To me, passing means that when I’m out in public, I’m seen, treated as, and accepted as a real woman in whatever I’m doing and wherever I go. This means that both men and women who look at me see me as a real cis-woman, not as a man in a dress, a drag queen, or anything other than a woman.
So for me, this means that I dress to blend in, not stand out. I do this by dressing appropriately for what I’m doing. For instance, if I’m just running errands, stiletto heels, fully-fashioned stockings attached to a visible garter belt, and a glam dress are probably not the right look. It’s more the soccer mom look of casual femininity that will blend in there so that if anyone looks at me, all they’ll see is another mom out and about. But for a night at the opera, jeans, tennies, and a halter top aren’t appropriate there either. So it’s all about looking the part and dressing appropriately.
There are a couple of other components that I feel also contribute to my being able to blend in and be accepted as a woman so that I pass. Those are how I do my makeup, and how I act.
If I want to look like a woman, I have to think like and act like a woman. A woman out running errands is not going to put on the same type and amount of makeup she’d put on for going out on a date, so I try to use that same approach. And I try to walk and act and sound like a real woman, not over the top like a flamboyant drag queen, so that again, I’m just blending in and being seen as a woman.
That’s what passing means to me. The good thing is, I’m not worried about being read anymore, I’m way past that. If I’m read, I’m read. It’s not a big deal to me unless it puts me in any danger (and then the male will rise to the top very quickly in self defense). Other than that, I’m just another woman out in the world, doing all the normal things that any other woman does. If I’m called “ma’am” by a man, or have a door held open for me by a man, then that’s a bonus (because, let’s face it, men are not especially observant, are they?). Now if a woman calls me “ma’am” or tells me how nice I look, then that’s an extra-special bonus, because that means I really did pass and have been accepted into that wonderful sisterhood of being a woman. And yes, that has happened a few times to me, for which I’m very thankful.
- This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by Holly Morris.