Author Topic: Why is passing so important to us?  (Read 12638 times)

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Online Dena

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #60 on: June 15, 2015, 10:45:36 pm »
For me passing means eliminating my medical history as the first subject of a conversation even if it isn't mentioned. For me the goal of becoming a female was be treated no different than a woman would be in normal society. I don't have to be beautiful to accomplish this as many CIS women aren't.
I am proud of the battle I fought to get where I am today and I am comfortable discussing it, but I would like to understand the real world of being female better because I did such a terrible job of being a male. I love the company of this board and I will remain here as long as possible but there is another world out there that also has something to offer and I would like to learn all about it as well. Strange as it may seem, pre surgical I wasn't able to explore the world. Post surgical I had a roommate that tended to block this desire. The grieving period also prevented me from wanting more but in the last few months my grieving has ended and I have discovered a world that I should get to know. For me this is going to be a bit more complex than putting on an outfit and going out. In some ways my image is 30 years out of date and it's going to take some work but I am willing to do it. In many ways I am much like those of you who are newly minted and for the first time are exploring the world in your new role.
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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #61 on: June 15, 2015, 10:59:28 pm »
Ahh, one of those threads that makes me feel like an outsider amongst the trans community..

Why? Because once I reached the point of true self acceptance, my worries about passing went away.. I know I don't pass 100%, but I also don't care. I shop for women's clothes. I use the women's bathrooms. Almost all of my friends are women. All my sexual partners are women, and yes, even they see me as a woman. I live my life as the woman I know myself to be. And I have almost zero issues doing any of it.

In comparison to many here, I've had fairly sub-standard results from hormones. C'est la vie. I don't get stink-eye in the ladies.. Lesbians don't run away screaming. So, on some level, I must pass - but I'd argue it's as much my attitude and confidence in myself as it is my looks.

Offline AquaWhatever

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #62 on: December 31, 2017, 06:11:41 pm »
For me passing isn't I guess as some would say "deceiving" the outside to see a man who was a born a woman.
It's more of "Hey, I'm a masculine man, and I will dress and look as such because that's who I am".
Same goes if your a fem female or fem guy or whatever you may be.
I do not want to be mistaken as a woman because I am not one.
Biologically yes, that's as far as it goes.

I'm not ashamed of being trans, but it's not as much part of my make-up as it is to some people.
You don't see cis people introducing themselves as cis men/women so why should I introduce myself as trans?
I'm a man with a deformity and I take harmones and (for now) bind to fix it.

Offline Allison S

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #63 on: December 31, 2017, 07:23:22 pm »
I plan on telling the least amount of people about my transition. It's not that I'm ashamed. Actually the opposite. I've lived an incredible life 27 years as a male. My 28th year (yes I outed myself I'm a 1990 baby) will be the best yet.

My family, close friends and current coworkers will know. But that's about it. I want the male me to live on with the people that I've come across.

I sound crazy, maybe I am, but I feel like my "male identity" served a purpose. I lived and done what I've needed to do. This is a birth and there's no sadness but joy.

Who can say they've lived 2 lives? Not very many people. My family will always be around to remind me of my past. But where I get to choose, I will always live in the present and Allison is here to stay.



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Offline Charlie Nicki

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #64 on: January 01, 2018, 03:48:27 pm »
To me passing means being closer to having a normal life. I can only hope I pass somehow, but I highly doubt so.


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Offline Ann W

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #65 on: January 02, 2018, 01:29:10 am »
I have a theory about this, actually. I don't want to come off sounding glib, because I know many girls have a terrible time with the fact that they don't pass. Since I got here via euphoria rather than dysphoria, I haven't had to struggle as they have. I'm not speaking from personal experience.

I think transitioning is about authenticity, and I think many girls assume -- mistakenly -- that they have to look cis to be authentic. I don't think this is a conscious decision; I think it's just assumed. But, imho, authenticity is about self-expression, based on self-acceptance. All human beings have a basic need to express who they are, and when you're trans that means expressing as the gender you weren't assigned at birth. It's easy to see how seeing the wrong gender in the mirror would be a problem. And compounding this are all the image problems that cis girls have, too; so, it's like we get a double-whammy.

I suspect the key to overcoming this particular source of dysphoria is to find a way around this basic misconception -- that being authentic is a matter of how cis you look, rather than simply expressing yourself as who you are.

Personally, I find a happy trans woman to be very attractive, whether she passes or not.

EDIT: I focused, above, on the self-expression aspect; but the self-acceptance is also necessary -- and maybe this is what really intensifies the problem. Because there is a natural inclination to rely on how others perceive and think of us to guide how we think of ourselves.

