Author Topic: Why is passing so important to us?  (Read 16555 times)

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Offline suzifrommd

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Why is passing so important to us?
« on: January 16, 2015, 07:29:47 pm »
I've always assumed my motivation to "pass" has been driven for a desire not to be clocked. I don't like the weird stares. I don't like being misgendered by people who, once realizing I'm trans, can't drive the male image out of their heads. I like people to get to know me as a woman before they get to know me as a trans woman.

Now I'm wondering if it's that simple.

As I examine my motivations further, I think I fashioned my idea of what a woman looks like by looking at cis women. I hadn't met a trans woman until I was in my 20s. Maybe my ideal image of myself as a woman doesn't include someone who is recognizable as having been born with a male body.

I'm curious to hear from other transfolk of both genders. Is your interest in passing driven solely by practical concerns (social acceptance, for example), or does it run deeper? Is it somehow tied to your image of yourself as a member of your identified gender?
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Offline Devlyn

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2015, 07:41:31 pm »
I think for a lot of people, passing is like winning a contest. Truthfully, c'mon, let's be truthful.....you can see male in the face of almost every woman here. Myself included, but I openly identify as a crossdresser, and I'm usually in male mode. I get misgendered so to speak with miss, ma'am and lots of corrections thrown in.  Anguish level out of me?  0%

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Jill F

Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2015, 07:57:51 pm »
I don't know.  I went full time when I couldn't take another minute of "fake guy mode" and realized that I needed to start living for me instead of others' expectations.  I frankly didn't care anymore what anyone thought of me.  Let's face it, I got clocked a lot early on, but it didn't stop me. 

Miss_Bungle1991

Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2015, 07:58:41 pm »
Honestly, passing is important to me. I would be lying if I said otherwise. But, at the same time, I'm not going to boast about it when I do. That would be super lame to do that. Having said all that, I don't like getting involved with that whole "do you think I pass" <poo>? I don't care about that stuff. I think it's stupid to be obsessed with that. I just go by how things are out in the world. That's all that matters to me.

Offline JulieC

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2015, 09:44:59 pm »
I would have to say that passing is very important to me. I want people to see me on the outside how i see myself inside. I don't want anyone to doubt that I am a female, both inside and out. I think it would make my transition easier.
I would love to say I don't care how people see me or what they think but I just can't.
Always be yourself and follow your heart. Life is amazing and live it to the fullest.

Offline Hikari

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2015, 10:37:50 pm »
To me passing means a few things.

 The first is that passing validates me as a woman in the eyes of others, and that impacts how I am treated. The quality of life I have I attribute to passing beyond even my personality or mental attributes because if people label you as something, they will treat you as such so I need them to label me as "woman" in their mind.

The second is that, I am so over being trans. I mean seriously who wants to deal with gender being thrust into areas of their life where it doesn't have to be? The more I pass and the more I am treated like the woman I am, the less I have to deal with anything trans related. This makes my life at least a step closer to "normal" and it also takes a bunch of stress off of me that I would otherwise have. If I didn't pass it would eat at me everyday, that I kept having to explain to people and even to myself what I am.

The third, is that people seem to take me being a woman much more seriously, even if they know I wasn't born as one, if I look the part. It is like this for all things in life, if your lawyer is dressed in sweatpants then they won't be taken as seriously as a lawyer, no matter what degree they have. In my research of being trans, that absolute worse thing it seems to someones overall transition is not looking the part enough, and have people just not think that it is a serious deal.

So with those things in mind, it seems very simple that I would place a large emphasis on passing, because lots of my quality of life depends on it....Beyond that, it is also important to me because when I envision who I want to be ideally, that person doesn't look to have ever been male.

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Offline stephaniec

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2015, 11:05:29 pm »
to borrow a famous  phrase " Frankly my dear I don't give a damn " My purpose is to not commit suicide , that's just my reality and not to be interpreted in any another way , but as to how I view the debate of 'P and non P'. Oh wait ! I think that's a millennium prize debate in mathematics . sorry. to answer the question , no , I truly don't give a damn  how others view my need to heal myself.

Offline V M

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2015, 01:04:17 am »
Passing isn't the most important part of my life but it does feel good when it happens, it's about a 50/50 toss up that I'll pass or not

More important to me is feeling comfortable in my own skin and not feeling like I have to front some kind of 'Mr. Man' facade to appease society 

Possibly some people will never accept me as a woman and some may always view me as a rather kind gentleman of sorts, but I don't let it bother me

I know who I am inside, if a few others cannot quite grasp or wrap their head around it, it is not my problem 
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Offline Eva Marie

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2015, 01:18:42 am »
To me passing means a few things.

 The first is that passing validates me as a woman in the eyes of others, and that impacts how I am treated. The quality of life I have I attribute to passing beyond even my personality or mental attributes because if people label you as something, they will treat you as such so I need them to label me as "woman" in their mind.

