"He was Italian, handsome and it would have maybe worked had I chosen to be stealth, live in his shadow, and protect his image of being a straight male in the world or whatever," she said during the virtual festival about being told ber her ex to go stealth, i.e. keep her identity as a trans person a secret.
She said that at the time, she thought it was the best she could get, and there many other trans people who feel the same way. "Even with the fact that he won't really take you home to see his family or they honk outside the door and take him to dinner or...threaten your relationship all the time or whatever, this is the best it's going to get," she remembers thinking.
Eventually, though, she found strength enough to stand on her own. "The audacity that I had to say that I deserve more and to love myself enough to leave that and bet on myself after years of having to figure it out."
Trying to live stealth took a toll on Ross, but she's so much happier now, even if she's single. "I am very pleased with where my life has gone, how I've blossomed into the woman I am now," she said. "But I wasn't as secure in myself and my body, in my appearance."
That insecurity led to constant fear and stress, enough so that it was holding her back in her acting. "I was always terrified of being found out and so in my acting classes in college...I was just so nervous. My teachers didn't know, no one knew for my safety on campus," she remembers.
"I would never get to greatness hiding parts of myself in the sense that as an actor you need to be able to let go into the role and not be worried about what I look like, what I sound like."