Before going any further,
we need define what is meant by stealth, I suggest:
process of hiding one's past so that there is less available
evidence of having been in a different gender and social role."
'stealth' is the typically the final stage
of the full-time transition by a transwoman who believes that she
can successfully pass as a woman - for example changing
documents in to her new female name and getting a new job as a
stealth' is a more dramatic step which requires eliminating all
possible references and links to a former male life. It is
typically sought by transwomen in the public eye (model,
actress, reality star, ...) but also
by some transwomen who have lived in the changed role for many
years (married, good career, politician, ...) and now wish to
complete their life known only as a woman.
Stealth is undoubtedly living the "big lie", and while a few girls
manage to carry it off, it represents too great a challenge and
sacrifice for many transwomen.
This is another important definition.
the context of a male-to-female transgender woman, "passing"
means that when you meet someone, they accept you as a woman and
treat you as woman - often termed the "passing privilege".
Conversely, if they have doubts about you being a woman, the
treatment can be very different, even hostile. But "passing" comes in various degrees,
as a minimum it means that you can go shopping without being identified as
a man; a significant step up is where acquaintances and work
colleagues always identify you as a woman (this equates to
"stealth"); and finally, there's ultimate level of "deep
stealth", where very
close friends and even your husband never doubt that you are a
natural born woman.
A continuous risk faced by the "passing" woman is suddenly
failing to pass and being "read" as a man. It
embarrassing to be read by a shop assistant whilst buying
women's clothing, and traumatic to be read and confronted by another woman whilst in the Ladies,
but it can be
positively dangerous to be read by an angry male lover when becoming intimate.
In one horrendous case, 25-year old Russian
transwoman Nika Surgutskaya (left) was brutally murdered and
dismembered by her date when he realised during sexual
intercourse that she had had sex-change surgery.
Stealthy women are always at risk being "outed", this
being where someone realises that they are transgender
and publicises this. It's most likely to happen when for
some reason the transwoman appears widely in the media and is
recognised by an old acquitance, e.g. a classmate at school.
Facial appearance is a very important factor to
passing, but not the only one. Gabrielle Schaffer (USA).
opposite to stealth is sometimes called being "out" -
where you openly admit to, and perhaps even advertise as an
advocate that you
rest of this article is orientated towards transwomen who
transition as adults (age 18+), it's less relevant to
boy-to-girls that transition at a young
age. For someone raised as a boy who reaches manhood,
subsequently passing as successfully as a woman
is not easy. A sad indication of this is that a whole genre
of popular films (usually comedies) has become based on situations
involving a "man" trying to pass as a "woman"
- I Was a Male War Bride, Some like it Hot, Tootsie,
Mrs Doubtfire, Victor/Victoria, He's My Girl.
Even when the man/woman is extremely feminine in appearance
(e.g. Ellen Barkin in Switch) her masculine sounding voice
/ speak / actions / manners / movements quickly lead to
Lynn Conway was stealth for 30 years. In 1998 she
came "out" when a researcher began
delving in to some of her old work at IBM.
Implications of Going
While superficially desirable, stealth and in particular deep
stealth, is extra-ordinarily difficult for the adult male-to-female
transsexual to achieve. Deep stealth means:
Changing all documentation from educational
qualifications through to driving licence into your new
identity. Vital but difficult documents to change are your
birth certificate and passport
Shredding (hiding is far too risky) all evidence of your pre-transition life - photo's,
school reports, diaries, letters, certificates, references ...
Moving home, as far away as possible from
people who met you as a man
Cutting off friends, acquaintances and even
close family who knew you as a man
Closing all old social media accounts
Diligently searching the Internet and deleting
(or requesting the deletion of) every pre-transition reference
that you can find - articles, posts, pictures, etc
Model and actress Pascale
Ourbih (born Mohand Ourbih) transitioned and
tried to go stealth when she moved to Paris, age 18, but
was soon outed by her work colleagues.
Adapting your pre-transition life story in to a
consistent and convincing story, challenging yourself against
routine questions such as "How old were you when you had your
first period?", "What did you do for you Debs?", "Who was your
first boyfriend?", "Can I please have a photo of you
when young for my school project?"
Closing off every old identity trail that you
can - bank accounts, memberships, subscriptions, stores, etc.
Asking organisations what information - if any -
they hold about you (EU regulations permit such data requests
for a small fee)
Requesting organisations to delete your old
records (EU regulations again allow this "right to be
forgotten" in many circumstances)
Contacting all organisations (e.g. government, utilities, medical, education, professional bodies, ...) that have records about you that
you can't close and ensuring that they are updated.
Unfortunately, they will often keep details in their files which
will remain a source of risk
A photo posted by a
However it was excessively
filtered and after a meeting a suitor outed
her as being a transwoman in her late 30's.
Appearing topless as
a Page 3 pin-up girl in a national newspaper - in this
instance the Daily Sport, 4 March 2008 - is not a
great idea if you are stealth.
Re-writing your CV to include only admissible
material consistent with your stealth status, probably with a
much-reduced job history, references and qualifications. A
potential employer may want to verify any claim made, so great
care must be taken to ensure that all the information provided
is safe to include - or of an unverifiable nature. A lack
of usable references can be a huge problem post transition
Changing jobs, which may mean changing
careers and accepting a far less well-paid or responsible
and all this is absolutely pointless unless:
Your appearance is undoubtedly that of a woman - and not
necessarily that of a tall and skinny model, being short
and dumpy may be more convincing
Behaviourally and socially you are also totally
convincing as a woman
Your voice is not a male give-away, a common
problem for otherwise extremely passable transwomen
You don't make unrealistic and unsustainable
claims about your age. Age regression is commonplace in
transwomen. Claiming to be 40 when you are 45 might be
plausible, but 20 when actually 25 is much tougher.
