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transition b.s.


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#1
ashleigh

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this post will probably overlap a few other topics, but then again, i have found little in life that does not apply to many other situations. the butch/femme discussions are interesting. from observation and discussion with other mtf persons, i have noticed that the trend is towards the ultra-femme end of the spectrum. my own guess is that we try to emulate what we think society sees as being feminine. the trannychasers are no help either, especially when oft heard comments of 'if you aren't a size 8 or smaller, you have no business transitioning.' throw into this mix the tendency of pre transition mtf persons to engage in hyper masculine occupations (truck driver, soldier, cop, bouncer, etc.). any competent mental health professional will tell us that denial is a bad thing. so the question that arises is how do we integrate our past with our present path without either denying our past or outing ourselves? fortunately, there happen to be quite a few female contractors and construction workers nowadays, so being female and able to swing a hammer and put up a wall ain't as strange as it used to be. the other question that comes to mind is stealth really a healthy goal? i am still kicking all of this around in my head, so any thoughts would be most welcome

#2
tangel

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Quote

this post will probably overlap a few other topics, but then again, i have found little in life that does not apply to many other situations. the butch/femme discussions are interesting. from observation and discussion with other mtf persons, i have noticed that the trend is towards the ultra-femme end of the spectrum. my own guess is that we try to emulate what we think society sees as being feminine. the trannychasers are no help either, especially when oft heard comments of 'if you aren't a size 8 or smaller, you have no business transitioning.' throw into this mix the tendency of pre transition mtf persons to engage in hyper masculine occupations (truck driver, soldier, cop, bouncer, etc.). any competent mental health professional will tell us that denial is a bad thing. so the question that arises is how do we integrate our past with our present path without either denying our past or outing ourselves? fortunately, there happen to be quite a few female contractors and construction workers nowadays, so being female and able to swing a hammer and put up a wall ain't as strange as it used to be. the other question that comes to mind is stealth really a healthy goal? i am still kicking all of this around in my head, so any thoughts would be most welcome

in my experience - only about thirteen months of post-transition time so far, so grain of salt time - I don't care if I'm out. I'm 24, and I never get clocked as trans or queer, and being invisible bugs me. I can completely relate to the notion of "femme invisibility" because everyone I meet takes me for a straight biogirl. and I'm not, and I'm proud of my identity which is neither of those two things.

i kept a lot of my old boy clothes and wear them from time to time. even when I wear them, I'm not read as male, just a woman in men's clothing... but at least then I'm seen as a little queer. passing privilege cuts both ways; i know lots of transchicks who would give their right arm to blend in as well as I am blessed to, but when I blend in I feel like I'm not fully being myself.

which is, to me, the whole point of being trans. I would never want to be a genetic female (save the whole fertility thing, which is a wholly seperate issue), but I am a woman, and I am transsexual.

people who know me know I'm trans. I'm a student, so no profession as of yet... but I still let myself enjoy watching football. Hypermasculinity isn't a problem because I just don't see it as a problem.

Stealth is a problem, because I believe in active honesty (as opposed to passive honesty in the sense of "oh i never told you because it doesn't matter") when it comes to my identity. It's a short-term solution at best, and I always feel the weight of unfair privilege when I ignore my trans nature.

anyway. that's my two cents on the matter.

tangel

#3
ashleigh

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personally, i get the idea that going stealth is just a tgirl's version of bungee jumping. quite the adrenaline rush. this is solely based on my observations during conversations with others. if you can blend in, more power to you. my maternal parental unit once said 'if you got it, flaunt it.' going stealth just appeared to be almost an obsession, one that i just could not buy into. the only time getting read has ever been a problem has been with the restroom thing, as such i tend to try to avoid it whenever possible. on the other paw, like popeye said 'eye yam what eye yam.' as far as being read, i have noticed that the folks in my neck of the woods seem to be rather polite about the whole thing. which i find particularly refreshing and comforting.

#4
tangel

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personally, i get the idea that going stealth is just a tgirl's version of bungee jumping. quite the adrenaline rush. this is solely based on my observations during conversations with others. if you can blend in, more power to you. my maternal parental unit once said 'if you got it, flaunt it.' going stealth just appeared to be almost an obsession, one that i just could not buy into. the only time getting read has ever been a problem has been with the restroom thing, as such i tend to try to avoid it whenever possible. on the other paw, like popeye said 'eye yam what eye yam.' as far as being read, i have noticed that the folks in my neck of the woods seem to be rather polite about the whole thing. which i find particularly refreshing and comforting.

bungee jumping without a bungee cord might be more accurate. at least, i'm pre-op and so have a problem with things like identity documentation believing i'm a guy named Allison, stealth creates huge problems with dating, to say nothing of finding clothes that fit properly around the groin.

besides. flaunting it? for what? sex appeal gets you shivved in a gwen araujo/brandon teena sense. you can be hot and sexy and openly trans all at the same time.

i just think stealth is a horrible idea suitable for masochists alone. why trade one Huge Deal for another?

