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What does it mean?

A “stealth” transgender person is one who has transitioned to live in a different gender and who is not informing those around them of their gender history.

In places which are less tolerant, being stealth is helpful to avoid discrimination and violence.

Thankfully, with better acceptance of transgender people, this is becoming something which is an option rather than a necessity.

Mental health

A “stealth” identity may affect your mental health. Medical studies have suggested that being able to disclose your transgender identity to others can be a protective factor associated with fewer mental health problems 1, p.181.

For other people, being “stealth” may be a practical necessity. You may wish to discuss your concerns and options in counselling sessions with a counsellor or a transgender health specialist to help make the right decision for you.

  1. 1.
    Arcelus, Jon and De Cuypere, Griet (2017) “Mental Health Problems in the Transgender Population: What Is The Evidence?,” in Bouman, W. P. and Arcelus, J. (eds.), The Transgender Handbook: A Guide for Transgender People, Their Families and Professionals, Nova Science Publishers Inc, pp. 173–188. [online] Available from:

Change focused

"Stealth" is a word that describes people by changes they have made or plan to make.

Words like this can:

  • make it more visible that those changes are possible
  • make it more visible that some people want or need those changes
  • make it easier to find people to discuss those changes with

However, words like this can also:

  • imply everyone should want the same things
  • imply everyone should do the same things
  • imply that people who do not make a particular change are inferior or fraudulent
  • help create an expectation that people’s history is public and not private

Think carefully before using this word to describe someone or a group of people - they may not wish to be described that way.

Errors and omissions

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