Passing vs living

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Post  Lesley Niyori on Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:20 pm

Hmm, last post/thread has clearly been viewed by most, but no comments. Did I say it so well that no further comment is required? I highly doubt that Smile

But this is now, and that post was then.

Here is a simple question which you can answer, to yourself if you wish, the answer really sums up everything to a point.

Which are you accomplishing the best/most?

Are you actually passing, so well, that no one even knows you are not cisgender?

I have NOOO idea if I genuinely pass. Indicators are I'm not being mistaken as cisgender.
And in the end, if I'm not passing then I'm not passing. But so what? Really, how valuable is it to do so?

Living, am I successfully living?

Ok, if as I mentioned above, that I'm NOT passing, truly, and yet, I'm being accepted as genuinely female regardless, is that not really the same as 'passing'?

I've been living full time, as the real me now, for 3+ years rapidly approaching 4 actually.
The first year I was only getting started, but, on the first DAY, my very first day even, I was referred to as a woman in random contact with people.
And it has just gotten better over time, as I learned to master my visual self as well as my attitude self. Because I'll tell ya, it isn't enough to look the part, if you can't act the part.
And that goes equally well for transgender men.

To answer my own question, which is going the better for me? I'd say living.

This 5'7" overweight, bald (under the wig I am utterly bald), aging (my body is 56 regardless of my mind), reasonably nice complexioned transgender female has totally owned her life.

I walk down the street with my head up and I look people in the eye.
I radiate confidence.
It's so abundantly clear I realize how much I pass visually, and I so clearly don't give a damn.
I wear a tiara around most of the time regardless of season.
It's so plain I'm not trying to avoid being noticed.
Go ahead and look. I'll look right back.
And you better be utterly flawless in the usual superficial fashion if you think you can laugh AT me.
I get a lot of people though saying that they like my tiara.
I radiate comfort in being the real me.
And I get a lot of positivity returned back at me.

Assholes, they are indeed everywhere. You'll never avoid them forever.
A guy that will say something mean to a transgender woman, will say something mean to ANY woman that isn't a photo edited supermodel. And they likely would say something negative to a supermodel.
Assholes, they can't seem to be anything else.

Are you seriously going to give up living your life to the fullest because of a few assholes?

If you are valuing passing so much so, that you've failed to live to the fullest, you've made the wrong choice as I see it. You've thrown away the value of your life, for something we call shallow among the cisgender world eh.

Let's face it, worrying about passing, is eventually just being shallow.

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Post  Tara on Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:21 pm

Lesley Niyori wrote:
Assholes, they are indeed everywhere. You'll never avoid them forever.
A guy that will say something mean to a transgender woman, will say something mean to ANY woman that isn't a photo edited supermodel. And they likely would say something negative to a supermodel.
Assholes, they can't seem to be anything else.

Bingo! A stranger who thinks they are entitled to decide how I should live my life thinks they are entitled to decide how everyone else should live their life, too. That person isn't worth my time, aside from the situational awareness to maintain my personal safety.

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Post  Lesley Niyori on Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:59 pm

Tara wrote:
Lesley Niyori wrote:
Assholes, they are indeed everywhere. You'll never avoid them forever.
A guy that will say something mean to a transgender woman, will say something mean to ANY woman that isn't a photo edited supermodel. And they likely would say something negative to a supermodel.
Assholes, they can't seem to be anything else.

Bingo! A stranger who thinks they are entitled to decide how I should live my life thinks they are entitled to decide how everyone else should live their life, too. That person isn't worth my time, aside from the situational awareness to maintain my personal safety.

You might have missed my point, unsure. Context is everything. Unsure of the context of your reply.

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Post  Elizabeth Lynn on Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:13 pm

Here is a simple question which you can answer, to yourself if you wish, the answer really sums up everything to a point.

Which are you accomplishing the best/most?

Are you actually passing, so well, that no one even knows you are not cisgender?

Good question, one that used to drive me to distraction. Eventually I gave up trying to answer it. I take for granted that I don't pass, at least in all situations. I started down this path when I was 58, I'm now 65 (shudder, how in the hell did that happen?) Given that late start, there are certain aspects of my physical self that will always betray me. So eventually, I stopped worrying /pondering about passing and just decided to take it as truth that I don't pass, at least all the time. I have no illusions. Tossing that burden was really uplifting and freeing. Also, I've come to realize that the physicality issues I might have are often times shared with cis-women i.e. the saggy skin, age spots, weight management, thinning hair, double chin, etc, etc. In some ways I have more in common with women my age that I do with men my age.

