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Feb. 1st, 2006 @ 01:15 am Rambling thoughts on ‘Passing’. NOT DRAMA *gasp*

I’ve kept it rather quiet here for the last few weeks, and for no particular reason other than the need to have gender drama more or less completely disappeared when I went fulltime this semester. I don’t actually think about anything other than just being me now. This is merely rambling thoughts on things in general from my own perspectives and experiences, so I use myself as an example, but it is not meant to gather pity or complain etc. I can’t step into other people’s lives, so I have no right to comment on any other basis than my own.

First of all I really dislike the word ‘passing’ but there really is no other way to describe it in this rambling entry. The word seems more appropriate for crossdressers and drag queens. Passing as something you are not, when in transsexuality the case is not to be something you’re not, but to be what you believe yourself to be internally. If anyone has a better word for it that conveys the same meaning, please feel free to say so below.

Who do you ‘pass’ for and who do you not? I think it is highly dependent on how long someone has known you whether one ‘passes’ or not. I have found it exceedingly hard to convince my closest friends and family who have known me for years and years. No matter how I look, they still see Rich visually and they still hear Rich speak. While complete strangers, or people I have only known online and meet for the first time actually can’t tell, even when I speak. According to them my voice is androgynous, or tomboyish. However, when I speak around old friends and family they hear Rich, and thus think it is a male voice despite the fact I apparently never have had a masculine voice but it is just because I was in a male role all those years that people associate it with that. My voice is deep, but there’s little to be done about that, my inflections are apparently what make it androgynous, I honestly I have no idea what I do. I just speak the way I speak.

There is a second group that it is often exceedingly hard to pass with in their eyes, other transsexuals. Why is this so? Transsexuals, both FTM and MTF are extremely aware of gender cues, one might even say painfully so, and thus is much more likely to pick up on those presenting as another gender. I myself have actually clocked or ‘read’ people as transsexual when they were not, and my discussion with fellow TS’s find this not to be an oddity only experienced by myself, almost all of us seem to have done it. However, this is sometimes counterbalanced by the tendency for TS’s to not wish to offend each other, so they don’t always express their internal thoughts on ‘passability’ of individuals that ask about it.

I guess that’s all for now, my brain is semi-dead now, yay pharmaceuticals.
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From:chirik
Date:February 1st, 2006 07:48 am (UTC)
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Somewhere around 6 months of hormones, passing stopped meaning 'as a girl' and started meaning 'as a boy' to me - if I said I didn't pass, I meant in boy mode.

I find myself looking at people and analyzing them. Sometimes I'll see someone whom I have every reason to think they are trans, and comment (to myself) they don't pass. What I really am doing is not trying to clock someone, but just looking at the variety that is normal, and reminding myself that just because someone is GG doesn't mean they might not look or act masculine in many ways. It helps my confidence, and reminds me that I do not need to look and act perfectly feminine to be seen as a woman - indeed, being myself probably helps more than trying to act as the perfect woman does.

I don't recall your voice being all that deep, but a deep voice doesn't really mean anything, either. Resonance and vocal pattern are more important. Nonetheless, having a deep voice does not mean you can't do anything about it - you talked to me at the con, so know what I sound like nowadays. Four years ago, I sounded very, very different - and yet almost exactly the same. My word choice and speech patterns are the same, but my pitch and resonance have shifted considerably towards the female range.

And, yes, I did read you when I first met you, but I honestly can't say why - other than using the excuse that it takes one to know one. I'd say you pass really well, but I actually agree with your thoughts on passing - it's not the right word. You look like a normal woman, really.

Just my rambling thoughts triggered by your rambling. ;-)
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From:kemanorel
Date:February 1st, 2006 03:06 pm (UTC)
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Whenever a friend starts to, or stops, wearing glasses.. They ALWAYS look weird.

Same goes for anything else.

In enough time though... Noone will remember the past. The mind carries a sort of 'active, current' image for pattern recognition, and it is this reason why kids and puppies grow big, fast, and we seem to not even notice it till we really stop and think.

