Hello Stephanie, Nice to meet you! Such a great question — have I met a lot on non-passing trans people. Well . . . you kinda know when you go to one of the infrequent gatherings, like Southern Comfort, that likely you are seeing trans people (and others within the rainbow) so that’s kinda when you know and the T-dar is working overtime.
Having lived lesbian as many years as I did, my gay-dar is much better, especially for women, all of which to say it that I do not clock many people on a daily basis.
It may be that 99% of transitions live stealth (eventually) and 1% are out, but each time 1% speaks, it sounds to the world that they are speaking for 100% of transitioners. Pretty soon we start to believe everyone is coming out and we are jerks if we don’t — hence the article I wrote.
I sense there is a general impression that being out is good — even “patriotic.” It’s like in the HBO film Breastmen where the Chris Cooper character says no one is standing up to the claim the silicon breast implants are ok because a woman won’t stand up at a public meeting and say she has implants and that she’s, “pleased as punch.” (Great movie by the way.)
And yet . . . you ever meet those “unicorns?” The ones who are self-admitted but even the most highly refined -dar can’t detect. Flawless voice. Perfect mannerisms and not over the top — Westchester housewives, or do you prefer West Palm?
I never had kids and was a few years older than you when I went full-on to transition. I did not have a wife and kids and career to hang onto. The less invested in the faux life, the better, at least in my case. That’s the way I look at it.
Yeson Voice clinic in Korea does great voice work if you are young and ready to work hard to restore the voice. Jenny’s voice is amazing. (She’s his poster girl and she’s on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIE5I2Dm808.) And there are superb voice coaches. But voice conveys power and authority and that’s something hard to give up as you watch yourself losing everything around you.
Every person has to make trade-offs. Can Lana Wachowski go stealth? She could, but I know I wouldn’t if I were in her shoes. She’s lose a lot. Caitlyn Jenner was going to get outed eventually. In the photos even a couple years before it was painfully obvious what was underway.
My circumstances allowed a trade-off of moving from one large metro area to another and simply slipping into the world of women while attempting to make the least amount of ripples.