Let’s Talk About Stealth: Disclosure Shame

Hello all! Hope everyone had a safe, enjoyable holiday season. For my first post, of the new year, it’s going to get introspective, so let’s dive in.

Last night, I disclosed my status to someone at my new second job. I did it partly because I felt this person could be trusted and also because I perceive some chemistry there.

Here’s the thing: The minute I did it, I regretted it. Not because the reaction was bad or because I suddenly didn’t feel like she could be trusted. I just felt like shit about it. Plain and simple.

I like living my life stealth; don’t get me wrong. However, every time I’ve disclosed like this I feel shame or guilt, paranoia and self-doubt about how that person may perceive me now. I’m not really sure how to deal with these feelings and I know that they’re probably not totally healthy ones.

I sometimes wonder if this would be alleviated by bottom surgery, but no matter how much surgery you have, I personally feel like you should always disclose to a potential partner.

Does this mean that I have some internalized negative feelings about my trans status? Probably. The thing is, I’m not totally ashamed of my trans status, but I would definitely prefer to have been born a cisgender male. I certainly support other transmen and seek out support for myself, I just… don’t like being defined by my trans status either.

Ultimately, I’m sure alleviating these feelings comes down to boosting my own self-esteem and confidence. It’s hard to know where to go though when dealing with dysphoria, feelings of “differentness” and my own definition of masculinity.

Any stealth guys out there have tips or other experiences to share?

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2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Stealth: Disclosure Shame

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  1. I feel you. I’m also semi-stealth–out to close friends but not out at work, with acquaintances, etc. For me, I think a lot of the anxiety and shame around disclosing come from bad past experiences plus my mind freaking out about all the bad things I know could happen.

    Basically I hate telling people, haha. I hate when they’re shocked and I hate it when they’re not shocked; I hate it when they have a million questions and when they have none. So I choose very carefully. I recently had a good experience telling some new friends I’ve been getting closer with. What helps me the most is just honoring my own feelings about disclosure–not pressuring myself to disclose more or differently, not pressuring myself to have only good feelings around disclosing, and by the same token not censoring myself when I feel moved to disclose.

    I’ve had the same thought about bottom surgery, but like you said, it wouldn’t change the fact that sometimes, trans status needs to be discussed. There is no surgery that can make us not trans. I’m on a journey right now where I’m learning how to hold the fact that I am a man, plain and simple, and I’m also different–and that’s not a bad thing. It’s challenging. It’s only recently (~5 years into transition) that I feel confident and secure enough to honor and acknowledge my difference as okay and not invalidating my status as a man.

  2. I feel you man, especially on the second paragraph. I haven’t had any bad (yet) disclosure experiences, so my shame/negative feelings come from my own internalized negativity surrounding my transsexualism.

    I feel better and better the longer I’ve been medically transitioned and have been working out and trying to stay as active as possible to make my body more masculine. Ultimately, even though I know that surgery isn’t the total answer, I become more and more sure as time passes that bottom surgery is in my future.

    I know it took me a long time to respond, but I really appreciate your thoughts and comments!

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