALWAYS a path back to your birth gender, so you’re about as stealth as Valerie Plame.

There is no integrity in hiding. There is no integrity in shame. You don’t like that judgment? Tough shit. Those of us that choose to be out by choice get judged daily. But we do so, because we know that the people that know and love us will have hearts and minds changed because of us. Because of them knowing us. If you aren’t moving us forward, you’re setting us back. You don’t like that? Go hide in your closet.

129 Comments

  1. Marti Abernathey says:

    🙂 that’s always your choice.

  2. Em says:

    Well, you won’t catch me reading this blog again.

  3. Em says:

    Well, you won’t catch me reading this blog again.

  4. Cindi Knox says:

    I don’t care to judge others on being “stealth”, “woodworked”, or “closeted”. Each person has to work with what strengths – and weaknesses – she or he has.

    I, however, have decided to out myself on many occasions: at work (where I was hired without knowledge of my history), at school, at church, before the committee on ministry that is considering me for formation toward clergy, and at seminary.

    Why?

    Because transitioning sucked, and I don’t want it to suck for others.

    Because discrimination against transgendered people sucks, and I want it to stop.

    I currently have the strength to be out, and I will use that strength to help others, whether they share that strength or – especially – not.

  5. Cindi Knox says:

    I don’t care to judge others on being “stealth”, “woodworked”, or “closeted”. Each person has to work with what strengths – and weaknesses – she or he has.

    I, however, have decided to out myself on many occasions: at work (where I was hired without knowledge of my history), at school, at church, before the committee on ministry that is considering me for formation toward clergy, and at seminary.

    Why?

    Because transitioning sucked, and I don’t want it to suck for others.

    Because discrimination against transgendered people sucks, and I want it to stop.

    I currently have the strength to be out, and I will use that strength to help others, whether they share that strength or – especially – not.

  6. nexy says:

    what, exactly, is your definition of “stealth”? am i living stealth? i haven’t spoken about my transness at work, and no one has asked. as far as i’m concerned, it has nothing to do with my job. on the other hand, i write a blog on transadvocate.com, i belong to the pink pistols, i’ve posted pictures of myself on line, i use my legal name on line, i frequent lgbt hangouts (well, mostly “g” and “t” – i never heard of a “b” hangout, and i’m scared of lesbians 😛 ), and go to trans support group meetings.

    but i seem to appear straight and cissexual, i’m married to a straight looking guy, and i don’t wear “transsexual menace” t-shirts, not do i have a desire to, except at pride. being trans is a part of who i am, but so is being a marksman. i don’t go around wearing a gun on my hip, and i don’t go around wearing a pink “t” around my neck. i don’t deny either, but neither do i advertise.

    so what is “stealth”? is it like any other aspect of life – a matter of degree, with individuals mostly falling somewhere in the bell curve, with a few on the extremes.

  7. nexy says:

    what, exactly, is your definition of “stealth”? am i living stealth? i haven’t spoken about my transness at work, and no one has asked. as far as i’m concerned, it has nothing to do with my job. on the other hand, i write a blog on transadvocate.com, i belong to the pink pistols, i’ve posted pictures of myself on line, i use my legal name on line, i frequent lgbt hangouts (well, mostly “g” and “t” – i never heard of a “b” hangout, and i’m scared of lesbians 😛 ), and go to trans support group meetings.

    but i seem to appear straight and cissexual, i’m married to a straight looking guy, and i don’t wear “transsexual menace” t-shirts, not do i have a desire to, except at pride. being trans is a part of who i am, but so is being a marksman. i don’t go around wearing a gun on my hip, and i don’t go around wearing a pink “t” around my neck. i don’t deny either, but neither do i advertise.

    so what is “stealth”? is it like any other aspect of life – a matter of degree, with individuals mostly falling somewhere in the bell curve, with a few on the extremes.

  8. Marti Abernathey says:

    LOL. you’re amusing me now.

    1. I don’t need this post for people to know who I am.

    2. I know transyouth.

    3. You can believe whatever makes you able to live with yourself.

  9. Me says:

    uh, yea…right. “Server error”…I should have expected you come up with something like that.

    I wonder how many trans youth would agree with you on your “out and proud” idiocy….oh…I know already…

    None.

    How do I know? I posted your rant on a board I’m on, and everyone just laughed their asses off.

    Like the poster up above said…you’re just an unpassable old tranny trying to make a name for yourself. Good luck.

  10. Me says:

    uh, yea…right. “Server error”…I should have expected you come up with something like that.

    I wonder how many trans youth would agree with you on your “out and proud” idiocy….oh…I know already…

    None.

    How do I know? I posted your rant on a board I’m on, and everyone just laughed their asses off.

    Like the poster up above said…you’re just an unpassable old tranny trying to make a name for yourself. Good luck.

  11. admin says:

    LOL! no. actually a server change. You can go back in the closet now.

  12. admin says:

    LOL! no. actually a server change. You can go back in the closet now.

  13. Me says:

    I guess Marti has erased all of her replies, because she was embarrassed about them. Glad to see you’re admitting it.

  14. Me says:

    I guess Marti has erased all of her replies, because she was embarrassed about them. Glad to see you’re admitting it.

  15. Mila says:

    Marti,

    I think you are hitting on a great point, and I am glad you brought it up. Yes I know you have taken a strong stance that other may see in the wrong light, and I am sorry that you have to take the abusive language and threats because you feel this way.

    I support the idea that we should be out. I also know that there is a difference between being out and throwing your status in peoples faces.

    I believe that in some situations that “stealth” can be a necessary tool to survive, find jobs, and avoid harassment. I believe however that the act of “deep stealth” is self defeating, and does not help the community.

    My decision to be out was initiated by the fact that I could not hide from anyone who simply Google-ed my name, (former or present). I had originally tried to hide, and found that when I was “outed” it was a great distress, and something I had no control over. Conversely, when I came out to friends, co-workers and family, suddenly that fear went away. Being out allows me to have an intimate relationship without fear of being “discovered”. It allows em to educate people that I meet and to build friendships that are meaningful and honest.

    Do I advertise to the world that I am trans? Do I force this on people? No. But I certainly don’t hide if someone asks, and I certainly don’t try and cover up my past.

    Don’t deny who you are. Truth in self is important, and liberating. The community needs to rise above petty squabbles and face the reality that we need a viable stand for our rights.

    Until we step out and be seen, people will continue to see us as Jerry Springer Rejects, and oddities.

    If someone knows a person who is trans, they are more likely to support trans inclusive legislation, and equal rights for gender idenity.

    For those who are living “stealth”. I do not see you as lower for your choice, but I also do not see how it helps the community. The benefits of Out trans people are leading the way to legislation that allows you to be “stealth”, and to eventually live without fear. If two bold trans women had not stood up in front of homeland security, and the real id act town hall, Identify them selves as trans, and making our presence know, they (homeland security) would not even be considering inclusion of trans protection in the enacting of real id… and as it stands, it might already be too late. We might all be facing changes that will out anyone who has not changed their birth certificates, and social security markers.

    We need to make ourselves know.

    I am out and proud! and I support anyone who is brave enough to do so.

    Hugs

    Mila

  16. Mila says:

    Marti,

    I think you are hitting on a great point, and I am glad you brought it up. Yes I know you have taken a strong stance that other may see in the wrong light, and I am sorry that you have to take the abusive language and threats because you feel this way.

    I support the idea that we should be out. I also know that there is a difference between being out and throwing your status in peoples faces.

    I believe that in some situations that “stealth” can be a necessary tool to survive, find jobs, and avoid harassment. I believe however that the act of “deep stealth” is self defeating, and does not help the community.

    My decision to be out was initiated by the fact that I could not hide from anyone who simply Google-ed my name, (former or present). I had originally tried to hide, and found that when I was “outed” it was a great distress, and something I had no control over. Conversely, when I came out to friends, co-workers and family, suddenly that fear went away. Being out allows me to have an intimate relationship without fear of being “discovered”. It allows em to educate people that I meet and to build friendships that are meaningful and honest.

    Do I advertise to the world that I am trans? Do I force this on people? No. But I certainly don’t hide if someone asks, and I certainly don’t try and cover up my past.

    Don’t deny who you are. Truth in self is important, and liberating. The community needs to rise above petty squabbles and face the reality that we need a viable stand for our rights.

