As I began to write this article, I encountered several issues that made me pause to reflect:

• What is “Passing”
• Do we really want to pass?
• Why do we need to pass?
• Isn’t “Passing” a nod to binarism?
• Isn’t binary a nod to gender constructs?

From the instant I began writing and trying to put this piece together, I came across these and many other words used to describe different ways of identifying oneself.

Transgender Heaven - Gender Journey

Genderqueers, non-binaries, part-timers, crossdressing, and many other terms are used to describe all the “In-betweeners” those in the middle of what we all call “Masculine” and “Feminine” (I took away “Male” and “Female” from the list in trying to address the notion that we may or may not be what our bodies show).

I finally came to terms today, after all these mind conversations where I could not find a middle ground, to realize that my challenge was because of how I see myself and because of what I’ve gone through all these years.

I am a Transwoman, or in better terms, I am a Woman full-stop.

I identify as a woman because that is where I stand in this rainbow of possibilities. If you lined me up in a row with all the combinations, I would stand with the cis-females that also identify themselves as lesbians.

So, yes, I am a Lesbian. Or even better yet, what you may address as being a “Lipstick lesbian”. We lipsticks lesbians are very feminine women (makeup, heels, dresses, hair, accessories, etc.) who don’t hide the fact that we are into other women.

Which brings me back to the title: Do I need to “Pass? “Why would I want to pass?

We are a part of this world where all definitions are made by comparison; from (to or away) to something else. So, not masculine = feminine; not feminine = masculine. They are further quantified by how far away or close from the center we are, as in: not very manly, not very girly, super feminine, super masculine, hetero, very hetero, hetero-flexible (LOL) and any other term that compares the present choice to something else.

To me, passing is everything…

Why is it that I need to go through all that?

My mom always told me, “The way they see you is the way they treat you.”

At that point, I was only wearing graphic t-shirts with alternative rock logos and brands, so it made sense that I was telling the world how I perceived myself by comparison. Also, I stylized my teenage boy hair similar to those I considered the most “appropriate” role-models (to have a better relationship with me and my mother.)

Then the years passed, and so did the way I saw myself. I kept refining my image and what I wanted to project. I left home, and the transition kept going. I stopped buying clothes that were in-line with a teenage girl to purchasing those of a more refined and professional woman. I was still in my crossdressing phase and wondering whether or not it would fade out at some point.

Image result for woman throwing clothes out window

Several years and many purges later, (those who have done them know precisely what I am talking about) I stopped crossdressing; that is, I no longer wore male clothes.

It was my desire to be treated as a respectable, fashionable, and professional woman in every place and situation that I went to. I tried to project that exact message (or as much as I could do) by my selection of clothes, age-appropriate shapes, colours and lengths, and by learning how to put together a full outfit for each occasion that fit that message.

You see, I am not perfect. I didn’t have the chance to wear pink, blue, red and green with a rainbow skirt and glittering sneakers like any other regular girl growing up.

I wasn’t able to wear low rise jeans with cropped blouses like any other teenage girl (of my generation).

No, I had to go through that cycle super fast, and then learn even quicker what woman of my age should wear to be treated as such in public.

And by doing all of this, I found that yes; I needed to be able to pass, at least as much as possible in the simple act of being me.

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There are some good things and bad things, boring and funny ones (I hope) basic is: I started transitioning in 2007 and HRT in 2009. The rest is up to you to ask me 🙂

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Marianne FerraraSatin SummerJackieTara AprilGabriela Romani Recent comment authors
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Michelle Liefde
Active Member

Thank you Marianne for a wonderful article. It does help to read others perspectives on “passing” It is a term that I am coming to grips with as I strive to figure out where I fall on the spectrum. So reading your words helps with that coming to terms with who I am and how I wish to present myself.


Tara April

Crossdresser here I don’t go out in public if I did my voice would give away. For me passing would be important enless I move or go somewhere out of state where no family is!
I want to move out of state in a few years after I graduate college.

Active Member

Thanks for a great article Marianne! I know the feeling of having missed out on the rites of passage most girls experience. While I am still figuring out where my path is leading me(i.e. how far I want/need/desire to go towards being full time , or transitioning socially, hormonally or surgically). So many consequences regarding work, friends, family etc. My voice is definitely not extremely feminine though I suppose that could be changed with training. I’ve grown my hair longer now and got my ears pierced. IDK if I’d say I “pass” or not though I do get ma’amed fairly… Read more »

Karen Matthews

Loved the article as well Marianne. My own experience was that I have spent my entire life lamenting the fact that I struggle to pass particularly during the day. My personal liberation came during a a three week trek that I undertook 3 years ago. Spending all day walking is the equivalent of spending all day being in a state of meditation. I has no access to my fem clothing for three weeks as I trekked across England….. what I did have was an innordinate amount of time to think about who I was and what I wanted out of… Read more »

Gabriela Romani
Active Member

Marianne, yes, thank you for the article. Your perspective is more than valid from the perspective of not only wanting, but needing to be, for real, “just one of the girls”. I guess that one of the differences from the crossdressing perspective is that passing or not, a CD can (or should) be happy with being accepted. While for those living full time as females pre-op/non-op/post-op, it is about being accepted as females. I don’t believe that there is a 100% passing crossdresser, at least not those who live most of their lives presenting as males. But even somebody who… Read more »

Tara April

I only have one outfit but I wouldn’t mind eventually having all the items that would consider me a lipstick lesbian.
I like women and only women and enjoy the items and jelious of what they get to wear!


I truly admire your stand up and be you attitude and courage you possess. Nice article Marianne, I think it will benefit so many who are lonely, confused and without direction.

Satin Summer

Caught by my wife once and she smiled and made be up as a drag queen. Way over the top. Then I asked her to do it all over again and make me passable! It took a lot more time but the outcome was unbelievable. I have always wanted to be passable!

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