Despite my own view, I've never been misgendered, at least overtly and directly. There are those times where I catch someone staring a bit too long. In those cases, I wait till I catch their eye, then smile at them very directly and their eyes quickly avert. In some cases they smile back (usually women).

So, in answer to the question, I spend most of my energy on living and not on worrying about passing. Sometimes that insecurity gremlin comes out and ruins a few minutes, generally when I find myself comparing myself to others. I can usually stop that once I recognize I'm doing it.

As I said, I've never been misgendered and other than the terminally apathetic retail persons who really need to find a different job not involving customer service, I've been treated very respectfully (that may be the one advantage of age). But I'm always prepared for the unexpected asshole and feel reasonably prepared to deal with them.

So yeah, I think I spend most of my time living reasonably happy or content, at least as gender is concerned. There are other aspects of my life that have nothing to do with gender that drive me to distraction, but that's a different question.

~ Liz
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Post  Lesley Niyori on Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:37 am

Awesome Elizabeth.

Yeah, at 56, there are some realities I've had to just accept. I might feel young, but, I sure can't play the game at the same speed as the younguns physically speaking.

My fiance is the same with persons looking Smile

Glad you are enjoying life regardless of worries.

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Post  CarolynAH on Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:38 am

I don't know what I do. I ponder at times how I am seen by strangers who have no vested interest in pleasing me and when the mood strikes I analyze their reactions after in my head. I care about how I look only in so far as to please myself, manage personal safety, and not stand out any more than I have to, or what is socially required. I am fairly sure I don't pass fully and that I sit in a sort of grey area where most people are not threatened by me and 99% of the time use the correct pronouns without any prompting or visual difficulty. I have never exuded confidence in the entirety of my life, I just don't see things I do as ever really done or something to be proud of and am my harshest critic and distrust people who speak in adulation of me.

I am as some would call an INFJ with "self-esteem issues", some social anxiety, and react poorly to overstimulation. So that flavors how I interact with the world. I am a bit of a ghost out and about polite but distant only talking as needed and smiling as required. I have learned to make small talk about food as it is generally safe and something most people enjoy.

I will often have my headphones in when out living in my own world dancing in small ways when I am happy and I don't think I am being watched in public.

My inner world is the rich core of my being and where I am so much of my waking life. How I am seen by others is less important.

Any confidence I exude is me mimicking and trying behaviors I have seen others use as I try out new social rules.
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Post  Celia Eriksson on Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:30 am

Hi Lesley, Carolyn, Elizabeth and Tara!

I think I see what Tara means, and I see what you originally meant Lesley. It's simply been read differently, but Tara makes a good point that's quite valid in the conversation.

Elizabeth makes a good point about customer service people. How true! And about it really don't matter about them, it does matter more about you. They 'aint worth worrying about!!! Do focus upon living and being content with yourself!

I know Lesley needs no coaching from me, she is enjoying life to the full and like Elizabeth does not worry about anything or anyone!

And me? For the most part, and I don't like saying this coz it may sound a bit boasty, people simply view me as a woman. There is still a rub with voice, but even then I keep it soft and precise as trained, and people I meet for the first time tend to not misgender me. But not always. Now retail staff and public engagement workers Elizabeth..... the worst and the most likely to misgender us, it's like they have nothing better to do than watch people closely, or 'people watch'. The last few times I have been called 'Sir' were all by such people, supposed to have the skills to please the customer.

Well, I don't look folk in the eye, I don't want confrontation, I push my nose in the air at anything, be it a lewd cis based comment or such misgendering. Up into the air my sniffer goes and ignore, ignore, ignore!!!

Coz when it occurs, it is often quite a hoot with them, calls to fellow workers as I walk away and sighs and denials of disbelief. Sometimes an air of disgust is displayed, particularly from similarly aged and older cis women than I, they have laughed... oh so false laughter, as I have walked off. I don't always have time for even my daily make-up, so I go out with just a little lippy and mazzy and do pass until I open my mouth, it is those times I am usually misgenedered.

So, I used to be a gay effeminate man and am used to beinig insulted, pretty well the same kind of reactions when 'discovered' these days, it is all water off a Duck's back to me and I don't give a Waterman's soggy palm. I have never looked anything but feminine and would never melt any cis woman's heart even if I tried, (apart from butch). And it's just as well that the Creator, whoever he was, made my brain female and decided that I oughta like men lots and lots.