    Until we step out and be seen, people will continue to see us as Jerry Springer Rejects, and oddities.

    If someone knows a person who is trans, they are more likely to support trans inclusive legislation, and equal rights for gender idenity.

    For those who are living “stealth”. I do not see you as lower for your choice, but I also do not see how it helps the community. The benefits of Out trans people are leading the way to legislation that allows you to be “stealth”, and to eventually live without fear. If two bold trans women had not stood up in front of homeland security, and the real id act town hall, Identify them selves as trans, and making our presence know, they (homeland security) would not even be considering inclusion of trans protection in the enacting of real id… and as it stands, it might already be too late. We might all be facing changes that will out anyone who has not changed their birth certificates, and social security markers.

    We need to make ourselves know.

    I am out and proud! and I support anyone who is brave enough to do so.

    Hugs

    Mila

  17. The difference is, you have a choice in the decisions you make. You aren’t the sum total of those decisions.

    I’ve made a lot of cowardly decisions in my life, it doesn’t make me coward. It makes me human. I hope that I’m always aware and working towards correcting those decisions. At the very least, I own them.

  18. spiritedaway says:

    i guess its the emoticon.

    What I said after that was sorry you think I am a coward. Maybe in the future I will be able to tell people, and talk about it, but right now I just can’t. I guess I am a coward then.

  19. spiritedaway says:

    i guess its the emoticon.

    What I said after that was sorry you think I am a coward. Maybe in the future I will be able to tell people, and talk about it, but right now I just can’t. I guess I am a coward then.

  20. spiritedaway says:

    At first, I read what you wrote as someone like me who never tells anyone that I’m a coward

    This is what you wrote before

    “I would say you’re a coward and delusional, if you think that you can live stealth in todays world.”

    thank you for at least saying I’m not one, but just acting like one. Maybe some day I won’t be a coward, but I had my fill of telling people and it hurt. I can see it in their eyes, and the way they treated me.

  21. spiritedaway says:

    At first, I read what you wrote as someone like me who never tells anyone that I’m a coward

    This is what you wrote before

    “I would say you’re a coward and delusional, if you think that you can live stealth in todays world.”

    thank you for at least saying I’m not one, but just acting like one. Maybe some day I won’t be a coward, but I had my fill of telling people and it hurt. I can see it in their eyes, and the way they treated me.

  22. spiritedaway says:

    I don’t know what the difrerence is. BTW, my dad used to call me a coward, and he said I was delutional too. So yea anyway.

  23. spiritedaway says:

    I don’t know what the difrerence is. BTW, my dad used to call me a coward, and he said I was delutional too. So yea anyway.

  24. I’m not saying you are a coward. I’m saying you’re making a cowardly choice if you’re living stealth. There is a difference. I’m glad you are here and you’re contributing to the discussion.

  25. Agreed Kat. I do stand by the coward comment though. We all do what we have to to survive, but I think I’ve made it obvious in the comments of this post that there’s a difference between discretion and stealth.

  26. For the very first time in my life I get to be me and I get to do it without feeling like a total outsider. I know that if I start telling people that I am a transexual, I will be on the outside again. I moved away from home, and I’m working in a place where no one from my past is. I had too, because there wasn’t any way I could stay in my old town and live a normal girls life.

    And that is your right. Do I think it’s wise or healthy? Ultimately, no. How can you foster any kind of intimacy with other individuals when you can’t be honest about your past?

  27. Kat says:

    “I would say you’re a coward and delusional, if you think that you can live stealth in todays world. There’s ALWAYS a path back to your birth gender, so you’re about as stealth as Valerie Plame.”

    I’ll agree with all of this except for ‘coward’

    One does what one has to do to survive in one’s given circumstances.

    I would emphasize ‘delusional,’ but, quite frankly, this is something that has only crystalized recently. I think even as recently as when I transitioned (just under a decade ago), it was still possible. That doesn’t mean you have to wear a TS Menace t-shirt everywhere and throw copies of ‘Gender Outlaw’ around the way that the cat lady on The Simpsons throws cats.

    As I hope we’ve learned from the Bailey-Blanchard fraud: there isn’t a bright-line dichotomy: there is something between ‘stealth’ and ‘absolutely out.’ I don’t ‘announce’ anything to my students, neighbors, co-workers, etc. – but when the situation is appropriate, I say what needs to be said.

    *That* having been said, though, I still do my best to pass on a general basis – and, luckily, I’m generally able to do so. All preferences to be ‘out’ and ‘honest’ notwithstanding, I do think its not the best idea to wander into a gas station in rural Mississippi and start blabbering to all who can hear about your life history.

  28. Kat says:

    “I would say you’re a coward and delusional, if you think that you can live stealth in todays world. There’s ALWAYS a path back to your birth gender, so you’re about as stealth as Valerie Plame.”

    I’ll agree with all of this except for ‘coward’

    One does what one has to do to survive in one’s given circumstances.

    I would emphasize ‘delusional,’ but, quite frankly, this is something that has only crystalized recently. I think even as recently as when I transitioned (just under a decade ago), it was still possible. That doesn’t mean you have to wear a TS Menace t-shirt everywhere and throw copies of ‘Gender Outlaw’ around the way that the cat lady on The Simpsons throws cats.

    As I hope we’ve learned from the Bailey-Blanchard fraud: there isn’t a bright-line dichotomy: there is something between ‘stealth’ and ‘absolutely out.’ I don’t ‘announce’ anything to my students, neighbors, co-workers, etc. – but when the situation is appropriate, I say what needs to be said.

    *That* having been said, though, I still do my best to pass on a general basis – and, luckily, I’m generally able to do so. All preferences to be ‘out’ and ‘honest’ notwithstanding, I do think its not the best idea to wander into a gas station in rural Mississippi and start blabbering to all who can hear about your life history.

  29. spiritedaway says:

    Dear Marti,

    I keep thinking I’m reading something that somebody else besides you wrote. Its just so not like you to be so hurtful labeling people this way. I’ve read your blog for a while, especially your posts about religion, and it really made me feel better. I just wish you didn’t write this one. I am 23 years old and I’m done with transition (thank god). For the very first time in my life I get to be me and I get to do it without feeling like a total outsider. I know that if I start telling people that I am a transexual, I will be on the outside again. I moved away from home, and I’m working in a place where no one from my past is. I had too, because there wasn’t any way I could stay in my old town and live a normal girls life. >_

  30. spiritedaway says:

    Dear Marti,

    I keep thinking I’m reading something that somebody else besides you wrote. Its just so not like you to be so hurtful labeling people this way. I’ve read your blog for a while, especially your posts about religion, and it really made me feel better. I just wish you didn’t write this one. I am 23 years old and I’m done with transition (thank god). For the very first time in my life I get to be me and I get to do it without feeling like a total outsider. I know that if I start telling people that I am a transexual, I will be on the outside again. I moved away from home, and I’m working in a place where no one from my past is. I had too, because there wasn’t any way I could stay in my old town and live a normal girls life. >_

  31. “marti, though i agree with generally, some people do have good reason to hide their past. i, for example, cant come out or live as a woman, cus i could lose custody and visitation rights with my child.i admit i’m being selfish. if i was more idealistic, i would risk the lost so others in the future don’t have to. but i’m not. i’m selfish and i want my daughter in my life.”

    You’re not stealth, in the same vein as what I’m speaking to here. I’m speaking to those that have transitioned and went into hiding.

    “so i have to assume that maybe others have reason for not admitting their transsexuality. i look forward to the day when my daughter is 18 and i can open and honest about who i am. though admittedly that is like nancy reagan supporting abortion after ron left the presidency. but the reasons why people hide it are many and varied, so it hurt not hurt to cut them a little slack.”

    I’ll now bare my scars, and let you see inside of my scarred heart. I’ve paid the price you’re afraid of. I’ve not seen my daughter in 5 years (she’s 11 now). I’m not allowed to see her because her mother has access to a bankroll and an attorney while I’m barely making it with my son. I do understand your plight and I’m not judging anyone that hasn’t transitioned. If we all hid after transition, we’d never move forward… and our own children’s kids (who might be trans) will live with the same fears. If my daughter will know one thing about me, it’s to live your truth. Never be shamed by simply expressing your own ideas, feelings, and personhood. If there’s one thing I want her to know, it’s the beauty and wonder inside her is nothing to be ashamed of.