#5
ashleigh

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now that you mention it, i like your view of stealth. i have enough things in my life that keep me tapdancing all over the line between masochism and stupidity that i really do not need to add another. personal safety is a real biggie with me. i find that a large dose of situational awareness coupled with an even larger dose of self preservation goes a long way towards avoiding/preventing most trouble. to the average person on the street, my life is none of their business, period. however, when it comes to dating, the whole stealth thing just smacks of dishonesty to me. if i allow this instance of dishonesty in the beginning, who is to say that that is where i stop or if if will continue being dishonest. not an auspicious beginning for a relationship, personally.

#6
phoenix99

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Hello from the other side of things :)

To be honest, my goal is to be stealth. However, this is coming from a person who is pre op, pre hormones, pre passing basically (I pass every once in a while). So, I understand once I am able to pass and start becoming "invisible" this need to live stealth may change.

But, I do worry about the dating scene. I want to be able to live life as a normal guy, and yet to have any type of relationship with someone I will have to out myself. (This will be coming after I get on hormones and have the ops) Speaking from how I feel right now about stealth, this scares me to death because at that point I'm not going to want to negate my maleness, yet it will be necessary.

Then again, as a pre everything trans person, the dating scene is still hard, since I still have to out myself to try and get someone to not treat me as a lesbian. I guess it's never easy eh?
------------------------------------
But he that dares not grasp the thorn
Should never crave the rose.
- Anne Bronte, "The Narrow Way"

#7
tangel

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Quote

Hello from the other side of things :)

To be honest, my goal is to be stealth. However, this is coming from a person who is pre op, pre hormones, pre passing basically (I pass every once in a while). So, I understand once I am able to pass and start becoming "invisible" this need to live stealth may change.

But, I do worry about the dating scene. I want to be able to live life as a normal guy, and yet to have any type of relationship with someone I will have to out myself. (This will be coming after I get on hormones and have the ops) Speaking from how I feel right now about stealth, this scares me to death because at that point I'm not going to want to negate my maleness, yet it will be necessary.

Then again, as a pre everything trans person, the dating scene is still hard, since I still have to out myself to try and get someone to not treat me as a lesbian. I guess it's never easy eh?

One of my roommates is a t-guy, and he's pretty stealth too. Surgery around Christmas, T for like a year now. He blends all the damned time. His voice is deeper than mine ever was and he's got a really cute goatee thing going on. He and I are in positions where both of us just try to live the "i'm just a normal guy/girl with this one issue that's more or less dealt with" and it works... most of the time.

He and I had a talk about stealth, and it seems to me that guys are vastly more likely to go stealth and fade away after their transition. And that's great, and I have this completely-unneeded approval thing, but it's a wholly different situation. when it comes to disclosure, he and I are polar opposites.

I've heard reports of transwomen getting the shit kicked out of them just for having guys find out AFTER they're attracted to her. Most trans violence (but not all, of course) is directed towards transwomen, and that's almost all about BS disclosure issues. It's a rough pill to swallow, especially coming from a position of male privilege one's whole life (however distasteful the male part of that was, there was absolutely privilege of a sort).

Transparency - being completely open about one's secret origin under most circumstances - is a way to counter that. If the guys know first, the one's who react negatively will just avoid or be mean to us straight off instead of, y'know, the shivving. Also makes it easier to date, oddly enough; anyone you meet, if you're open, will know and thus you don't have to worry about the big conversation later. might reduce the number of people who find you attractive, but makes it easier if you ask someone out for them to already know.

s'why I have a disclaimer in my profile saying first thing "i'm trans. if this is a problem for you, stop reading and move on." yeah it means some people move on but better that then having them get pissed at me or run in terror when either a hand goes into an interesting place (http://venusenvy.kee...d/20020311.html) or I tell 'em.

now, most of this comes into play when tgirls try to get close to straight bioguys. i would imagine (though I don't know for sure) there would be substantially less violence in the picture with a tguy and a straight biogirl. it's all confusing and annoying and just makes me personally glad that I like girls, too. :)

also, I love the fact that i'm trans. violence and dating woes aside, it is a blessing and a gift that I have the perspective that I do. I can speak guyspeak with only a hint of an accent, and I can modulate my voice in so many ways. I can appreciate a lot of guy things I _know_ I would have just ignored and avoided my whole life were I a biogirl. And there's a certain degree of power that I feel when I walk around, blending in completely as I am also blessed to do, knowing that I know something they don't know. (and I still have most of my male strength after seventeen months of hormones, that doesn't suck either)

it's a different world that you and I live in. not to in any way minimize your views and experiences, but it's difficult to extrapolate issues between the MTF life and the FTM life. (see, you're right! it's never easy! not even talking to other transpeople!)

