Sunday, 31 July 2011

Is passing actually necessary?

This is not necessarily an original thought, but I had my thinking challenged today on the subject and I wondered whether I was alone in this revelation.    Being a tall (5’11) fat (don’t ask) girl, I have resisted going out and it’s been an achievement when I have.   The resistance to going out has always been that I don’t pass and that I would attract too much negative attention by doing it.  People would stare at me and I would feel uncomfortable.  What I thought instead was that if I could lose weight and become thin, I would be less obvious, maybe even pretty and then I would be able to go about my business unnoticed and gain the acceptance as a woman that I really crave.

I’ve been reading the book, “The Emancipated Crossdresser” again today.  Apart from the idea of carrying a handgun around in your handbag (it’s a UK thing!), I think that the author makes some really insightful points.  She has clearly been on a fascinating journey to feel as free as she does now.

But the idea of passing is one that she addresses head-on fairly early in the book.  The point she makes is that she is quite an attractive woman.  There are photos – she is not just saying it, she really is a nice looking lady.  But she says that even though that is the case, she still gets read.  She is that little bit too tall, her hands are too wide, her chin is too square, and her forehead too broad.  All the calamities us t-girls have to contend with.  But that she still goes out and presents as a woman anyway.  Her experience is that most people aren’t bothered to even notice her and don’t say anything and that if she goes to a restaurant that they are more interested in her cash than what she is wearing.

On reflection, I think I feel the same.  Don’t get me wrong, I still want to look as good as I possibly can, but the reality is that I’m never going to pass.  Even if I lost loads of weight, I still would get clocked.  I have rounded, soft feminine features, but would still be read.  So given that there will never be a point where I’ll pass, why not just put up with the looks and go for it anyway.

Aside from the fact that I’ve given up the girl, if I hadn’t I would now be considering that I’m wasting my life away waiting to be the right size and to have the right look.

So my question is for those who do go out.  Should one just go for it and go out in public anyway?  Whether it is in t-girl company or “normal people” company, it doesn't matter, but we should just put up with the resultant issues in the unlikely event that they arise.   The book does give great advice on handling difficult situations by the way too!  Or is the book only to be applied in America and that here in the UK you would just get beaten up, hassled and abused.

Like many of you I’m sure, I watched the programme  “Jamie: Drag Queen at 16” recently on television.  The reaction to him was very positive and that’s not surprising I guess.  Would people really reveal themselves as being horrible on camera?  Probably not.  But the interesting thing is that if you Google that documentary and go onto normal, straight people forums and chat rooms many people have been talking very positively and kindly about the programme and the boy.  It makes we wonder whether acceptance of us is getting there or whether we still have a long way to go.

And if the acceptance is getting there, can I go out regardless?


  1. Hi Rhiannon,

    I know my story must be so different to yours but I rapidly came to the conclusion years ago that 'passing' was a bit overrated in the general sense. When came out 6 years ago it was with precious little help from anyone apart from my BFF and hair stylist. Being full time as a woman had become a necessity. I found that while some people will always read you, most others are more preoccupied with themselves and their lives. Unexpectedly I found that the less fixated I got on being perfect and the more I just got on with my life as a woman, the less I got read. I'm also aware that in the last ten years acceptance has got better, at least where I live. Okay I know it's not the same for everyone.

    BTW, you pretty much come over as a girl in the way you write :)


  2. Thank you so much for your encouragement - I really appreciate your kind words. Plus you've provided such a great real life example of what I was trying to understand. In fact it's a shame that the author of the book got there first - you managed to sum the whole thing up in a paragraph.

    I'm trying, in vain at the moment to resist the girl in me for the sake of my relationship. But I can't see it lasting. I want to go out and to start being the girl inside me.

    Thank you x

  3. It's trite, but I'll say it anyway: passing is over-rated. :-) Not that I'd know, but does it really matter as you say. Maybe it's all down to confidence (Hmmm... Thinking of a Bob Monkhouse joke now).

    On the few times I've been out and about, in general people are so wrapped up in their own little world, to be interested in clocking you or not. If they do, they do; just keep your chin up (so to speak) and keep going.

    From the t-girls I know who do go out regularly, Joe Public doesn't seem to really be interested. I guess so long as you stick to safe parts of town/city and don't take any risks, chances are you'll be okay. Just dress for the part (daytime!!), hold your head high and tell yourself that a) your money is as good as anyone else's when it comes to shopping and b) you can do it.

    Oh, and a cheery hello and a wave seems to make people look away if they're gawking :-D

  4. Thank you Lynn and that's not trite at all. Its really helpful to find that other people are reinforcing my recently arrived at revelation! I have been labouring under the wrong idea that I could arrive at the point of passing and then I would be able to out and about.

    But your word of caution is noted and I'll avoid my lycra miniskirt during daytime forays into the real world. Come to think of it, I don't think I should subject anyone to that sight!

  5. I think taht if passing matters to you, then it matters. I think taht for many gils though the need to just live the life they want to live is the most important thing.

    It always seems to me that the most important thing is confidence - if you have that then the vast majority of people don't notice and the occasional one that does just catches a glimpse as you waltz on by - living you life.


  6. Whats wrong with lycra - there's a time and a place surely ;-)

  7. There probably is a time and a place. It was a very impulse buy and it is seriously not flattering. It also looks more than a touch tarty, which clearly is not always a problem, but is not my usual sophisticated style! :-)

  8. Hi Rhiannon,
    I was going to leave a carefully worded message but I find that Lynn has already said it, and much better than I could.
    Do your thing. 8-)