You never reveal your past to anyone under any
circumstances - this can be extra-ordinarily difficult,
particularly in the early months after transition where
circumstances may conspire against you
You maintain your cover story at all times, you
must believe it and it must be more than second nature -
you can't afford ever afford to let your guard down.
For example, an inconsistency or slip up at 2:00 am in
the morning when both tired and drunk is all too easy to make, but it may come to haunt
you and prove impossible to recover from
There is no discoverable give-away evidence on
the internet (often posted by yourself!)
In an emergency you instinctively react as a
woman - no matter how tired and befuddled you are, e.g. "men to
the left, women to the right ..."
may be necessary to take risks at first, but long-term it will be
necessary to have 'bottom surgery' to ensure that you can:
Stop tucking and taping your penis.
Thus avoiding panic if a trip to the ladies toilets
becomes essential; soreness from constant taping; and
the painful UTIs that often result
Pass naked as a woman, e.g. at non-intrusive medicals, security
body searches, in changing rooms, or when having to share a
hotel room with another woman
Sustain an intimate relationship as a woman. The
alternative being never to enter one - which is not the
preferred option for most transwomen.
A transvestite who occasionally tries to pass in
public can limit himself to occasional nighttime outings, or
other circumstances where his chances of success are maximised.
But a transitioned transsexual woman faces ruthless and critical
examination at all times and in all circumstances: day and night; at work; and
at play, fresh or tired, posh frock or casual.
A man chatting up a pre-SRS
transwoman during a carnival in Spain. She faces serious risks if things go
an extreme example of living the detail is Roberta
Close, one would-be lover was disconcerted to discover that
he would be unlucky because she was having her 'period' and
she had a tampon
in her vagina. Before disposal, she would stain this with
chicken blood to simulate
physical reasons, many male-to-female transsexual women will
never be able to pass consistently, while for many others
it takes several years of hormone treatment, expensive and extensive
feminisation surgery, and a lot of hard won experience after
transition before they can pass convincingly and confidently at all times -
only at this point is going stealth a real option.
While transsexuals considering transition often react with
annoyance about being told how important age is, it simply
cannot be ignored if stealth is an eventual objective. Rare
indeed is the transgirl who passes convincingly from the first
day of her transition - and she's almost certainly under 18 years
of age. At
Phuket Plastic Surgery Clinic in Thailand, the
seventy-nine Thai MTF transsexuals who received SRS during the
period 1997-2000 had an average age of just 26 years (the oldest
was 45) whereas that of the sixty-six American's was 50 years,
and several were 65. An article by Dr Sanguan Kunaporn in the
Journal of Asian Sexology brutally notes that "Thai M-F
transsexuals seeking SRS are younger. They generally look and
behave very natural as genetic women. Because of this, it
is obvious to any non-medical person that they are qualified
candidates for the surgery. On the other hand, most of the
American transsexuals come out when they are much older, many do
not pass so well as females."
A common cause of being out'ed is being featured in a
social media post by a well known transwoman.
Whether or not to go Stealth
Kyoko (left) and Mika -
Sisters" - are highly secretive about their
past, even their birth dates are unclear. One speculation is
that Kyoka is a former boyfriend of Mika, another is that
they are both are transwomen.
transwomen never go stealth, the reasons vary but can
An inability to pass completely convincingly 24x7
unwillingness to break existing career
or family ties
An unwillingness to make the many sacrifices that going
unwillingness to accept the constant fear of being
"read" or the risk of being "outed"
genuine desire to be open about being transgender
Just too much evidence of their past in
the public domain
A woman shared this photo on social media. It soon led to her being
outed as a former
shemale porn star who had posted the same photo.
the other hand, transsexual women go stealth because:
They hate the constant observation,
gossip and 'behind
the back' comments about their appearance and life as a known
They have suffered from abuse or
worse as a transsexual - before, during and after their
They want to completely separate
themselves from their male past
They have embarked upon a
female centric career
(usually modelling or acting) where being outed as
born a man would be a disaster
have entered into a relationship that an admission of being
transgender would endanger
Pressure from their partner who
knows that she is transgender. Sadly, many men fear
being labelled homosexual if their female partner is
outed as being a transwoman
After transition, many transwomen are unable to
resist posting on social media before
and after photo of themselves. Years later
this may come back to haunt them.
Going "deep" stealth is truly difficult, and
something only a very small proportion of transwomen successfully manage.
A particular problem is having to avoid contact with old friends and
even relatives - attending reunions or family events would be highly
dangerous. The consequences of this can be quite heart
rendering, The Transsexual Empire by Janice Raymond
(published 1979) may have many faults, but to support her arguments
she provides anonymised case studies obtained via transgender
clinics. One example describes a
in his 20's who
wife and their young children when he decided she was a woman.
Able to pass as a woman after sexual reassignment surgery, she went stealth and
a few years later met and married a man. She adopted his children from a previous marriage as their step-mother - without
any of them knowing about her past life as a man. Whilst the
book focuses on feminist concerns about a transsexual man adopting the stereotypical female
role of housewife and mother, there is an acknowledgement of the
pain that the subject suffered from being unable to see the children that she
grow up, and probably eventually marry and have her grandchildren.
