Transitioning early in life: Carol's experiences

[I’ve changed her name to protect her privacy]

Editor's note:

The essay below is a compilation of correspondence I received in January 2003 from a woman who has lived deep stealth since the early 1970s and continues to do so. Following her emailed notes and a phone conversation, she has graciously allowed me to share her three decades of experience and wisdom as a woman leaving deep stealth.

Carol transitioned at 20 and is now 50. She was happily married for many years and is now a widow living a quiet life in a rural area of a state not known for its forward thinking.

The viewpoint of “classic” transsexuals such as Carol's is very rarely seen online or in the published literature, especially long-term follow up such as this. In the time since Carol transitioned, the voices of women for whom the term “transsexual” was originally coined have been drowned out by voices of those with other motivations for gender change. Because the term “transsexual” is generally considered more socially acceptable than other gender conditions and paraphilias, the original meaning is sometimes greatly expanded to include anyone who seeks medical intervention to feminize themselves.

Here, then, is advice and viewpoints from a woman who is accepted without question or suspicion in her chosen gender. Deep stealth is often held out as the ideal, or the ultimate goal in transition. This option is usually less and less possible the older you are when you start, which means that early onset, or “classic” transsexuals are generally the only women who have the physical attributes or mentality to live this life.

I have spoken with many women who live this way, and this is by far the best iteration of the practical aspects of deep stealth I have ever read. It deflates a lot of the myth and fantasy and shows that serious sacrifices must be made if one wants to live a life of deep stealth.

 


PART 1: INTRODUCTION

If I were you, I would want to know why are you coming forth at all now? The answer is I'm very sick with hepatitis C and for the first time, being alone is worrying me.

So I will start out with the "being alone" aspect.

BEING ALONE

This is different from being lonely, yet both can and often do overlap. Anyone like me has a past that is NOT the same as ordinary girls. It was necessary for me to reconstruct my past. For anyone past probably 25 to do this is almost impossible. There are lived experience that will give you away. Some of these are: working in a different gender, being involved with someone in a different gender, and worst of all, being married with children in a different gender. I'm not saying these groups should not change, but to try to be "as if" you were always, is not being realistic.

My situation was one of having mainly gender neutral experiences. I went to school, then to college, then to graduate school. I studied the very issue that consumed me. This was many years ago, so some professors thought I was maladjusted, while others thought I was well balanced, but fine. The point where these professors lost confidence in me was when they came to realize that I planned to have my records changed, the name was already changed, then to dissociate myself completely with my education.

At this point I was 19 and too old to actually stop me from making and following my decisions. I had the surgery at 20, graduated at 21 and moved away from my home state to what I considered a backward state and took a job in a daycare center.

BACKGROUND AND FAMILY

My parents were quite average for solid middle to upper middle-class people. My father had a professional career and my mother stayed home raising me and my siblings. As a child, I was small for my age with a delicate disposition. I was a quiet child, did well in school, usually had a few friends, both sexes, never played sports, but usually was not called a sissy. I found that those who wanted group recognition were most vulnerable to being picked on, and I was just not all that visible. I think this learning to be unseen is partly what makes being deep stealth (as you call it) possible.

I first began to notice I was different when I was very young, but this part of the story many others have told. Where I differ was that I came out with it early. I wore as opposite sex looking clothes as I could get away with and wore some makeup. My parents had me seeing a counselor, other kids mocked me, but took little pleasure in tormenting me, as it seems that bullies like a challenge, I presented none. I had just two girls that talked to me at all in high school, both of these students were the academic type, and seen as weird themselves. So I would say I belonged to the most weirdo group, but it really did not bother me.

DRAWING SOME CONCLUSIONS

From what I said you can get a picture of some very important character profiles that make this living life over from scratch possible:

1. No positive social experiences
2. Ego involvement in something not based on social interaction, like academics
3. Not wanting attention
4. Not caring about being popular
5. Being able to leave others behind. I will get more into explaining this one later, it is the most important!


