Monday, 5 December 2011

Letter to a friend who went deep stealth

Dear A,
    Earlier this year, you had your GRS and promptly disappeared. You dropped all your friends and moved house. I wrote a blog post about it at the time, about my sense of hurt and loss.
    I'm told that the other day you unexpectedly visited a mutual friend. You now live only a few miles away, you've changed your name again and nobody in your new life knows your past. Our mutual friend tells me you'd like to meet in town sometime, maybe have a coffee or something.
    Y'know what? I'd love to renew our friendship, I really would. But before that happens I need to know which A I'm getting to know again. You see, I'm in a somewhat fragile state, just as I was in April. I'm on hefty anti-depressants, I need medication to sleep, and the slightest upset affects me deeply, makes me cry and ruins my confidence for days. You may remember this, it's a side-effect of living with a condition called gender dysphoria. I've been fighting it for a very long time and though I'm not giving up it's a battle I may lose.
    So if I'm going to meet an A who feels quite happy knowing a scruffy bloke but would drop me like a hot potato if I turned into an oversized woman, then no. You've hurt me once by doing that, and I'm not going to willingly set myself up for another shot. Run away and have a nice life in your closet.
    But if the A I'm getting to know again is here for keeps, then I'd love to welcome back the attractive and funny girl I last saw in April. If you're going to be there for me no matter what, then so am I for you. When the inevitable happens and someone figures out your past, you've got a local friend to hold your hand if you need it, I'm not going anywhere else in a hurry.
     So which is it to be? If the latter, then mine's an Americano, black.


  1. It must have been hard for her too Jenny. She was running scared and wanted to start completely afresh. She probably didn't give much thought to the fact that her actions might have hurt some people. She has realised now and is making tentative steps to regain lost ground by agreeing to meet up with a mutual friend. That is the scenario I see but it may be that she doesn't want to re-kindle all former friendships. All you can do is ask. If you get rejected then you simply have to accept it.

    Shirley Anne xxx

  2. A Brecht poem. Sorry if I've referenced it before

    There is no greater crime than leaving.
    In friends, what do you count on? Not on what they do.
    You never can tell what they will do. Not on what they are. That
    May change. Only this: their not leaving.
    He who cannot leave cannot stay. He who has a pass
    In his pocket - will he stay when the attack begins? Perhaps
    He will not stay.
    If it goes badly with me, perhaps he will stay. But if it goes
    Badly with him, perhaps he will leave.
    Fighters are poor people. They cannot leave. When the attack
    Begins they cannot leave.
    He who stays is known. He who left was not known. What left
    Is different from what was here.
    Before we go into battle I must know: have you a pass
    In your coat pocket? Is a plane waiting for you behind the battlefield?
    How many defeats do you want to survive? Can I send you away?
    Well then, let's not go into battle.

  3. This hits close to home, Jenny. I too thought I had a friend for life. And now she's been gone for a year. I finally got over the original hurt of it, but I'm not sure I'd want to invite that back for a second round. A very valid question you are asking.

  4. I guess that if you life was sort of invisible before transition, then you can easily be invisible again. For a lot of us that is not an option!
    You have asked good questions.

  5. I've read enough of your blog to know why you are resisting a change. But if you were really born with the transsexual birth defect, then refusing treatment makes as much sense as not dealing with, say, heart disease. Treatment is distruptive, no doubt about that, but refusing treatment is harmful. The fact that you are taking "hefty" antidepressants, need medication to sleep, and are in a generally very fragile state makes it clear that living with your condition could not be much more miserable.

    Gender dysphoria sounds to me like being dissatisfied with masculinity. Perhaps that's what the condition really is, not transsexualism. I imagine you know. But even if it's a gender condition, obviously it's pretty serious.

    It's interesting that you refer to A as being in a closet. I doubt she feels that way. You also mention the inevitability of someone finding out her past. That might indeed happen (especially if she really hadn't moved far away), but I wouldn't say it's inevitable. Do I detect a desire for that to happen?

    I understand your wariness about A and perhaps some lingering resentment. She hurt you. You have to take care of yourself, and as much as you might want to be friends with her, you have to weigh the benefit against the potential harm. I hope you can work it out. And I hope you can work things out for yourself so that you can find peace.


  6. Evening all,
    I have just spent an entertaining interlude reading about Berthold Brecht, thanks Dru!

    I just don't want to go through the same thing all over again. If a friend dumps us because we are trans, we call them transphobic. But not it seems if a trans friend dumps us because we are trans.

    I can see why she wants to go stealth. I know plenty of very stealthy people. But the difference is that though they are stealthy in their everyday lives they haven't shunned any friends.

    And as far as I am concerned, if you live your life in constant fear of a personal secret being discovered, you are in a closet. It can be something harmless, for example I'd describe myself as a closet lover of McDonald's hamburgers (Complicated, it's marrying someone from Over There wot done it) or it can be something like A, but either way it's a closet.

    I can't say I want A to be noticed, but knowing her as I do I think she will be. FFS only gets you so far.

  7. Hi Jenny,

    I have, fortunately, not had to deal with this issue. I have given my best friend in the world every possible out I could think of...

    "Go on and live your life"

    "Stay around me and it will just remind you of what you once were"

    "I'm moody and you don't need to experience GD all over again"

    I've tried and tried to give her every out I could think of and she sticks with me. She's a true friend and she has helped me so much.

    I can understand her reasoning for going stealth but I do hope your friend becomes a true friend again, Jenny.

    Oh, and if my friend had taken me up on my offer to let her go.....frankly, I don't know if I could have survived it, but I wanted to do it for her.