I'm not upset much at all, by anything or anyone, I put up with lots too. I never get angry much either. I do get what I call 'the heebeegeebees' now and then when I get frit about everything in the entire world, but luckily that don't happen much. I get quite reclusive then and go quiet.

It is quite an ongoing battle, we never seem to be entirely there, I reckon, unless we started at minus puberty. There is body hair, nearly totally licked but still work to do, shape is very good, (I'm lucky coz 5-5 and 8 stone six average weight), skin very soft through years of HRT, not quite saggy yet Elizabeth, but wrinkly here and there!, teeth veneered and aligned better, beard growth sparse, tiny penis, cute sticky out ass, thick thighs etc.

Then there are the creams, the lotions, the regimes, exfoliating 10 mins, vit 'e' on the lips, collagen on the wrinkles, eye bag 10 minutes x 2 daily, IPL whole body many hours forever, laser hour every month, nails and painting and shaping 20 to care for hours, total body shaving  hour twice weekly, hair regime hour daily, make up on make-up off hour daily on twenty off, exercise on bum, hips and waist five hours weekly and other things I can't think of now. Diet: no sugar no chocolate no fats no pies no chips.... the list of stuff goes on and on.

You know what though?, every single regime, every little improvement.... is worth the effort!

Well, there are three more things I want and two finished, I want my nose cuter, bigger tits and apple shaved, they are next on my list in that order. I want finished the body hair all gone, (nearly there), and my two tattoos, (almost vanished), gone. I hate tattoos and though they were fun I hate them! Then I think I am there..... I want it done by 60.  God you all know too much about me now... I'm gonna hide under the desk! Celia xx

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Post  Lesley Niyori on Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:59 pm

Using others for reference, people I know personally that I have met in person as well, hmm a lot of our opinions of ourselves are often the problem.

I could show you images of my friends, and then tell you, that THEY find their appearance totally unpassable. I'm like, WTF? If I had not been told, I think you were both cisgender, as well as annoyingly beautiful.

I accidentally outed one friend of my fiance, when I stupidly remarked how she was so clearly cisgender looking. The thing was, she's transgender, but had not made a point of saying it to anyone. Oops, the lesson here is to not presume my fiance's friend list is made of transgender persons who are out on her list.

But really, some transgender people simply suffer from a shitty personal opinion of their looks.
My most recent meeting with Sam (MTF) who is as I see it so damned good looking, was about her being so down on her looks. Ok, Sam, you are 6'4' and that's a bit tall for a girl. But dang it, there ARE tall girls out there. She's still pre-op, doesn't wish to be, and I suspect a lot of her issues with her appearances are about believing in them. I wish I had her looks. I wouldn't mind her youth either, she's not in her 30s yet.

I get out of bed a bald woman, no make up, not the figure I'd like, easy to mistake as pregnant (which has happened), and all I have going for me, is my face has a great complexion. I rarely use makeup. My fiance says I'm photogenic. She generally 'alters' her pictures. I don't think it's needed though. But she never goes out the door without her makeup done.
Still, right now, as I sit here, I'm a ways from goddess looking Smile

I stopped wondering how I passed a while ago.
But I've appeared in enough newspaper articles, that it's plain the public knows me as transgender.
Ok, so it is common knowledge I am transgender. Which means they know I was born AMAB and had male parts originally. It's known I'm post-op, so no one is going to be shocked I have a vagina.
So I'm pretty much ok with the idea, that I'm likely not going to 'pass' in town. As my being transgender is pretty darned common knowledge.
So the real test is when I am NOT in town.

Thus far, ALL of my experiences outside of town have been positive. In other words, there's nothing about me to make a person think I'm not female.
So do I genuinely pass to strangers?
I still don't really know, for sure, enough I'd bet money on it.

I'm left with, how much does it matter, really?
Maybe if I was wandering around Toronto, trying to score some action with a hetero man, or looking to date, I'd need to know, and I'm sure I'd find out damn fast.
But inasmuch as I am an engaged woman.... I don't need to know any more.

I do know this much. I've met plenty of transgender women, who are in MY opinion pretty damned good-looking, and they have a lousy opinion of their looks.
Perhaps it's all about confidence.

If you have some element of your appearance that seriously burdens you, what are you doing about it?
How much is your peace of mind worth?
Shaving, what are you actually doing about facial hair?
Saying you can't afford it, doesn't cut it with me.

