I’m not a huge gamer, but there are some really awesome games I like to play: The Last of Us, the Uncharted series, and Far Cry. There are others that I enjoy playing, but I’m going to keep it to these three games for the analogy I’m about to make.
In these games, there are many missions where you can either enter guns blazing, or you can approach the enemies one-by-one, quietly picking them off and turning off alarms to prevent the enemies from calling reinforcements. Both ways work, but I always try to start stealthily. Since my gaming skills are subpar, I usually end up getting caught, trying several more times, dying each time, until I finally pass the mission.
Doing things in stealth is difficult for me in video games, and for some reason I’m bad at it in real life, too. Being “stealth” as a trans person means not disclosing their previous identity, or the fact that they are trans at all. Many trans people live this way for several different reasons, whether it be for personal safety or because they just want to put their old selves behind them–it’s all valid.
There have been times where I go into a new environment (like a new job or meeting a new group of people) where I ask myself, how long can I go without mentioning my gender identity?
When I started my current job about five months ago, I told myself I wouldn’t out myself. It was a fresh start for me–where only one person there knew who I used to be because we went to high school together. I’m still not sure if she has told anyone that I was born a girl–I suppose it doesn’t matter so long as nobody treats me any differently because of it.
I told the teacher in my room that I was trans maybe 2-3 months into me being there because I was explaining why I needed to leave early (I needed to pick up my new passport with my name change and gender marker change. She didn’t really have a reaction, and she never asked me any questions. I’m not sure if she knows what being trans means, but she was still nice and respectful to me, so I don’t think her knowing that I’m trans impacted her view of me.
The reason I try to stay stealth as long as possible is because I don’t want people asking me invasive questions about my genitals or surgery plans. It’s really nobody’s business but my own, and yet not many people understand that.
The reason I end up coming out all the time to new people is because I feel like more cisgendered people need more exposure to trans people in real life–not just on TV and in movies (mostly because a lot of the representation in those outlets isn’t entirely accurate). When someone hears about trans issues in the news or wherever, they can say, “Oh I know someone who is trans!” This allows more people to be sympathetic towards trans people (hopefully).
Being stealth is nice sometimes, but I usually choose to be out and proud because I know I am surrounded by safe people in the environments I spend my time in. I am out because not every trans person can be out, and I’m out to improve the world’s perception of trans people.