The second is that, I am so over being trans. I mean seriously who wants to deal with gender being thrust into areas of their life where it doesn't have to be? The more I pass and the more I am treated like the woman I am, the less I have to deal with anything trans related. This makes my life at least a step closer to "normal" and it also takes a bunch of stress off of me that I would otherwise have. If I didn't pass it would eat at me everyday, that I kept having to explain to people and even to myself what I am.

The third, is that people seem to take me being a woman much more seriously, even if they know I wasn't born as one, if I look the part. It is like this for all things in life, if your lawyer is dressed in sweatpants then they won't be taken as seriously as a lawyer, no matter what degree they have. In my research of being trans, that absolute worse thing it seems to someones overall transition is not looking the part enough, and have people just not think that it is a serious deal.

So with those things in mind, it seems very simple that I would place a large emphasis on passing, because lots of my quality of life depends on it....Beyond that, it is also important to me because when I envision who I want to be ideally, that person doesn't look to have ever been male.

Hikari nailed it.

It is very important to me for people to see me as a woman and relate to me in that way. As I progress deeper and deeper into my transition I can see that people who knew me before as "him" just a few months ago are now shifting their perspective and are seeing and treating me as a female - the guys at work are now being exceptionally polite, holding doors open for me, and greeting me as a guy would greet a woman - and I do catch the occasional stare at my butt or chest, which has got to be weird to those guys knowing me previously as a guy and now seeing something that they like  :laugh: The women want to chat with me about girl things - perfect!

Out in the world I know that some people clock me and some don't which is fine with me. Even the ones that i'm pretty sure have clocked me still treat me as female. That's all I want.


Cindy

Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2015, 01:31:47 am »
Interesting post Suzi.

I think most people know my opinions about passing, the only person important to me is - me; and that is not meant in a narcissistic way.

And yes, if I have been invited to meet some trans*girls who I have not met before I can immediately pick them on sight, with exception of a few girls who have had extensive and successful FFS, but even then I usually pick them.

But that is no reason for despair, passing is between your ears (IMO). I'm a woman, no denies that, no one questions that, no one except a sad excuse of a sister in law ever misgenders me. Her problem is straight out jealousy, I have a fantastic life, she doesn't. So socially I am accepted, do I pass? Who cares? My BF has no issues taking me out to any function, he is proud for me to be his partner in any social event. So why do we worry so much?

But then we are female, we just automatically worry about how we look. If you take for example, gorgeous movie stars, they worry like crazy that they may look 'ugly' when they go out; why?

Do women have an insecurity gene? :laugh:

Donna Elvira

Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2015, 04:20:11 am »
Hi Suzi,
This is how I answered your question for myself about 3 years ago:

When I think feminine/female the associated words that come to my mind most spontaneously are: beauty, gentleness, delicacy, finesse, empathy, attention to others and no doubt seduction and sensuality also… It is both a physical image and a way of being that seem very coherent to me. I also willingly admit that it is, without any doubt, a highly idealized and “binary” image of woman. I have had enough experience of real women in my life to know that appearances can be deceptive …

However, if I didn’t have this idealized image, it is very unlikely that I would be attempting such an “unreasonable”, hugely disruptive, transition,  which contains so much intrinsic potential to end badly. Also, at a very practical level, for me this means that a person, represented by his/her  physique, is inseparable from their attitudes and behaviors, the two being complementary.  For example, it is all the more impossible for me to imagine myself living as a woman with a resolutely masculine physique that I believe our physique has a huge impact on the way we interact with others. If I am 6’6” and weigh more than 200 lbs, my impact on others will be very different from the impact I would have if I measured 5’ 3” and weighed 110 lbs. Also if I have a face with gently rounded features, I will have a different impact than a person with more angular and rougher features.

In my own case, at the physical level, it is definitely the face that counts most: the softness and finesse of female features, the openness of the eyes, the beauty of women’s smiles. To this day, when I look at woman around me, I am admiring, fascinated and, perhaps most of all, envious.
 
Without having too many illusions about what is feasible, it is probably because of this that last summer (2011), after 3 years of questioning and hesitation , I decided to do FFS (forehead, eye contour, nose and lips…) and that I will finish the work this coming summer. Even if I still have to wait before I can transition completely, I already have a face that is better aligned with how I feel deep down inside me. Not easy at all to erase 54 years of testosterone and living as a man but neither is it impossible and, overall, I am very happy with what has been done so far. Also, with a face that is already gentler than before, I feel gentler inside.   


For me, all of that is still valid today and from a practical point of view, I'm also very much on the same page as Hikari, I want to be seen unquestionably as a woman by others. It just makes life so much simpler and more comfortable. Happily, after a lot of "rework",  today it is mostly the case.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2015, 05:39:12 am by Donna E »

ThePhoenix

Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2015, 09:50:30 am »
I would think that part of it is about avoiding discrimination and violence.  That certainly is on my mind.  Hiding in plain site as it were.