PART 2: PERSONALITY AND PASSING

THE DEEP STEALTH PERSONALITY

Let's clarify some terms first. Let's say stealth is living where your neighbors and community don't know, but you have friends that you maintain contact with that do.

Deep stealth is when you drop all the past, rather erase it. You begin completely new, like you landed on this planet full grown, with no real past.

Since everyone has to have a past, you must make one up, but how? First rule is don't make up anything too interesting, for if you do, people will talk about this made up past of yours. For example, if I had said that I was a Ph.D. student that dropped out of school and my parents disowned me, people would think, ' she must be really smart, or a liar, she must have some mean parents'. You want people not to think anything. So be like the goat herder, not the prince, like in the film Coming to America. How was he seen as different? His language, his thoughts!

So I made up something very simple: I was a foster child and didn't care for my foster parents. I would never mention what town unless pressed for it. I picked a small city far away from where I lived. I said my foster parents had a different last name, but I used it for a while, but I did not want to talk about it. It is amazing how little people, in general, care about what you say and how much more they want to talk about themselves!

I got a job at a daycare center; I always liked small children so the job suited me well. I took more pleasure in beginning to have female friends that saw me as just an average ordinary young woman. I began my second education, learning about totally being in the world I was in. Things that before, I never knew women talked about, the way and manner of communication. I took it all in and soon I could speak about things without error.

PASSING

Most people have the wrong idea about passing. They see it as a hardware problem mainly. It is true, that you have to have a certain constitution, being small is very important, having little hands and feet, a soft body and not much muscle. Hips can be accommodated for, but it is necessary and you are lucky if your hips are wide and your waist small.

Perhaps equally important are your interests and attitude. If you can't honestly say you like the things most women like, you are climbing up a steep hill! Makeup and clothes are not the topics that interest average women, so if this is your interest, then consider that the women who like these things also are usually more accepting of human differences related to sex and gender. Why? The answer is that family is the main interest of women: family, relationships, friends, work associates; women live in a world of social interconnectedness! To become part of this world of women, you must be able to seem malleable, you must not be dogmatic and too righteous. If you don't fit into this world, you are more likely to be seen as different, this is how you get seen with suspicion.

You also must have an attitude about yourself that does not intrude on others unless others intrude on you. This attitude is what makes you be able to say, "Oh, I don't pay attention to those silly things," when the topic runs to a talk show where the "girlfriend was really a guy"! Women do talk about these things and I found it best to come across as someone that hadn't a clue about it and was just not interested.

MOTIVATION

I would like to discuss briefly my reasons for going through the change. I never bought into the idea that I was born in the wrong body, that the soul is of a gender that is different from the body it inhabits. Rather, I believe, although I have been involved in the church for many years that the soul is probably real, but I'm not thoroughly convinced of this; I certainly do not believe that the soul has a specific gender. My personal belief is that since I had been a very young child, I saw that everything about me fit into being a female. I believe the most difficult years for me, were between the ages of three and seven; after this, I became identified as a straight A student, or what is commonly called a nerd. This identity allowed me to be free of constant bulyling.

I believe that my motivation was mainly that I preferred what was considered to be feminine. It seemed to me that being other than a female was some kind of cosmic joke. I came up with a very simple theory based on Eastern philosophy of Yin and Yang. All that is perception is the Yin and all that is action is Yang. Therefore, reading, looking, thinking, watching, listening, as well as the activities of writing, painting, drawing from imagination and learning were the Yin. There is also some balance between these two poles; therefore, these activities are Yang but in essence, Yin. From this, it is easy to see how I was able to see myself as the good student, to be the compensation for my social ineptness. For me, Yang activities would be anything which causes sensation, such as running, jumping, playing sports, driving fast, or anything else that creates a sense of sensation rather than contemplation.

I am not advocating that females fit into one category and males into another; rather I'm asserting that, taken as a whole, males fit more towards the Yang while women worked words the Yin. I have always been a passive person that prefers non-excitement. There are many females, were the opposite is the case. The point that I am making is that it seems that my extreme position met with difficulty being anything other than female. Therefore, one can assert that my desire was based more on relationships with others than on a deep-seated need to be a certain gender to manifest my true identity.