Corey Rae (left), age 25, and
partner Amber Heard, age 33, at the 2019 Cannes Film
Transgender woman Corey Rae has a very
website covering her journey from teenage boy to a
'lesbian trans activist' (her words), and girlfriend of an
actress. A few quotes:
When it was time for me to transition,
it happened naturally ... on the morning after my
I survived my freshman year [at
university] without any clothing malfunctions,
uncomfortable naked bathroom encounters, or hook-ups
[The next year] my hormone changes led
to ... wild /semi-regrettable one-night stands
[Age 21] I got a vagina with no major
Post surgery ... I felt no need to [fear] being "outed"
any longer. I acted ... overly flirtatious
I decided to be stealth so I could be
treated as a "normal" woman
I started to work as a hostess at one of
the most exclusive NYC clubs, The Box
Two years post-surgery ... I am at peace
with being transgender ... I have to believe that I was
meant to be a pioneer for the transgender community.
The 27 year old Chevalier d'Eon
successfully passed as a woman for a mission to Russia
- long before hormones and
There is considerable debate within the transgender community about the
number and percentage of transsexual people who actually succeed in
"going stealth". Credible statistics
in peer reviewed medical studies don't exist - so we are
reduced to considering unsubstantiated claims that range from a majority
of post-SRS women to just a few percent.
is certain is that the number of transsexual women who go stealth
is directly proportional to the number who can pass convincingly as a woman at
all times, this being an essential pre-requisite. However, [unhelpfully] the proportion of transwomen who can pass is
also hotly disputed, with the additional difficulty that in surveys transwomen tend to overestimate their passability -
many thinking that they can pass when they are immediately out'ed by observers
in the very basic studies conducted. For example a
college study showed photos of transwomen and cis women to
other students and asked if they were male or female, the
results were brutal for transwomen.
Worrying about passing is
rarely an issue for transsexual girls
transitioning at a young age, such as 14-year-old Johanna.
almost impossible to over emphasise how much transitioning as a teenager
(or younger) immensely aids passability and subsequent stealth. Circumstantial evidence strongly indicates that most Western
(Caucasian) women transitioning full time after age 17 struggle to
pass as female in daily life, and this becomes almost
universal by age 30. The march of Father Time is
particularly brutal for transwomen.
course, any transwoman who has succeeded in going deep stealth is
hardly likely to publicly claim this unless already out'ed, or
she deliberately chooses to out herself. The many follow-up studies of transsexuals
post-SRS are thus skewed by the dropping-out of the most successful and assimilated patients.
Receiving and participating in such a study is the last thing that a
women who has gone deep stealth would want.
Almost all transwomen know that their appearance,
size, and voice all play a big role in whether they can go the
"stealth" route - but human nature being what it is, most
women tend to take an over optimistic view of their physical traits.
The early years of the 20th century present a transwoman with
many options - a few examples in rough order of increasing cost and risk:
Steele was voted Las Vegas's "Sexiest Showgirl" in 1991,
and out'ed the following year.
She sadly passed away in January 2008, age just 49.
Minor facial feminisation, e.g. rhinoplasty
Sex confirmation surgery
Major facial feminisation surgery
Vocal feminisation surgery
Radical skeletal surgery, e.g. rib removal and
But it's still not
possible to change a person's feet, or hand size - and even a very
pretty and petite girl can be given away by other factors such as
masculine voice. Many transsexual women claim that they have never met
another transsexual woman whom they didn't quickly "out" as such in
their mind. I disagree after having worked for several years
with a married woman in her 30's and was astonished when she
volunteered to help me on a project with transgender adolescents.
But this showed me how rare and exceptional
convincing as a woman (and thus
It is impossible to underestimate how much transitioning by age 20 helps
transwoman seriously thinking of going
stealth must be brutally realistic about her passability. She
can start by asking her friends and family to be totally honest
about how well she passes - but the answers will have some bias. When passing in public she should
be alert for any odd looks, signs of puzzlement, sly glances, or
whispering. A great final test is working part-time
as a woman for a few weeks in a local convenience store, most are
always desperate for staff.
limited available evidence suggests that about 50% of post-SRS women
claim to be able to pass, but the real number is far lower,
particularly in the continuous, long-term, 7x24 context required
for stealth. The corollary is that more than half of
all transsexual women cannot pass successfully, some being read
instantly. Most of these women accept the situation and make
the best of it, but some become seriously depressed, perhaps even suicidal, when they realise
that they fail to pass - often after extensive and irreversible
surgery. Other transwoman refuse to face facts and remain
deluded about their ability to pass - sometimes to the extent that
may become dangerous. More positively, years on
hormones, additional surgery (particularly FFS) and experience will
move some transwomen over the line from "can't pass" to "can pass".
Circumstantial evidence suggests that most transsexual women
who can pass will eventually go stealth
with the aim of being "assimilated" into society as unquestionably
a woman. One report calculated that in 2001 the UK had about 5000
openly transsexual post-SRS women plus another 3000 (i.e. 38% of the
community) living in stealth. However, the stealth percentage
seems high, anecdotal evidence suggests that
perhaps only 10-20% of western transsexual women ever reach the stage
where they can pass convincingly and consistently as
over a long period - with a very strong bias in favour of the
relatively few (at least in Europe) women who
transition when young.