Offline SonadoraXVX

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #66 on: January 02, 2018, 02:07:03 am »
For me?
Its for social acceptance, which entitles me to increased acceptance and security and the other reason is for inner peace, erasing my prior gender physically(what I see reflected in the mirror), while encompassing some mental aspects of it.
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Offline Kylo

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #67 on: January 23, 2018, 08:20:04 pm »
Passing isn't actually that important to me, in general.

I think it has a connection to your place in society. Or the place you want to be in society.

I don't have much of a place in society in that sense. I'm not married, I don't have kids, I don't have a family that interacts much. I own my own business and I work in my own place, so I don't have the role of a company employee either. I'm pretty much on the outskirts of everything.

That is, except for one thing. I do performing arts as a hobby, and when that happens, I have to assume a role temporarily - or to look like I fit that role and that gender, and that's when it becomes important to pass. Otherwise, it just isn't, because I barely exist within society the rest of the time.

It seems to matter if you're trying to participate in a particular part of society in a particular way. The moment I have to "enter" society in the sense of playing a character on a stage, suddenly it all becomes important to be convincing and identifiable.

Online Doreen

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #68 on: January 23, 2018, 08:24:47 pm »
To me passing means being closer to having a normal life. I can only hope I pass somehow, but I highly doubt so.


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Well simply looking at the picture alone, I'd certainly mam you upon first glance.  Of course 'passing' involves voice mannerisms, social ques, etc. 

To me, 'passing' doesn't mean deceiving either.  Besides what am I 'pretending' not to be?  My birth status was pretty well screwed up on inception.  I can't even get 5 doctors to agree on a single diagnosis.

'Passing' just means people don't do that annoying double take with the quizzical frown.  Now the double takes I get are people usually looking at my butt or something.  Far preferable to the other. 

Just my take on it, my 2 cents worth :) 

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #69 on: January 24, 2018, 01:22:20 am »
For my part, I think it is not about attractiveness or sociological gender roles, but actual gender traits. I would prefer to pass because of the very simple fact it means I am identifiable as female rather than male. I don't think I would even ever live stealth, I just don't want to look to male.

Having said that, it's not my #1 priority.

(Note that wen I say actual gender traits, I do not mean that men cannot have female traits or women cannot have male traits. Simply the most literal statement of how hormones shape our bodies around our natural baseline with a million variations to appear more distinctively male or female.)
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Offline TonyaW

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #70 on: January 24, 2018, 08:00:45 am »


I would prefer to pass because of the very simple fact it means I am identifiable as female rather than male. I don't think I would even ever live stealth, I just don't want to look to male.


Yes. This.  And unless or (hopefully) until that happens with out a lot of makeup and push up bras and skinny jeans etc, I will use the tools available to me to help make that happen.
 

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Online natalie.ashlyne

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #71 on: January 24, 2018, 08:29:57 am »
To me passing means being closer to having a normal life. I can only hope I pass somehow, but I highly doubt so.


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I am the same way I just want to look, feel and be normal, where I can walk up and just be me do the things I love to do and not be judged. Through my whole life I have always hated my body not my mind. Now I am starting to be happy with my body.

Offline SadieBlake

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #72 on: January 24, 2018, 10:06:38 am »
As a woman who definitely doesn't pass I'll say I think it matters because as nice as it is to be gendered correctly by all the people I know and care for, I'm invariably gendered incorrectly.

And then again, I'm lucky enough to live and work in a place where once people are introduced, they almost always get it.

Most important to me, my GF and my new lover both say my vagina passes just fine. That makes me happy every day.
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rmaddy

Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #73 on: January 24, 2018, 02:49:08 pm »
"Passing" is a destructive word, as are most words associated with it.  We never should have let it into our lexicon, and we ought to do what we can to get rid of it.

Every day, we see new threads in which people lament that they do not pass, worry that they will never pass, wonder if they pass or crow about the fact that they always pass.  Mixed in there somewhere are the percenters, who pass __% of the time, but usually a number that suggests--you got it--a passing grade.  What is striking among the participants of these threads is that they are firmly united by a belief in passing as a concept.  Passing is their yardstick, and the thought that there isn't or shouldn't be a yardstick applied to human beings rarely comes up.  More on this in a moment.

Pass has many uses in the English language, but we know which one is meant--to succeed.  We know this because those whose use the term also use its opposite--fail.  You would think that people on a support site would use such a word with caution, but it is thrown around with equal abandon to that of its antonym.  People post about their "male fails" or "gal fails".  It finds its way into timelines as a milestone.  The rhyme makes it cute.  A joke.  Never mind that the person in that situation was likely scared, miserable or both at the time.