For me, identity cannot be separate from one's relationships with others. Being in the world constitutes being with others; therefore, I've found that in order to satisfy my need to be with others, I needed to be female.

If you observe carefully, you will notice that my need is also based on being a type of individual who is female, not just being female. Therefore, for me, I found it necessary to be as much of an ordinary everyday person as female, possible. This is my motivation for being who I am, a female, nothing more and nothing less.

SOME CONCLUSIONS

1. Needing to be seen as interesting works against you
2. Having real female interests is most supporting
3. Being able to play a minor role in a women's friendship circle is necessary
4. Being a talker is a drawback
5. Letting on that you know something about gender issues is dangerous


PART 3: SOCIAL ISSUES

SOCIAL STARTS

The job at the daycare center was a big help towards making friends and being part of a community, but attending church was perhaps even more important. Women seem to network big time from their church, yet they seem to have no problem yielding to men. I can't say that I ever totally accepted this, but I did keep quiet.

Now, you might be thinking that this lifestyle is taking things too far, but let me tell you, no person is going to think a woman well integrated into the community and is part of their church, as someone that had a radical change, other than being reborn, which, I was!

It is this power foundation that makes being outdone impossible! If some person came up to me and said "you are a T" I could have said, "you must really be lost, you need to deepen your relationship with the Lord."

I will say more on this issue of people's suspicions later. Let me just say that I was never bothered by this at all until I was over 45.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR DEEP STEALTH

1. Wanting to be ordinary
2. Need to be in relationships, not the leader
3. Passive lifestyle
4. Not caring about aggressive activities

THE COSMOPOLITAN GIRL

If your desire about being female is the glamour and the attention, which it may provide, then you might have trouble if you also want a life free from detection. First of all, most women past the age of 25 are not interested in this, unless they aspire to be models or actresses. Women who wear flashy, or trendy styles are likely to receive notice. One of the easiest ways to become questionable to others is to be a person who is easily singled out. Women pay particular attention to other women who are well dressed and wear lots of cosmetics. There's nothing wrong with this attention, however, if such attention has one wondering about why you're so tall, or your voice is so unusual, then people begin to wonder about you. They may not guess that you have had some type of change, but they will remember you, yet they do not know you. This type of situation creates gossip, and I know from personal experience that women love to gossip. It only takes one person to suggest that the lady in question may have gone through the change to have this idea well planted in their minds before they ever have a personal encounter with you.

When this situation prevails, people usually notice things that reinforced their preconceived notion about who you are. Whereas, if they have no preconceived notion, they would not become aware of these telltale signs. In today's society, even a tall well-dressed woman is sometimes suspected of having gone through the change. When this is not based in reality, then the problem is much more easy to refute.

I see nothing wrong with someone who is naturally attractive, wanting to bring these features out, to draw attention to themselves and to attempt to make impact on others. However, if you want to be unchallenged about your gender identity, then it is much easier to present yourself in as much a natural way as possible. Begin by looking around you; see what everyday women wear, then try to fit in.

If what I am saying here you find undesirable, then you may want to consider carefully whether or not you want to live a life of complete anonymity regarding your gender issues. If you are more attractive and find it easy to look the part of a high fashion model then by all means do so, but keep in mind that in today's world, high fashion models are often suspected of having changed gender. If you're attracted to big city life and a sophisticated environment, then you must also realize that these are also the people who will be most aware and therefore most likely to suspect you of being someone who changed sex.

There are many choices between the one I made and ones that some persons mak,e being completely open about their change. I will discuss these possibilities, although I do not have much firsthand experience about the lives of such individuals.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR DEEP STEALTH

1. Having a plain, but feminine look
2. Having a job that reinforces your role as an average woman, like elementary school teacher, daycare worker, nurse, case manager, cook, clerk, waitress, bank teller.
3. Living in a more conservative small city or town

GOING SOLO

The most difficult part for me was moving away from my family and past friends. Although I had few friends, those who I did have were very nice to me. My belief was that as long as anyone knew that I was other than being a normal female, I would never really be a normal female. I believe that nobody could really see a person as fully in a given gende, which was not originally the gender that they were perceived as being part of.