  32. Marti, as much as I agree politically at some level, and as much as I think some of the comments here are as transphobic as a radio-shock-jock DJ… your vitriol against stealth people is petty, venomous and totally unnecessary.

    You have a right to your opinion, but I disagree on multiple fronts. It’s totally necessary. Many times in my life, I’m the only transgender person that someone will meet. It’s important that they SEE me as a transgender person, for the good of all of us. Only then will change occur. Only then will we be treated with respect and dignity. In the words of the early AIDS orgs, Silence=Death.

    Funny you make the shock jock comparison. When Rebecca Juro and I did Trans-Sister Radio Live! I got called a shock jock. 🙂

    I don’t remember anyone arguing that being stealth is a radical political act, making positive change for thousands of trans people everywhere.

    Exactly. It’s not. It’s nothing but fear and self loathing.

    I am not stealth myself — I do public speaking, writing and fundraising on behalf of trans organizations — although I tend to pass in most situations and benefit from it, I’m not out at work, etc. This in itself illustrates that it’s not a black and white divide.

    That isn’t stealth as I’ve ever heard it used in the trans-community. Stealth means woodworking, erasing your life before transition.

    Heck, I have been mistaken for a non-trans woman unintentionally so many times, EVEN when doing trans activist work, that I’m not sure how I would counter that without wearing a Transexual Menace t-shirt all the time.

    That’s not the same thing. I’m not saying that people should wear a scarlet T…. Stealth isn’t the same thing as discretion.

    Even though I’m not stealth, I will always fight for people’s right to be. You know why? Because trans people deserve privacy. Even if you think that it’s politically more advantageous for trans people to be open about our histories (which in some people’s cases have little to do with their current everyday lives) it is immoral to insist that trans people MUST out themselves, which is more or less what you’re asking here. You’re creating an ethical mandate to be out, which simply does not work with the fact that we also need to safeguard trans people’s privacy. People need to have this choice, not just to stay safe, but because privacy is a more important right than “we need more bodies on the front lines.” And seriously, I feel that need strongly in my local communities & political work too.

    I’ve never said anyone MUST do anything. People have the choice to do whatever they please.
    But in my mind they’re nothing short a transgender Uncle Tom. If you want that for yourself, that’s your decision.

    Trans visibility, however, has reached a new high-water mark lately with 20/20 and Newsweek and so on and so forth — do you really think that just “being visible” is such an amazing political act in and of itself? I don’t. We need to set our sights higher than simply lambasting private trans people living their lives to broadcast their trans status.

    Newsweek articles are nice, but they are an abstraction. Many times as we transverse this world, we’ll be the only transgender person someone will ever meet. I’m lambasting STEALTH transsexuals, not someone that uses discretion. There’s a difference.

    If you are putting out a call for more political action from trans people, I would prefer to exhort people to be active in, or support (perhaps financially) communities who are struggling or in need. Ideologically, I would be much happier to see dissection of assimilationist politics (and connection with other progressive political movements) on a broader scale, not just the false either-or of “lifestyle choices” which is so tempting to spietfully target. You can do better.

    That sounds nice. But there are sisters and brothers dying on the streets (especially in places like Washington D.C.) for living their truth. While we talk about some vague “dissection of assimilationist politics” there are people suffering, while these folks live their safe existence. There’s a reason people do things like have anonymous sex in Minnesota Airports. Shame. That shame affects us all, in the form of DOMA, DADT, and other transphobic and homophobic legislation.

    Lastly, passing privilege? You should know that passing comes with its own problems. c.f. Gwen Araujo. More relevantly, what do you think makes it much easier for some people to be out, to speak loudly about trans issues, to not live in fear of discrimination even though we tell people we’re trans? That’s right. Privilege. Not everyone who is out or doesn’t pass has it. But a lot of the folks who are both out, or thriving, have access to some variety of it, because otherwise we’d really be in some deep shit. Don’t be so simplistic when you paint people with that brush, eh?

    What is your point here? If you have the privilege, don’t expect me to say you’re a hero for hiding. What you’re suggesting here effectively would be like saying “I have white privilege, and I’m going to keep it!” As with race, if you’re protecting your privilege, you’re part of the problem.

    And like ellemarie said, don’t claim that you’re not saying calling anyone bad people when you say that they’re delusional, unethical, without integrity, and cowards. It’s disingenuous and makes you sound like a “love the sinner, hate the sin” asshole.

    I don’t believe in “bad people.” I think there are people that do bad things, but that doesn’t make them all bad. My grandfather was in the KKK, he beat the shit out of my grandma, and he was verbally abusive to other people. He also loved and nurtured me in a way that no one else ever did in my childhood. He taught me that there are no bad people, but there are people that do harmful things.

  33. me adzebills says:

    marti, though i agree with generally, some people do have good reason to hide their past.

    i, for example, cant come out or live as a woman, cus i could lose custody and visitation rights with my child.

    i admit i’m being selfish. if i was more idealistic, i would risk the lost so others in the future don’t have to. but i’m not. i’m selfish and i want my daughter in my life.

    so i have to assume that maybe others have reason for not admitting their transsexuality. i look forward to the day when my daughter is 18 and i can open and honest about who i am. though admittedly that is like nancy reagan supporting abortion after ron left the presidency.

    but the reasons why people hide it are many and varied, so it hurt not hurt to cut them a little slack.

  34. me adzebills says:

    marti, though i agree with generally, some people do have good reason to hide their past.

    i, for example, cant come out or live as a woman, cus i could lose custody and visitation rights with my child.

    i admit i’m being selfish. if i was more idealistic, i would risk the lost so others in the future don’t have to. but i’m not. i’m selfish and i want my daughter in my life.

    so i have to assume that maybe others have reason for not admitting their transsexuality. i look forward to the day when my daughter is 18 and i can open and honest about who i am. though admittedly that is like nancy reagan supporting abortion after ron left the presidency.

    but the reasons why people hide it are many and varied, so it hurt not hurt to cut them a little slack.

  35. YukiChoe says:

    “Lastly, passing privilege? You should know that passing comes with its own problems. c.f. Gwen Araujo. More relevantly, what do you think makes it much easier for some people to be out, to speak loudly about trans issues, to not live in fear of discrimination even though we tell people we’re trans? That’s right. Privilege. Not everyone who is out or doesn’t pass has it. But a lot of the folks who are both out, or thriving, have access to some variety of it, because otherwise we’d really be in some deep shit. Don’t be so simplistic when you paint people with that brush, eh?

    And like ellemarie said, don’t claim that you’re not saying calling anyone bad people when you say that they’re delusional, unethical, without integrity, and cowards. It’s disingenuous and makes you sound like a “love the sinner, hate the sin” asshole.”

    It is amazing someone finally mentiones Gwen Araujo. No offence to the henious hate crime that had her murdered. But has anyone thought what might have happened if they knew all along she was a transsexual?

    That is precisely the difference, four men staying away from her and rejecting her because they know who she is, and four men beating her up and executing her because they did not know.

    Do you sisters realise what you are saying? Think about it.

    However, calling anyone delusional, unethical, without integrity, and cowards for me is a bit out actually. We are suppose to discuss and have a dialogue about it, attacks should not be the objectives for a trans advocacy site.

  36. YukiChoe says:

    “Lastly, passing privilege? You should know that passing comes with its own problems. c.f. Gwen Araujo. More relevantly, what do you think makes it much easier for some people to be out, to speak loudly about trans issues, to not live in fear of discrimination even though we tell people we’re trans? That’s right. Privilege. Not everyone who is out or doesn’t pass has it. But a lot of the folks who are both out, or thriving, have access to some variety of it, because otherwise we’d really be in some deep shit. Don’t be so simplistic when you paint people with that brush, eh?

    And like ellemarie said, don’t claim that you’re not saying calling anyone bad people when you say that they’re delusional, unethical, without integrity, and cowards. It’s disingenuous and makes you sound like a “love the sinner, hate the sin” asshole.”

    It is amazing someone finally mentiones Gwen Araujo. No offence to the henious hate crime that had her murdered. But has anyone thought what might have happened if they knew all along she was a transsexual?

