A subject that just doesn't seem to go away is the question of how "out" sexual minorities are, or should be. I am a strong believer in the theory that no one should stand in judgment of another's choice in this regard. I've even posted about that before.
But, my post last month on how would you react to being asked if you were trans has engendered some significant commentary and nexyjo recently put up her own post about an experience she just had at work.
Queer folk are in an interesting double-bind, I believe. On the one hand, we're told that people don't care about our sexuality (or gender identity) as long as we aren't in people's faces about it (as long as we don't 'flaunt' it). On the other hand, we are still at a significant social disadvantage as compared to other groups -- our ability to marry the person of our choice is but one currently topical example. I believe that it is fairly well accepted that the only way to change that reality is for more people to know someone who's queer -- and in order for that to happen, more people have to be out. So, while "fixing the system" requires that we as a group become very public and out, the system as it exists currently imposes some significant risk to each individual who chooses to come out.
Add to the not-insignificant-risk of physical danger that queers in general are subject to the increased likelihood of physical attack that transgenders bear and it creates yet another powerful reason to stay in the closet, to stay stealth. But, of course, if lots of us don't come out and stand proudly before society, that risk will never diminish.
I also believe, as I argued in comments to my "how would you react" post that much of our desire to stay stealth is a function of our own internalized transphobia. But, I have to admit that I may be speaking only for myself and for no other trans person. There is little doubt in my mind that I have internalized transphobia. Sometimes (more often than you might believe), I just don't want to be trans. I want the whole world with whom I interact to see me only as a woman and not as a trans-woman. Swimming upstream can be very tiring.
So, finally, I've concluded that, for me, I must be out. I'm not out to everyone I know, but I also don't make it a project to protect that. I am privileged. I am priviliged by the color of my skin and by the sex designator of my birth certificate and by the class in which I was raised. And, even after transition, I am priviliged by virtue of my education and my ability to get and hold onto a job. As such, my risk of physical danger -- no matter how out I am -- is greatly reduced as compared to many, even most, transpeople. So, I cannot stand in judgment of them. But, again, for me, it is important that I be out, that I do what little I can to help ease the way for the next generation.