Some transsexual people never get “read” as transsexual. This is known as “Stealth”.
Stealth is a particularly poisonous version of the Beauty Myth, that beautiful people are better, and we should all strive to be beautiful- and our beauty is never enough. If “she looks like a man” is a particularly hurtful insult, how much more hurtful when I actually do. A bit. Not everyone reads me, but most people do, fairly quickly. Few comment on it: just as on meeting someone you do not comment on the purple birthmark half-covering her face, so people don’t usually say, “So you’re a tranny, then?”
Some people do not get read. One friend achieved stealth by changing job, city and friends when she transitioned. She retained one friend from Before, apart from her contacts in the “trans community”. She has a perfect right to get on with her life, and no obligation to campaign for other trans people, or to come out, and suffer bad consequences for doing so.
“My value as a human being does not depend on my physical appearance,” I declaim, portentously, and people who are pretty have life easier. Looking weird sucks. And- one gets on, as best one can, I suppose.
It is of more than academic interest to me that in April, Chris Wilson, a trans man, was convicted in Scotland of obtaining sexual intimacy by fraud, because he failed to disclose his trans history. He had casual sex. He had lied about his age, claiming that he was 16 rather than 22- with female bone structure, he looks younger- but the charge was that he had failed to disclose his trans status.
Why should I ask permission to be me? Pick someone up in a pub, go to a nice quiet place- hotel room, her house, the lavs- and then I have to say, by the way I am Trans. Is that OK with you? Some jurisdictions specify that recklessly infecting someone with an STD is a criminal offence, and Wilson’s case makes me equivalent. Someone might be happy to have casual sex with me, who would not be happy to have it with a trans woman.
It means that I am female by consent- not just of the Gender Recognition Panel, but of everyone, and anyone can withdraw that consent. I say I decide what sex I am, I decide how I should express myself, and while I want to be presentable, no-one gets a veto.
Trans women have objected to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill on the grounds that a person with a Gender Recognition Certificate has to disclose gender history to a prospective spouse, or that spouse can have the marriage declared void, later. However, the Bill will also reveal the person without a GRC. As same sex and opposite sex marriages are slightly different legal institutions, when the trans woman without a GRC marries she must be registered as the “husband”.