I started to think this morning about passing. I don’t believe in passing. I do not think there is any sort of standards any girl (t-girl or cisgirl) needs to meet in order to be pretty or femme. No one is too tall to be a girl, no one’s voice is too deep to be a girl… you get the point.
I got to thinking about this because I am going to Pride next weekend and naturally I started to think about my past experiences at Pride. In previous years the MN T-Girls had a booth (and we will have one next year) but this year the group is going for our monthly event. Having a booth pretty much invites anyone to come up to you and talk about, well, whatever they want, to be honest. I’ve had guys come up to talk about anime for example. Most people are interested in what the group is about, but the best visitors to the booth are the moms who ask if we need hugs. 🙂
The conversations at Pride are broad and can get really personal, but not always in a bad way. These talks can touch on gender identity and pronouns and our (ugh) journeys. It’s not uncommon to chat with someone outside of the LGBTQ+ community who may not be familiar with what is polite to ask, however. And that’s (usually) okay. It gives us an opportunity to educate someone about gender.
I’ve had people at Pride ask if I am a drag queen. And although I would love to be as pretty as a drag queen I have to tell them that who I am is not drag and we have a conversation about the difference between someone who is transgender (and then usually the nuances of being non-binary or bi-gender) and someone who does drag (who is also transgender but in a different way than I am).
They usually leave the conversation a little more enlightened and likely a little more confused or overwhelmed by the complexities and variance in gender identity. And that’s good! It’s good to open up the world of gender to someone who is cis.
These conversations are also an opportunity to teach social graces and, well, manners. A couple of years ago someone came up to me and asked (as polite as she could) if I was really a man. OUCH. Well, that stung. When I am en femme it’s usually after spending a lot of time (and money) getting ready to be as cute as I can be. I don’t like being reminded that I am (physically) someone with a “male” body wearing “girl clothes”. I don’t think I pass (mainly because there’s no such thing) but I HATE being “clocked”.
Before we chastise her too much, she seemed a little naive and a little new to the whole LGBTQ+ community. I was probably the very first trans person she had ever spoken to and was likely trying to “process” who I was and who I am. Social graces come in time, manners come in time. I’m still learning about what is polite and what could be considered offensive. For example, I’ve learned not to say “preferred pronouns” when talking to someone. Whatever their pronouns are, they are their pronouns, not their preferred ones.
We had a short conversation about what is acceptable when it comes to someone’s gender identity and presentation and I was as gentle as I could be. If I truly was the first transperson this girl ever spoke with I didn’t want to come off as a bitch. I wanted the experience to be a positive one, a learning one. But goodness I was taken aback by the bluntness.
Pride is an event where I can go and everyone just kind of… vibes with everyone else. It’s an event attended by every letter of the LGBTQ+ acronym. No one bats an eye at anyone at Pride. It’s an event where a six foot t-girl with broad shoulders like myself can go and not stand out. No one cares about my gender identity. No one cares that I am not a cis-girl. I love my gender identity(s) and I know about my boy life and my boy mode, I just don’t like being reminded of it when I am en femme.
As for passing, I don’t care about that. If we look at passing in the traditional (antiquated) sense, then no, I don’t pass and I never will. And that’s fine. I am not trying to. What I am trying to is look as cute and as femme as possible. And I think I accomplish that. I think I look as pretty as I can.
5 thoughts on “Pride and Passing”
Such wisdom here Hannah, I for sometime understood I am who I am
I’m trans, and no I don’t pass and it’s ok. Like you I go out en fem and hope I’m cute and blend well within our society as a women even if I’m perceived as trans
I too am tall my voice is not deep but it’s most definitely not feminine
At work many days I’m wearing makeup a very generic top and many times jewelry and it’s just who I am
Hannah-wonderful discussion- yes passing can be a dream, but it is delightful just being en femme and enjoying the feminine clothes and make-up. Enjoy the satin and lace.
I sometimes think that if somebody were to ask if I am really a man, it means they have some doubt. This is at least a partial success – they are not outright declaring me a man. Or so I tell myself, and it takes a bit of the edge off of it. If anybody ever asks if I am a man or a woman (and they have not so far), my probable response will be “No”, as I am not really either one. How will that work? I hope to not find out.
I’ve been asked [rarely] and reply that I’m indeed a man, but a very androgynous one one for sure, that prefers the company and concerns of women mostly, and men less so. I also enjoy the admiration of my apparel, fragrance, and makeup. At a personal level, I’d prefer to pass, meaning to be accepted without judgement, and humored. If I speak softly , rarely, and with a foreign accent it helps. SALES FOLKS , EITHER GENDER, LIKE MAKING MONEY AND PLEASING CUSTOMERS. With time and practice, it gets easier. Being and expecting appropriate politeness goes a long way.
“) if I was really a man”
Why do you give yourself such a hard time ?
The fact that this woman had to ask you to confirm things means your presentation must have worked as such level.
If was as terrible as you imply, she never would have asked