During my stages of transition, my father passed away. My mother, who had always known that I was feminine, like many parents, found it particularly difficult to accept my becoming female. At first, she would try to suggest that I try to adjust to being a homosexual. I made it very clear to her that if I had a choice between being a female, who could never have sex for any intimate relationship, or being a homosexual, who had the most handsome and masculine of lovers, I would pick being a female without hesitation.

For me, sexuality was not ever much of the issue. I'm not saying that it is wrong for someone to be motivated by sexuality, I'm just stating that for me sex was never really very important. Mainly what I wanted was to be part of a family and be a mother.

So the most difficult part for me was parting from my own mother. I had told her that it would be impossible for her to really believe that I was a natural female and to consider me her daughter. I had further argued that our relationship would hinder my development as a total woman. At first, she did not believe that I was really going to move away permanently and not see her anymore. It was not until I had moved miles away and would not give her my address that she became really aware that my intentions were to never see her again. I had asked her if there was any possible inheritance I might receive in the future, or did my actions terminate any possible inheritance. After some time, she consented to give me what she said would be less than what I would probably have received as an inheritance, but that was all the she would be able to allow me under the circumstances. I expressed my gratitude and promised to use the money wisely. This is the last time I ever communicated with her.

With regard to my siblings, things were a bit easier. I was never very close to my younger brother and my being so feminine had a negative impact in his reputation during high school. When I moved away, I informed him of my plans and he seemed to react as if he thought it was something silly and not very realistic.

I also informed my friends of my decision. They were bit more understanding, as they knew that I had reason to start a life over again. What puzzled them more than anything else was that I was unwilling to have periodic casual contact with them. At the time I believe that they just did not understand completely the need to separate myself from past which was never really me.

When I first moved away, it was like I was from another planet. I did not know anybody and I had no real point of reference. I moved into a small apartment and began looking for work. I came across the day-care center that had an entry-level position; I took the job and continued to work there for several years. My life was very lonely at first, but over time I developed some friendships with my coworkers and became involved in a church that two of my coworkers attended.

My life was different from anything I had ever experienced before. It was much more than just the gender difference, it was a complete change in social environment. I had begun to learn more about being female than I had ever imagined possible. After about two years, I noticed that I was always female in my dreams. I had begun to forget about my past, never talking about it and keeping what I did reveal about myself as simple as possible. A learned one important thing, if you need to lie, keep it as simple as possible and try to make yourself believe it. This way, you're not likely to forget some obscure detail, which will make you suspect. The less you say, the less you need to worry about keeping hidden.

When I did eventually meet a man, he already knew about me from my work in my involvement with the church, so was not very difficult to explain any details about my life. Actually, I was more attractive to him because he had two step children, who I wanted to be a mother to. This never really worked out and once it was clear to me that this was not possible, I reevaluated my relationship with this man and decided to end the relationship.

Several years later, I met my husband. Like the relationship before him, he never knew anything about my now distant past. He was content knowing about me as a person and what I was doing with my life and had done with my life over the past several years. I had returned to college as if I had never gone before and had received a certificate as a day-care worker so that I could be promoted to assistant manager of the center. This job I found completely satisfactory and my relationship with my husband was very good. This was probably the best part of my life.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR DEEP STEALTH

1. A strong need to be considered a totally normal female
2. Not motivated by sex, sex is secondary
3. Being able to completely leave anyone from the past, even a parent
4. Being able to be alone
5. Saying as little as possible about your past, make it dull
6. Using your new past as your identity
7. Settling for what is attainable

THE "AS IF" PERSONALITY

The "as if" personality is one which some psychiatrists have pointed out as a pathology related to identity disturbance. Such individuals are prone to adopting mannerisms, manner of speech and behavior patterns of individuals whom they admire.