(Above) A montage of wonderful transsexual women of all ages - some
more passable than others.
and Sexual Orientation
women with a heterosexual orientation (i.e. sexually attracted
primarily to men) often tend towards stealth if they can pass
well enough. The corollary is that they also eventually
find themselves entering into a committed relationship with
a man, with even marriage becoming a possibility.
The stealthy transwoman is soon trying to walk a fine
line between honesty and deceit. For instance - when should she inform
her lover of her past history as a male? A few women hold the view
that the other partner need never be told; a larger number hold that a
partner should be told upon first meeting, while probably a majority
believe that a partner need be told only when the relationship becomes
serious, i.e., when the "L word" ("love") is uttered - with the caveat
that if the transwoman senses the partner will react extremely
negatively or violently, the relationship should be broken off with no
passing when you become the "spoon" in the bed!
relationship with a man tends to pull the transwoman away from any
open acknowledgement of her transsexuality and male past, if only
because social stigma attaches to an alleged heterosexual man once it
becomes known that his girlfriend or wife was once a male. Many
passable transsexual women thus hide their past from partners and even
their husband, feeling (unfortunately often correctly) that the
relationship may not survive this becoming known. One study (Sörensen,
found that 10 out of 17 transwomen claimed to have been able to keep their SRS a
secret from male partners, while another indicated a perhaps more
plausible ratio of 13 out of 42.
in to a serious relationship with a man drives many
passable transsexual women in to going stealthy.
John Money describes in his book Man and Woman, Boy and Girl how a married housewife concealed her
sex-change from her husband of seven years, explaining their lack of
children as being due to medical problems that had rendered her
infertile, he apparently had no suspicion of the true situation.
Another transsexual woman, 'Anna Taylor', lived in deep stealth from
18, only her mother and brother were aware of her male past.
When she had SRS, she opted for the colon
section procedure as the ability to have sexual intercourse as a
woman was a high priority. She
describes how her relationship with her first husband, Paolo,
developed as follows:
Anna and Paulo on their wedding day
"He was Italian and very good looking.
When we eventually started seeing each other I tried to tell him
before we slept together. I asked him how important children
were to him because I was sterile. If he wanted a family there
was no point to our relationship. He said I was more important
to him than children and we could always adopt. But I told him
I'd need a brain transplant to do that because I'm not at all
maternal. He said he still loved me and when we finally made
love, I thought I was going to hit the ceiling. He was very
experienced, very romantic - and very sexy. So I told him I'd
had a genetic problem when I was younger and had had an operation to
correct it. He said, 'These are childhood things. Why do we need
to talk about it now?' I thought he'd understood what I was trying to
Anna was married to Paolo for 13 years before he sadly
died of cancer; he never knew his wife was a transsexual. A few
years later Anna met Steve:
married for five years and although ... I knew the marriage
wasn't lawful, I kept quiet. It never crossed my mind
to tell Steve - what purpose would it serve?"
the balance between personal happiness and revealing "the whole truth
and nothing but the truth", many transsexual women try to choose happiness
- but not always with the result they expect.
Judy and her first
Judy Lee had SRS surgery at age 24 and then faced the
challenge of "at what point do you say to a man 'Hi, My name is
Judy, I'm a transsexual'?". Very passable as a woman she initially decided to go stealth
and hide her story. Just a year later she married a man who
was unaware of her background and assumed that she was fertile woman. Judy was
unable to cope with stress that this caused her,
and she eventually sought a divorce whilst leaving him unaware of the real problem.
Judy then had another unsuccessful marriage with opposite problem -
her husband was initially excited at her admission to
being transgender, but after they married he soon became bored and
started cheating on her with cis-woman. After 20 years living as
woman, including the two failed marriages, Judy transitioned back to living as a man.
Scotland Yard Detective Steve Longshore
was planning to marry his girlfriend
Lisa Webb when in 1995 The Mirror newspaper
revealed that she was transsexual. The paper got the
lead because unknown to Steve she was working as an
'escort' girl and said too much to a client one night.
Miss Schutzenfest 2005 beauty contest
won. Unfortunately, the resulting local publicity
resulted in her being outed.
of Kato Sato's earliest fashion shoots - for Sky Girl
magazine. Although pre-SRS, she modelled for
nearly two years as a girl, eventually outing herself before
someone else did.
23-year old transsexual
name Tula) and
her sister Pam as "Page 3" pin-up girls in the UK's best selling
newspaper, 6 April 1978.
After an increasingly
successful career as a model and actress, Caroline (left
was famously outed when she became a Bond girl in 1982.
Most transgender women
just want to successfully live a normal life in their
preferred gender, and this requires not being identified as
having "changed sex". However, a risk that all
transsexual women who have gone stealth face is being outed.
This can happen for many reasons, including: poor physical
passability; poor social passability; bad documentation; and
sheer bad luck.
transitioned but still pre-SRS women obviously faces many additional risks of being out'ed
because of her genitalia, for example: security checks; medical emergencies;
groping men; in the changing room; accidents in the pool, perverts
with miniature cameras, poor tucking ... even an erection for those not on a high
dose hormone regime!
A good example of this is Japanese transsexual
Kato Sato. Born in 1998, she claims to have begun
female hormone therapy when 15. In 2015 changed her
name to Kato and moved to another town where she had got a job as a female shop assistant. She was
quickly discovered by a
modelling agency and within months was working as a
successful fashion model, she also soon became a TV presenter.
