Thoughts on Passing

Rebecca - membership 072


Issue 9
February 2000

The greatest problem faced by the transgenderist, whether TV or TS, is to 'pass' successfully in public. Yet there are many natural women who are not particularly feminine, who have 'masculine' faces, are very tall, heavily built, and yet who do not have any problem at all. What is the elusive quality that they have that allows them to not be questioned, to 'pass', that escapes those in the trans-gender community?

After thirty years in dental surgery, I have had the opportunity to examine faces at close range. The last ten of those years were in cosmetic surgery, where I was asked to improve or correct nature or the ravages of age. It soon became apparent that nature is not so beset by the stereotypical 'male' or 'female' face as much as some people think. There are many girlish male faces and mannish female faces where the person is still very attractive and consequently has no problem with their appearance whatever. So, why do some of our community get 'read out' when out in the wide world? I suspect that by and large these people actually give themselves away. It is almost as if they wave a metaphorical flag saying 'look at me, I am really a man, but I am wearing female clothes, am I all right?' They do this by looking around to see who is watching or staring at them, making eye contact with the general public. This is just not natural, only the suspicious, the dubious among us do this. One of the ways shoplifters are spotted is because they look shifty, checking if they are being watched, and security cameras or in-house detectives can see this. The uncertain TV/TS often does the same thing and consequently attracts attention. The general public are usually far too preoccupied with their own problems to be bothered with looking for unusual passers- by.

Height is a perennial cause of complaint. Yet there are still natural women who are tall. They are used to being tall, it is normal for them, and they just get on with life. They may not like it, but they do not consider being thought of as a man in a dress. A friend of mine who was very tall complained that men expected her to carry suitcases, for example, and never offered to help her, which she did not like, but they never considered her 'masculine'. The requisite for modelling is that the girl be tall, so it can be considered a considerable benefit.

The factor that is common to all natural men and women is that they are used to themselves, they have had their appearance all their lives, they have known nothing else. They may dress flamboyantly or demurely, but they enjoy being themselves, and this emotion comes from within. Whether they are attractive or not, they feel good and this is the image the public receives from them. So, in this context, the transgenderist should be come to terms with who and what they are. Lack of confidence, embarrassment, and guilt are all destructive emotions, but they are not necessary. There is nothing wrong in cross-dressing. It is not illegal, or harmful to anyone, and is gradually becoming accepted by society. It has certainly not inhibited Eddie Izzard's career. The TV or TS when 'in role' is often a nicer gentler person that in their male persona, and they should capitalise on this. Friends and family could be encouraged to accept this side of them and appreciate and benefit from the improvement. The wife of a TV told me that her husband was far more manipulable in his female attire and more fun to be with. She had come to terms with the condition, and while obviously preferring that it did not exist, was making the best of it.

There are obviously guidelines for TV's and TS's to follow that will help in passing successfully. To begin with, do not keep looking around to see if anyone is looking at you! This makes you look suspicious! Nor should you draw attention to yourself by wearing inappropriate clothes or make-up. The transgenderist who wears a very short skirt or loads of make-up, especially of the wrong shade, will be noticed. They may not necessarily be recognised for what they are, but they will attract unnecessary attention. The public by and large is too wrapped up in their own lives and problems to take much interest in anyone else unless something is out of context and catches their notice. Then they will stare!

The cardinal rule is to harmonise with your peer group. Young girls wear more sexy clothes than older women, especially in the evening, Older ladies are the opposite, and have comfort as the major factor in clothing choice Very high heels are essentially feminine, but not during the day going shopping! Especially if you are already taller than average. Wear shoes and clothes that are comfortable and do not accentuate your worst features. Make-up is best kept to an absolute minimum. After all, it is essentially designed to improve on nature, rather than being the definitive basis of a woman's appearance. Heavier make up is acceptable in the evening, because you will be appearing in artificial light which being less bright than daylight requires a different approach. Heavily painted faces are not attractive, either on the natural woman or TV/TS! Beauty is a personal thing, note all the people who you find ugly who have nevertheless found happiness with a partner. So, there is very likely someone somewhere who will find you attractive, no matter how you look, especially if you can be fun to be with. Being Good Company is definitely a feature the opposite sex (whichever way) finds very appealing. An attractive personality lasts, while beauty fades. Since personality comes from within, I am back to the emotional aspect of being comfortable with yourself, being at peace with your inner feelings; this is what you will project to others, and affect completely how they see, understand and appreciate you.

In conclusion, one of the best things to do for those who lack confidence is to go to one of the dressing, deportment and make-up services advertised in the appropriate journals and magazines, and get advice from the experts. There are several excellent examples of these in the various 'gender' publications. You will then be able to see how well you can look, what you really can be capable of. It can be extremely surprising!

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