Maybe more of an observation than a question. Since only a small few of us t-girls can truly pass I think it’s imperative to then master the finer things to near perfection. I think it’s more thrilling to be in public with your hair and makeup on point and your clothes and accessories to be age and environment appropriate causing a stranger or passer by to either not notice or simply nod with appreciation for looking good and “playing” the part.
Now you are much more public and accomplished than I’ll ever be, so I’d love for you to share your point of view.
I’ve written a little about what I call ‘the myth of passing’ and the older I get and the more I dress, the more I stand by it. I don’t think passing is something that is realistic for any of us. I think if I waited until I thought I passed I’d still be sitting in my car in my garage. Of course, I would have missed out on so many amazing experiences that I’ve had. I sometimes wonder what I missed in all those years before I was confident enough to go out.
Look at this picture. Do I “pass”?
It doesn’t matter. I love you all, but it really doesn’t matter to me if you think I pass or not. I look at the picture and I see ME. I remember the day it was taken. It was a Saturday in July, I spent the day at the Mall of America wearing my new dress. I found an amazing new outfit, spent too much on makeup and bought a pair of black heels.
Looking in the mirror, I know my shoulders are broader than most cis-women, I know my hands are larger, too. But that doesn’t mean women, trans or cis have to have hands of a certain size. I’ve seen women basketball players that are taller than me in my stilettos. And I have tall stilettos.
What got me out of my room, my house, my car, my garage all those years ago was a complete and unshakeable confidence in myself and the undying desire to experience the world in a way I always wanted. I wanted to feel the wind through my long hair, to hear the click of my heels in the mall, I wanted to see my lipstick on the lid of a Starbucks cup. I did it and I’ve never looked back.
I love looking my best. I know I am likely the most overdressed person in the room, the store or the entire mall. You’re right, it is a thrill to be out with the perfect necklace and accessories and heels to match my dress.
People stare, people take a second look, people say wonderful things, people smile sincerely, people compliment…and that’s all okay. Even the smirkers. People look at me as if they’re seeing a transperson for the first time…because there is a good chance they are. I know I am representing the transcommunity and I want to look my best for us.
It’s okay if people think you’re trans. And really, you’ll never, EVER know what people think of you unless you ask them.
I never see what I do as “playing the part”. I simply am who I am.
11 thoughts on “Ask Hannah!”
Good for you, Hannah! We are who we are. Even though I remain fearfully in the closet (too much at risk), I agree that ‘passing’ is an unrealistic goal. It contributes to depression and self-image issues. Thank you for this post!
Hannah, you missed a word. “What got me [out] of my room”
Right on point as usual Hannah. If anyone is concerned about passing, spend a few hours people watching at the mall. Even among all the cis-women, there are women who don’t “pass”. Their outfits or makeup aren’t perfect, their looks not totally feminine. My greatest fear was whether someone would recognize ME. Once I decided that with the wig, makeup and outfit people would probably recognize I was trans but the probability not make ME it became very easy to go out. You commented you are often the best dressed in the room. You might be, but your outfits are always tasteful and appropriate.
I have been out and about for over 50 years and have being dressed and normally dressed every day to some extent. Love wearing the clothes that women wear. I go shopping etc. I am not out to everyone,but my current wife like going out together, shopping,trips,movies etc.
I had a wonderful experience on Wednesday morning. There’s no way I pass, but I was browsing the cosmetics in Boots in Brighton and this lady came up to me and said my foundation looked really good and what was it. I explained and said it wasn’t the kind of thing she’d need as it’s meant for people like us and she said, “I didn’t realise – I thought you were a girl. I have a granddaughter who is 6ft 2”. It really made my day and I thanked her – there are all sorts of shapes and sizes out there!
Thank you Hannah, I am not out there yet but am working on it and will get there soon. I truly appreciate your approach to what we do. It is a well reasoned and practical and something that all of “us” need to keep in mind. If we all stay in our closets then there will never be a public familiar with us, used to us being around and getting closer to accepting us.
Keep up the good work.
I’m not stressed about passing, though it might save me some redicule… But I have a more shallow question to ask right now… You showed a picture of yourself in front of some lovely gowns… Did you get to try any on?
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I would have loved to, but they were very much out of my budget. I was afraid I’d try one on and fall in love with it and buy it…
As usual, Hannah you are right on. I am 6’4″ and in my mid- 60’s. I spent years worrying about passing [I’m too tall, my makeup isn’t right, I walk like a guy, my hands are too big, my voice is not feminine, etc., etc.] and as a result never went out. Then I found your blog. I just started being “me”, began going out shopping, interacting with others [as my femme self] and have gotten to the point where I really don’t care if I’m “read”. I love wearing women’s clothes, makeup and everything feminine. I dress conservatively, hold my head up, smile and go about my business just like any other woman. And, guess what, nobody seems to care. So far, I’ve always been treated with respect and I really enjoy being the woman I am on the “inside”. I’m sure there are some that view me as a man in woman’s clothes, but it’s never been an issue. I guess if you dress like a lady and act like a lady, you’ll be accepted for the lady you are–not be forced to conform to how others think you should be. Thanks for showing me the way.
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