However, she still hadn't had SRS and it was impossible to
conceal the anatomy of her "bottom" from colleagues in the back
stage dressing room. Rumours that she was a man began to spread
and finally in September 2010 she confirmed on TV and via her
that "I was born a boy".
Even if the woman has had SRS, passing and not being outed
is getting ever more difficult. Being post-SRS and reasonably
female in appearance and behaviour is certainly no longer enough.
Until perhaps the 1980's, if a person's name
was 'Helen' and she wore lipstick and a dress, she would be
assumed to be a woman even if she also had an oddly deep
voice, rather large hands and not the best complexion.
Things have changed since then. We are getting
close to the stage where most people know a transsexual
woman - be her family, friend, work colleague or an
South Korean model and actress
Ha Ri-Su was outed when a former school
friend recognised her from TV appearances.
As the number of transwomen increases rapidly, the ability
of people to recognise a woman as a transwoman seems to
be increasing even faster.
Also, the now frequent appearance of transsexual women on television in
reality programmes, soaps and on talk shows has probably
caused problems that it has solved from an inclusivity
perspective. People are becoming increasingly
educated (if only subconsciously) as to the signature signs
that a woman may be transgender.
result, some transwomen (e.g. me) who have supposedly passed successfully for
years or decades have been devastated by a stranger casually
identifying and outing them as transgender. Conversely, I knew within seconds that a candidate for
a job was transgender - which presented
me as part of the interview panel with a challenge as it was
19 year old Juliet
Evancho had just transitioned and was developing her career as a model when her sister -
Jackie - sang at the inauguration of Donald
Trump as President in 2017. She was immediately out'ed.
If a transwoman is able to pass the brutal and rigorous
initial contact with a stranger as an unquestioned female
then a breathing space has been won. But long-term
passing is often about the small things - things that are
second nature for someone brought up as girl but entirely
strange for a man - things that Hollywood often has a field
day over when a man impersonates a woman in a comedy.
If you appear awkward walking in heels on cobles, struggle to touch-up your
makeup in a car, don't recognise Channel No. 5, ... well cumulatively
over weeks it might become strange to people.
It's become extra-ordinarily difficult for a transwoman to
pass long-term as a cis woman when living with a partner.
For example, a transwoman may have passed every conceivable
physical hurdle for a year, when her male partner suddenly
wonders why she had never had a period! The foresight
to occasionally leave a tampon soaked in chicken blood in
the bathroom bin may stop this subject becoming a 'smoking
gun', but other cumulative evidence can include the need to use vaginal
the discovery of dilators, packs of hormones, surgical scars,
infertility as a woman ...
eventually the partner may suspect something that
perhaps become reinforced by constant media stories about TG
A tremendous danger is hanging yourself by your own rope, an
inconsistent and every changing story about your
pre-transition life can cumulatively cause great problems
with a friend or partner. Getting drunk is another
huge danger - in the early
months after transition you can make stupid mistakes such going in to
the wrong toilets which may be picked up by more sober observers.
Even long term, the danger of committing a horrendous disaster such as
starting a story "when I was a boy ...". increases dramatically.
Madelyn was already working as a female model when
It was impossible for them to go stealth after years
on social media.
Another huge problem is trail of "evidence" that we all leave as we go through
our lives, the volume is immense.... thousands of photos (and not just those taken
by our own friends and family), school records, financial details, medical
records, home videos, tax records, computer records, newspaper articles, etc.
A 20th century problem is the internet.
Before transition many
TS girls have established a social media web presence
on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, etc.
These may even contain 'smoking gun' posts such as "One
year on hormones!" After transitioning many
transwomen close their accounts as they settle into
their new life and move from openness about being transgender to privacy and perhaps eventually deep stealth
- but archived records will still exist.
There are also the thousands of people we meet
over the years – some of whom have uncanny memories in my
minor celebratory from the early 2000's who was out'ed as transwoman.
I've removed the name at her request.
A very difficult problem is friends. Many transwomen develop close relationships with homosexual men,
or other transwomen that struggle to pass.
After transitioning it's very difficult to cut-off good friends, but also being seen in their company can be
Carol Marra on the front cover of
magazine, age 26
When we transition to female, it's impossible to delete,
destroy or alter all that prior evidence, some will always remain to act
as a potential pointer to our being transgender.
A Few Examples of Outing
With the support of her parents,
Carol Marra dressed androgynously as a child and went stealth
when she began to work as a
for a Brazilian TV station. Age 24, she was
spotted by a photographer and agreed to do a photo shoot.
This led to further high-profile fashion assignments, but it
to conceal that she was transgender and had a penis.
25-year old Jamie Dee
(born James) was confident of her passability after two
years transitioned and extensive facial feminisation
surgery. She was on a night out with her friend Teddy
when she was shocked by venue staff repeatedly calling her
"Bro" or "Sir". Jamie was almost certainly out'ed
because of her friend's appearance and attire, which led
staff to assess that Jamie was also a man.
