Thursday, February 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Passing?

Passing Jackie at The Museum of Modern Art

I have written about passing a few times during the life of this blog and in July 2009, I wrote the following on the topic:

This morning, I read a message thread on a trans message board which touched upon the subject of passing. One writer opined that trans people put too much emphasis on passing... that passing is not important... that acceptance is more important than passing... yadda yadda yadda.

I'm sure you have heard these arguments before (and I know I touched upon them here in the past).

Note: I am now putting on devil's advocate hat.

I think that some trans people use the argument (that passing is not important) as a cop-out because for whatever reason, they do not pass.

In addition to being an excuse, it is also a put-down of trans people who do pass, i.e, yes, they pass, but what they are doing is not important, so they are just wasting their time.

I resent that!

I take a lot of pride in my presentation and I admit that it takes some time and effort to get the results I want, but I feel that it is worth it because:

* I pass some of the time, which is a wonderful affirmation of my hard work.

* When I don't pass, at least I don't look like a caricature of a woman. Rather, I look like I am trying my best to emulate a woman and I believe that fosters acceptance.


My opinion on passing has not changed much since 2009.

I prefer passing to not passing, but it does not ruin my day if I don't pass. Yet, I still take pride in my presentation, work hard at it and hope that I will pass.

When I go out, I assume I will pass because:

  • I usually do pass or
  • I am invisible, that is, I am an old lady, so no one pays much attention to me, which is as good as passing. Since I don't see any reaction, I am clueless about what others are thinking, so I assume I pass.

If I don't pass, usually the person who sees through my presentation does not react in a outrageously negative manner and I can live with that. And persons who have reacted outrageously have been so rare that I don't worry about it.

As a result, I am so confident as I head out the door in my female finery that passing is not a concern. It is not something I worry about as I go about my day as a woman. And if I receive an indication that I definitely passed, I cherish the moment and use it as a confidence builder.

And so it goes.











Claimed to be father and son femulators.


  1. The "father and son" femulators above, they do look alike. I wonder who's the father and who's the son?

    1. I believe the father is seated, because she looks more mature than her standing daughter.

  2. I think you summed up presenting and passing perfectly!

    And by no means was presenting a cop out for those who "don't pass". As we all should do our very best to look and feel as good as we can for ourselves and the public. Robbing that pleasure from someone because our judgement believes different is just a crewl attempt to bolster an insecurity in themselves. I know when a person presents well regardless of their look foundations. They (we) are looked at in a good light.

    1. I think jealousy sometimes comes into play, too.

  3. The whole balance between seeking to pass, or seeking to blend seems to me to be a rather false one. Surely what we should be seeking is to present ourselves as well as we can and to carry ourselves with confidence and aplomb. It is not about pretending to be something we are not as much as expressing our true selves. I certainly do not always "pass" but I do certainly always pass as me.

    1. I love the line "I certainly do not always 'pass' but I do certainly always pass as me."

  4. You have written thousands of words in your blog (and I have read most if not all of them) but one of your finest statements of affirmation is "When I don't pass at least I do not look like a caricature of a woman. Rather, I look like I am trying my best to emulate a woman and I believe that fosters acceptance."
    Excellent concept and a fine way to go about being who you are and encouraging others to be who they are.

    1. I try to live up to what I write, too, Pat, and thanks for reading my thousands of words!

  5. Stana

    A controversial subject, one that always elicits debate; once again I believe you got it right. Being in agreement with you I would also like to strengthen your opinion with some observations.
    I do not know any cisgender women who want or like to be mis-gendered. There are all types of women, fashions, and archetypes but even a butch lesbian wants to be gendered correctly. In that light if we identify as women also the we should want to be gendered correctly.
    Another interesting point is that this controversy and politics of passing is not an issue with younger trans people. I spend a lot of time on the web site reditt and read many of the trans sub reddits. Reditt’s demographic is overwhelmly young college thru 20’s.
    The main goal of most of these transtioners is too pass, there is even a sub reddit with pictures that focuses on passing. The reason for this cultural difference between the age groups? In my opinion it is because the younger crowd has a much better chance of passing.
    We also tend to get hung up on the word passing. It is a trigger word here in the community. A few years ago I posted a picture on a cross dressers forum and asked “Do you think I pass?”
    OMG, I got read the riot act about passing, some of the comments were borderline insult and aggressive.
    A few weeks ago I posted on the same forum a picture and asked “How’s my presentation?”
    I received a great response with positive and constructive comments. I was asking the same thing but the word “passing” just provoked people to spout out a certain predetermined argument.
    I wrote about this topic in a Femulate article awhile back

    1. Hi Paula,

      Excellent point being gendered correctly!

      I think that the kids talk freely about passing because they have not been around long enough... not like us more mature girls, who have heard it over and over again that "passing" should not be a goal.

  6. Dear Stana,

    I agree with your opinions on "passing".

    Today's "Femulator"photo is quite nice. The seated woman has a very noticeable Adam's apple. The standing woman does not have a noticeable Adam's apple, but, although "presenting as a woman" very well, my "trans-dar" tells me she very well could be male. If true, this father and son are very special.



    1. I am convinced that both ladies are cis-laddies, but don't know for sure if they are father-son/mother-daughter.

  7. Hi Stana
    I echo your comments on your presentation. I strive to be the best woman I can be.

    1. Can't do better than that, Diane!

  8. Good comments on passing, Stana. For my part, I want to go out and about in a presentable manner, such that I blend in. Although I would always like to pass, I'm sure that I don't. But I can live with that.

    1. Having seen Davina in person for a week, you certainly are presentable and a very classy lady.

  9. Passing is first and foremost about feeling good in one's skin. There are genetic women out there who actually are rather manly but they know they are women and are comfortable as such. Its only when I started to be truly comfortable while dressed as a woman that I noticed people just not caring at all. I know either pass completely or am left alone because people see a confident crossdresser or transsexual (I care not which). This should be our ultimate objective.

    1. Comfortable in your skin begets confidence which begets respect and acceptance.