Friday, January 15, 2016

Being Recognized

By Paula Gaikowski

Regular Femulate contributor, Paula G, proffers her first article of the year on a topic that is near and dear to all of us gurls.

Want to start an uproar on a transgender support site? Just mention the phrase “pass as a woman.” Some forum moderators will not even allow the topic! I personally never had an issue with the term, but realize that it can be and is hurtful to many of my sisters. There is also a lot of politics tied up in the term, for those reasons, I try not to use it.

However, the term constantly comes up, and is used in spite of all the criticism. Heck, younger transgender people use it without controversy. There is even a transpassing sub-reditt that asks for passing advice. I’ve reflected on this idea during my journey and wondered, what is it that I am striving for?

Just thinking about all the effort and time we put into our presentation. It starts with shopping for the right clothes, finding hip pads and forms that work. Then there is shaving and more shaving, along with laser or electrolysis. Then skin care, finding the right cosmetics, learning how to use them with hours of practice. Then our hair, searching for and learning how to style the wig that’s right for us. Lest we not forget the accessories, the perfect purse, jewelry, scarves and belts. Oh wait shoes! That’s a book in itself.

Then the night before, it all gets laid out for the morning. That’s when the magic happens and the Phoenix rises from the ashes. Out the door we go expecting what? Exactly what is it in our psyche, in our hierarchy of needs that we are trying to satisfy?

I am sure that I would get diverse answers from many of you and I would never be so presumptuous to think I have the singular and definitive raison d'être.

However, I believe I can identify a theme that is common for many of us. Something that runs deep in the DNA of transgender women and I’ll go one step further and venture to say it is, in fact, the same for every woman.

But first let me share with you how I came to this conclusion. I was watching a historical documentary that covered the life of Marie Curie. It was this particular phrase that was an epiphany. “Universally recognized as a woman who changed modern science.”

The words that echoed in my mind were “recognized as a woman.” She, in this instance, was being recognized as a woman who did something significant. Let’s take a look at the definition of recognize.
Recognize: acknowledge the existence, validity, or legality of, accept, admit, realize, be aware of, be conscious of, perceive, discern, appreciate Synonym: officially approve, certify, accredit, endorse, sanction, validate 
I won’t go over this whole list of words, girlfriends, however, they all speak legions! When I walk into a store or office, your damn right I want to be “acknowledged” as a woman.

To hear the words “Thank you, Ma’am” ― isn’t that the “validation” we seek? How about being accepted, endorsed, or perceived as a woman?

This is exactly what I’m seeking when my heels tap the floor as I walk thru a hotel lobby. I want people to recognize that a woman is walking by. I want them to see a woman, to recognize me for what I am deep down inside: a woman.

Yes, Ma’am, that’s it!

Source: MyHabit
Wearing Alexia Admor.

Rachel Sams
Rachel Sams


  1. Stana, I used to bristle at the use of the "passing" word and I remember your brilliantly scathing retort aimed at a Femulate reader who said you couldn't pass. (Use turn signals etc-)
    Passing to me seemed to be going the way of "tran-y" until I heard it in a meeting of young and proud trans women. So it may just be a word that is making it's rounds back. Presenting seems to be more P/C around here. Semantics!

    Speaking of words-since I am old and bitchy-where the hell did the "gurl" word come from?
    Just sounds ugly to me.
    Oh well-

  2. Useful, understandable words can come to acquire certain associations that then make them hard to use so one has to think of something else, or keep one's mouth shut, I suppose. I would love to be seen to be a woman as opposed to a curiosity (at best) when I feel it essential to give my feminine side free rein. It's important. Call it what you will.

  3. il mondo va così...noi in pubblico spesso vniamo derise o peggio denigrate dalle stesse persone che poi magari in privato sono attratte da te...per la nostra femminilità e carattere. quando si è nel branco spesso le persone non sono autonome ma è vero anche che ci sono altresì persone molto pacate e carine che ci amano e ci vogliono bene!! ti continuo a seguire con molto interesse e passione!! baci baci baci grazie.

  4. My, what confusion! I am what I am, I am my own special creation. Sounds familiar? Indeed it should be. We are what we are, no matter WHO we are, especially we who try. The time and effort which we invest, us trannies, of course is not appreciated by the great unwashed.

    Be what you want to be and if it is admired, what a bonus. I love it! Not "passing" is to be expected, after all we are men but when some one sees our creativity, rejoice!