Jamie Dee. From the
left, the photos show her before starting hormones;
after transitioning and FFS; and on the traumatic night. The photo (right) is of Teddy
Alicia Liu was out'ed by
the school photo (left). She subsequently showed (right) the media an identity card that states she
"female", but eventually had to admit that she was a
Alicia Liu (Xun Ai) is a good example of how the past can
haunt a transsexual. She transitioned in her teens and had
SRS in 2004 - age 18. She then started to build a career as
model and had a big break when she became a regular member of a popular
Korean television, but in
January 2010 a former school classmate recognised her on TV and
posted a photo of her as a boy (Zi Hua)
on-line. Hounded by the media, Alicia had no choice
but admit that she was a transsexual woman.
Liu Shi Han become a huge star in China - after being out'ed
Liu Shi Han was born in 1989 as Liu Shuai, she knew she was a girl by age 3. From
age 16, she attended the Hunan Mass Media Vocational Technical College in Changsha in the day, but at
night worked in clubs as a pole dancer and "Snake
Girl Lan Xi". After three years she had saved the $10,000
she needed for her SRS, which she had against the wishes of her family.
When she returned home from the hospital she was physically
beaten and bullied. She
moved to Beijing and soon started to get
modelling assignments, and attracted many boyfriends. Liu
soon faced a huge problem for many transsexual
women trying to live stealth but becoming well known - a lack of evidence
about her childhood. She had no childhood photos; no video clips; no school reports;
no newspaper clips; no examination certificates; no
childhood friends or even acquaintances, no social media
accounts going back more than a few years. She tried to hide her early
childhood by claiming that she had been adopted at 8 or 9,
but in 2010 someone at Tsinghau University in
started to post
pictures of her whilst including rumours about her being a
boy. The posts went 'viral' and Liu
reluctantly blogged in December 2010 “I did have transsexual surgery. I just wanted to hide my identity and be an
ordinary individual. But an anonymous person just wouldn’t
let me go, making my privacy public and exposing to the
media and public the fact that I can’t give birth to babies.
Now, I admit it." Ironically the exposure helped her
modelling career enormously, and in 2011 she reached super model status
model Lauren had a secret - now she may not have a job" -
this South African woman paid a high price when she was "outed".
Gemma (formerly Anthony) transitioned age 16 and changed her birth certificate. She was out'ed by the UK press when she dated the son of a famous
football player age 19.
28 year old Lauraine (right) and her 22-year
old half-sister Lenette in a photo dated 1970 that appeared in a
local newspaper. This revealed that they had been born Cary
and Burt and was sensationalist at that date. The photo
was also used in a psychology textbook.
While the risk of being out'ed will diminish over time, it
will never go away and may come from any quarter at any time -
someone trying to organise a reunion, a medical emergency,
background checks by an adoption agency, a company unexpectedly
checking old educational qualifications, a revealing letter from
the Social Security about pensions, a strange slip of the
tongue, a chance meeting with an old friend,
a problem at the Registry Office getting a marriage certificate,
etc. For example, half-sisters Lauraine and Lenette had an
unexpected problem when a reporter from a small local
newspaper knocked on their door after noticing a minor court
procedure changing their names - from Cary and Burt.
Born brothers, the two sisters had mutually decided that
they were female and transitioned to live full-time as
women. They received medical support from the
University of Minnesota and Lauraine had SRS age 26 whilst
Lenette followed six months later in 1969, soon after her
21st birthday. Given the early date, they are probably
among the first thousand American post-SRS women. All
went wonderfully well until a year later (1970) when they
tried to legalise their new names and status as female.
In 1997, transwoman
made headlines when she was discovered to be having an affair with a
married Government Minister in Greece.
An example of unexpected 'bolt from the blue' is Jenny Hiloudaki (born Yiannis). She transitioned in her early teens with the support
of her family, and appeared to be a fairly successful female model
when in 1997 a mid-ranking government official - Giorgos
Sakellaropoulos - left his wife and family for the then 29
year-old Jenny, after inspecting the brothel that she ran!
A curious journalist started to do a little digging and was
not surprised to discover that Jenny had a history as a
prostitute - but was surprised to find that she was born a
boy and was a post-operative male-to-female
After the revelation Giorgos (who had never suspected Jenny
pre-SRS past) returned to his forgiving wife, whilst thanks
to all the publicity Jenny's modelling career
prospered for several years, and she was even voted Greek
Woman of the Year 2000!
An example of the type of disaster that can occur
from historical records is what happened to Brigitte Fell.
She had gone
stealth after having SRS in 1996, which just a few family members
knew about. In early
2008 her boyfriend, Garrick Jacobson, was arrested under
suspicion of theft and mentioned her name. The policemen looked up
Brigitte's records and discovered that her Sex was given as Male, they then
laughingly informed Garrick that “You’re rooting a bloke” and showed him
the records. When released, Garrick broke into Brigitte's
flat and violently attacked her, he later told a court: “I felt
disgusted and deceived because the female I’d been with had had a
sex change.” Soon after Zoo magazine appalling featured a photo of
her with the headline "Is Your Girlfriend A Bloke?".
another example, Maximilia (aka Avarelle or Ava) Cordero probably soon regretted
her decision in 2007 to sue billionaire
Jeffery Epstein for
having “demanded oral sex”
performance of "bizarre and unnatural sex acts" with her
and 2001 as a minor. At this time Epstein was a substantial
shareholder in the Victoria Secrets lingerie chain, whilst
Maximilia was supposedly an "aspiring 16 year-old model ... promoting her career".