    That is precisely the difference, four men staying away from her and rejecting her because they know who she is, and four men beating her up and executing her because they did not know.

    Do you sisters realise what you are saying? Think about it.

    However, calling anyone delusional, unethical, without integrity, and cowards for me is a bit out actually. We are suppose to discuss and have a dialogue about it, attacks should not be the objectives for a trans advocacy site.

  37. Holly says:

    Marti, as much as I agree politically at some level, and as much as I think some of the comments here are as transphobic as a radio-shock-jock DJ… your vitriol against stealth people is petty, venomous and totally unnecessary.

    I don’t remember anyone arguing that being stealth is a radical political act, making positive change for thousands of trans people everywhere. I am not stealth myself — I do public speaking, writing and fundraising on behalf of trans organizations — although I tend to pass in most situations and benefit from it, I’m not out at work, etc. This in itself illustrates that it’s not a black and white divide. Heck, I have been mistaken for a non-trans woman unintentionally so many times, EVEN when doing trans activist work, that I’m not sure how I would counter that without wearing a Transexual Menace t-shirt all the time.

    Even though I’m not stealth, I will always fight for people’s right to be. You know why? Because trans people deserve privacy. Even if you think that it’s politically more advantageous for trans people to be open about our histories (which in some people’s cases have little to do with their current everyday lives) it is immoral to insist that trans people MUST out themselves, which is more or less what you’re asking here. You’re creating an ethical mandate to be out, which simply does not work with the fact that we also need to safeguard trans people’s privacy. People need to have this choice, not just to stay safe, but because privacy is a more important right than “we need more bodies on the front lines.” And seriously, I feel that need strongly in my local communities & political work too.

    Trans visibility, however, has reached a new high-water mark lately with 20/20 and Newsweek and so on and so forth — do you really think that just “being visible” is such an amazing political act in and of itself? I don’t. We need to set our sights higher than simply lambasting private trans people living their lives to broadcast their trans status. If you are putting out a call for more political action from trans people, I would prefer to exhort people to be active in, or support (perhaps financially) communities who are struggling or in need. Ideologically, I would be much happier to see dissection of assimilationist politics (and connection with other progressive political movements) on a broader scale, not just the false either-or of “lifestyle choices” which is so tempting to spietfully target. You can do better.

    Lastly, passing privilege? You should know that passing comes with its own problems. c.f. Gwen Araujo. More relevantly, what do you think makes it much easier for some people to be out, to speak loudly about trans issues, to not live in fear of discrimination even though we tell people we’re trans? That’s right. Privilege. Not everyone who is out or doesn’t pass has it. But a lot of the folks who are both out, or thriving, have access to some variety of it, because otherwise we’d really be in some deep shit. Don’t be so simplistic when you paint people with that brush, eh?

    And like ellemarie said, don’t claim that you’re not saying calling anyone bad people when you say that they’re delusional, unethical, without integrity, and cowards. It’s disingenuous and makes you sound like a “love the sinner, hate the sin” asshole.

  38. Holly says:

    Marti, as much as I agree politically at some level, and as much as I think some of the comments here are as transphobic as a radio-shock-jock DJ… your vitriol against stealth people is petty, venomous and totally unnecessary.

    I don’t remember anyone arguing that being stealth is a radical political act, making positive change for thousands of trans people everywhere. I am not stealth myself — I do public speaking, writing and fundraising on behalf of trans organizations — although I tend to pass in most situations and benefit from it, I’m not out at work, etc. This in itself illustrates that it’s not a black and white divide. Heck, I have been mistaken for a non-trans woman unintentionally so many times, EVEN when doing trans activist work, that I’m not sure how I would counter that without wearing a Transexual Menace t-shirt all the time.

    Even though I’m not stealth, I will always fight for people’s right to be. You know why? Because trans people deserve privacy. Even if you think that it’s politically more advantageous for trans people to be open about our histories (which in some people’s cases have little to do with their current everyday lives) it is immoral to insist that trans people MUST out themselves, which is more or less what you’re asking here. You’re creating an ethical mandate to be out, which simply does not work with the fact that we also need to safeguard trans people’s privacy. People need to have this choice, not just to stay safe, but because privacy is a more important right than “we need more bodies on the front lines.” And seriously, I feel that need strongly in my local communities & political work too.

    Trans visibility, however, has reached a new high-water mark lately with 20/20 and Newsweek and so on and so forth — do you really think that just “being visible” is such an amazing political act in and of itself? I don’t. We need to set our sights higher than simply lambasting private trans people living their lives to broadcast their trans status. If you are putting out a call for more political action from trans people, I would prefer to exhort people to be active in, or support (perhaps financially) communities who are struggling or in need. Ideologically, I would be much happier to see dissection of assimilationist politics (and connection with other progressive political movements) on a broader scale, not just the false either-or of “lifestyle choices” which is so tempting to spietfully target. You can do better.

    Lastly, passing privilege? You should know that passing comes with its own problems. c.f. Gwen Araujo. More relevantly, what do you think makes it much easier for some people to be out, to speak loudly about trans issues, to not live in fear of discrimination even though we tell people we’re trans? That’s right. Privilege. Not everyone who is out or doesn’t pass has it. But a lot of the folks who are both out, or thriving, have access to some variety of it, because otherwise we’d really be in some deep shit. Don’t be so simplistic when you paint people with that brush, eh?

    And like ellemarie said, don’t claim that you’re not saying calling anyone bad people when you say that they’re delusional, unethical, without integrity, and cowards. It’s disingenuous and makes you sound like a “love the sinner, hate the sin” asshole.

  39. YukiChoe says:

    “Let’s be honest, you didn’t really transition. You just went from being a man, to being a man in a dress. Nope, no closet for you. Just an out, loud,, and not exactly proud man in a dress.”

    I can understand the point of Marti’s post here, and I do find the statement above a bit ridiculous.

    I do know lines and separation can be confusing to the untrained in mind. But it is still better to be out to make the unfamiliar familiar, and to not get yourself in trouble if you are ever outed. At least I know I am not cheating people about who I am, even though I am a transsexual.

    To the norm, people already assume we are ‘weird cheaters’ for not presenting ourselves in our ‘rightful gender’, what does that make of us when we add another ‘passing mask’ in people’s eyes?

    Passing privilage or not counts for nothing when you are not secure in who you are.

    If you are transsexual, you could be in a smart tuxedo with a bowtie, but you would still be much less than a man, but more of a woman.

  40. YukiChoe says:

    “Let’s be honest, you didn’t really transition. You just went from being a man, to being a man in a dress. Nope, no closet for you. Just an out, loud,, and not exactly proud man in a dress.”

    I can understand the point of Marti’s post here, and I do find the statement above a bit ridiculous.

    I do know lines and separation can be confusing to the untrained in mind. But it is still better to be out to make the unfamiliar familiar, and to not get yourself in trouble if you are ever outed. At least I know I am not cheating people about who I am, even though I am a transsexual.

    To the norm, people already assume we are ‘weird cheaters’ for not presenting ourselves in our ‘rightful gender’, what does that make of us when we add another ‘passing mask’ in people’s eyes?

    Passing privilage or not counts for nothing when you are not secure in who you are.

    If you are transsexual, you could be in a smart tuxedo with a bowtie, but you would still be much less than a man, but more of a woman.

  41. queen emily says:

    >>>Let’s be honest, you didn’t really transition. You just went from being a man, to being a man in a dress. Nope, no closet for you. Just an out, loud,, and not exactly proud man in a dress.

    I didn’t agree with Marti’s post, but that’s such an out-of-line thing to say. Just because Marti acknowledges that she wasn’t born female doesn’t give you reason to disrespect her gender identity like that. God, it’s the exact same thing that transphobic people say to us. Not every trans* person has the same experience, but that doesn’t invalidate their identity, it just makes it slightly different to yours.

  42. queen emily says:

    >>>Let’s be honest, you didn’t really transition. You just went from being a man, to being a man in a dress. Nope, no closet for you. Just an out, loud,, and not exactly proud man in a dress.

    I didn’t agree with Marti’s post, but that’s such an out-of-line thing to say. Just because Marti acknowledges that she wasn’t born female doesn’t give you reason to disrespect her gender identity like that. God, it’s the exact same thing that transphobic people say to us. Not every trans* person has the same experience, but that doesn’t invalidate their identity, it just makes it slightly different to yours.

