Many books have been written about public transsexual people. Many stealth trans people live happy, fulfilling lives. This is a story, however, of someone stealth who is tortured in life, abused as a child, attacked for marrying into a conservative world, who feels she cannot defend herself without raising her transness which she has learned to hate—and who grows through all that during a time of crisis in her life toward self-acceptance and community. Stealth: the Dark Side of Transsexual is a Dark Side novel, an exposé about problems a stealth transsexual has over 41 years in transition and how she learns to grow through them: her marriage, legal hassles, doctors misunderstanding, opposition to being labelled transgender, assaults, oppressions, rape, and her inability to defend herself without revealing her secrets. Stealth novel follows Keiko “Kay” Knapp, a Japanese-American, bi-racial, stealth transsexual, throughout her life to age fifty-nine, including forty-one years in transition. She has “S.R.S.” in Asia, becomes a flight attendant, and enjoys a long marriage to a defense contractor associated with military bases. She does not see herself as transgender—in fact, she sees herself as victimized by the paradigm’s popularity—which causes her great distress. Yet she learns to integrate by the ending. Unfortunately, due to a high level of integration with conservative groups in her personal life, she also suffers assaults, intrusions, burglaries, threats, rejections, manipulations from others, mistrust, and lives a life of fear and, apart from her husband, loneliness. It may seem that too many things happen to Kay in this novel, good and bad, but events shared herein for her life do span decades and are actually few compared to day-to-day and year-to-year events that can occur in an actual person’s life. The focus of the novel’s incidents are, instead, kinds of things that can happen over decades in a stealth transsexual’s life. Stealth: The Dark Side of Transsexual is written from the perspective of older stealth transsexuals, looking back. Issues that Kay had earlier with denial, about what she attained in transition and how people take her, passed long ago. S:TDSTs tells her story and does not rubber stamp popular social movements. It is called “…The Dark Side…” for a reason, sharing things often glossed over by others, even problems Kay causes for herself with the stealth aspect of her life, making things harder than they need to be. While sex, love, happiness and joy are part of her life, the novel doesn’t gloss over Kay’s hardships: an inability to actually change biologic sex as she craves, doctors who are untrustworthy, a medical system that reinforces deception from her, arguments with transgenders, personal growth or the delay thereof, violence, legal problems, the way families or “friends” may manipulate to gain secrets, gossip, the way group dynamics change with discovery, hate crimes, oppressions, etc.
By Aimee Norin, 2014