The New York Post was sufficiently interested in the lawsuit to do some digging and
in a series of articles revealed that the pretty young "model" had once been a boy - Maximillian
- who had transitioned and started taking female hormones when age
12. The NY Post also found no evidence that Maximilia
had had SRS before the alleged sexual acts.
However, the newspaper also discovered that she
was born in November 1982, and was actually age 18-19 when "repeatedly lured" to
Epstein's mansion. Maximilia's
case was also not helped
by her admitting that she was "known professionally as Ava" at
the time of claimed incident with Jeffrey, and that she had
previously lost a similar case of "deviant sex as a minor" when it was
proven that she was actually 19 at the time.
Maximila had many
on-line and social media
profiles. In this example she claims to be six years younger than
she actually was.
an openly transgender friend with thousands of social media
followers greatly increases the chances of being outed.
Maximilia then started legal proceedings against the NY Post
about the accuracy of the many articles it had published about
her. She lost the case in 2009 and is often referred to
as "he" in the
court papers, which puzzlingly also give her year of
birth as 1983.
A decade later there was an avalanche of revelations
about very serious sexual misconduct by Jeffrey Epstein, and this
probably led to his suicide in 2019. It now seems that many of Maximilia's claims against
Jeffrey Epstein were correct, if she had been a more credible
witness in 2007 then
many young women might have avoided traumatic experiences.
Internet and Social Media
It takes only few seconds to post a photo on social media
which may then be regretted for years
particularly modern problem is that many transsexual women
enjoy a brief moment of fame - intentionally or not.
It's become very unusual to find someone who has not signed
up for an
account on social media websites and apps such as
Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Whatsapp
These have become essential to communicate with family,
friends and acquaintances, and to progress one's
career. But they are also enormous helpful
resources for journalists and researchers, and the bane of
many transsexual women trying to go stealth, with
transwomen managing legacy "him" accounts as well as new "her"
Human memory is generally short and to a surprising
degree many transwomen who were outed or outed themselves on social
media can - if they try to erase all references to this - just a few
years later be effectively stealth. I've seen first-hand this
happen for an actress, hairdresser, ballerina, teacher, journalist,
cook and a student.
The posts by Kylie on social media
were soon linked to other accounts that revealed she was a transwoman.
Nevertheless, the evidence is still out there for a
determined searcher. Any moment of openness as a transsexual - on the Internet,
in a magazine, on TV, etc - can be bitterly regretted many
years later. Attempts by
transwomen to delete themselves from the Internet will never be completely successful, their pleas are often being sent to dead
email addresses and even years later a simple 'goggle' might still
produce damaging hits to no longer maintained websites. Despite
every effort to get revealing materials deleted or
destroyed (potentially a counterproductive exercise in itself),
many transwomen have a constant nagging fear of being outed because of
the potential evidence on the Internet at al; which may one
day come back to haunt them.
This transwoman was taking hormones but
had not transitioned when he
published this photo on social media whilst on holiday.
Polish models Machilina Manios
(left) and Karolina Smetek (right)
It's thus become almost impossible for
an individual to cover up her past so well that some determined
sleuthing wouldn't soon reveal strange discrepancies,
inconsistencies, or a peculiar lack of supporting
evidence. For example, a post by proud parents of their
son's appearance in a school play can become a ticking time-bomb
when a decade later a reporter casually asks a
stealthy transwoman where she went to school. A
failure to answer would be strange, an inaccurate answer may be
challenged, whilst a truthful answer can lead to her being out'd.
It's worth mentioning that there are a few exceptions. Machilina
Manios featured in the second series of Poland's
Next Top Model. She is openly
transgender/intersex - possibly suffering from AIS.
Her career as a model has
benefited from a similarity to her
compatriot Karolina Smetek - a
supermodel who is undoubtedly cis-female.
Of course, any woman who features regularly in the
media will inevitably eventually be seen by old friends or
acquaintances. Over time the chances of someone
recognising the voice, mannerisms, facial features, and starting to
link them to a man that they used know are very high.
Another problem is making a post or photo that is more revealing than
Friends on a
girlie holiday. However Corey Rae (right)
published on social media
photos with tags and links that that
seemed to out several as being transwomen.
I started browsing the nascent Internet in 1998 and
over the next few years I devoured the posts of the
early pillars of the
trans community. Many of these have since spent a lot of time and money attempting
to remove these from the public domain as they have
since gone stealth, married, or otherwise have
reasons to want to delete their on-line history.
Conversely, many of the now most well-known transsexual women were stealthy when the spotlight of publicity first began to
lightly shine upon them, and they were eventually outed, e.g. Caroline
Cossey, April Ashley,
Lear and Teddy Quinlivan. Given the massive public and media interest in famous
people this is almost inevitable, and it's a puzzle that so many transgender women
still attempt to be stealth whilst also actively seek high-profile
and very public careers as actresses,
models, singers, etc.
photo from a beauty
a holiday resort was posted on a social media site. One of
(second from the left)
old account to add
a comment, which
revealed that she was
A major problem when going stealth is medical records.
Many transwomen decide to “wipe the slate clean” after GCS/SRS and register with their local doctor or medical centre as a woman, using a name and sex different from that assigned to them at birth. In some countries or states, transwomen also have a legal right to change their medical records to reflect their adopted gender. E.g. the
Daily Telegraph newspaper reports that:
[A] policy in Scotland allows patients to change a digit of what is known as a CHI number – a unique code given to every patient. The ninth of the 10-digit code is always an even number for women and odd for men. Patients are allowed to change their officially recognised NHS sex simply by making a request to their GP, with staff told that “no evidence is required”. The CHI number is meant to follow a patient from the cradle to the grave, to make sure everyone is easily identifiable and prevent mix-ups. A clinician added. “It’s very hard to see any benefits in allowing patients to change it, especially as medical records are already confidential, and doctors would only share information on biological sex if it’s relevant.”