If it is your decision to live completely incognito, with respect to your past before you went through the change, it is necessary to develop the fictional past. In order to do this effectively, one must keep in mind that the more detailed your past, the more likely you are to forget important issues others might later question you about. The goal should be not to draw attention to a part of your life that you wish to leave behind. In some cases it is best to stick as close as possible to your real past and illuminate gender-neutral activities. By focusing on issues that do not involve being male or female, you allow yourself the freedom of expression unhindered by gender determinants.

In some cases it is necessary to fictionalize your entire past. In such cases, the same rule applies, keep it as simple as possible, avoid dramatizing details of life experiences. It is usually unnecessary to fictionalize every detail of your past history; if you find yourself desiring this, you may be having problems with personal identity issues, which are more likely than not to hinder your success and blending into society.

In most cases, is best to keep some basic elements of your past as correct as possible. For example, if you are raised a middle-class family it is best not to say they you're a product of a broken home. Conversely, if your childhood was less than satisfactory, it would be a mistake to try to make up a perfect family story. An important issue to bear in mind is what relationship you intend to have with your family, if any at all. If your decision is that your family will remain your life, it is important to evaluate what effect this relationship will have on your personal identity. Your family will never see you as a child born into the sex that you are presently, therefore, there will always be that presence of doubt you must contend with. On the other hand, divorcing yourself from your family will mean a great personal loss that time will only mildly alleviate.

Whichever plan of action you take, the most important thing to keep in mind is to keep your history simple. Focus on general concepts rather than details; try to come across as if your past is uneventful and rather boring. Rehearse privately what you plan to tell others about yourself so that when you do inform others you come across natural, as if you actually own your history. The worst thing is to come across anxious or apprehensive about being asked simple questions about your childhood.

Keep in mind the concept of the "as if" personality, as you can see from reading this, it is impossible to avoid it completely. If you find yourself drafting a complex intricate and an intriguing past history, you're likely to be attempting to become someone other than yourself. This is not the goal for successful future living; rather you should seek to eliminate the discrepancies between the person you are now and the person of your past. Keep in mind that the primary goal is to come across as normal is possible

THE ISSUE OF FAMILY

One of the most difficult issues to contend with is what to do with regard to your family. Much of your decision-making will be based on how your family feels about you. Also, it will be based on the integrity of your family. If your family is highly dysfunctional, or disintegrated, then it is much easier to divorce yourself from all family ties. If your family is unaccepting of your decision to change, then it is also easier to leave your family permanently. The most difficult decision will be when your family is attempting to come to terms with your issue. It is important to keep in mind that it is only natural for your family to assume that their adjustment is for your benefit, rather than their own. This is not necessarily the case; however, this is usually how other family members perceive this issue.
If you decide to include your family in your new life, then you must come to terms with how much contact you desire having with your family and what will be the nature of your family relationship. It would be best if your family completely accepted your change and willing to recognize you for the sex you are. Further, it is important that they are willing to go along with elements of your fictional past. It is simply impossible to live completely separate from the gender issues of your past, unless your family is willing to agree to make an effort to change your gender in describing any past events to anyone.

Your family will never see you as a child born into the sex that you are presently! The only possible exception to this would be if you were and intersexed child, or for some medical reason were reassigned during childhood. It is impossible for one's mother to see their child as being other than what was presented to them in the delivery room. So, no matter how much your family is willing to support you in your decision, you will not be free from accidental opposite gender references, or old events brought forward which are essentially gender specific. At best, a family willing to go along with your change and to support this change in your future life is the most that you can expect from family members.

Your other choice is to dissociate yourself from her family completely. The major advantage to this is that you have the option to begin life as if you were born fully grown without a past and only the future to look forward to. Making this decision is very difficult if you have any positive relationship with any family members. As I have stated previously, it is natural for family members to feel that it is they who are accommodating themselves for your benefit; therefore, when you informed them of your decision to abandon them for a better sense of self identity, their reaction is going to be less than amiable. This action in itself may cause serious damage to your relationship with your family, preventing you from having option to change your mind later on.

