Monday, September 23, 2013

"Pass" the Makeup Please

If you are not familiar with a site called The Transadvocate,  you should be. They are a top shelf spot featuring transgender issues, features, and discussions. As you may remember, I have mentioned their work several times here in Cyrsti's Condo.

Recently Transadvocate ran a post by Dana Taylor called "On "Passing" As A Woman." She begins by writing:

"Right up front I will tell you that I cringe when I hear passing as a woman in relation to a trans woman. What this really means is passing as a cisgender woman. A real woman, right?"

And a bit later adds:

"They want all women to meet certain stereotypical criteria which includes how you look, smell, walk, talk, etc. We should never tell our sisters that they must meet this criteria to be a woman. Even though you may think you are trying to help this person you may actually be causing damage to them. For instance, there are some trans women who have physical male characteristics that will never allow them to meet the passing criteria. I am one of those women. If I had listened to a lot of advice from trans women on being a woman, I am not sure where I would be today. It is difficult enough to come out and try to be who you are than to have all these other requirements put on you. This can cause some trans women who are not out yet to never come out thinking there is no way they could pass."

I so agree!   I get all sorts of  messages which begin with  saying "I will never pass", I immediately consider one of three things:


1.- If you use the "never" term, you are a success! It will "never" happen.
2.- You are not willing to go through the years of trial and mostly error I have endured with my "linebacker" body to enjoy bits of success. (Did you think I was born with all this "natural beauty?) Kidding!
3.- Most importantly, what are you trying to pass as?

As Dana said above you may fit into a category where indeed you will never "pass" as a genetic woman but is there a problem with "passing" as an attractive transgender woman?

Check out this message I received from a reader the other day:  He said he was afraid to go out and he would need to look exactly like a woman before he did. I told him "good luck with that"! Sure, there are rare guys like the kid on the left who indeed may "pass" in the strictest sense or the British chopper crewman above. The rest of us know our path is beyond tough and has no guarantee of success.

Then, there is the classic example of Stana of Femulate fame. The picture to the right is what she was wearing the day we met for coffee last summer. She is unapologetic about being very tall and in tall heels. I have had comm enters say they are too tall to pass. Obviously Stana doesn't feel that way and she proved it to me as I was able to look over her shoulder at all those men getting lost in all those legs.

The common thread here goes back to what Dana pointed out.
"A woman is a woman who makes her own choices on how she wants to look, dress, smell or anything else that has to do with her own body. If she wants to follow the stereotypical concept of being a woman, she should be free to do so."

She went on to add and I paraphrase, society needs to get the hell over how we want to live and leave us alone - and you know what? We have contributors here in the Condo who are living examples of how society does adjust to us for a change. Pat, Tracy and myself of course.

Let me repeat though "If you tell me you will never "pass", I will certainly take you at face value."

***Go here for the entire Transadvocate post.

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A Life in Gender Flux