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TOPIC: Why "Passing" is wrong.

Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 8 months ago #1

I often have moments of clarity and then the realization that it is a case of " the bleeding obvious". I was thinking about the issue of passing and it occurred to me why it is a wrong headed concept. Passing means to hand the value of your being on to other people. If they think that you are authentic as a woman then you are valued and if you are 6'6 and 110 kilos and hairy then you are less valued, you do not pass the test.
Even the word PASS hints of a value system. You are in or you are out.
Instead we should be supporting diversity and choice rather than conformity to some sort of binary and a line set by others.
We , as independent adults, should decide who we are and how we want to present ourselves.
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Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 8 months ago #2

Christina wrote:
Even the word PASS hints of a value system. You are in or you are out.
Instead we should be supporting diversity and choice rather than conformity to some sort of binary and a line set by others.

Well said - 4 years ago I expressed much the same thoughts.
http://forum.tgr.net.au/cms/forum/F124/2065-what-is-passing-about#18674

Sadly I still see too many people held back in the closet because of this silly notion that passing is important or even desirable.
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Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 8 months ago #3

I don't see it as being wrong I see it as - I'm a woman passing by without being noticed that I'm not a woman.
I want to be a woman. I want to be accepted as a woman. I meet, talk and go passed people all the time. I need to PASS so I know I am doing everything right. I need to PASS so I know I look ok. I need to PASS to keep my confidence up. I need to PASS for me. It's really all about me and how I feel.
Even if the world was at a time where a man could go out wearing a dress without a second look, I would still be putting on a wig, doing my makeup, looking like a real woman and hope that I would PASS as a real woman because that's who I strive to be.
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Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 8 months ago #4

Yes well said Christina. Value judgement is what plays on a lot of folks minds and once you name something it exists. In my case I love to do all the dressing make up, but it is to be me not to pass. That's me - just another woman, who wants to feel special / wear something special and look their best.
JT
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Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 8 months ago #5

Hi everyone,

In this discussion, I fall (slightly) on Alison's side. I'm not "into" full acceptance of "gender diversity and dress styles" as much as others. But what I would like for all of us, is for society to accept that we should be able to dress where and how we would like in all aspects of life, without fear of criticism or ridicule.

Great strides, (minus a fly opening,...boom boom) have been made in recent years, but sadly there is still a long way to go.

If I was living on my own, I'd probably go "all out" and not care what the gossip mill in the small rural community where I live said or did.

But my loving partner has to live here too and she would not appreciate or more importantly, deserve , all the gossips giving her stress.

So therefore Caty must continue live in the "Sheduior" and only as I have previously posted. emerge after makeovers up in the "smoke"

Happy dressing

Caty
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Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 8 months ago #6

Alison_2 wrote:
I see it as - I'm a woman passing by without being noticed that I'm not a woman.

Validation by not being noticed is unfortunately a common way to decide if we PASS. Sadly this just feeds into the fear of failure - of being noticed. If you don't PASS then safer to stay at home and hide your gender.

Before you rush to assume that not being noticed means everyone assumes you are a stereotypical "woman" consider:

a) Awareness of the existence of Transgender people has skyrocketed recently. This means that instead of seeing us as "weird" ,people may correctly classify us as transgender. That means less overt staring.

b) Knowing someone is Transgender is less threatening than reading an unknown "guy in a dress". As a result people are less inclined to call us out in public. The younger generations who used to be the worst offenders at announcing "Look there is a guy in a dress over there" - are now generally our strongest supporters. They are more likely to just smile at us.

All this means that a lack of response in public means absolutely nothing. It could mean you look, talk and move indistinguishably from a genetic female. On the other hand it could be that everyone knows you are probably transgender and couldn't care. As I've never encountered a transgender woman who is indistinguishable from a genetic female my money is on the second interpretation.
Caty wrote:
But what I would like for all of us, is for society to accept that we should be able to dress where and how we would like in all aspects of life, without fear of criticism or ridicule.

My observation as someone who is out a lot and doesn't believe in PASSING is we are a long way towards your dream. Criticism or ridicule from the public is definitely on the wane.

Those girls who don't care too much about the concept of PASSING may to some degree be responsible for the lack of response we are getting now
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Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 8 months ago #7

I think that I should clarify why I put passing in inverted commas. I was referring to the standard that may be imposed on Trans folk ( from outside or , more likely , within) rather than any one person's ability to blend into the norm for genetic women in our Society. If you are the genetic raffle winner and are able to slip into the role of a woman easily and be accepted as such then I say go for it. ( I am picturing Andreja Pejic and her ilk)
I would love to be in that place but I am not. I am 180cm and well muscled, have great hair but shit skin. This is my genetic lot and not much I can do but try as best I can to feminize my appearance but if my obsession was to "Pass" I would be constantly disappointed and perhaps depressed at my constant failure to achieve what is not a desire but a NEED. This is what I see happening in a lot of Trans folk. There is a lot of self deception I think and no wonder so many T women get depressed and suffer mental illness when there is this constant pressure to match up to the standards of other people. Not just Trans folk but a huge proportion of people, particularly the young ones, have this affliction.
A long time ago I realized that if I could not pass then I had 2 options . Put up with my inabilities and do the best that I can to be feminine ( as I see it) or stay hiding in the closet and be the shameful, frightened and neurotic person that I was. I chose the former and the freedom and acceptance that I experience now is wonderful.
Last Edit: 2 years 8 months ago by Christina.
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Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 8 months ago #8