For my personal experience I can say with all certainty that besides the initial hurt from rejection, the time that passes between your last contact with your family decreases your chances of ever being part of that family again. You have to take into consideration so many important issues, such as your ability to survive without family support, the possibility that you'll become ill or injured and perhaps worst of all, and the event of a future of loneliness. This very personal decision was for me, the most difficult. I feel that I have been blessed with friendships and marriage; however, presently I am faced with loneliness and isolation, compounded by illness. It would be really nice to have fairly members to turn to that this point. However, I feel it is important for me to keep in mind that I have had most of my life on my own terms, never having to compensate for the social disability and stigma of being someone different in such a basic way as integrity of one's gender. I've had the opportunity to live totally as a natural woman with one major drawback that, unfortunately, I share with many other women and that is the inability to have my own child.

Personally, if I were to re-evaluate my decision, I would place more weight on the reality that would not be able to bear children. If I had my own grown children today, I think things would be much better. I have always felt that the greatest disadvantage for me, going through this change was that I would never be able to have children. I hope someday that this problem can be solved; I think it is the most important issue and the least often addressed.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR DEEP STEALTH REVISTIED

1. A strong need to be considered a totally normal female

What is a totally normal female? At 20, for me, it meant being not seen as being enigmatic, with respect to gender. Totally normal was not just the pretty girl next door, but also the obese woman shopping at Wal-Mart. Today, 30 years later, I don't know what normal means. I never met one single female I could hold up as an example of totally normal.

2. Wanting to be ordinary

For me, this meant blending in, not being someone who stands out, also not being overly attractive. I found that many women have problems with women who are naturally attractive, especially if they accentuate their beauty. At 22 I knew I had above average looks and that was enough for me. I did not want to be a stunning beauty. Today, I realize this is an option that someone like myself has as much right to as anyone else. I still believe that attention is the bed ground for gossip.

3. Not motivated by sex, sex is secondary

This one is more about me as an individual; some women I have met are very sexual; they even talk about it quite openly. Being a sexual person might be very enjoyable. I can only say that some women that are " all for the men" have more trouble networking with women.

4. Having a plain, but feminine look

Here I mean having a natural look, wear makeup in a manner where it appears you are not wearing any from a distance. To me, makeup brings the dull plain features many females have, to a more exotic sexy look, so wear it sparingly.

5. Having real female interests are most supporting

It is harder to be accepted if you are a doctor or an engineer, than it is being a teacher, or clothing store manager. Yes women do it all over the country, but women do scrutinize these women more.

6. Passive lifestyle

It seems easier to do things with friends if you like sewing, painting, baking, house parties, rather than wanting to go fishing, or to the drag races.

7. Have a job that reinforces your role as an average woman

Like elementary school teacher, daycare worker, nurse, case manager, cook, clerk, waitress, bank teller.

8. Needing to be seen as interesting works against you

I found that women liked me because I was quiet and a good listener. I have no idea who talks more women or men, I just know I did most of the listening and people seemed to like that about me.

9. Settle for what is attainable

I think here I'm referring mostly to my having to give up using my college education. I did have all the paperwork changed, in fact, my name in college was gender correct, as well as my sex designation, but the professors all knew about my issues. At 22 leaving this behind seemed to be the safest choice. Today, I would not do this; I would make an effort to see that my paperwork was all in order and that any contacted professors would respect my right to be recognized for who I am.

10. Need to be in relationships, not the leader

This is one point I still agree with. Strong leadership ability is seen in women even today as masculine in heartland America and as being a bitch in big cities. Sexism is alive and well, sorry, but I can't lie about this!

11. Say as little as possible about your past, make it dull

I can't say enough about this! I think I was right from the start on this one.

12. Use your new past as your identity

This is also important and related to forming relationships with men. If you have a year into your new past, it will usually suffice. You need only mention a few details about your childhood to satisfy the curiosity of most men.

13. Being able to be alone

This one is very important! At first you will be completely alone, sometimes it is the loneliness that drives someone back out of deep stealth. I had a friend that went through changes and came to follow my advise about moving to a small conservative town. She lasted about one year, then moved back to the city, later I heard that she partially went out of her mind living in heartland USA! If you can stick it out and follow the advice I'm providing, you will begin to meet women and soon have a friendship base.