Offline Beth Andrea

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2015, 10:11:51 am »
I have had people see me as a woman, then corrected themselves when they actually took a closer look...it felt good, very good, while it lasted.

Then there are the ones who say ma'am etc, with sincerity, but because *I* know I look guy-ish I know they're being polite and respectful...which I do appreciate, but it doesn't make me feel as good as the accidental passing.

It's just an ego thing, I think. For me, passing has become important, but not in a personally devastating way.
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Offline TamarasWay

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2015, 03:51:29 pm »
Is your interest in passing driven solely by practical concerns (social acceptance, for example), or does it run deeper? Is it somehow tied to your image of yourself as a member of your identified gender?

Yes.

Offline amber roskamp

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2015, 04:07:03 pm »
I think it is mostly social. We want to be allowed into our gender's spaces with out question. there is a lot of privilege that comes with passing. I know for me to when I envision my self I see a women and I want other people to see that too.

Offline AbbyKat

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2015, 05:54:49 pm »
I think for a lot of people, passing is like winning a contest. Truthfully, c'mon, let's be truthful.....you can see male in the face of almost every woman here. Myself included, but I openly identify as a crossdresser, and I'm usually in male mode. I get misgendered so to speak with miss, ma'am and lots of corrections thrown in.  Anguish level out of me?  0%

Hugs, Devlyn

You know... I'm not even at the stage of having to think about it yet but your perspective on this seems a bit, well, perspective-oriented.

You being a crossdresser means you live life as a man most of the time when many others need to do what they do in order to identify with themselves.  To those people, I very much doubt it is viewed as "winning a contest".

Personally, I know I'll be very affected by my ability to "pass" because it's all or nothing; either I live in the abject horror that fills my brain or I transition fully into what I know I am supposed to be.  There is no contest to win for me.  I only see it as a way out that doesn't end with a lifetime of anguish and depression only to be punctuated by a bitter death. 

Just saying... it's not a contest to everybody.

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2015, 06:06:29 pm »
Given there are so many people out there who are hostile towards trans people, or who have totally fetishised or effed up beliefs about trans people, the less I draw the attention of those people to me when I am in public the better. Despite being 6'3" I aim to blend in, and am grateful that I usually can.
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Offline Devlyn

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2015, 06:42:10 pm »
You know... I'm not even at the stage of having to think about it yet but your perspective on this seems a bit, well, perspective-oriented.

You being a crossdresser means you live life as a man most of the time when many others need to do what they do in order to identify with themselves.  To those people, I very much doubt it is viewed as "winning a contest".

Personally, I know I'll be very affected by my ability to "pass" because it's all or nothing; either I live in the abject horror that fills my brain or I transition fully into what I know I am supposed to be.  There is no contest to win for me.  I only see it as a way out that doesn't end with a lifetime of anguish and depression only to be punctuated by a bitter death. 

Just saying... it's not a contest to everybody.

And I specifically didn't say everybody.

"You being a crossdresser means you live life as a man most of the time when many others need to do what they do in order to identify with themselves."

Assume much? And why do you think I don't need to identify with myself, but others do? My life deserves to be as fulfilling as anyone else's. To that end, I don't let the opinions of others  affect me.

Hugs, Devlyn

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Offline Tori

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2015, 07:00:15 pm »
Passing is far more important to me now that I have left Paradise for Cowboy Country. It is a safety thing. A restroom thing. Also, I get to be me.

Gender is a weird social construct. Without the concept of gender, I doubt I would care as much about passing but, I would still be dysphoric without HRT.

Passing is weird. I am VERY much out as trans to my friends and family, and yet, it is strangers that I try to pass for a lot of the time. I want them to feel comfortable in my presence so as to avoid triggering any transphobic responses. Really though, the less I care, the less others seem to care.



Offline AbbyKat

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2015, 07:03:52 pm »
And I specifically didn't say everybody.

"You being a crossdresser means you live life as a man most of the time when many others need to do what they do in order to identify with themselves."

Assume much? And why do you think I don't need to identify with myself, but others do? My life deserves to be as fulfilling as anyone else's. To that end, I don't let the opinions of others  affect me.

Hugs, Devlyn

It was because you actually said you are usually in man-mode.  I wasn't assuming.  I said what I did because your perspective on it is from a person who admittedly lives in either mode where many cannot.

It wasn't a hack on you at all nor do I feel like your experience is any less valid.  But, to many, "passing" is important because there's nothing else, no other skins to wear.

I only responded as I did because comparing it to a contest seemed a bit like downplaying the actual need many feel for that holy grail of "passing". 

I'm learning soooo much from all of you and the different types of people who go through this so, believe me when I say that I wasn't minimizing your perspective at all as any perspective from here is more than what I have, even if it's not aligned with what my experiences are or will be.  In other words, I don't even have a cloud to stand on yet, much less a cloud of judgement.

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