My fiance has been getting laser once a month, and at a cost of 150 bucks a go, and needing 7 sessions. She has like 2 left I think. Yeah, 150 bucks seem like a lot, if you are on my income. I put away 100 bucks a month for 8 months for dentures. Yeah, I missed that money. I did it anyway. I wanted the smile that much. I'm planning to do laser too. I will miss the money. I won't miss shaving. I won't miss that slight discolouration. I won't miss the end of the day stubble. I won't miss wondering, can it be seen? It won't take forever.

So the question is really in the end, is the solution worth it to you? Really?
Because complaining seems to be a skill that transgender woman are good at some days Smile

I only started looking better and feeling better about my appearance, after I did something about it.
I could still be sitting here, male pattern hair loss looking, wearing men's clothing, insisting I was female and not at all looking like one, and hoping wearing a purse and some earrings were sufficient. I didn't have to get the surgery. It's not mandatory in Canada.
But it sure didn't cut it back then. And even if I had gotten the surgery, it's not like you can see it as I walk down the street ya know Smile

I LIKE how I look now.
Every time I walk past my reflection it's the same over and over. "Wow, is that really me?"
It is though.
But it ddn't just happen. HRT does NOT radically alter your appearance over night if at all.
Your looks are about a lot of things, and most of it isn't without some planning and some effort.
And every single cisgender female has to do all of it too. Most of them look like meh until they decide to look otherwise.
So don't blame ALL of your looks on being transgender.

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Post  CarolynAH on Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:22 pm

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Last edited by CarolynAH on Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Tara on Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:43 pm

Lesley Niyori wrote:You might have missed my point, unsure. Context is everything. Unsure of the context of your reply.

It's possible, of course, and I know I sometimes misread people's intentions, but I don't feel like I did in this case.

What I did do is zero in on one part of what you wrote, agreeing with you that some people are not worth our trouble. As you say, context is everything, and looking at that one piece out of context might have been unhelpful. So I'll try to recontextualize a bit in the frame of your main questions:

Lesley Niyori wrote:
Which are you accomplishing the best/most?
Are you actually passing, so well, that no one even knows you are not cisgender?

And my answers are "it depends" and "no", respectively. But passing is coming to matter less to me. Hence, my zeroing in on the bit about assholes who want to define who you must be.

In fact, I do pass as transgender most of the time in casual interactions with strangers, but not 100% of the time. On the phone, it's more like 50% of the time. Those times I don't pass used to really upset me, and leave me in a spin cycle of self-pity. That doesn't happen as much as it used to, as I have realized that those strangers have no say in who or what I am. Those are the same sort who will tell a man that he needs to turn in his "man card" because he is wearing pink, or likes flowers. That sort isn't worth listening to.

And that gets back to living. Once I stop worrying about self-appointed gate-keeping assholes, I can get on with just living as me, and not worrying about passing.

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Post  Lesley Niyori on Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:53 pm

Thanks for clarification Tara.

Good points.

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Post  Lesley Niyori on Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:53 pm

Thanks for clarification Tara.

Good points.

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Post  MichaelaSJ on Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:10 pm

Tara wrote:In fact, I do pass as transgender most of the time in casual interactions with strangers, but not 100% of the time.
An interesting point and I suspect entirely dependent upon the situation.

I am not mis-gendered often, but I think a lot of me being correctly gendered is that I am given the benefit of the doubt.

I was shopping for groceries yesterday and I haven't shaved for nearly a week (I don't go out much) and while I was dressed andro, I was constantly addressed as Mr. or Sir. I wasn't going to even attempt to correct anyone, but I will be going out in about an hour and I will shave - and I will correct any Mr. or Sir(s) I get.

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Post  Abby on Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:35 pm

I find it hard to tell at times if I pass or not. People stare or double take at lest once a day on the walk to work or the train. It was worse when I first went out, but practice and technique seems to help things along. Walking, talking, etc a good quality of wig really made the passing difference (grown enough now , so going "natural" in the new year. Just need to choose colour to hide the gray! Tempted with trying blond at some point. Most days make up is just eye liner, mascara and lip pencil. Mainly as I shouldn't wear make up at work, but can get way with minimal as I can remove it when I need to go into the clean rooms. I digress. Prefer full make up as it does make me feel better at passing and that helps boost my confidence which helps. Anyway I digress... What I find werid is that the amount of shit some one gets does not have a direct relation to passing.

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