Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pass GO, collect your life

There is a discussion on passing on the SCCLounge, which I moderate. One of the questions was about people who don't care if they do or do not pass, and I wrote:

I do not know if I represent "the other side" but do know I'm not overly concerned with being "passable" or "blending" when I go out. But I do think I make a pretty good Zelda.

I am over six feet tall and am not in the WNBA. I can't shop at Bebe or Forever 21-I'm a Lane Bryant and Torrid girl. I've got a few miles on the clock, which I am reminded of daily. And my personal style varies from Goth girl to casual funk to damned near soccer mom.

Okay, this one time, at SCC I went to the mall with a really nice, very cute and feminine tgirl. It was a Saturday afternoon, with lots of people shopping. We spent about an hour and a half in the mall, shopping and talking and in general enjoying ourselves. As we were leaving, this girl asked me "How do you stand it?"

"Stand what?" I said, wondering what had happened.

"The stares," she replied with a slightly concerned look on her face.

"What stares?" I replied. Which took her by surprise. After all, I *had* to be worried about having been "clocked" as a tgirls! Right?

Well, no. I had not paid attention to other people's reactions to me. I had not been looking around to see who had or had not been looking at me. Because it did not matter. I wasn't looking for other people's valitation, or for their acceptance or lack of it. I just was there, another person shopping in the mall.

I do know that the vast majority of people tend not to really say or do anything when they see me. Either I register as another woman in their mind, or they know something is different about me but they don't care enough to stop and take another look, or they know exactly what I am but it is not an issue for them. A handfull will take a second or longer look at me. They may say something to the person they are with, or not. They may smile at me, smirk knowingly, giggle, frown, or something else. And once in a blue moon, someone will actually make a remark to me or at me.

And I accept that those are all possibilities. But I do not let them discourage me. What I *do* is to go out and be myself. Because I have the choice of staying at home, woried that I am not going to blend or pass and trap myself in my own closet. Or, I accept who I am and just, well, do it.

I do feel comfortable with who I am-and that make a lot of difference. It's far more likely that you'll blend into the crowd if you feel like you belong there rather than feel like you're an outsider. Passing? That's good genes and/or medicine, and the ablilty to totally get rid of everything stereotypically male you can.

But for me, I'll just be the best Zelda I can be.


  1. We all wish we could just pass and good luck to all who can but nature is cruel and even a lottery win can't fix some of us.

    Then again have you had a good look at your fellow citizens? Nature has often also left them short of an ideal beauty and they also just have to get on with life too.

    I used to worry that people might look at me so I bought bright red clothes! No problem, nobody can miss you in red, soon all fear gone.

    How can you write so well and only have four followers? Sorry five now.

    Caroline .

  2. I learned that being gendered female (I shy away from the word "passing" nowadays personally) Your last sentence says it all. Good stuff.

  3. When I first started going out, I worried about other people's looks and comments. Four years on, I no longer care. I 6'+ tall, and big-boned, but most people see what they expect to see. Those who don't, **** 'em.

  4. Very well put honey! This is really how I feel exactly. I know I've never been a male as society defines it and I'll never be a girl in that world either. Actually, being a Transgendered girl is something I'm very proud of. Passing can be good in that it doesn't draw undue attention, but do any of us really pass...I mean really?? Maybe we are special people who someday will be accepted as everyone else is. Getting out and setting a positive example is what really counts. :)

    Peace Out

  5. Thanks for this blog Z. I'm glad this particular notion - that passing isn't the "be all, end all" of transition - is gaining steam in our community. It's important that those who feel trapped by their circumstances, when they come looking for information, don't feel doubly-isolated because they happen to have unfortunate genes. And the only way for that top happen is to talk about it every chance we get.

  6. Six followers! The perceived notion of beauty today has become so very grotesque (Amanda Lepore, Jocelyn Wildenstein, Pamela what's her name and so on) that I need only to look at Z and the care taken to look so fabulous to realize masculine and feminine become one. Stay and be as you are Z. I love you this way, dear friend.

  7. Lucky thirteen!

    I dislike the 'P' word as well. I believe it puts an onus on those of us just realizing themselves that I am afraid sends too many back to the closet from whence they came. I feel it also discounts the experience of those of us who are genuinely surprised to find they do not raise any gender questions among people. I've lost track of those (T and cisgender) who have told me I must have had it easy in transition. Sorry, but just because Joe Schmo might think I look ok, it has never made the idea of facing them all any less terrifying.

    I remember seeing "Silence Of The Lambs" for the first time and intensely disliking it for it's negative example for transpeople. Mass media has improved it's outlook, but still is rarely accurate or positive in it's portrayals of transpeople.

    As a result, since I usually garner no attention I've actually felt robbed of the chance to be the positive example people need to see from us. Dangit, I'm proud and I want to show it! Maybe I need a T-shirt....

    Thank you Z, your grace is just that example for everyone. I'd proudly shop with you anywhere sister!


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