This is in your favor ... Hope it helps. You look and sound normal to me even when I know your history. You don't look male, you don't smell male, you don't give me male vibes, in fact if you were trying to be male I'd say you would have a much bigger challenge than you do now.

You don't even grin like a guy.

This comes from someone who considers himself a bit of a master at body language. All canines are.
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From:yubbie
Date:February 2nd, 2006 12:03 am (UTC)
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I've noticed differences, and not just the dresses... Your personality has changed somewhat, and you've gotten, I dunno, bublier? The way you talk and present yourself has changed to. I was particularly struck by it at the wedding, I guess I hadn't seen you in a few weeks, and even though you were in a straight suit ensemble, and were burbling to me about misc. gaming topics such as we often chat about, you just weren't presenting the same as you were last time I chatted with you. I hesitate to describe it as "more feminine", because I could probably presentiment myself in either direction... But I could probably describe it as being less boyish. Either that, or it seemed like you were on drugs :)
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From:pathia
Date:February 2nd, 2006 01:35 am (UTC)
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In the case of the wedding, I did not sleep that night. I drove down from Philly over night, so I WAS on drugs. I was twitchy from literally about 6cups of coffee ;)
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From:shatterstripes
Date:February 2nd, 2006 08:09 pm (UTC)
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I've noticed the hyper-awareness-of-gender-cues in myself and other trannies. We live and die by them, and what we express, so we kind of need to see them. This does, however, make us the worst damn people in the world to go to for ego boosts about one's gender presentation.

I'm still thinking of 'passing' as being about passing for a girl - maybe once I get around to some @#$% facial hair removal I'll quit worrying; maybe once I've recovered the ground I lost in the hormoneless summer of '05 I'll feel better.

I have led a pretty much gender-drama-free life since I quit Spümcø and left LA - everyone I see nowadays knows me as female, most of my acquaintances now never met me in boy-mode. I'm not transitioning while keeping the same job I had for years; I'm managing to redirect my career, partially because of the transition! My friends back home slip up now and then due to the years of association. Being fulltime is good. Very good.
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From:sable_twilight
Date:March 3rd, 2006 11:20 pm (UTC)
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I've noticed the hyper-awareness-of-gender-cues in myself and other trannies. We live and die by them, and what we express, so we kind of need to see them. This does, however, make us the worst damn people in the world to go to for ego boosts about one's gender presentation.

I keep jokingly saying I can spot a trannie at 100 yards and a gay boy at 25. It's not too far from the truth either. Denver is full of trans people. And I have a habit of wanting to meet and connect with other trans people. Most of the time I'm nice, just flash the supportive smile and all that. But sometimes...
I just don't want to spoil their day.

And yeah, if I want to be told something I should work on, I will ask a trans person. If I want an ego boost, I'll ask Daddy.
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From:cobaltie
Date:February 4th, 2006 02:21 am (UTC)
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I had the priviledge of meeting you in person after the change, and I was for the most part convinced you were a girl. I think the only thing I'd picked up on that you might not have previously been a girl was something in your facial structure, and even then it was sketchy enough I had to ask Indi about it.

On a different note, another tomboyish friend of mine who's a girl that acts more like a gay guy gets mistaken for a guy a lot. I don't know if she likes this or not, though...latest was at the movie theater when she went into the women's bathroom and someone made a comment that she thought it was a guy. She seemed kinda annoyed at that. She's also been groped by a guy at a male strip club, who seemed surprised when he felt boobs. :-P
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From:pathia
Date:February 4th, 2006 03:20 am (UTC)
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*giggle* Aww, come on, I am/was on PBX, that should have been a complete give away ;)
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From:sable_twilight
Date:March 3rd, 2006 11:24 pm (UTC)
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Sometimes I use invisible to designate blending in so well with other women that people don't even realize. When I first realized I was I was like "oh, cool". And then I thought "wait, am I really ready for this?" It's really surprising when I can go a day or two without shaving (no money for laser yet), in jeans and a t-shirt and still be read a female.