Monday, December 21, 2020

Revisiting Passing is not important, but...

As I wrote here on Thursday, just getting out en femme is more important than getting out en femme and passing, but it sure feels wonderful on those occasions when you know that you passed! 

In celebration of the holiday season and the near end of this dreadful year, let’s share some good news for a change. Send me one of your passing successes – that time you knew you definitely passed and I will share your story here with our readers.

(Please only send me one – your very best – passing success story, even though you may have a million of them. That way everyone will have a chance to tell their story.)

To kick things off, here is a success story that Kim sent me after she read Thursday's post.

I accept as fact that it is difficult for me to pass, because I am a tall person with many physically male attributes. But that doesn’t mean I do not try. I do the best I can with shapewear, selection of clothing, wig style and makeup, as well as subtle adjustments to mannerisms (some innate) and voice, in an effort to pass.

Yes, I try to pass. I want to pass. I want the freedom to move among the people, unquestionably seen as woman. That’s my ultimate goal. I know I seldom attain that goal, but it’s a great motivator.

And once in a while I actually have succeeded beyond my expectations. For example, one summer night six months prior to covid, I went to a local bar/restaurant for dinner and a few drinks. I was seated near a large group of young women out for a bachelorette party. Somehow I got drawn into their group and spent much of the evening enjoying the revelry with them. Most of the time was spent chatting with the pretty young woman who invited me to join their group. 

I’m not sure why, but at some point I acknowledged what I presume was obvious – that I was transgender. To my surprise, the girl was surprised by my acknowledgement. She said she never for a moment imagined that I was anything other than an attractive, mature woman. She insisted so. I was stunned and pleased and frankly felt so validated as a woman.

I know... I’m not supposed to worry about passing, but when it does happen, it is utterly wonderful.

Wearing Cynthia Rowley
Wearing Cynthia Rowley

Rumano Fabrishh – another one of the “Millions” on the Internet


  1. Lovely story from Kim! There's another aspect of passing that I'd like to mention.. Like Kim, I'll always struggle with passing because of my height and my lack of resemblance to a shrinking violet! But aside from 'passing' - something I doubt I'd ever achieve - there's also the joy that comes from being accepted as a woman by a female friend.
    At one point while living in England, I decided to try and make my appearance en femme the best I could so I might stand a chance of passing in the real world.
    I wanted breast forms - and dispensed with the socks I customarily packed in my bra. I went to a bra shop that specialised in mastectomy wear and was up front with the two ladies there. One became a real friend and she invited me to visit her shop at lunchtimes when I could 'dress' and we could sit together and talk. We later progressed to going shopping together - unfortunately in drab - but I felt I'd moved through the glass wall that usually separates the sexes as she talked to me freely and openly about things the way women do together. I remember her once describing the thought processes behind the outfit she'd worn for her daughter's wedding. Up until that moment I'd never realised just how complex it all was.. why she'd worn plain black leather shoes rather than patent so as not to lead the eye there etc etc. Sadly, those days are now gone but she never treated me as anything other than female..
    Happy days!

  2. Hi Stana, my most recent "passing" if you want to call it that was at a local grocery store. I was using a motorized cart due to a chronic foot injury and had laid my eye glasses on my leg for a moment, I was dressed in skinny jeans wearing flats a woman's t shirt and my hair down. Mind you this is post covid19 so I had a mask on, only eyes were visible with no eye makeup! Anyways my glasses wound up on the floor, a young man passing by noticed and said here you go ma'am... I was probably the furthest thing from "passing" and yet some how did!

  3. I sent Stana my favorite passing, and I also just want to share with you all an article I wrote about passing a few years ago on "Being Recognized"

  4. I pass as a woman no matter what I wear; my height is 175 centimeters (5' 8 1/2"), my hair is past shoulder length, my bra cup size is DD, and I have hips. However, since I have a bass speaking and singing voice the illusion is shattered as when I speak. I refuse to talk any other way than my natural voice.

  5. unlike stana and others, i rarely go out into straightsville with the intention of trying to pass whilst dressed. however about five years ago i went to a hairdressers' training acedemy, where i had my long locks cut and styled in an androgynous fashion. then later on that day, i went to use the gents whilst in a supermarket. an old boy stepping out the door said to me in a hesitant and somewhat embarrassed manner: "um... excuse me... you're er, going into the wrong place" to which i repled something like "no, it's alright". which didn't seem to make any difference, as his confused reaction still indicated that he felt i should be using the ladies!

    1. I have had that experience many times. I have had a situation where I was exiting the men's room with a couple standing outside. The man started to enter the women's restroom and the woman the men's restroom. In the nick of time I spoke up with my masculine bass voice while pointing at the men's room saying, "This is the men's room.". Another time a woman entered a men's room after I went in there and I had to tell her she was in the men's restroom.

    2. i suppose the most flattering thing about my own experience in that regard was that even after i spoke to the guy in my normal male voice, he still protested. but then again, perhaps he was so befuddled by that point that it didn't make any difference? all the same, it was very heartening and a feather in my cap!

    3. I guess in my case my voice is much deeper than the usual tenor or baritone voice, so when I speak the illusion of my being a woman is completely gone. In fact, in the morning when I wake up I can sing the lowest notes of an oktavist.

  6. We can look at it as validation of passing and just going out and not worrying about passing.

    The latter is more concerning because I am worried for my safety either from the police pulling me over or from being shamed in a mall or possibly assaulted on the street.

    When a concierge opens a hotel lobby door and nods "madame" or someone calls out " nice legs" or a shop keeper or fast food attendant treats you as a woman then it makes my day.

    I have had these "momemts" of validation which makes me try harder to pass better but also where I know I was read at the mall and dont seem to care.

    However, I pass best as a middle aged business woman or maybe I feel myself the best in that manner with a blouse and blazer and skirt.

    I can never pass in sweat pants , Uggs and a Oversized sweater or even in Lululemon. But then thats representation of a female

    Happy Holidays

    Too bad I wasnt traveling for work as I would out and about passing with a mask

    If there is any worrys about passing then just go out and about with a mask on

  7. My best passing story takes place on Halloween, probably around 2002. I had begun HRT and had had some laser treatments on my facial hair, so that was definitely helping. I worked for a large well known bank at their corporate headquarters in SF. Halloween costumes had been approved by management and there was to be a costume contest in the afternoon. I arrived at work fully dressed and made up as a woman and boarded the elevator with two people, a man and a woman, I did not know. Their conversation went like this: "I didn't see anyone wearing a costume on BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) this morning." "I know I'm very disappointed in the lack of costumes. It's so fun to see people in costume." They kind of commiserated together for the short time it took to reach my floor. As the doors opened I said in my deepest baritone, "You can't always tell when someone is in costume." I walked out of the elevator and saw their jaws drop to the floor and their eyes wide open in total shock. The elevator doors closed behind me and they were unable to even make any comment they were so speechless. As a final note I came in second in the costume contest that afternoon. Several people told me later they wondered why a woman not in costume was in the line up.