The reality is that transwomen are not biologically fully a woman. As such they have for example no risk of cervical cancer,
a reduced risk of breast cancer, but a significant risk of prostate cancer. Pre-emptive cancer screening
can thus be mis-directed.
transwoman, having a mammogram
A big problem is blood test results – a key part of
many medical treatments. Decisions based on
the test results can differ between patients with chromosome XX
female and those with chromosome XY male due to the physiological and biological differences. One example is haemoglobin, where the healthy ranges are different for genetically male and female, and where abnormal readings can be a red flag for cancer. If it’s believed that the blood sample came from an XX female but in fact, they are XY, then a misdiagnosis is very likely.
Another example is hormone levels. Whilst the hormones
now prescribed to most transwoman mimic
that of a cis-women (i.e. are bio-identical), they are primarily estrogenic and the
transwoman's overall hormone profile is very different from a pre-menopausal woman. This can again lead to a misdiagnosis.
It's important to be aware that there could be a clinical risk
(possibly life threatening) if your biological sex is not known by
a clinician, as treatment may be required to be based on
your sex at birth rather than your gender identity. Medical emergencies
where you can't inform the medical team that you are
transsexual are a particular concern.
One report states that "The transgender population presents a unique challenge for the emergency nurse. There are types of surgeries, medications, complications, and differences in laboratory testing that are unique to transgender people."
Laura Alicia (aka Larissa) Summers
is an extraordinary example of a transwoman seeking to lead a
publicly high profile as a woman whilst also stealth. She
was born in the UK as Darren Pratt on 5 September 1984 and may well
be the most successful British transmodel since Caroline Cossey.
Darren transitioned to Larissa during secondary school, age
13-14, and had sex-change surgery age 18.
She began her modelling career by
appearing in lad-mags
such as Zoo in 2006 under feature titles such as
"real girls". By mid-2007 she was a 'Page 3'
regularly displaying her augmented breasts in the mass circulation Daily Star
Daily Sport (below) newspapers.
didn't hide the fact that she
had extensive and expensive plastic surgery [other
than her SRS] and even used this to get additional
success as a newspaper pin-up resulted in her being filmed by
Playboy, and she featured as a Playboy Cyber Girl in
In 2008, 23-year old Larissa Alicia Summers
featured in the Channel 4 reality series Vanity Lair,
featuring "beautiful people" living in a mansion called
'Vanity Lair'. Whilst she did not win, she was not voted
out and managed to remain stealth for the
entire ten weeks.
Perhaps now overconfident, in early 2009 Larissa
pushed her luck too far by selling to the News of the World newspaper
a story revealing that she was in a sexual relationship with a member of the English Rugby
team. A reporter at the rival Daly Mail newspaper did some digging and discovered that Larissa was
a male-to-female transsexual. The News of World got wind of the Mail's story and pre-empted
it by publishing its own article outing her, quoting an old
school pal as saying, "I still recognise him from school, he's got the
same strong jaw". As the final blow, the article included a
copy of Larissa's/Darren's male birth certificate.
Larissa responded to the newspaper articles outing her by
that "what they had wrote was a load of **** !" and there was
suspicion that it was all just a PR stunt, however she didn't explicitly deny that she was transgender. In April 2009 Larissa's
(now off-line) published a brief statement that said she had won "very substantial damages" from the
again there was no denial that she was transsexual
or that she had been born Darren.
Photos of Larissa, most published by her on social media.
From the left: after transition age 18;
an early topless
photo age 21; pin-up girl age 26;
Ex on the Beach age 30; and "addicted to
plastic surgery" age 34.
The outing of Larissa as a transwoman quickly became
old news and she was soon again appearing in magazine
other publications, now using the name 'Laura Alicia'.
In 2015 she appeared in Series 3 of the
MTV reality program Ex on the Beach. The pre-launch
publicity materials stated that she was a 22-year female model and
in the first episodes she passed as such. However, in a side
interview she admitted that her age was 30 and
another contestant soon claimed during an argument
that she was "a man".
Just before having sex with one of the men
told him that she was 'intersex'.
She revealed in a heart to heart with another female contestant (watched
by nearly a million people) "I was meant to be a girl
... my whole childhood was ruined" - they then spent several intimate
nights together. It's almost certain that
the production company was fully aware of Laura's past, and she
negotiated a high appearance fee based on the likely drama
Two photos of Larissa from magazines published 8 years
apart. The outline of her breast implants is quite
in the left-hand picture (age 26) but seems cartoon-like in
the right-hand picture
In her early thirties, Larissa/Laura again tried to
use her extensive plastic surgery to advance her career, for example, claiming that she was spending
£100,000 to look like Katie Price. This culminated in a story
when, aged 34, she said that she
had spent £500,000 on 50+ procedures, including
eight breast procedures, seven rhinoplasty procedures (nose jobs) and
three Brazilian butt lifts!
Despite the problems,
Larissa's determination to be an attractive and passable
woman can only be admired.
2 of "Stealthy Transsexual Women"....