  43. Jamie says:

    Marti, I love your blog, and see your point a lot on this. I can see both sides, and in the end, I just live my life to my standards. That said, I don’t think you’re going to change people’s minds, and are probably shooting yourself in the foot replying to them. x.x

  44. “Well, I would say it speaks for itself. I don’t consider a clueless person attacking transsexuals for not following their lead to be have much in the way of merit.”

    You might try logic once in a while. If you’re “just a woman” then I’m attacking you how? You’re not a transsexual, remember?

    “Let’s be honest, you didn’t really transition. You just went from being a man, to being a man in a dress. Nope, no closet for you. Just an out, loud,, and not exactly proud man in a dress. Yeah, just like being left-handed. Sure…”

    Oh yes, because all real transsexuals hide in closets. Makes PERFECT sense. Because  REAL WOMEN WEAR DRESSES, right? It all makes sense now. Thanks for clearing that up, kettle. Time for you to go play elsewhere. Bye Bye now.

  45. Jennifer says:

    “I’ve not asked you to. I’ve already said you can be a coward if you like. That’s your choice.”

    No, you just pompously insult everyone who does not see things your way.

    “I make it hard for stealth people how? I really don’t care what you think about my post. It stands on it’s own merits.”

    Well, I would say it speaks for itself. I don’t consider a clueless person attacking transsexuals for not following their lead to be have much in the way of merit.

    “What shade of lipstick are you trying to put on that pig? You’re right, I didn’t transition to go from one closet to another. I’m not ashamed of who I am, and I’m not proud of who I am. It’s like being proud/ashamed of being left handed, it makes no sense.”

    Let’s be honest, you didn’t really transition. You just went from being a man, to being a man in a dress. Nope, no closet for you. Just an out, loud,, and not exactly proud man in a dress. Yeah, just like being left-handed. Sure…

    “I can only speak for me. Ya might want to take your own advice, since you spoke for “other transsexuals” above. I never said that you have to follow me in lockstep, but you seem to be asking me to do that by your post. Being stealth is damaging on so many levels, and I’ll continue to speak out about it.”

    What I’m asking you to do is to get a clue. You are serverely lacking in that regard. Nope, I am neither ashamed, or a coward. I am simply a woman. That is why I took control of my life. Truth be told, you are the one in a closet. Be what you are, and stop pretending to be a woman. If you really were, you would not want people to see you as something your are not. But then that wouldn’t be fun, now would it?

  46. anonymous satanist says:

    wow, and your blog gets deleted from my rss feeds, not for being obnoxious and intentionally offensive, but for showing the kind of lack of empathy verging on hate that makes tolerence such a dirty word. also for being boring. how about reading judith butler more often instaed of mary daly?

  47. anonymous satanist says:

    wow, and your blog gets deleted from my rss feeds, not for being obnoxious and intentionally offensive, but for showing the kind of lack of empathy verging on hate that makes tolerence such a dirty word. also for being boring. how about reading judith butler more often instaed of mary daly?

  48. “I’ve met any number of people like you. The moment you start carrying on about “passing privilege” the truth is pretty clear. Sorry, but I won’t give up my life for your benefit.”

    I’ve not asked you to. I’ve already said you can be a coward if you like. That’s your choice.


    Someone sent me a copy of your blog. I checked it out, and chose to leave a comment. Trust me, I have NO interest in surfing the “trans blogosphere.” I do have an interest in people who seem determined to make life hard for those who don’t see things their way though. Simply put, if you want to be “out, loud, and proud,” go for it. That is certainly your right. But when you start attacking people for not following your path, you lose any right to complain if people call your wrting a load of crap.

    I make it hard for stealth people how? I really don’t care what you think about my post. It stands on it’s own merits.

    Hey, we agree on something. Nope, I doubt you could ever be, or would ever want to be, “just a woman.” And that is certainly your right. I am not saying that YOU have to be stealth. I am saying that if you had any understanding of transsexualism, as opposed to being just another typical transgender person, you would understand that the “closet” is a LGB paradigm, and really has no application to transsexuals. But you are doing this for reasons that are totally different from those of me, and other transsexuals.

    What shade of lipstick are you trying to put on that pig? You’re right, I didn’t transition to go from one closet to another. I’m not ashamed of who I am, and I’m not proud of who I am. It’s like being proud/ashamed of being left handed, it makes no sense.

    “That’s your right. It is not your right to try to tell us we have to follow you in lockstep.
    Nobody put you in charge. So, speak for yourself, and don’t presume to speak for everyone.”

    I can only speak for me. Ya might want to take your own advice, since  you spoke for “other transsexuals” above. I never said that you have to follow me in lockstep, but you seem to be asking me to do that by your post. Being stealth is damaging on so many levels, and I’ll continue to speak out about it.

  49. elliemarie says:

    The phrases “cowardly and delsional” and saying someone is “without integrity” sure would fit into most people’s definitions as attributes of a bad person. But you didn’t actually say they were bad people, that much is true, and I should have been more carefull about how I wrote my post. I still think it’s a pretty nasty bunch of words to use about other people’s choice about being stealth.

    You said: “I don’t believe those who support the binary are giving it any kind of whack. In fact, I think they are participating in its perpetuation.”

    Maybe I’m too generous with giving people who have to come out to their family and parents and circle of pals as they transistion credit for making people rethink what gender is. That’s giving it a whack as far as I’m concerned. Maybe not the constant sort of beating some people would like to see, but once again, there are just people who are wired for being on one end of the binary or the other.

  50. elliemarie says:

    The phrases “cowardly and delsional” and saying someone is “without integrity” sure would fit into most people’s definitions as attributes of a bad person. But you didn’t actually say they were bad people, that much is true, and I should have been more carefull about how I wrote my post. I still think it’s a pretty nasty bunch of words to use about other people’s choice about being stealth.

    You said: “I don’t believe those who support the binary are giving it any kind of whack. In fact, I think they are participating in its perpetuation.”

    Maybe I’m too generous with giving people who have to come out to their family and parents and circle of pals as they transistion credit for making people rethink what gender is. That’s giving it a whack as far as I’m concerned. Maybe not the constant sort of beating some people would like to see, but once again, there are just people who are wired for being on one end of the binary or the other.

  51. “Re-read what I wrote. I said ‘one reason’, not THE reason. It IS a reason. Just because another cause had infighting doesn’t mean we should.”

    My point was that these kind of “fights” are natural, in any movement.

    Not advocates in person, but likely some are online. You’re also assuming people in stealth were never advocates at any point in their life. Again, you’re condemning a group based on preconceived notions. Sound familiar?

    Sitting behind a computer is not advocacy. Advocacy is action.

    Not everyone involved in a particular minority need be an advocate either, not everyone is cut out to be. People in stealth aren’t the issue, stealth isn’t the issue. The issue is exactly what you said, homophobia and transphobia.

    Stealth people have no voice, no place at the table… by their own volition.

    So why waste time, effort, and burn bridges in an effort to condemn a part of the community and focus on the things that actually matter to everyone.

    The most important form of advocacy is a very personal one, so it’s NOT a waste of time to talk about it.

  52. Jennifer says:

    “LOL. Trans-whatever? You don’t know me, so I’m not sure how you can judge if I pass or not.”

    I’ve met any number of people like you. The moment you start carrying on about “passing privilege” the truth is pretty clear. Sorry, but I won’t give up my life for your benefit.

    “So why are you here? If you’re just a woman, why are you surfing the trans blogosphere? If you want to deny your past, that’s your choice.”

    Someone sent me a copy of your blog. I checked it out, and chose to leave a comment. Trust me, I have NO interest in surfing the “trans blogosphere.” I do have an interest in people who seem determined to make life hard for those who don’t see things their way though. Simply put, if you want to be “out, loud, and proud,” go for it. That is certainly your right. But when you start attacking people for not following your path, you lose any right to complain if people call your wrting a load of crap.

    “Who are you really? You call my writing a load of crap but you want to pretend that you’re no longer trans…. I’m not pretending that the gender fairy comes in the middle of the night and turns me into “just a woman.” To me, that’s crap. Your mileage my vary.”

