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It means always wondering if your friends would really like you if they knew the truth. Not telling the grocery sacker that you’re trans is not stealth.
Stealth is running away from or verbally running down your trans brothers and sisters so that others won’t make the connection. Trying to get your parents to lie to your new boyfriend is being stealth.
Not telling every co-worker in the building that you’re trans is not being stealth. If you associate with other trans people, you’re not in stealth because you’re putting yourself in a position of allowing more and more people to know the truth about your history.
Stealth people say things like “I just want to get on with my life as the woman I am” – a sentiment that sounds rational enough on the surface.
The problem with that sentiment is that it’s also a delusion.
Stealth people rationalize their lies by believing that being trans was a medical problem that was fixed – kind of like a cleft palette; purposefully pretending that there wasn’t a social transition that entailed violating numerous cultural norms.
Stealth is purposefully taking away the choice of letting the people you claim to love the most decide if they are willing to take on the potential social costs (as unfair and stupid as those social costs might be) of breaking those backwards cultural norms by being with you.
If you believe that it is a medical condition, remember that I said that you’re delusional when your best friend, your husband or wife, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your adopted child, etc finds out that you lied about your social and medical history.