As I started this transition, a lot of time and energy (and worry) went into being “passable” as a woman. I’ve read and heard a lot of debate on this, mostly about being yourself and what others think does not matter. And while that is true, when one is on the beginning part of transition looking forward this is a huge concern. It has only been after HRT’s effects have had time to take hold, that I was able to be comfortable enough to be able to let down my guard and be able to perhaps see the larger picture where these statements are true.
It’s only in the last couple of months, where coincidentally I’m ‘passable’ enough, that now ‘passing’ is not that important and I can say things like “it does not matter what others think” or “what/who is important is you”. Perhaps the better way of putting this is: “what is important is what you think”. This changes as you go through a transition, this means wanting to be passable at the start is just as valid as seeing that it does not matter after you are through.
Lately (I’m starting month 12 as I write this), most of the places I go, people I see or ‘massively public’ areas I’m in, I am not noticing any side looks, comments or raised eyebrows. Now, I have had to be ‘up in front’ at public events a number of times recently, giving a talk on astronomy, manning a booth at the astronomy open house (1500 people came through), teaching astronomy at a local school (320 students), etc., and have never experienced problems or issues.
At this point in my transition, my ideas surrounding being ‘passable’ are changing. I’m now along the lines of “that is their assumption – no biggie”. Yes, I am who I am and I’m the happiest I have ever been in my life. Everything matches, especially my gender and my gender expression. And for the most part, that is reflected back to me from society. Now, I do not believe that I am fully ‘passable’ – not by a long shot. But enough of the ‘clues’ are present that people seem to assume I’m female and treat me as such. Even those that hear me first (my voice has a long way to go) and use the wrong pronoun usually will look a bit embarrassed once they see me.
But the real difference is that I no longer mind. The ‘sting’ is gone. I’ve had women tell me that they have been called ‘sir’. I’m sort of at the point I guess – people make mistakes in this area – but more important I know who I am and this does not challenge that, nor does it in any way negate it.
Transitioning is a scary and potentially dangerous thing to do. It is fraught with high stress and anxiety, especially when starting. Being concerned with passing when you start is not only ok – it could be necessary. Yes, some transsexuals will never be able to pass. Taken at a ‘healthy’ level, this fear can be helpful and prevent potentially dangerous situations.
This is a long winded way of trying to say it’s ok to want to be able to pass. Perhaps, like me, that was a phase (not completely through it – maybe at some level I’ll never be).
As the months pass and I settle into my true being, more and more of these things that back then were paramount are now starting to seem trivial. They are not – it’s just that my journey is now a bit more “down the road”.
With much Aloha,