Emilia* sent me the note below in November 2005. It is a nice companion piece to the section on internet safety and stealth.

* name changed to protect her privacy.

Your website prompted me to react.

Something about my background: I am post-op for the fourth year and I live in one of the most violent countries in Europe. My passing was poor in the beginning but has greatly improved since I have lost weight remarkably, from BMI 51 to 28 something, which is by most people seen normal for my frame. I have been greatly abused and ridiculed, but that is now history. Some could call me a very happy person but dark clouds shadow my sky.

About the internet:

The Prime Minister of Finland said that gossip magazines where you can phone anonymous hints about the private life of public figures is the Stasi of modern times. I think the Internet is Stasi and KGB combined. If you want to be paranoid, I and my friend have traveled in a country not known to respect free speech and he encounters troubles with the local officials all the time, whilst the officials have been very welcoming with me and some have even smiled. The only thing that is different with us is that I am known in the internet to write positive things about that country whilst he is known for his sharp criticism.

"Road to hell is paved with good intentions". It is not the bad people that you should be afraid of, it is the good people. I put my biographical information with my name in them in stories intented for people's advice. The other was behind a password in the internet, the other was printed material. Years afterwards this article allong with the whole magazine from year one onwards was put on the web site, so if you google with my name, you can find the article. I asked them kindly to remove it and they did, but it is still in the google archives.

The passworded site died, but however there was a person who thought that the biographies could be useful so he moved them to his own site, which also died, but the zombie still wanders in the google archives forever.

Another story is these people who compare and connect texts based on the writing style. They may have a bizarre picture of you which they insist is correct and they are also ready to say that in public.

About street safety:

People are pack animals. If you can be identified being different in ANY way, the ridiculers see that you are free game. With me it was not as much me being ts, but it was more me being fat and ts. Being fat attracts attention and aggression. Fat people are easier targets than lean people, because they have wondered outside the pack. Fat people are not seen in control of their eating so the majority can as well imagine that we are not in control of our sexuality either.

Another point is that a lot of people, employers, friends and abusers have misinterpreted me. When I have been shy, tense, scared, stressed or feel threatened, they have felt that I send out aggressive signals. That is totally unintentional. With friends I have been given a second chance, with employers I haven't. Abusers can interpret fright as you challenging them.

Unlike your web site says, all the abusers have been unknown to me and they share one thing in common: They have tried to ensure their own precarious position in the world (two were drug abusers, one was a child molestor) by blaming innocent others.

Mixed hints:

People may think that there is something weird about you, but they cannot figure out what. I have "let them find out"; seemingly unintentionally that I am a lesbian and ashamed of it, because I am a Christian. Give the guard dogs a bone to chew and they are happy and leave you alone. I am not really a Christian lesbian. "My mom was a refugee", this is what I tell people, and "I was mocked as a child because I was a daughter of a refugee. She was hush hush about her past. I traveled back to her home village and now I understand why she doesn't want to talk about it" (this story is true). "First time in my life I felt connectedness to my mom, whom I otherwise resemble. Now, when there are new immigrants (from the country my family is a refugee from), people accept us old refugees fully, but I am still cautious with people". You'd be surprised how many people have a similar story to tell in a country where 20% of the population are old refugees or their offspring.

The story has many good elements, people can relate to it and I have opened my mouth.

You have to run with the bulls. For instance it is forbidden and unusual to bring denatured alcohol into one country (for a trekking stove), but I put it into a bottle of booze. Since the country is a heaven for cheap booze, it is very usual that people going there bring some with them so they can start drinking before the first booze shops appear.

Being a shy loner attracts attention. It is like riding a bicycle and stopping. When you keep pedaling, that is, being social, you make mistakes but you can correct them. But if you stop pedaling, you will go nowhere and eventually you will fall. From my travel company I knew a man that was a heavy drinker, but he was always happy and joking so that well compensated his drinking.

I was in the poor countryside of a poor East-European country and I read from a guide that "conservative dress is recommended". So I did dress conservatively. The other tourists were like exclamation marks attracting beggars, I was left alone. To my amusement, I even received the casual rudeness and sloppy service of the locals even when I possessed money equivalent of their two months' salary. People don't have much in the means of entertainment in the backwoods of East Europe, so people are curious about foreign tourists as it is. Haing transsexual in their place would have been equal to the past visit of Lenin and equally unpopular. Anyway, even when coming home people treated me as national of the country I just visited!

That was a test for my passing.

It is good to know that birds of a feather flock together. If and when a TS obsesses about their looks, what kind of people does that attract. I attracted a photomodel and a photographer and that sorts of people. It was not long until they started whispering behind my back, but a friend backed me up. Later on we laughed about the whole thing: "He knows women". "No, he doesn't: He has never seen one - he thought I was transgender!". A case example how being social can salvage a threatening situation.

Would you like to make an anonymous contribution?

If you have any advice you'd like to share, please contact me , and I'll give it a permanent (and anonymous) home.