14. Live in a more conservative small city or town

This one I already addressed, but I may have overdone it, what I can't say is what it might have been like if I did it different.

15. Being able to play a minor role in a women's friendship circle is necessary

I wonder about the friend I mentioned when I think about this one. She was very attractive and an attention seeker. I do believe this blocks friendship making.

16. Being a talker is a drawback

This fits into what I have been saying. Talking seeks attention and diverts attention from others. It sets up a competition, usually with a group leader. You are likely to make it on her black list and not find yourself invited to the next social event.

17 Not caring about aggressive activities

I already addressed this and can only further say that this might be more a minor issue than I realize.

18. Letting on that you know something about gender issues is dangerous

This is a biggie the more you sound off about the differences between homosexuals, transvestites and other Ts, the more people will wonder why you are such an expert!

19. Be able to completely leave anyone from the past, even a parent

At 22 I could see no other way to live my life my way, I think I regret this choice the most!

Please keep in mind these points are only backed by my single experience and are by no means the Bible on deep stealth. I'm sure others have had the same degree of success in this area and naturally did it differently. All I can say is this is one way that works.


PART 4: PSYCHOLOGY AND THEORETICAL ISSUES

ISSUES OF PSYCHOPATHOLOGY

While the subject of family issues is the most painful for me to discuss, the issues of psychopathology are the most difficult. For it is true, that anyone who diagnoses herself has a fool for a physician.

Back in the late 1960s, when I was going through my evaluations, I was considered by the late Robert Stoller to be a" classic case." By the late 1980s, other experts and researchers began to point out a more serious pathology among these classic cases. Today, you have many more options than were available someone 30 years ago. Back in those days, a person was both straight and normal or some type of sexual deviate, there was no understanding for anyone with any issues related to sex and gender, with the exception of the small highly educated minority, located in major cities. Even among these people, there is not a chance to be accepted as a normal person with a well-integrated sense of gender.

For me, there was but one rational solution; I would go through the medical and psychological processes of change and then re-enter the world is a complete human being without history of sexual, or gender abnormality. The important point to examine here it is that I had internalized much of the controversy surrounding this issue and further, viewed it through a darkened lens. What the medical communities saw as a controversial treatment for some extreme cases of gender dysphoria, I saw it as a stigma of abnormality and applied this to my own case. Therefore, my motivation for living my life completely free from my past was motivated partly by my desire to conceal my own self-disgust. There was no place in my mind for self-tolerance, only for enabling myself to become as free as possible from my own self-loathing.

In essence, I'm saying that I never dealt completely with the issues of self-disapproval; rather I created a more acceptable self. I do not see my actions as extremely pathological, or in any way, totally negative, rather are would say that I'm aware that the path I had chosen carried with it, its own psychological baggage. I held onto too much negative thinking about my own past predicament, blaming myself for having been born with such defects. Having no one to confide in about important personal issues, I was never able to fully learn to understand and accept myself wholly.

Secondly, when one harbors deep secrets that have played a major role in the direction of their life, it becomes impossible to fully bond with anyone. For what more important feeling of alarm and confusion could I desire to cry out about more than what I had to go through and how desperate I am to be heard. Yet the life I had chosen for myself did not allow me to as much as speak of this matter! For in doing so, would be to betray my motivation which was acceptance, not for myself, but for the self that I wanted to be, a normal person free of pathology.

When this desire reaches this point, it itself becomes a pathological obsessive need, to become some abstract idealized image normality. What had given me strength was my ability to blend in well with other women and to find acceptance amongst women. This acceptance also made for a better likelihood for meeting nice men. I was fortunate enough to meet such a man and enjoy living as his wife. Yet even within this relationship, there was a major part or me, which felt pain that was not permitted expression.

This situation fostered a deep sense of well-repressed feelings of inferiority. These feelings were further manifested by my willingness to accept many things in life that I would have otherwise rebelled against. I traded much of my personality for anonymity; this disallowed me to develop my full potential and fostering me to become more privy to developing an avoidant personality disorder. Not a severe crippling case as often depicted in the literature, but nevertheless a fear of not being accepted and a tendency to blame myself for anything that went wrong.

