Archive | May 2007

Passing…an article written by a CD.

Below is an article sent to me  by a Cross Dresser where she discusses her views on passing. After reading this, I realized there are so many different ideas about passing. I would like to hear your views…as transgendered women differ on their views…depending upon where they are on the tg spectrum. 

 This article does not necessary reflect the views of Denae Doyle.



                            BY  C.

               Tri-Ess, the society for the second self, for most of us is a place where we are free to explore our feminine persona and to take it where it needs to go.  For many  of us part of this goal, for lack of the better word, is” passibility”.  Whether we are limited to a once a month journey to the Tri Ess  meeting or live a good deal of time en femme, we all wish to be able to pass as one of the general female population.  To this end, we spend countless hours on wardrobe, hair, makeup, movement and voice in an effort to be a more credible female.
            In my personal journey, I have moved from attending Tri Ess meetings and TG events, to limited outings, to frequent outings, to the point where I feel comfortable going out and about solo or with spouse for an afternoon, an evening or for a full day en femme. I shop, dine or go to a movie or play en femme, but in spite of this personal evolution my primary concern is” am I passing
                 Several years ago, I attended a TG Convention and had occasion to meet an extremely passable member of another Tri Ess Chapter. We began to discuss her feminine evolution and she explained that  she had a wife and family at home, but was required by her job to be out of town a good deal on business travel .She further explained ,she always packed so that she could spend much of her off hours, en femme. She further told me that she had been doing this for some time and had visited most of the major cities. I asked what it was like to go en femme in San Francisco. Her reply is that there is good news and bad news. The bad news was that San Francisco was so gender conscious that it was next to impossible to pass. The good news was that people absolutely didn’t care .I believe that in many ways, this attitude has spread, at least in the major cities.   I have found that unless I stand out because of a short skirt, extreme makeup or ultra high heels, or for some other reason that draws attention to me, people are usually too preoccupied with “their own stuff” to notice.  Most of the clerks employed by major retailers have been instructed not to make an issue out of cross dressing.  As a result, it seems to me that I am not being read and am passing most of the time
                 I have found that an important part of passing is to fit in the social situation.  We all seen women who are wearing clothing that is more appropriate for a girl twenty years her junior.  We have also seen women who are seriously over dressed or under dressed for the social circumstances. Go out any Saturday afternoon either to a shopping area or to any major city or shopping mall and you’ll find the vast majority of women do not wear a skirt and high heels, but instead are dressed in slacks or jeans with flats or low heels. If you are interested in becoming one of those women, I have found it is best to dress like the other girls if you don’t want stand out. My wife describes this type of dress as” real girl clothes”
              As a result, one of the depressing consequences of my spending more time en femme is that I find myself in slacks and flats much more often than I would like . I also find that my goal is not so much to focus on being” passable” but rather to be what I call “presentable” . “Presentable “as I define it, means wearing clothes that are appropriate for the situation, your age and your personal physical limitations, unless your objectives is to draw attention to yourself.  I am not suggesting that you can’t wear a skirt and heels to the mall, but if you are going to do so you need to consider the effect it will have.
            Most of us are still experimenting with our own individual feminine look, with the kind of wardrobe that works for the look we aspire to.  We are also still perfecting our makeup technique and finding hairstyles that work for our face and features.
  My wife has jokingly suggested that I am about at the same stage of feminine evolution as a   fourteen or fifteen year-old teenage girl .My wife’s message is don’t get too carried away with feminine fun and act like a teenager.
        Nearly every woman will agree that makeup and cute cloths are fun. Most  would also agree that a girl needs to use a little moderation and conduct oneself like the grown-up woman we aspire to be.  Acting or dressing like a teenager, whether you are transgendered or a genetic women will cause unwelcome attention and  problems .In short, it is probably best to act your age whether you are male or female.
                     Frequently, something happens to shock me into reality; as hard as I try, I can’t convincingly pass as a woman the majority of the time.  The reasons are fairly simple.  I am 5’11” and 190 pounds.  Most women are about 5’ 4″.  I have big hands, wide fingers, a square jaw and a prominent Adam’s apple.  I have a male forehead ridge and without major facial surgery my essential features are male.  There is only so much makeup, foundation garments and clothing can do to feminize my appearance.