A distressing number of people post that they make decisions on whether or not to transition based on their perception of their ability to pass.  "I will transition, but only if I can pass" really means "I will pursue what medically is in my best interests, but only if no one knows that I did so."  To be sure, there is usually a certain generosity of spirit in the responses--"Oh, you could pass..."; "If I can do it you can do it."  Occasionally a "Will I pass?" thread is met with crickets.  Judgment has been rendered.  The yardstick reigns supreme.  Pass, or fail.

When somebody does not pass, they are "clocked".  It's not a pretty word.  One gets clocked by a left hook or an errant frisbee.  It is an act of violence--intentional in the first case and unintentional in the second--but an act of violence nonetheless.  It leaves a mark.



To the entire system described above, I say, if I am so permitted to do so here, "Bullshit."



Let's start from the bottom up.  What does it mean to be "clocked"?  Stripped to its essentials, it means to be recognized as transgender.  Again, "pass" is a perfect antonym.  To pass is not to be recognized as transgender.  This is the literal case--what actually happens.  The person who wishes to pass wishes not to be recognized as trans.  Some take this to an extreme, emphatically insisting that they are not transgender, are no longer transgender or that they are exactly the same as any cis person of their target gender.

This is not true.  A cis person has not felt the discomfort of being assigned the wrong gender at birth.  A cis person never needed to be treated medically to remain cis.  A cis person never needed to correct those who misgendered them, whether at birth or some point further down the line.  A cis person generally can't even grasp what this would be like.

You are trans.  You will always be trans.  Even if you are never recognized and if you have fully transitioned, you will still be transgender.  You literally bear the scars.  Metaphorically too, I would submit.

This is not a bad thing.  Someone who has successful treatment is to be congratulated.  I was told that I came through my appendectomy "with flying colors"--metaphorically waving a freaking flag.  Although I did little to achieve it, I felt strangely proud to have returned to wellness post-operatively.  "Never have to worry about that again."  Similarly I feel happy to have regained function in my shoulder and hand after two joint reconstructions.  Still, my treatments are written into my medical record.  They are facts about me, not points on which to feel ashamed.  They may seem less relevant over time, but the facts remain, and may occasionally become relevant again, for example, to the doctor trying to determine why I have my next bout of abdominal pain. 

I have scars on the underside of my breasts.  Should I be embarrassed or ashamed?  Hell no...I'm a tigress and I chased down what ultimately fed me.  The same applies to you regarding your transition.  Why do you act like you're ashamed of it?

We can still be honest about the frustrations we feel when our transgender identity becomes an issue.  I once skipped a medical school reunion because at the previous high school reunion, every conversation I had revolved around my transition.  I learned nothing about anybody else, and this sullied the experience.  Nevertheless, this was their failure, not mine.  I refuse to own it.  And, at the next reunion, I took charge of the conversations. "But enough about me...what's going on with you."  I framed my transition as something interesting, a potentially refreshing change from whatever rut the other person might have been stuck in.  I made new friends and I took pride in what I had accomplished--in transition and in life.  An effing tigress.

We can do better.  We can get rid of stupid words.  We can talk about recognition by others, and how we deal with it.  We can talk about the ways we work with them to make them more enlightened citizens.  We can react with patience to those who, through lack of experience and education, don't know how to make sense of our gender expression and are getting stuck on it.  We can make medical decisions because they are in our best interests, not because they will be invisible to other people.  We can be trans in a way that makes trans something really amazing and unique.  We can throw away this yardstick and ever other yardstick we use to place or deny value on other human beings.

Offline SadieBlake

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #74 on: January 25, 2018, 05:15:05 am »
I'm sorry rmaddy I'm glad for you expressing that's your truth however please don't equate it with my truth or try to tell me what my truth should be.

I'm happy to consider passing as both important and meaningless because depending in context it's both to me. Passing (and in my case not) has huge impact on being admitted to the organizations that represent my identity - I'm a lesbian and mainly identify in the female binary, my personal aesthetic is femme. The fact that I'm also transexual has little, maybe no bearing in that. Not passing has however meant that I've faced extra scrutiny in joining 2 out of 3 local women's groups and for the moment has kept me from being admitted to a fourth.

Here's what the organizer said in telling me I have to be passable to join her group

Quote
Hi Sadie,

While we do have several trans women in the group, they are more or less, passing. Since we are a LGBTQ group for feminine women ....

Thanks so much for your understanding.

What I understood was they should have advertised their group as open to passable trans women.