    Hey, we agree on something. Nope, I doubt you could ever be, or would ever want to be, “just a woman.” And that is certainly your right. I am not saying that YOU have to be stealth. I am saying that if you had any understanding of transsexualism, as opposed to being just another typical transgender person, you would understand that the “closet” is a LGB paradigm, and really has no application to transsexuals. But you are doing this for reasons that are totally different from those of me, and other transsexuals. That’s your right. It is not your right to try to tell us we have to follow you in lockstep.

    Nobody put you in charge. So, speak for yourself, and don’t presume to speak for everyone.

  53. “I think that some stealth people may indeed be cowardly, but I don’t think that makes them bad people. Just frail and easily damaged.”

    *sigh*
    Ellie, I said:
     
    “I don’t think you bad, immoral, or unethical for living a ‘stealth’ existence. I would say you’re a coward and delusional, if you think that you can live stealth in todays world.”

    “Not everybody’s got the activist streak. But all of us have given the binary concept of gender a good whack in the head just by being who we are.”

    What kind of slack? I only voiced my opinion. I don’t believe those who support the binary are giving it any kind of whack. In fact, I think they are participating in its perpetuation.

  54. “Another trans-whatever, who apparently cannot pass, complaining about those who have ‘passing privilege.'”

    LOL. Trans-whatever? You don’t know me, so I’m not sure how you can judge if I pass or not.

    “This person just doesn’t get it. Some of us, those who are transsexual as opposed to ‘transgender’ do not go through all of this to continue being transsexual.”

    So why are you here? If you’re just a woman, why are you surfing the trans blogosphere?  If you want to deny your past, that’s your choice.

     “We simply want to live our lives as women, or men. Not as “trans.” There is nothing wrong with that. It is not about being a coward, or ashamed. It is about being who we really are.”

    Who are you really? You call my writing a load of crap but you want to pretend that you’re no longer trans…. I’m not pretending that the gender fairy comes in the middle of the night and turns me into “just a woman.”  To me, that’s crap. Your mileage my vary.

  55. Jayna says:

    I share Marti’s frustrations and it does take a considerable amount of courage to be OUT as TG. I feel the frustrations could have been explained more without it coming across as an attack. Marti has done a lot for the community and does see that our lack of visibility does us more harm than good. It IS that simple. Some people have had the problem in summoning even the courage to transition in the first place… it is not easy. Everyone has to give a little on this one to advance the discussion.

  56. Jayna says:

    I share Marti’s frustrations and it does take a considerable amount of courage to be OUT as TG. I feel the frustrations could have been explained more without it coming across as an attack. Marti has done a lot for the community and does see that our lack of visibility does us more harm than good. It IS that simple. Some people have had the problem in summoning even the courage to transition in the first place… it is not easy. Everyone has to give a little on this one to advance the discussion.

  57. Jayna says:

    Well said.
    I agree with Marti on many levels. If we are invisible we are uncounted… how can you not agree that that makes it more difficult for transgender people? If every transgender person was out wouldn’t that give us a greater voice?
    Stop leaving others to fight the battles alone.
    Could Marti have coddled feelings a little more? Probably so but she is speaking her mind and well…. we can all get a bit sensitive when we feel we are being questioned in our approach. The point is if you are in hiding or stealth then you are not doing the t-community any good. At what point do you get sick enough of how are community is left behind that you feel you should speak out?
    And speaking out on a forum…. is NOT speaking out. There is nothing brave or productive about an f-you from the safety of web-anonymity.
    I can understand those in some communities where stealth is a survival strategy; but I am not going to tell them they are making it better for those who follow them. It’s all a CHOICE; just consider how choice affects all of us.

  58. Ghost in the Shell says:

    “The reason we have trouble gaining ground is homophobia and transphobia, not infighting.”

    Re-read what I wrote. I said “one reason”, not THE reason. It IS a reason. Just because another cause had infighting doesn’t mean we should.

    “How? People that are stealth AREN’T advocates! Fragmenting an invisible and silent segment affects advocacy how?”

    Not advocates in person, but likely some are online. You’re also assuming people in stealth were never advocates at any point in their life. Again, you’re condemning a group based on preconceived notions. Sound familiar?

    Not everyone involved in a particular minority need be an advocate either, not everyone is cut out to be. People in stealth aren’t the issue, stealth isn’t the issue. The issue is exactly what you said, homophobia and transphobia.

    So why waste time, effort, and burn bridges in an effort to condemn a part of the community and focus on the things that actually matter to everyone.

  59. Jennifer says:

    Good grief, what a total load of crap. Another trans-whatever, who apparently cannot pass, complaining about those who have “passing privilege.” This person just doesn’t get it. Some of us, those who are transsexual as opposed to “transgender” do not go through all of this to continue being transsexual. We simply want to live our lives as women, or men. Not as “trans.” There is nothing wrong with that. It is not about being a coward, or ashamed. It is about being who we really are.

  60. Jennifer says:

    Good grief, what a total load of crap. Another trans-whatever, who apparently cannot pass, complaining about those who have “passing privilege.” This person just doesn’t get it. Some of us, those who are transsexual as opposed to “transgender” do not go through all of this to continue being transsexual. We simply want to live our lives as women, or men. Not as “trans.” There is nothing wrong with that. It is not about being a coward, or ashamed. It is about being who we really are.

  61. elliemarie says:

    Some people do not have the strength or the mental health to be anything but in the closet. Regardless of how the world sees them, the only way they can keep things from blowing apart in their own brains is denial about how they move through the world, or denial about how easy it would be to be outed by creeps with an agenda.
    We have a lot of fragile people in the trans community. I think that some stealth people may indeed be cowardly, but I don’t think that makes them bad people. Just frail and easily damaged.
    I also understand why people who pass easily would want to go into the woodwork. It becomes a giant pain in the ass to be everybody’s token trans pal when you’ve got more things going on in your life.
    I don’t begrudge the people who go back into the closet that choice. Even they had to come out and mess up people’s concepts of gender at some point.
    Not everybody’s got the activist streak. But all of us have given the binary concept of gender a good whack in the head just by being who we are. For that, I think some slack needs to be given.

  62. elliemarie says:

    Some people do not have the strength or the mental health to be anything but in the closet. Regardless of how the world sees them, the only way they can keep things from blowing apart in their own brains is denial about how they move through the world, or denial about how easy it would be to be outed by creeps with an agenda.
    We have a lot of fragile people in the trans community. I think that some stealth people may indeed be cowardly, but I don’t think that makes them bad people. Just frail and easily damaged.
    I also understand why people who pass easily would want to go into the woodwork. It becomes a giant pain in the ass to be everybody’s token trans pal when you’ve got more things going on in your life.
    I don’t begrudge the people who go back into the closet that choice. Even they had to come out and mess up people’s concepts of gender at some point.
    Not everybody’s got the activist streak. But all of us have given the binary concept of gender a good whack in the head just by being who we are. For that, I think some slack needs to be given.

  63. “As Patrick Califa says, “blame should not be placed on those of us who pass as straight, but on the system that allocates safety and privilege to only one group of people, gender-normative heterosexuals” (119).”

    I disagree. I think anyone that lives stealth (stealth meaning denial of your birth sex from everyone…partners, friends, and co-workers… EVERYONE)is a transgender version of Uncle Tom. Stealth isn’t something you do part time. It’s full on hiding your past.

  64. I’m not talking about being “out,” but being stealth. There is a difference. I don’t see stealth people as “bad” and I’ve stated as much.

  65. “One reason we have trouble gaining much ground in politics today is due to infighting, focusing our anger on others in our situation who may view things differently.”

    That’s not true. The reason we have trouble gaining ground is homophobia and transphobia, not infighting. If you think the civil rights movement was a monolith that always got along, you need to read Bayard Rustin. Stealth people aren’t going to change things. You can’t advocate from the closet.

    “Claiming those in “stealth” are hurting the cause and calling them cowards does nothing to further our cause, and only fragments us further; keeping us from achieving the things that matter.”

    How? People that are stealth AREN’T advocates! Fragmenting an invisible and silent segment affects advocacy how?