      Oh yes, I have had my share of middle-aged men or even younger men open the door for me with a smile.  I have also had my share of sales clerks and waiters referred to me as” Miss” or Ma’am”.  Oh yes, I have a number of photographs where I looked very passable, but I also have more where I still look like a guy in a dress.  I think that the real test in how I  present  is how I look in the bad photos.  Oh yes, there are a number of members who are slight, small boned and have great features and are seriously passable.  We all envy them, but they are the minority not the major
 Sometime ago, I left a Tri Ess meeting to retrieve an item from my car. A middle-aged man pulled up to me in the parking lot and asked me if there was” a meeting going on.” It was plain he knew something was going on, but wasn’t quite sure what it was.  My impression was he was not a potential member, but rather wanted to see the show.  I asked him, in my best femme voice what kind of meeting he was looking for.  He said, he didn’t know.  My response was” sorry I can’t help you. “  His response was a friendly” thanks buddy.”  I was shocked.  In spite of my best efforts to project a feminine persona, and the fact that he was trying to the nice, I was still a guy in a dress to him. I was seriously depressed .
  The question becomes what do I do about it?  The answer probably comes from my wife.  I will frequently ask her how I look en femme. Her response is “you always look like Norman Bates to me”.  I believe in this flippant comment she has put her finger on my dilemma.  In short, she never believes or has any illusion that I am a passable female.  In spite of this fact, she is willing to go out with me and spend the day with a guy in a dress.  Passibility is not an issue for her.  If it is not an issue for her, why should it be an issue for me?  If she is willing to go with the flow why shouldn’t I .  I think the best approach is to just go out and  by doing so you will, gain confidence in your femme persona. .The kind of confidence that is required to deal with the stress of going out in public, being read for thinking that you are being read .
   Even girls who have gone through transition sometimes have a problem being read as male, as do some of the most impressive professional female impersonators.  Unfortunately I    think this fact is something we all need learned to live with.
  Another comment my wife frequently makes when I ask her how I look “seriously” is to lift another film reference, this time from the movie Tootsie, and respond” don’t play hard to get.” unfortunately she is right.  Most of us are never going to be the kind of” Hotties” we aspire to be, no matter what we do.
     I further suggest that we should also remember that women get checked out whether they want to or not, so the possibility exists that we are being read as a women and in reality some guy believes he is checking out a woman that he finds interesting or unusual for some reason.  In short, if we are going out as women we need to get used to the uninvited attention women are frequently forced to put up with.
          I believe another key to passing is to become more relaxed and to stop focusing or being overly concerned with being able to pass, and instead concentrate on the ultimate goal of a more complete enjoyment of your second self. An immediate benefit of this is that you will project body language that doesn’t say “something is wrong here” or body language that isn’t negative or defensive, causing people to pay attention to you as a potential threat .An additional benefit of learning to be more relaxed is that you can move a lot less like a rigid male and a lot more like a fluid female with a loose relaxed body and posture.
         Another point to consider is your overall feminine lifestyle or the feminine lifestyle you aspire to. For most of us it is rather limited. Many of us may from time to time fantasize about living as a woman full-time or for a period of time but most of us know that it will most likely never happen.  For most of us, our feminine lifestyle is limited to a once a month outing, a once a week outing or at most something we do a couple of times a week, or occasionally for a couple of days at a TG convention.  For many of us there are also periods where we don’t go out at all.  In reality this is a small part of our life.   
            Most of us have wives, girlfriends, children and friends   who are a far more significant part of our lives than our feminine persona.  We also have jobs that make both are male and female lifestyles possible.  These commitments and interests serve as a tether holding us back from any all-out effort to transform ourselves into the women we sometimes aspire to be.  Many wives have little or no patience for our efforts to create a feminine persona.  Even those wives and girlfriends who are accommodating to our transgender needs have their limits. My wife is extremely understanding when it comes to Carolyn, my femme self, but when I shave my legs or do my brows with a full female arch it is plain she is quickly reaching her limit.
          When considering how much you are able to do to pass successfully, I suggest that you need to consider that your social limitations are just as a real as the physical limitations of your body.  The simple fact is, that in spite of our occasional wishes, most of us do not choose to make the sacrifice and commitment necessary to really pass as female.  We therefore need to consider this when setting our goal for passibility.  We need to set a goal that is appropriate for our real lifestyle.
        In other words passing, in my opinion, is a function of where you are going and  who you are going to be with. Passing for me is a look that works for the feminine persona I choose to pursue. This is obviously different for everyone.  I submit that the ultimate test of passing is not how convincing you are in your femme persona to the general public, but how well your feminine persona works for the feminine   lifestyle you choose to lead.