It doesn't matter what you call it or whether it's in "our" lexicon, the reality now and for the foreseeable future, people gender each other based on appearance. I doubt that will ever change, not even sure it should -- gender has it's origins in biology for most of the population, well for "us" also, its just a difference in embryology.

Of course I don't want that gendering to be limiting my options let alone for people to be transphobic towards me or anyone. However I think trying to deny the importance of passing is silly given that passing is exactly how the vast majority of transitioned women avoid those negatives.

For the record I hate that I have few choices but to transgress gender norms. I take some solace in knowing that being unapologetically female while not passing maybe makes it easier for some others. I have to put on a little bit of brave every day and finally, to be sure if I passed flawlessly as the willowy dirty blonde chick I wish I could be then I'd also want to butch it up some days. For the record, the last thing I'll ever be is simple.
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Offline Devlyn

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #75 on: January 25, 2018, 06:19:12 am »
"Passing" is a destructive word, as are most words associated with it.  We never should have let it into our lexicon, and we ought to do what we can to get rid of it.

Every day, we see new threads in which people lament that they do not pass, worry that they will never pass, wonder if they pass or crow about the fact that they always pass.  Mixed in there somewhere are the percenters, who pass __% of the time, but usually a number that suggests--you got it--a passing grade.  What is striking among the participants of these threads is that they are firmly united by a belief in passing as a concept.  Passing is their yardstick, and the thought that there isn't or shouldn't be a yardstick applied to human beings rarely comes up.  More on this in a moment.

Pass has many uses in the English language, but we know which one is meant--to succeed.  We know this because those whose use the term also use its opposite--fail.  You would think that people on a support site would use such a word with caution, but it is thrown around with equal abandon to that of its antonym.  People post about their "male fails" or "gal fails".  It finds its way into timelines as a milestone.  The rhyme makes it cute.  A joke.  Never mind that the person in that situation was likely scared, miserable or both at the time.

A distressing number of people post that they make decisions on whether or not to transition based on their perception of their ability to pass.  "I will transition, but only if I can pass" really means "I will pursue what medically is in my best interests, but only if no one knows that I did so."  To be sure, there is usually a certain generosity of spirit in the responses--"Oh, you could pass..."; "If I can do it you can do it."  Occasionally a "Will I pass?" thread is met with crickets.  Judgment has been rendered.  The yardstick reigns supreme.  Pass, or fail.

When somebody does not pass, they are "clocked".  It's not a pretty word.  One gets clocked by a left hook or an errant frisbee.  It is an act of violence--intentional in the first case and unintentional in the second--but an act of violence nonetheless.  It leaves a mark.



To the entire system described above, I say, if I am so permitted to do so here, "Bullshit."



Let's start from the bottom up.  What does it mean to be "clocked"?  Stripped to its essentials, it means to be recognized as transgender.  Again, "pass" is a perfect antonym.  To pass is not to be recognized as transgender.  This is the literal case--what actually happens.  The person who wishes to pass wishes not to be recognized as trans.  Some take this to an extreme, emphatically insisting that they are not transgender, are no longer transgender or that they are exactly the same as any cis person of their target gender.

This is not true.  A cis person has not felt the discomfort of being assigned the wrong gender at birth.  A cis person never needed to be treated medically to remain cis.  A cis person never needed to correct those who misgendered them, whether at birth or some point further down the line.  A cis person generally can't even grasp what this would be like.

You are trans.  You will always be trans.  Even if you are never recognized and if you have fully transitioned, you will still be transgender.  You literally bear the scars.  Metaphorically too, I would submit.

This is not a bad thing.  Someone who has successful treatment is to be congratulated.  I was told that I came through my appendectomy "with flying colors"--metaphorically waving a freaking flag.  Although I did little to achieve it, I felt strangely proud to have returned to wellness post-operatively.  "Never have to worry about that again."  Similarly I feel happy to have regained function in my shoulder and hand after two joint reconstructions.  Still, my treatments are written into my medical record.  They are facts about me, not points on which to feel ashamed.  They may seem less relevant over time, but the facts remain, and may occasionally become relevant again, for example, to the doctor trying to determine why I have my next bout of abdominal pain. 

I have scars on the underside of my breasts.  Should I be embarrassed or ashamed?  Hell no...I'm a tigress and I chased down what ultimately fed me.  The same applies to you regarding your transition.  Why do you act like you're ashamed of it?

