Stealth is a term within the transgender community that refers to merging with society in the role of a new gender. "Passing" is simply being recognized as the gender you illustrate to the public. Stealth is more complex and takes on more demand from the individual. The concept of stealth is somewhat of a perspective. What I mean to say is that one persons concept of stealth or personal motive and achievements for it differs from others. Therefore, the concept of stealth is difficult to express. For example, I could say that stealth is a way to pose an identity upon the public eye. Although knowing I would be genetic male, they would regard my identity as female. For others, stealth is like some Nirvana for transsexuals. They merged into society a new person complete as they transitioned. Still others believe that the pursuit of stealth is bullshit. You cannot find completeness and nirvana so long as you're trying to "hide" and convince others. It can only come when you start living for yourself. "The source for this term is unknown.
A dream within a dream...
The philosophy of stealth is also complicated. Researching this resulted in numerous expectations as well as a kind of "fact versus fiction" illustration. On one end, you would have a community that believes that nobody can ever attain it and that it's false hope or a fabricated expectation of the public. On the other end, you would have transsexuals making claims that they left behind a life and molded this new identity and now live in secrecy. Seeing a convincing transsexual was not enough for me to confirm stealth. Only the evidence that somebody made this step and was successful in doing it. The general expectation is almost always one hundred percent. A very lofty goal in any individual. Some would make claims that upon going into the general population they went stealth although others they knew are aware of the gender of the individual. This seems more like passing and less in line of stealth. Also, it was not credible as self perception is often "bullshit". Claims upon claims had been made and nothing substantial surfaced.
Upon requesting guidelines and tips for achieving stealth the following common information was shared. The sources ranged for public forums to speaking directly with those making the claim.
- Gender manipulation- The person expressed the need to conform entirely with the physical nature of your new gender. Your body is to be presented in the exact same manner as the gender you chose. If you are to be a woman, for example, you should have fat in all the right places, curves and feminine facial characteristics.
- Vocal manipulation- Your voice should be in tune with that of your new gender.
- General self expression- Your actions should mimic that of your new role. Every detail is to be convincing from the way you walk to the way you eat is in accordance.
- Confidence- The confidence to present yourself in the face of the general population in your new role.
- Covering Tracks- You at some point left behind all ties of your former gender. (writer gets overwhelmed and pops estrodiol nervously)
- Career- Your career and place of work addresses you as your new gender.
The motive behind achieving stealth is primarily to "finish" the individuals transition. Say, hormonal replacement therapy is being administered. They feel that after the desired results have been met, they can now disregard any existing ties with the former self. Some desire stealth in order to experience life on the other end of the spectrum. They have this drive to truly be this chosen gender and live in comfort. Motive is always personal and varies from person to person.
Although not entirely stealth, passing is a way to move about or be recognized as this new gender. Passing can also be a compliment within the trans community. Saying, "You pass rather well.", is very comforting to many people in it. Passing is the single biggest concern for most transgender people. "Do I pass?", is the single most common heard question from this community.
Stealth as a verbal expression
"Stealth" can be a verbal reference to passing in public addressing another person or giving an explanation of the event. For example, "I walked into the bar just stealth as fuck. Sat down, threw my purse on the counter and nobody was the wiser."
The devastation of "public demand"
In cases that involve an individual who strides for excellence in transition, it is now all too common to see the the emotional and even physical downfall of that person. With so much pressure to meet the expectations of others, they "over work" transition and, in turn, end up getting hurt as a result. Frequent emotional breakdowns and extreme body modification have been observed by both the trans community as well as the general public. Just as this expectation grows in the mind of the person trying to demonstrate it, the mind does not have time to keep up with physical transition. The result is a feeling of desperation, low self esteem, depression and even suicide in some cases.