Your help is greatly appreciated!

Information at this site is and always will be available free to our community.

You can help by sharing your thoughts-- you can help fill in the blank spots on the map with your personal experiences, tips and advice. Questions are just as important as answers-- you may have the same question as someone else, so don't be shy! You can help the whole community, even if you're not out!

I could also use your financial support to continue expanding this project. Obviously, this is like shareware or a museum with a voluntary donation. Money will be used for the following projects:

  • paying monthly fees to keep this site running
  • financing transsexual consumer activism projects (taking on scams that target our community)

If you feel the information here has made your transition easier, you are more than welcome to make a donation based on whatever you think this advice was worth.

Primary audience and focus

Much of this information applies to all transsexuals, but this site is specifically about passing and about being able to exercise the option of "stealth." While I am open about my transsexual status when it comes up, I am glad to be able to work and have relationships with people who don't necessarily know or think of me as transsexual, even if they do know. Having worked with and dated people who knew and didn't know, I can assure you there is a big difference in the way you are treated if they don't know you are transsexual.

There are people in our community who disagree with the very notion of wanting to pass, but based on the thousands of letters I've answered in the last few years, I can say with confidence that a large segment of the transsexual community thinks "passing" is extremely important.

I have kept my focus narrow, because I think the option of "stealth" is the most elusive and difficult goal. No one is ever fully stealth or passes 100% (more on this later), but it can be empowering to decide when you want people to know, and when you don't.

If you aren't sure you're transsexual, you should work through this with a therapist before using this site. If you would like to express in a visibly gender-variant manner, you might also look at some sites for those with other gender issues like Androgyne Online. Female-to-male transsexuals should hit FTM International. Those with intersexed traits should check out ISNA.

History

In 1996, I had been thinking about creating a transsexual version of Our Bodies, Ourselves. When my friend Catherine suggested a 'road map' format, a light bulb went off. We need to map a course of the transitions of those brave people who came before us, to guide those who will come after. Just like the early maps explorers make, it won't have everything right the first time; some items may be a bit distorted, and there may be blank spots here and there. But with everyone's help, it will become more and more accurate.

Because of all the variables in transition, your journey will be unlike anyone else's. Some people want to get to their destination in a big hurry on the fastest route they can find, even if it's not the safest and is a steeper climb. Others want a slow, smooth road they can take cautiously. I've tried to discuss as many of these roads as possible.

There is no right way or proper path, either. Everyone has a different destination, different timetable, different resources available to get there. A lot of transsexuals dole out advice as if 'my way is the only good way.' This is simply untrue. There are, however, shortcuts that can often make things easier. I present those here, as well as my personal opinions, and I'll let you decide if they make sense for you.

As of this update, several thousand visitors stop by each day. I am deeply honored to have had the opportunity to create something that might make this journey a little easier for you!

A note on design

Why does this site look so plain? There's a high-tech and a low-tech reason.

I know you are here for information, and there's a lot here—over 1,500 pages. Keeping things simple lets you find the information you want quickly. It also lets me concentrate on writing new stuff and updating existing stuff instead of fooling around with bells and whistles.

This site is also optimized for wireless web, so readers can view this when away from a home computer. This allows you to read this fast-loading site at work or school without a record of your visits on a company or school server.

On the other end of the technology scale, m any in our community can't afford the latest and greatest computer stuff, and I want this to be accessible for anyone, even someone with a used computer that's a decade old. Pages are kept small so they'll load quickly, even if you have a dial-up modem. Except for my little compass logo, the only graphics are necessary to illustrate a point.

I can't stand pages that are slow to load, or that won't display on certain browsers. I also support initiatives to keep sites viewable on Any Browser. So you have my pledge:

  • NO FRAMES! (I utterly despise frames)
  • No access charges
  • No login or registration
  • No browser-specific requirements
  • No window size requirement
  • No screen resolution requirement
  • No pop-ups
  • No redirects
  • No crappy web rings
  • No plug-in requirement
  • No ActiveX
  • No xhtml, dhtml, shtml etc.
  • No Java / JavaScripts
  • No Flash
  • No Shockwave
  • No blinking text
  • No special fonts
  • No clip art
  • No background pattern
  • No background sound
  • No animated graphics
  • No lateral scrolling
  • No counters

Dedication

I have dedicated this site in honor of two pioneers in transgender online resources: Melanie Anne Phillips and Gwendolyn Ann Smith. They both informed and inspired my own transition via the Transgender Community Forum on AOL. Although that forum has since disappeared, the work they began there has blossomed into some of the most important sites for our community. I only hope I can come close to emulating these two amazing women with this site.