We can still be honest about the frustrations we feel when our transgender identity becomes an issue.  I once skipped a medical school reunion because at the previous high school reunion, every conversation I had revolved around my transition.  I learned nothing about anybody else, and this sullied the experience.  Nevertheless, this was their failure, not mine.  I refuse to own it.  And, at the next reunion, I took charge of the conversations. "But enough about me...what's going on with you."  I framed my transition as something interesting, a potentially refreshing change from whatever rut the other person might have been stuck in.  I made new friends and I took pride in what I had accomplished--in transition and in life.  An effing tigress.

We can do better.  We can get rid of stupid words.  We can talk about recognition by others, and how we deal with it.  We can talk about the ways we work with them to make them more enlightened citizens.  We can react with patience to those who, through lack of experience and education, don't know how to make sense of our gender expression and are getting stuck on it.  We can make medical decisions because they are in our best interests, not because they will be invisible to other people.  We can be trans in a way that makes trans something really amazing and unique.  We can throw away this yardstick and ever other yardstick we use to place or deny value on other human beings.

I love this.  :)  I didn't come out of the closet just to get in another one.

Hugs, Devlyn

Offline Sophia Sage

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #76 on: January 25, 2018, 11:04:07 am »
For me, correct gendering is what's important, from myself and others.  That is at the heart of my treatment, what is "medically in my best interests."  Misgendering made me dysphoric, so I changed what I needed to change in order to make it stop.

What does it mean to be "clocked"?  Stripped to its essentials, it means to be recognized as transgender.  Again, "pass" is a perfect antonym.  To pass is not to be recognized as transgender.  This is the literal case--what actually happens.  The person who wishes to pass wishes not to be recognized as trans.  Some take this to an extreme, emphatically insisting that they are not transgender, are no longer transgender or that they are exactly the same as any cis person of their target gender.

In the cis world, a clocking almost always indicates a measure of misgendering is to follow; indeed, it's already happened.  To them, a trans woman is a kind of a man, and a trans man is a kind of a woman.  They believe in some kind of "essence" of the flesh.  And they only recognize two kinds, male and female. 
What you look forward to has already come, but you do not recognize it.

rmaddy

Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #77 on: January 25, 2018, 12:02:42 pm »
Sophia,

If I read you correctly, you transitioned to put an to end external misgendering, to which I can only say, "I'm sorry."  I hope that worked out for you, and even more so that this helped you align with inner truth.

Renae

rmaddy

Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #78 on: January 25, 2018, 12:18:20 pm »
SadieBlake,

I'm sorry rmaddy I'm glad for you expressing that's your truth however please don't equate it with my truth or try to tell me what my truth should be.

Of course I am expressing my truth.  What else do I have to say?  Beyond that, I am contradicting what I see to be a societal lie, one that has imposed itself on us, and that some of us continue to impose on ourselves seeing it as the only possible way to get by.  I don't think it is.

And, I don't really understand what disagreement exists between you and me, at least on principle.  You clearly have suffered on account of societal binaries, and have faced rejection owing to communities insisting that you pass, assumedly to their standards.  As I said, it's a system loaded with a lot of BS.  I'm sorry that it has painted you into a corner, or perhaps, several different corners.

Where you lost me is when you say that you accept the importance of passing because society does, and then assert that you feel good about being gender transgressive, implying that it makes it easier for other trans people when you buck the system.  Bravo to the latter, as far as I am concerned.

I know you must realize that I didn't write what I did with you (or any other you) in mind.  The endless, often mindless, obsession with passing needs a remedy.  It is not my business who finds it to be a good one.

Offline Roll

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Re: Why is passing so important to us?
« Reply #79 on: January 25, 2018, 12:33:05 pm »
Another consideration as well, at least for me, is that "passing" isn't about hiding (even if I had a magic spell that transformed me overnight into a cis woman, I still wouldn't be stealth/hide my past) or simply adhering to societal norms... It's about who I truly want to be, regardless of all that. To take the desert island button scenario (when removed from society would you still change gender thing), in that context I'd still want to be passing. Not because it would get me anything or because of society roles at all, but because the connotation of passing means that I appear more female than male. I don't want to appear male, for myself. (But, again, if I do appear male and don't pass, it's not the end of the world for me at all.)

I look at it a bit in the feminist homemaker sense I suppose... A woman should not be required by society to be a mother and homemaker, but if a woman chooses to be such then that is still in keeping with true feminism. A trans woman should not be required by society to pass in order to garner correct gendering or access to certain forums, but if a trans woman chooses to want to pass for themselves, not because of the social concept of passing but because what passing inherently entails (being more feminine than masculine), I don't see anything wrong with that.
~ Ellie
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8/30/17 - First Therapy! The road begins in earnest.
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