On this day every year, every LGBT blog and site tries to get us to celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility. Some try to shorten it to “Trans Day of Visibility” to try to be “inclusive” of “non-binary” identities. Others try to say it represents those who are “visible” for those who can’t be.
I don’t get it. How can one person being out, wearing their transgenderism on their sleeve, help out people who are in the closet, people who can’t transition? Does increased visibility mean it will help progress society into tolerating transgender existence? Last I checked, the backlash against the trans umbrella has increased, whereas before, when transsexuality was a little known thing, allowed for those of us who had sex changes to actually lead decent lives. Now it’s hard!
When I was first came out to myself, others’ visible transgenderism didn’t help me; it worsened the aches I had. I (thought) didn’t think I had the finances or resources to transition (I did, many weeks later). Seeing all these visibile transgenders living in kitsch liberal bubbles worsened my depression, because I live in an area where being gay or trans leads to social isolation. And saying it gives the freshly awakened “hope”, because “things will get better”, doesn’t address the here, the now, the present.
People are not often not “out” or “visible” not because they want to be, but they remain “in the closet” because they have to be. Countries that may jail us at the best, kill us at the worst. Children and teenagers who have parents whose religious objections may mean getting kicked out and become homeless if they admit it. Workers who could lose their jobs and residences in areas that don’t possess anti-discimination laws. Being denied essential services in low-income areas by private- or church-funded groups because their religion preaches hate.
And, well…the conversation is about those in the closet. What about the trans person living in stealth? What is stealth, exactly, and how does it differ from being in the closet?
The closet refers to trans people who just found out they have gender dysphoria or gender incongruence, but haven’t admitted to others. They still resume lives as a member of their natal sex. Stealth, meanwhile, refers to people who completed their sex change, live as members of the opposite sex, and don’t disclose it to those around them; in the old days, and to the extreme today, it even means leaving your hometown area and relocating to a new place where nobody knew you before the sex change. In the past, this was recommended as part of the WPATH-SOC. And, stealth is usually taken by transsexuals who wish to only be seen as men or women, or because being out may be dangerous. It’s not usually done by transgenders, who wish to emphasize their transness.
In between the extremes is a lesser-known as “disclosure”, which is where you disclose your trans status selectively. I reveal my female birth to people when necessary (like in medical settings), but otherwise as far as the world knows, I’m just another bloke. Living in a rural, conservative area, my family, neighbors, and the local coffeehouse know I was born female, but almost everyone else, from the clerk at my local convenience store to my coworkers, just see a guy. Why? Why the fuck do they need to know I have a vagina? Why the fuck do they need to know my sexual habits? My medical issues are just like any other, something you don’t openly mention unless with close company.
That’s a core difference between transsexuals and transgenders. My sex change is a medical thing, while their trans issues are with their identity. I’m not out because of safety reasons; I’m not out because it’s not necessary to disclose when I’m trying to live this life as a man, not as a “trans man”. Undergoing sex change therapy was painful enough, always making people address me properly, people getting nosy about which operations I had or was going to get, getting stereotyped. For me it was about assimilation, not standing sorely out. After a lifetime of confusion and a period of five years stalling everything to heal myself, I finally just want to get on with things and catch up on all the milestones I’ve put off.
If you were born one way and wish for me to address you otherwise, by all means please correct me. If I see you’re being treated unfairly because of your LGBT status, I’ll be the first one to jump in and defend you. If you’re newly out and wish to medically transition, I’ll give you a list of references and resources to get you on your way. If you find out I undergone a sex change, please don’t ask for details, and also don’t think because we’re both LGBT we’re automatically buddies.
But this whole wearing this trans thing on your sleeve, I get it, you wish to be a member of a third or other gender, but isn’t there more to you than your trans status? As with this blog, I am creating and running it as a man, born transsexual (born with a medical condition, not a social issue), who has some serious issues with the modern transgender agenda.