Whilst I understand to a degree that 'passing' is external judgement imposed upon us and so very few attain its dizzy heights, I disagree that it is 'wrong' per se. Living full time now, I hope that 'passing', i.e. that external validation, that treatment from all facets of the population, is not purely an aspiration goal, forever out of reach or something to be shunned.
I personally have done much to minimize that which previously let me down. Whilst height (179cm) is not something I can address, I have lost considerable weight, worked on walking, talking and mannerisms. I dress very conservatively, worked hard to perfect makeup skills and do all I can fit in. I have been relatively successful in these endeavors with the ability to interact without raising suspicion in the vast majority of scenarios.
I now live the life I want, and enjoy, without fear of ridicule, comment or physical danger. I would be very reticent to describe these results as wrong.
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Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 8 months ago #9

Hi Donna
I don't think anyone is saying it is wrong. As an end it should not be a binary thing where you drown if you don't make it ashore.

You should not have to concentrate on being "invisible" to make it all work... Who cares if at drinks after work that you are enjoying yourself dressed nicely and someone notices that you might be a man in that nice LBD and heels - because there is a hint of beard shadow. Viva la revolution.... bring it on ...
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Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 8 months ago #10

I've been thinking a lot about this thread, I feel it isn't quite addressing the core thought, What do we actually mean by 'passing' inverted commas or none..
The line, 'Passing means to hand the value of your being on to other people'.
I don't see that at all, I'm not handing anything over. Really, our idea of passing is just being accepted. Whether you are read, or even ignored or thought to be a woman, isn't it also a defensive mode? We dress as a particular gender and want to be accepted as such.
As for being observed and assessed, this is something everyone and especially women have to put up with anyway. We see someone and if that person is outside the average, eg very tall they will get looked at, male or female.
Last Edit: 2 years 8 months ago by ClaireStafford. Reason: Grammar.
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Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 8 months ago #11

How we handle who we are, where we are at in life is an individual and personal thing. I'm pre op Transgender. I went through a stage where I could dress, go out and feel comfortable and "pass" 99 times in 100. Suddenly I hit a bad patch. Went from living on my own to shared communal housing with 14 others. I lost self confidence and haven't dressed full femine for some years. I fear currently using Public transport as I've been laughed at once. Whilst I can deal with that I fear being assaulted. Passing matters to me because I'd like to be able to go about my life as any genetically born female. Before last Xmas I got given my own unit so I'm re building my confidence. Plan purchasing a car as I feel safer that way. I've purchased a home use IPL machine from Kogans for $149. It's been about 10 weeks of using and it seems to be working. I've decided to get rid of as much beard growth at home as possible and then finish with electrolysis. In the coming weeks I plan returning to make up wearing dresses as I've been suffering severe depression by not being feminine. To anyone who worries they are to masculine in build etc try finding a good make up proffessional. It's amazing what they can do with different shades of make up and blushes, bronzes etc can change a masculine face to more feminin. Also a tip I got years ago when I first came out. Think distraction if you worry about passing, big bangles on hands draw peoples attention to them just like wearing a necklace will draw eyeliner towards an Adam's apple if you still have one. As someone who currently lacks confidence I'm recalling pas tips given to me. Observe how the average woman walks, practice take smaller steps when walking. Style of clothing can assist if you worry about muscle. Big sized woman wear clothing to look feminine whilst hiding big arms from fat. Just some thoughts. This is a good topic as it might kick start me to getting out there again. Love to all Jessica
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Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 7 months ago #12

HI all,

This is a really interesting discussion, and even more relevant when acceptance of transgender People does appear to increasing, if only among certain groups in society. Personally, I've never wanted to "pass", albeit that I'm short and have small hands and feet. I guess I'd argue that gender is a dimension, not a set of categories, and I've always got a really intense feeling of satisfaction via cross dressing, it certainly "frees" a persona that seems to be missing when I'm not dressed, and it pleases me to do so in a way that others find attractive. On the other hand, there are transgender people who intensely want, even need, to be accepted as members of the female gender, and identify strongly with this gender. In this respect it doesn't seem constructive to accept universal or normative statements about passing. Veronica
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Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 7 months ago #13

