Comic 478 - Visibility

7th Jan 2014, 7:28 PM in Ch. 19: Vincent's Story
Average Rating: 5 (11 votes)
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Author Notes:

Jocelyn 7th Jan 2014, 7:28 PM edit delete
This page was not originally in the script, but this is something I've been kinda wanting to talk about for a while in this comic.

For those less familiar with the terminology, "stealth" is when a transgender person is just trying to blend in. They only reveal that they are trans maybe to their very closest family, friends, lover (if that). But anyone else, including most friends, co-workers, casual acquaintances, etc, will probably never ever know. Mainly, it's about a desire of the individual to not have to deal with prejudices/questions/etc that can come with being transgender. Both Rain and Jessica would be classified as stealth.

Trans folk who are "visible" are essentially the opposite. While they aren't exactly going up to random strangers and outing themselves to anyone who will listen (well, some might), they are usually out to their extended families, friends, co-workers, etc. In short, anyone they might see in their everyday life is probably aware of the individual's trans status (with maybe one or a few people strategically left out of the loop because for one reason or another). Vincent is very open to everyone, and thus, visible. Incidentally, I'm also visible (kinda hard not to be when you write a trans-themed comic publicly accessible to pretty much the whole world that has your name and photo attached to it). XD

The reason I wanted to address this, is that I have actually noticed a lot of in-fighting in the trans community over this. Visible people claiming being stealth is "transphobic". Stealth people claiming visibility "outs everyone". Thankfully, not everyone is like this (I really don't see it much here, but I've seen and heard it elsewhere more than I care for) It all rubs me the wrong way. As Vincent says here, trans folk have to work extra hard to be able to express themselves the way they want to. And I think it's kind of horrible to go through that and then try to tell someone else how they should live their lives.

With that in mind, I don't exactly want to tell anyone what to do, but can I make a humble suggestion and request that we all just "live and let live?" The reality is that if being stealth is what makes you comfortable, be stealth. If you'd rather be an open book with no secrets, be visible. There are pros and cons to both, so I don't feel like there's one that's literally better than the other. So just be you, let others be them.

Maybe this isn't even that big of a problem. Maybe I just happen to know the handful, but it's been bugging me, so I just wanted to say my piece. Discussions, as always, are absolutely welcome.

Rain, all characters and all other aspects of the story are copyright material belonging to me.
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j-eagle12212012 7th Jan 2014, 7:59 PM edit delete reply
You put it best, live and let live.
shastab24 7th Jan 2014, 9:01 PM edit delete reply
I have no problem with people who are stealth. Now, I do feel that in the past the tendency to go stealth (which especially happened after SRS) was problematic, as it left so few activists to give visibility, but I never blame the people, just the trend (like you can complain about so few action movies starring women, but you can't blame the movies individually, as they are actually blameless). Heck, now with so much visibility happening, the trend isn't even a problem.

That said, I would prefer everyone be out. I'd never force it, but it's a preference. Or maybe I should edit that: I prefer everyone have a situation where they CAN be out, with supportive family and friends, and the ability to hold a job afterwards. That would be awesome.
Some Ed 14th Jun 2017, 7:55 PM edit delete reply
It depends on the movie. I can only vaguely recall one movie I felt deserved some blame for lack of female stars of action movies. I don't remember which movie it was, so I'll give a hypothetical example instead: If someone made a Wonder Woman movie which relegated the role of Wonder Woman to such a minor part that she was no longer considered the star of the movie, but rather some guy was, that movie could be blamed. I'm pretty sure it'd also be the sort of bomber I remember the flick I'm trying to remember was. (I *think* I saw it while "Up all night" with Gilbert Goddamned He's Annoying! back in college.)
Jen Done 8th Jan 2014, 12:33 AM edit delete reply
I really wish I could be out all the time, I'm just honestly scared of things that could happen to me if my trans* status became apparent... It's still technically legal in this state to discriminate against people based on gender presentation :( So I actually go to great lengths to not only hide my trans* status, but act more feminine than I really am just to divert suspicion... I think if money were less of an issue for me, I might be willing to put myself out there like I really want to. I'm not ashamed of being trans* at all, I'm just scared T_T
Jadelynn 8th Jan 2014, 1:27 AM edit delete reply
Auspicious timing on this page, for me.

I am currently working on being more visible. Stealth is unfortunately not an option for me, as everyone I know, a good portion of my extended family, and families of friends know me as . . . male. This is due to how long it took me to come out about this. Since I plan to transition, I would essentially be out to everyone I know anyway.

I would probably prefer stealth, though. I mean, even if I were stealth, if someone asked, I'd openly admit it, but that's because I don't like lying. I'd just prefer it not be something that has to come up often. Like, people meet me, assume I'm female, we go on as if it's normal.

. . . actually that sounds kind of possible anyway. Is there like some sort of happy medium between Stealth and Visibility? That'd what I'd be.
Zi 24th Aug 2015, 1:56 AM edit delete reply
That's how I am. I will tell people I trust, but not most people, or like, at work. I had far too many headaches just trying to have bathroom access right after transition. Seriously. That had to have been illegal.
DocMesa 8th Jan 2014, 1:01 PM edit delete reply
Vincent is frigging awesome. ^_^
Dagana` 9th Jan 2014, 6:17 AM edit delete reply
Wow, just wow. I just caught up after a week or two, and I must say. well written. I had to stop and literally clap.

Also, for those who this well help here. I found this on tumblr and felt the need to share it amongst those who needed to see it.

"The child I babysit sometimes is 5 years old. Last time I went to take care of him I noticed he has this awesome painting of the moon in his bedroom. He told me his mothers friend painted it. After he told me the artists name he then explained to me “She used to be a boy but she didn’t feel good so now she just takes medicine and it helps her to be a girl. She feels better”

It’s literally that easy to explain it to kids. "
KinglyPrince 18th Jan 2014, 11:38 PM edit delete reply
I'm terribly low key about this sort of thing. But I admire people that are more open about it. Wish I was that brave.
Akane 23rd Jun 2016, 9:55 PM edit delete reply
Personally I would rather go stealth in my heart but visible in my mind. Saying this pre-transition, but the hardship I have to fight to this day, for even the slightest hope of getting to finally transition someday, is one hell of an agony which I wouldn't wish even for my worst enemy. For that reason, I'd love to stand up and be there for my other trans siblings out in the world, to help them get there, knowing how painstacking it can be if somone gets the worst end of life with technically everyone refusing to assist in any way...I wish to speak up in hopes of showing the world how trans people are as much a normal part of any society as the cis majority. At the same time though, after all rough and tumble it would feel more comforting to just live stealth and be at peace with myself and my existence in the world as I's not an easy topic at all. But it's definitely something that's good to see addressed in such a popular comic, which happens to be my favorite fiction.
MarinaDeer 25th Jun 2019, 4:09 AM edit delete reply
I can totally see Vincent's point in this one. I myself am very open about my trans status, and have since had 5 friends so far come out as trans, citing my visibility and openness about it as an inspiration. I know people who prefer to pass and not be seen as trans at all and it's fair for them to do that too as they avoid hassle and pain that comes from being visibly, publicly transgender.
Hooman Bean 21st Nov 2020, 3:52 PM edit delete reply
I love How Rain's all like "I didn't know there were so many of us!" Same though. I found out there's a trans kid who lives down my street and my reaction was almost that exactly.
Ron 25th Apr 2022, 2:59 PM edit delete reply
I'm kinda stealth by accident. I have told all my friends! All 6 of them. But generally I don't like sharing such intimate details about myself, like how I don't usually mention my religion or where exactly I live.
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