Show and Tells

I think Stana has been an icon to our community for a very long time and her influence will live on for even longer. She has been a voice and an inspiration and a friend for many of us.

One of her contributions is her term “femulate”.

Courtesy of her website:

fem·u·late (fem´ya-lat´) v., To imitate, copy, or try to be a female.

I like this word a lot because I don’t believe in passing and I know that for me that blending in isn’t likely or even interesting to me. My interpretation of this word is that I do my best to be as feminine as I possibly can, but I am not trying to deceive anyone.

Hence, I try to present as femme as I possibly can. This encompasses everything from accessories to mannerisms to body language to clothes to shoes to makeup… It’s a zillion little things.

I think I do fairly well. This is of course objective but I am mostly and usually happy with my reflection. And honestly that’s enough.

I have no intention of appearing as cis gender. I don’t think there is a standard that cis gender women are required to meet. Women are tall and have broad shoulders and countless other physical features… many of these are identical to the ones I have and the ones you likely have as well.

I suppose there are things I could wear that would help me blend in a bit. I could skip the stilettos and opt for flats. I could wear more casual clothes instead of floral bodycon dresses. I could have my makeup done a little less bold.

Buuuuuuut I don’t want to, lol. I like stilettos and floral bodycon dresses and dramatic makeup. If I am going to go out en femme why shouldn’t I wear what I please?

Essentially I am trading blending in with dressing for myself.

It’s an easy decision for me.

Years and years and years ago the thought of going out en femme wasn’t realistic. I didn’t think I could ever pass so I stayed in my living room. I still don’t think passing is realistic but I go out all the time. I wish I hadn’t wasted those years. But I try not to be too hard on myself. The mirror wasn’t always kind.

Although I don’t think there are standards one must meet to be femme or masculine, I know that many people attribute certain physical characteristics with gender on a binary perspective. I think this is a result of generations of people being told that THIS is for girls and THAT is for boys. It could be a color or a career or an article of clothing. Height, hand size, body shape, facial structure and the like are all labeled as either masculine or feminine as well.

When I am en femme I know that random people look at me and see a very feminine dress worn by someone with a very masculine frame.

Buuuuuuuut I don’t care what they think, lol.

The fear of not passing was compounded by a lot of small things that I saw in the mirror. You could absolutely consider them “tells”. Physical features that said “SHE’S A MAN” and other toxic things. I would agonize over these things. I would obsessively consider how to minimize my Adam’s Apple or tuck the best way I could. I would only wear certain colors or patterns as I felt they minimized my shoulders.

To an extent I still do these things. But my motivation for doing so is different. I like to emphasize the features that I like (like my legs) but these days it’s less about minimizing my masculine features. I have accepted there’s not a lot I can do about my shoulders or hands or whatever. Instead I lean into it. Yes, I am tall and yes I could wear flats to minimize my height but it’s really not going to help. I am six foot, two inches. That is a LOT taller than the average height for a cis gender woman in the United States (which, according to Google, is five feet, four inches). I am NEVER going to blend in from a height perspective so I may as well fasten the straps of my four inch feels.

I used to worry that I could have a flawless femme presentation but SOMETHING would “give me away”.

And I hate the thinking of that. I am not trying to disguise myself, I am not trying to trick anyone. I am not trying to blend in or pass. I am not trying to appear as a cis gender woman. I am a transgirl and I am damn proud of who I am. If someone thinks I am transgender, great. They are correct.

The SOMETHINGS I used to care about included the aforementioned Adam’s Apple or my, ah feminine flaw.

I know that a penis and an Adam’s Apple are not typically thought of as feminine and yes, these physical attributes can contribute to someone “figuring out” that I am not cis gender. But these things are soooooo out of my scope of caring or being concerned about when it comes to my presentation. I don’t worry or care these body parts are “tells”.

Why not?

Oh I’ll tell you.

For starters I don’t think having a penis or an Adam’s Apple precludes one from being feminine.

Secondly, I have no interest in wearing the clothes (such as a scarf or a turtleneck sweater) that would cover my neck.

Finally, these small “tells” are not what is going to “tip someone off” that I am not cis gender.

What I mean by this last point is that if we look at gender in a binary sense and think that some things (again, clothes and physical features) are feminine OR masculine, there are countless things that “give me away” before someone gets a decent look at my Adam’s Apple. My height, my shoulders, my walk, my voice… these things broadcast to the world that I wasn’t assigned female at birth.

I strive to be as femme as I possibly be. I do the best I can with what I have to work with AND I am true to myself, even if what I do or wear prevents me from blending in or passing.

Love, Hannah

8 thoughts on “Show and Tells

  1. Hi Hannah,

    Your view is very healthy. I wish I could be more that way.

    I wouldn’t say passing is important to me per se but I like to blend in. I very seldom wear dresses. In the winter it is usually a sweater, jeans and and boots (knee high or ankle) with less than 3 inch heel.

    In summer it is usually shorts or ankle pants with a feminine top that shows some cleavage (no t shirts) and sandles (love cork wedges).

    I love love getting maimed. I have changed enough that I often get maimed in guy mode. In fact on my last trip I was told twice in male mode that I was in the wrong bathroom (mens room). In girl mode I have never had anyone make a comment to me about using the women’s bathroom.

    I know I will never be pretty but I do appreciate being treated and seen as a female.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally agree with what you’re saying here , with my own 5’11’ thin frame , feminine type arms and womens size 11 heels size, I see women in the store so much more masculine than me and I wonder how some American women would ever wear and fit into high heels . Many women have shapes just as masculine as a cis guy and don’t fit the standard that I see .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I might be passable if one isn’t paying a lot of attention. If it weren’t for being over six feet tall, I doubt if most people would notice me when I’m just out and about running errands or going to the doctor and so forth.

    As a lady of a certain age, I’m determined to make the most of the Rachel time I have left and not worry about what other people think.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I so agree with what you say that if one sees me and thinks trans women than great I’ve pulled it off
    What I’m now more concerned about does someone think I’m a perv and I’m trying to do something wrong
    No I’m being me just as you say
    I want to be seen because if I can show the world this 6”2 trans women is just living and trying to be the best me I can without bothering anyone than I’ve done my job for the community

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I always put the the concept of passing in the background of my thoughts, knowing it was unrealistic. Then one day when I was fully dressed my wife walked up to me, I towered over her at 6 feet 4 inches with the 3 inch boots. She playfully called me a Glamazon and walked off. At that point I knew that my presentation would never blend in, but I am dressing for myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m not trying to achieve “female” when I’m out and about in my pretty clothes. What I’m looking to express is the concept of “feminine”. I WANT people who I interact with to KNOW that I am 100% physically male but that does not preclude me from expressing the pure femininity that I feel inside and overflows from every cell of my being. Two days ago it was a beautiful spring day and I went out in a little pink chiffon dress, wig, and makeup. I accessorized exquisitely and I felt like nothing less than my entire unique self. What a wonderful feeling!


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