  66. elliemarie says:

    What is out? About half my friends know about my past, about half don’t. When somebody asks me a question about menstrual periods or having babies, I tell them I’m an MTF, otherwise I don’t usually broadcast the facts of my past.
    I went through my transistion over 14 years ago. I did political activist work, organized with some FTM buddies the first Transpride rally in Seattle, and spent a long time talking to people about my past.
    Now I think I’d prefer to have my trans-ness be part of my life instead of all of it. Does that make me a bad person in Marti’s viewpoint?
    I’d rather be known as the musician and woodworker and woman I am now than as a gender activist. It’s part of who I am, not just what I am. I think that point gets lost when people are fairly new to being out.
    I mess with the concepts of gender just by living my life. I don’t need to make it something to shout from street corners anymore.

  67. elliemarie says:

    What is out? About half my friends know about my past, about half don’t. When somebody asks me a question about menstrual periods or having babies, I tell them I’m an MTF, otherwise I don’t usually broadcast the facts of my past.
    I went through my transistion over 14 years ago. I did political activist work, organized with some FTM buddies the first Transpride rally in Seattle, and spent a long time talking to people about my past.
    Now I think I’d prefer to have my trans-ness be part of my life instead of all of it. Does that make me a bad person in Marti’s viewpoint?
    I’d rather be known as the musician and woodworker and woman I am now than as a gender activist. It’s part of who I am, not just what I am. I think that point gets lost when people are fairly new to being out.
    I mess with the concepts of gender just by living my life. I don’t need to make it something to shout from street corners anymore.

  68. Ghost in the Shell says:

    I am disappointed in the venomous position you’ve taken, not to mention the stark black and white viewpoint. It’s very reminiscent of “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” mentality that does no good to a cause.

    One reason we have trouble gaining much ground in politics today is due to infighting, focusing our anger on others in our situation who may view things differently. We may disagree on small points, but the points that truly matter we all agree on. Claiming those in “stealth” are hurting the cause and calling them cowards does nothing to further our cause, and only fragments us further; keeping us from achieving the things that matter.

  69. Ghost in the Shell says:

    I am disappointed in the venomous position you’ve taken, not to mention the stark black and white viewpoint. It’s very reminiscent of “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” mentality that does no good to a cause.

    One reason we have trouble gaining much ground in politics today is due to infighting, focusing our anger on others in our situation who may view things differently. We may disagree on small points, but the points that truly matter we all agree on. Claiming those in “stealth” are hurting the cause and calling them cowards does nothing to further our cause, and only fragments us further; keeping us from achieving the things that matter.

  70. Queen Emily says:

    I’m sorry, I disagree too Marti. I don’t think things are simple as you suggest. Stealth can be a matter of safety–we all know the risks we take. I am out, in-your-face-genderqueer out actually, but I cannot blame anyone who isn’t.

    As Patrick Califa says, “blame should not be placed on those of us who pass as straight, but on the system that allocates safety and privilege to only one group of people, gender-normative heterosexuals” (119).

    I agree, we gain nothing long-term by hiding, but honestly, show a little more compassion. Let people get there in their own time.

  71. Queen Emily says:

    I’m sorry, I disagree too Marti. I don’t think things are simple as you suggest. Stealth can be a matter of safety–we all know the risks we take. I am out, in-your-face-genderqueer out actually, but I cannot blame anyone who isn’t.

    As Patrick Califa says, “blame should not be placed on those of us who pass as straight, but on the system that allocates safety and privilege to only one group of people, gender-normative heterosexuals” (119).

    I agree, we gain nothing long-term by hiding, but honestly, show a little more compassion. Let people get there in their own time.

  72. Marti Abernathey says:

    🙂 I’m not telling anyone how they should live their life, I simply expressed my opinion. I’m extreme in my thinking on this, I know it.

    As far as Jesus, someone else brought him up. I’m an atheist, but I know a lot about scripture. I was simply clarifying a mistake they made in using Jesus as an example.

  73. Denise says:

    Oh! I almsot forgot – I also don’t care what Jesus said (or, more accurately, what someone said he said).

  74. Denise says:

    Oh! I almsot forgot – I also don’t care what Jesus said (or, more accurately, what someone said he said).

  75. Denise says:

    Marti, you and I agree on many things. This:

    “I would say you’re a coward and delusional”

    isn’t one of them. As you know, I’m very out (despite my own passing privilege), but I would never presume to judge those who choose stealth (indeed, I’ve often wondered if I made the right choice for my own personal happiness).

    I wish everyone were out. That would make my (and your) job of righting wrongs (and preventing new wrongs) easier. And, *that* would make it easier for people who later follow. For example, Phyllis Frye was very out when I first came out, 15 years ago. She was a loud advocate of being out. I thought her wrong then, and I think her wrong now. But, her basic point of how it would help the larger trans community was dead-on. It *would* help if all trans people wore a scarlet letter “T” (not purple or orange!). 😉

    But, I think it’s a mistake to presume to tell someone else how to live their lives. I, too, am in Arlene’s camp on this one.

  76. Denise says:

    Marti, you and I agree on many things. This:

    “I would say you’re a coward and delusional”

    isn’t one of them. As you know, I’m very out (despite my own passing privilege), but I would never presume to judge those who choose stealth (indeed, I’ve often wondered if I made the right choice for my own personal happiness).

    I wish everyone were out. That would make my (and your) job of righting wrongs (and preventing new wrongs) easier. And, *that* would make it easier for people who later follow. For example, Phyllis Frye was very out when I first came out, 15 years ago. She was a loud advocate of being out. I thought her wrong then, and I think her wrong now. But, her basic point of how it would help the larger trans community was dead-on. It *would* help if all trans people wore a scarlet letter “T” (not purple or orange!). 😉

    But, I think it’s a mistake to presume to tell someone else how to live their lives. I, too, am in Arlene’s camp on this one.

  77. YukiChoe says:

    I will also stand by Marti here. We must understand that such hiding does no good to ourselves or anyone else. What happens if you are ever outed?

    It annoys me to have some friends telling me how they feel cheated by their girlfriends who happens to be MTFs. They cannot call me a liar because I am always out. But it does stick a deeper stigma plaster into them that most of us are liars, cheaters, fakes and dishonest.

    Surprises are detrimental to friendships and relationships. Honesty is always da best policy.

  78. YukiChoe says:

    I will also stand by Marti here. We must understand that such hiding does no good to ourselves or anyone else. What happens if you are ever outed?

    It annoys me to have some friends telling me how they feel cheated by their girlfriends who happens to be MTFs. They cannot call me a liar because I am always out. But it does stick a deeper stigma plaster into them that most of us are liars, cheaters, fakes and dishonest.

    Surprises are detrimental to friendships and relationships. Honesty is always da best policy.

  79. BEAR Rodgers says:

    My favorite line: “I do not run around with a big purple T on my forehead, but in Knoxville a big orange T would be stealth.”

    Locally I do not advertise being FTM, but do not hide it either. People see a man and I am a man. I also have my name out there as a searchable resource for a FTM support group, Transgender Veterans chapter, along with other more mundane topics like dating my religious group. Ask me and I will tell, even purposely outed myself at work to show that T*s are damn good employees and have lots of experience.

    Are stealthers cowards? Well, they are frightened and fearful. Lots of bad things can and do happen to people strictly due to transphobia. But name a single classification that does not get discriminated against in some form, socially or violently, some where. Only be standing strong as an individual will you be respected as an individual, and only standing together in defiance will the group fend off the majority of ignorant abuse. Anyone can be weak and hide, it takes strength and fortitude to be a hero. In between is everyone else.

    By the way, being OUT is not based on passability as insinuated by another poster. T* women and men of all visage have stood up to be counted. The only ugly people I have seen are those who point fingers and hate others while hiding their own shame.
    Shame + fear = cowardice? And delusional in thinking anything will ever change behind a closed door.

  80. BEAR Rodgers says:

    My favorite line: “I do not run around with a big purple T on my forehead, but in Knoxville a big orange T would be stealth.”

    Locally I do not advertise being FTM, but do not hide it either. People see a man and I am a man. I also have my name out there as a searchable resource for a FTM support group, Transgender Veterans chapter, along with other more mundane topics like dating my religious group. Ask me and I will tell, even purposely outed myself at work to show that T*s are damn good employees and have lots of experience.