Most all adults have some pathological issues they contend with. For me, it has been mainly the fear of being judged poorly, not so much discovered as being different with respect to gender, but being inept as a human being.

TAKEN FROM WEB PAGES


There is a remaining essentialist strand in some theoretical feminism, which argues that >>>>>>women are innately different from men.<<<<<< As well as the obvious biological differences between men and women, essentialists argue, >>>>> women are born with inherent, recognisably female, characteristics; sympathy, a different moral sense, a willingness to nurture and work cooperatively<<<<<<, for instance. It follows that someone who is born male can never become truly female, or vice versa.

women

Most feminist theory, however, adheres to the "constructionist" Simone de Beauvoir view that "one is not born a woman, one becomes one" through immersion in and adherence to social expectations. Nevertheless some essentialists still pose a considerable challenge to transsexuals. As female-to-male transsexual, and rights campaigner, Stephen Whittle explains: "The biggest thing working against male-to-female transsexuals, seen in the Newnham debate, is the feminist idea that they invade women's space. It is suggested that Rachel Padman is completely destroying the basic aspect of femaleness - as if male-to-female transsexuals are bringing with them >>>>the privileges of patriarchy."<<<<<

My response:

Can I not also assert that some women are born with these innate proclivities, but they do not physically look like women?
Have I not said that one of the most important elements for deep stealth is to be able to achieve harmony? That being ordinary is a key to achieving this harmony? That perhaps the privilege of patriarchy is the desire to feel one should lead; that female leaders actually adopt the privileges of patriarchy?
This "inherent, recognizably female, characteristics; sympathy, a different moral sense, a willingness to nurture and work cooperatively" is a very astute way to say what I have been trying to say. Has she not more familiarity with logos? Is not this logos, as essentially masculine, what modern feminist literary critics been developing into the new movement in 21st century philosophy?

OPINION | Lesbian Notions
by Paula Martinac
April 17, 2001
Are transsexual women "real" women? It's a tedious question that male-to-female transsexuals often run up against when they're open and honest about their personal history. But the life experiences of many MTFs make them more aware of how gender roles and sexism work than a lot of so-called "real" women.>>>>>>I've never met a transsexual woman who didn't have a feminist consciousness.<<<<<< >>>> I'm sure there are some<<<<<<, but it makes perfect sense that many trans-women would be attracted to feminism as a philosophy. After all, feminism by definition seeks to break down the barriers society has set up based on gender.It's infuriating, then, that some feminists and lesbians continue to question the "womanhood" of MTFs. I support the concept of "women-only space," but I'm concerned that this legitimate policy is sometimes used to discriminate against trans-women.

My response:

Here is a good example of what you are saying about the vocal representatives. Something to consider about deep stealth: I believe it is essentially conservative, not suited at all for someone that embraces a strong vocal feminist philosophy. I'm not saying that one has to live as the subservient little housewife, but there is an extreme gulf between that position and the stance of feminist philosophy! I would say, the more one needs to be vocal about gender rights for woman, the harder is for deep stealth. Check out the next feminist position, as it is actually well integrated with what I have been saying. I'm one of them!


PART 5: CONCLUSION

THE TOP FIVE CRITERIA

My thinking right now would be these top five and in this order. It might be surprising to know, but desiring to be ordinary really is more important that wanting to be considered totally female, as being female is a state of mind, being ordinary is a social construct that is defined by others. Such persons like myself are essentially conservative and field dependent. Anyone who doesn't accept this is fooling themselves!

1. Wanting to be ordinary and having a plain, but feminine look
2. Using your new past as your identity
3. A strong need to be considered as totally female
4. Needing to be in relationships, not the leader
5. Letting on that you know something about gender issues is dangerous


Send me your thoughts, links, and advice!

If you transitioned in your teens or twenties and have any advice you'd like to share, please contact me , and I'll give it a permanent (and anonymous) home.