Tips for Living Stealth
Trans* people opt to live stealth (in which most of the people around one do not know of one’s trans* status) for various reasons, from safety to job security to personal preference. While some people live 100% stealth, many trans* men who are consistantly read as male live as at least somewhat stealth in various situations (they may be out among their close friends, but stealth at work, for example). These tips are meant to cover the whole range of stealthness, and so some may be helpful (or desirable) for some people but not for others:
1. Set up an email account, facebook, and/or online alias for all of your trans* related internet activity. People (particularly employers) often find people through their email address, full name, or full name in conjunction with the city where they live. Ensuring this information isn’t associated with, say, the youtube in which you were recording your transition, can help you keep your trans* status private. It is entirely possible to stay stealth while still keeping a blog or website, so long as you take these procautions. Taking these precautions from the get-go keeps you from having to close out your blog, youtube channel, etc if you ever do decide to live stealth.
2. Consider changing your last name as well as your first. Your last name often connects you to your “old self”, especially if you are in a city where you still have family (where people can say things like “that’s an unusual name, are you related to X, Y, and Z?”).
3. Many people who are stealth agonize over how to talk about their childhoods, particularly where they went to school or activities they took part in that others might remember them from. A good thing to do when talking to people you will encounter often (friends, coworkers, etc) who you don’t want to disclose to is to establish that you don’t like talking about your childhood or schooling. You usually won’t need to explain why, most people won’t question a statement like that. Others may find it helpful to claim they were homeschooled or grew up in a different city, though lying always carries some risk.
4. Being stealth carries with it a lot of pressure and anxiety (“what if people find out?”), and it can almost be too much if you don’t have anyone you can vent to. Having a completely anonymous blog, trusted friend or therapist to talk to can help relieve some of the pressure.
5. There will always be people who either know or need to know, it’s nearly impossible to be 100% stealth. Knowing when, how, and who to disclose to is a skill you’ll need to develop and there’s a huge learning curve. It’s never easy, but it gets easier the more you practice.
If anyone has anything to add, please submit something! We’re interested to hear what you have to say!