-tangel
who writes too much

#8
phoenix99

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I do have to say, I agree completely that the issues surrounding the stealth thing are vastly different for MTFs and FTMs. Particularly as it pertains to violence, and even more particularily for straight transwomen. I wouldn't even pretend to know anything about the fear that must be constantly present when trying to navigate the dating world as a stealth t-woman.

Of course, I see where being completely open and honest from the get go can kind of cut off some of those fears and/or threats before they can start. If I had a constant fear of violence I may feel that same way. At this point, I don't have as much perspective as someone who is already mid-transition. Although, I do have a future fear of being stealth and people finding out anyway. Of course, that is always a risk when not being upfront about something so large. But then, I don't see a necessity to be so upfront if you don't want to be. But, that's just a problem I have with society having to be so nosy and "square"

I also do agree that FTMs tend more towards blending in and going stealth and never looking back. However, for a lot of transguys there comes and invisibility that you talked about in your first post. They WANT people to know they are trans, and no one does, because they pass so well. So, there are always two sides to every want I suppose.

None of it will ever be easy, obviously, but it really does help to see the other side of things, because admittedly, I get precious little chance to talk to other trans folks, and always enjoy it when I do.
------------------------------------
But he that dares not grasp the thorn
Should never crave the rose.
- Anne Bronte, "The Narrow Way"

#9
ashleigh

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i had a conversation not too long ago with a friend of mine whom i regard as being my sister. we are very much alike in nature, demeanor, temperment, etc. we may as well have been cut from the same cloth. she also serves as my main role model. upon hearing that, she said that i couln't have chosen a worse person to aspire to. she told me that she was the most unfeminine female she could think of. she is a competent brick mason, worked as muscle for adult and child protective services and she is one of the best people that i know. this probably has a lot to do with what i perceive my comfort zones to be. phoenix99 mentioned issues about violence. it is nice to know some things pertaining to the stats on hatecrimes, but when folks start tossing around things like transpersons have a 1 in 1000 chance of being victim of murder seems like someone has an interest in perpetuating paranoia. especially when they turn around and say that the average person only has a 1 in 800000 chance of being victim to the same. actually it just sounds like paranoia being piled on top of paranoia. over and over, again and again.

#10
Sailor Fisheye

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I definitely know the desire to blend and, moreover, to shoehorn oneself into some traditionally hyper-femme mould. Even now, I still feel it--on some level, "housewife" is a dream job, just because it's "womanly" (quoties for a reason). Even if it wouldn't make me any more a woman, I've found that understanding the irrationality of a desire doesn't often make it go away--it's not a matter of what I know to be true, but the associations and mis-associations that I've learned from the culture around me.

Being a lesbian, I don't worry so much about being attacked by a man for failure to disclose so much as simply for failure to pass in the first place. Then again, Brandon Teena was straight... urg. ><;;

Appropriate time to be open about being trans is another issue. I mean, I suppose I could wear a shirt that says "I'm trans" or something, but that just doesn't quite sound like the right way to go. With no snark intended, I'd find it potentially odd that the first thing I should say to someone upon meeting them is that I'm trans. Now, to disclose prior to the beginning of a relationship, before "going home" with someone, or upon sensing romantic or sexual tension, sure. But I don't feel a particular obligation to warn somebody before they breathe the same air as I.

At the same time, being pretty out online, I've learned a huge benefit thereof: other transpeople, many of whom aren't entirely out to themselves, approach me, oftentimes asking for help. And I like to offer information and comfort where it can be given--especially considering that for all I know, some of these people might never have found anyone else to go to for help. If I'm not out, then that doesn't happen. Unfortunately, I'm not yet certain to what degree I'll have a choice, as I'm full-time and still tend to get "Sir"ed.

Oh, and the tranny-chasers who don't think anyone who isn't a petite little thing shouldn't be transitioning... Fuck them. I'm not a size 8 and I never will be. I'm a size 18 or 20, and I'll be lucky if I'm ever a size 16, let alone an 8. Right now, I'm six feet tall and almost 240 pounds--and I'm only about ten pounds overweight. My calculated healthy weight is between 209 and 227 pounds; if I dip under 209, I'm either underfat or undergoing muscle/bone wasting. And I'm not even butch. If I could wave a wand and be 5'4" and all of 120 pounds, I'd do it in a heartbeat. But I can't. Sure, I'm Huge for a woman, but at least now I don't go to bed hoping I never wake up.

tangel: I'm glad you see it as a blessing. For me, it's a curse. There are some little blessings scattered upon it, sure, but I find them a silver lining around the cloud. I would just as soon neither have had to deal with being trans nor continue having to deal with it. I can never get a refund on my lost childhood and adolescence, for all I should probably consider myself fortunate that at I'm at least saving what years I can before they've slipped away from me.

~Allison





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