It's Complex: What Does it Mean to Pass in the Transgender Community?
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

It's Complex: What Does it Mean to Pass in the Transgender Community?

An overview of the complex concept of 'passing' within the transgender community.

151
It's Complex: What Does it Mean to Pass in the Transgender Community?
darahoffmanfox

In the transgender community, the concept of passing is complex - and that is an understatement. According to the Trans Student Education Resource website, 'passing' in relation to the transgender community is defined as: "Being perceived by others as a particular identity/gender or cisgender regardless how the individual in question identifies, e.g. passing as straight, passing as a cis woman, passing as a youth...". This term has become controversial as “passing” can imply that one is not genuinly the gender they want to be precieved as. This article will be an overview on the concept of 'passing' and some of my views on it. Also it should be noted that when I speak of my experiences, I cannot speak for transgender women or trans-feminine people. The most I can do is call attention to their voices

The concept of passing can be both important to mental health and physical safety. Being seen in society, can lower one's chances of being misgendered, harassed, assaulted, and/or killed. Not being acknowledged as being the gender that they identify with can cause anxiety and a need to perform one's gender to the most extreme through stereotypes. For example, a female to male transgender person may actively try to force his voice to sound deeper before he begins testosterone (should he want to). Chase Ross, a YouTuber and Sociology graduate student, delves deeper into passing, safety, and the performance of gender within the beginning of his keynote presentation that can be found here. Also, YouTuber Kat Blaque discusses her experiences with 'passing' and gives advice to a person whom fears they will "never pass" in this video.

However, the word 'passing' has negative connotations. As transgender activist Janet Mock stated in her video "Janet Mock on 'Passing' & Redefining Realness" : "I am a woman, I live my life as a woman and that's how I should be perceived. I'm not passing as anything I'm being . . . Being myself. I have such a complicated relationship with the concept of passing, period. Not even applying it to my own life, but just the idea that to pass means that you're passing as something you're not. Right? Passing comes off as if you are actively right, because it is a verb -- you're actively engaging in some kind of trickery and deception . . ." Even within the transgender community, the word 'passing' can imply a want/need for medical transition. Although, not all transgender people want/need hormones, surgeries, etc to feel comfortable within themselves. This applies to both binary and non-binary transgender people. For an example of a binary transgender person that has chosen not to 'pass,' Buzzfeed has produced a short video that follows Loren. He is a binary transgender man, that has chosen, as he says in the video, "not to pass" and that he believes that transgender people should not feel the need to have to do so.

As a transgender person myself, passing is a concept I struggle with. I identify as a non-binary trans-masculine person. Which - as I have explained to my friends -- means that I am guy-esque, but not a man. And certainly not a woman; however, that is how society sees me. Through soul-searching on my end, I have decided that someday I would like to start hormone replacement therapy (testosterone) and have chest masculinization (top surgery). Which creates another question that I do not have the answer for: 'Will I pass?' To be honest, I am inclined to think not, since I do not identify myself as a man. It will be close, but not quite. I have used the phrase 'do I pass?' often when referring to being seen as androgynous or as male. Upon reflection, each time I have used that phrase, those instances are often me really asking: "Will I be misgendered today?" For when I put on my binder, I am to trying to trick people into seeing me as a man (or guy-esque), I am trying to help them see me and ultimately be myself.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
11 Genres Of Music That Originated From Black Culture

Numbers don't lie, up in the charts many times, black culture has defined the music industry. Music is a worldly language that can be understood by people all over the world. You bet black culture has taken over the music industry, but not from the way you may think. I'm not talking about their prominent presence in the rap game, but the origins of eleven different genres of music. Black culture is always using their heritage and ancestral knowledge to transmute the current energy to a higher frequency. Personally, I'm not surprised that many of these music genres have originated from black culture. Thankfully, I've been able to grow up in a diverse environment. I can only thrive in a diversity of friends.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Influence Of Music

Music is more than just instruments and vocals.

253
Elyse Music

Music is a powerful concept all on its own. There’s something alluring about being able to cut out the rest of the world, and surrounding yourself with harmonious sounds that synthesize together in a pleasant manner.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Grammy Awards Celebrate Music History tonight

This years nominations has some surprises

1473
Grammy award
Flickr

The Grammy Awards have long been an iconic symbol of celebrating musical artistry. Since their inception in 1959, the awards have celebrated the remarkable achievements of some of the biggest names in the music industry. From the Beatles to Beyonce, the Grammy Awards have provided a platform to recognize the extraordinary talent of musicians throughout the decades. Not only has the ceremony itself become a cultural staple, but the awards are also seen as a sign of excellence in the music industry. They commemorate the dedication and hard work that musicians put into their craft, and are a reminder of the influence and power that great music can have on people's lives.

Keep Reading... Show less
relationships

I Didn't Know That I Would Lose My Best Friend To Her Boyfriend

I didn't know that you would stop doing the things that make you happy. The things everyone used to judge you for. You are the type of person who does things on YOUR terms and now they're on his.

8303
I Didn't Know That I Would Lose My Best Friend To Her Boyfriend
unsplash.com

As your best friend, all I ever want is for you to be happy. Because as best friends, we know exactly what makes the other happy. I know all your weird and quirky lingo. I know how much you hate certain foods and most of all, I know the things that are important to you in life.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How to Celebrate Valentine's Day Without a Valentine

You know YOU are not determined by your romantic status

12430
How to Celebrate Valentine's Day Without a Valentine
https://www.southbostontoday.com/celebrating-valentines-day-in-southie-next-thursday-of-course/

Although the most romantic and love-filled holiday is right around the corner, it's important to know that Feb.14, the middle day of the shortest month of the year, doesn't need to be determined by your current romantic status. With that being said, you can either choose to sulk over the fact that you're single or you can make the best out of Valentine's Day without even having one.

Here are a few ideas to celebrate the day:

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments