What’s it like to be a trans woman?
Allison Washington

Woodworked is an older term for stealth — that is, living one’s life without anyone knowing your trans history — and I’m coming to prefer woodworked to stealth. I don’t really feel stealthy. I do feel like a woodworked woman.

To me, stealth sounds like an active choice to ‘sneak undercover’, whereas woodworked sounds more like a passive situation where society has forced you into the woodwork.

The latter better describes how I feel about it.

(Interestingly, I’d never heard either term until I came into contact with the trans community this year, after 26+ years of being isolated ‘as-cis’ in cis society — i.e., woodworked. No one I knew before I disappeared in 1990 used any special term for it — we called it ‘assimilation’, and it was just the assumed final state.)

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