    Are stealthers cowards? Well, they are frightened and fearful. Lots of bad things can and do happen to people strictly due to transphobia. But name a single classification that does not get discriminated against in some form, socially or violently, some where. Only be standing strong as an individual will you be respected as an individual, and only standing together in defiance will the group fend off the majority of ignorant abuse. Anyone can be weak and hide, it takes strength and fortitude to be a hero. In between is everyone else.

    By the way, being OUT is not based on passability as insinuated by another poster. T* women and men of all visage have stood up to be counted. The only ugly people I have seen are those who point fingers and hate others while hiding their own shame.
    Shame + fear = cowardice? And delusional in thinking anything will ever change behind a closed door.

  81. “And who are you to judge? It’s great that you’re out and proud and doing activist stuff but that doesn’t give you free reign to bash those who need to maintain a lower profile.”

    If you read the post I linked to, the person made a judgment about transactivists…. Lower profile ISN’T stealth.

    Overzealous, maybe. But my post doesn’t do anything close to the damage that “living stealth” does. I’m not some schmoe that doesn’t know the cost of being openly trans.

    IMO, being stealth is divisive. Stealth is nothing more than the transgender version of “in the closet.” You can see how well that’s worked for Senator Craig and countless others.

    I am saying what I think. Your mileage may vary.

  82. “And who are you to judge? It’s great that you’re out and proud and doing activist stuff but that doesn’t give you free reign to bash those who need to maintain a lower profile.”

    If you read the post I linked to, the person made a judgment about transactivists…. Lower profile ISN’T stealth.

    Overzealous, maybe. But my post doesn’t do anything close to the damage that “living stealth” does. I’m not some schmoe that doesn’t know the cost of being openly trans.

    IMO, being stealth is divisive. Stealth is nothing more than the transgender version of “in the closet.” You can see how well that’s worked for Senator Craig and countless others.

    I am saying what I think. Your mileage may vary.

  83. Alyx says:

    Sorry Marti, my sentiments echo Arlene’s. I was rather shocked by this post. Spouting such divisive rhetoric does nothing but harm us, quite the opposite of boosting the community’s “well being.”

    There are countless reasons why a person might wish to conceal their transess and a damn sight many of them do no include the word “coward.” And who are you to judge? It’s great that you’re out and proud and doing activist stuff but that doesn’t give you free reign to bash those who need to maintain a lower profile.

    Basically, in the original post you come off as an overzealous fanatic with no sense of nuance or proportion.

    I’m just saying what most people that live an out life think, but are afraid to say.

    I don’t think you should presume to speak for anyone but yourself, eh?

  84. Alyx says:

    Sorry Marti, my sentiments echo Arlene’s. I was rather shocked by this post. Spouting such divisive rhetoric does nothing but harm us, quite the opposite of boosting the community’s “well being.”

    There are countless reasons why a person might wish to conceal their transess and a damn sight many of them do no include the word “coward.” And who are you to judge? It’s great that you’re out and proud and doing activist stuff but that doesn’t give you free reign to bash those who need to maintain a lower profile.

    Basically, in the original post you come off as an overzealous fanatic with no sense of nuance or proportion.

    I’m just saying what most people that live an out life think, but are afraid to say.

    I don’t think you should presume to speak for anyone but yourself, eh?

  85. Eh, if you agreed with everything I said, I’d worry. 😉

    Harm? I spoke the truth as I see it. If people want to tell me to F off… so be it. I’m not going to babysit someone’s feelings at the expense of our community’s well being. I’m just saying what most people that live an out life think, but are afraid to say.

  86. Arlene says:

    Marti I usually like what you have to say but this time you’re out on a limb and sawing it off behind you.

    Right, wrong or indifferent you did more harm than good with this entry.

  87. Arlene says:

    Marti I usually like what you have to say but this time you’re out on a limb and sawing it off behind you.

    Right, wrong or indifferent you did more harm than good with this entry.

  88. I didn’t ask you not be a coward, that is your choice.

    And you really do need a scripture lesson:

    John 10:7 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.”

    Later, sunshine 🙂

  89. Me says:

    Jesus didn’t insist on everyone follow him, and he certainly didn’t call them cowards.

    As I said…you think you have all the answers. Let me make my parting comment (irrespective of whatever drivel you shovel back) all the more clear.

    Fuck you.

  90. Um… You might want to check your scripture:

    Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

    And ya, people that support the war, but then don’t volunteer… I do think they are cowards (and hypocrites to boot).

    It isn’t about thinking, it’s about action. I know one thing… people that hide in the closet will NEVER move us forward. Gays and lesbians find acceptance because other people KNOW THEM.

    Oh, and as for your offer… I’ll pass.

  91. Me says:

    Oh aren’t you the martyr. I’m sure Jesus walked around calling everyone else cowards because they weren’t about to climb on the cross with him. Do you think the same of people who don’t volunteer to go to Iraq?

    You’re a blowhard. You think you have all the answers. You call people who don’t subscribe to your thinking cowards.

    As I said…screw you.

  92. The difference being, I bare the brunt of society’s discrimination, so that transpeople not even born yet will be able to live a more free life (even though I don’t have to). I’m not ashamed of who I am and I know things won’t change unless I’m part of the answer.

    People make judgments every day about all kinds of different things. Your point is? I never said it was the ONLY way. If you choose to be a coward, that’s your choice.

  93. Jamie says:

    I live with my history easily available, and am not shy about talkign about any of this. Why? Because I can. Because I have the strength to do so, and a lot of pride in the path I have taken.

    I pass pretty well. I admit I make a fairly ugly woman; but then, I was a fairly ugly man. But in the two years I have been transitioning, I know I have educated a lot of people about what it is to /be/ confused about your gender, and I have gotten widespread support for it.

    Would I live stealth if I could? I probably could now, but I don’t think I would. For one thing, the paranoia inolved, the constant fear of being discovered, would drive me insane. I have enough anxiety issues, thank you!

    What do I think of people who do live stealth? Well, I look at it this way: I live out so they don’t have to. There are a lot of people who, if they lived out, would suffer strongly for it. Yes, it might be a show of soladarity to suffer with the rest of us, but hell, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

  94. Jamie says:

    I live with my history easily available, and am not shy about talkign about any of this. Why? Because I can. Because I have the strength to do so, and a lot of pride in the path I have taken.

    I pass pretty well. I admit I make a fairly ugly woman; but then, I was a fairly ugly man. But in the two years I have been transitioning, I know I have educated a lot of people about what it is to /be/ confused about your gender, and I have gotten widespread support for it.

    Would I live stealth if I could? I probably could now, but I don’t think I would. For one thing, the paranoia inolved, the constant fear of being discovered, would drive me insane. I have enough anxiety issues, thank you!

    What do I think of people who do live stealth? Well, I look at it this way: I live out so they don’t have to. There are a lot of people who, if they lived out, would suffer strongly for it. Yes, it might be a show of soladarity to suffer with the rest of us, but hell, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

  95. Me says:

    You’re just as bad as all the other judgemental assholes out there, thinking your path, your WAY is the only way. Sure is ironic, isn’t it.

    Screw you.

  96. Me says:

    You’re just as bad as all the other judgemental assholes out there, thinking your path, your WAY is the only way. Sure is ironic, isn’t it.

    Screw you.

  97. There’s a difference between claiming stealth and not “broadcasting” your history.

    I do pass, but even if I didn’t… it’s no reason feel sorry for me.

    I disagree with you. If you’re hiding, you’re the epitome of cowardice.

  98. Me says:

    I’m not the ftm that posted in his own journal, but I am someone that doesn’t broadcast my history,and I can tell you with certainly that I’m neither a coward or delusional.

    Some people can give their experience to help make people aware of trans issues. Other people can use their voice, or their writing skills. Others can yet help by giving money to a trans cause. No path is better than the other. Each person gives what they can, in the way that they can.

    I don’t know you, and honestly, if you’re out because you can’t blend, then I fell sorry for you. If you’re out by choice, well you have a far thicker skin than I do, but just because YOU do, doesn’t make anyone who doesn’t a coward.

  99. Closets Are For Clothes, Stealth Is For Planes…

    Recently, I read a blog post about an FTM complaining about being judged by other transgender people about living “stealth.” For those who don’t know what stealth means, it’s the equivalent of “living in the closet.” To those of you who feel the …