This is an extremely interesting topic! How do you caveat "How to pass" or what "passing" means. I believe it would be more than just the physical sense of donning a frock, make up and the ancillaries that make us physically look feminine. It must also be, in a greater sense, our emotional state and being within. I agree with Adrian that there is a greater acceptance of transgender people in society today and the flow on effect is: "A wider acceptance from a greater demographic within this country". I was watching "Gogglebox" just the other night. The window into the world of people and their expressions on how human beings are treated, after the Caitlin show demonstrates there is a phenomenon happening in this country regarding acceptance of people and not stereotypic male/ female gender. Sadly, it also demonstrated the number of innocent people who had their lives taken by inhumane human beings.
Stares,giggles and mistreatment is still lurking behing behind crowds and dark alleys ladies. Everyone needs to demonstrate that being who we are is what is important.
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Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 7 months ago #14

I wonder how a person who has a facial abnormality or extensive birthmark views 'passing'? Who do they wish to emulate from the " normal' world?

I work with a 20 yr old ex beautician woman who has exquisite makeup and skin to die for and I do wish I could look more like her but I never will. Should I not wear makeup and women's wear to work as it constantly reminds me that I am not her? That I am not a natal woman?

As I said, if you have won a genetic lottery ( like she has , physically at least )then pass if you wish to and can. I am jealous. However, it is when passing is seen as some sort of superior state of being that I am objecting to.

Our personal expression is as valid and as valuable as anyone else but the only way to entrench that statement is to be out there on display like everyone else.
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Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 7 months ago #15

I am not sure that "wrong" is the correct word to use. Maybe "inappropriate" for some. As long as there is a distinct gender divide, ie male and female toilets, clothing departments etc, people will be labeled and pidgeon holed into a category.
Passing is what some people strive to achieve whereas others, Jaden Smith for example, are happy just to where what they want to. I love wearing womens clothing but since I have little children I have been asked to tone it down. Makeup therefore is out of the question. Nail polish is not baulked at in our house as nearly everyone wears it as my daughters loves painting.
If i was to go out dressed I would always strive towards "Passing" as i want to look beautiful. Not for any other reason. I am also not self confident enough to rock a skirt in public without hiding my gender.
For me it is appropriate to at least try to pass.
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Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 7 months ago #16

A view on Passing from the internet:

PASSING AS A PRIVILEGE
Paris Lees writes about the privileges associated with gender.
In discussing passing she says:
When I first transitioned, sometimes people would pick up on the fact that I was transgender and shout abuse at me. It was horrible. I don't get that much anymore. That's a privilege. The privilege to walk down the goddamn street without people being assholes, or at least not be assholes about that particular point.

Passing privilege is .... conditional. It depends on conforming to a societal standard of gender presentation. It can be taken away. Essentially, passing privilege is a case of, "If you look a certain way, you don't have to deal with all the bullshit that we hand out to other transgender people." It stinks. Passing may afford many privileges, but it is not a true freedom.

Read More about what Paris wrote
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Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 7 months ago #17

Oh dear I seem to be disagreeing as I think, and believe, that passing does give you freedom. Freedom to go out safely in the community and go about ones business without all the hassles and bullshit from the public.
Are we all not ambassadors for the TG community and therefor isn't it important that we give a good impression. I know every time I go out someone will spot me, I expect it, that's life but if I almost look passable in their eyes then their thoughts, actions, can only be positive.
There's been a tremendous change of attitude by the public in the last year and we need that trend to continue so that one day every TG will be able to go out safely.
As we are seeing from the various postings there are quite a few reasons why passing isn't wrong.
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Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 7 months ago #18

Paris Lees writes
When I first transitioned, sometimes people would pick up on the fact that I was transgender and shout abuse at me. It was horrible. I don't get that much anymore. That's a privilege. The privilege to walk down the goddamn street without people being assholes, or at least not be assholes about that particular point. Passing privilege is .... conditional.

My first thought to this was it proves why passing is important. But then I disagreed with the observation it being a privilege, no it isn't. It is a human right to go about your daily lives without being abused.
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Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 7 months ago #19

Claire. you are right about it being a right to go about without abuse. I was being somewhat provocative with the choice of the word " wrong" but I stand by the assertion that passing requires a handing over of approval to an outside observer. It is , as I stated earlier, more the setting of passing as some sort of standard that I am objecting to.
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Why "Passing" is wrong. 2 years 7 months ago #20

Christina wrote:
Claire. you are right about it being a right to go about without abuse. I was being somewhat provocative with the choice of the word " wrong" but I stand by the assertion that passing requires a handing over of approval to an outside observer. It is , as I stated earlier, more the setting of passing as some sort of standard that I am objecting to.
Yep, Christina, within those parameters you are right, we do want approval. But this is life in general really. We need to be wanted, to be welcomed etc. 'Life wasn't meant to be easy' as some idiot said. It is definitely harder for those who are a step outside the, 'perceived' norm of the common herd.
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