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Do I Pass?

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(@carlyellen)
Estimable Member     United States of America, Oklahoma, Sallisaw
Joined: 4 years ago
wpf-cross-image

It is very unusual for me to pop into the chat room and NOT see a reference or discussion about "passing". Whether or not it is healthy, we, as a community, seem to have a fixation on passing. You all know the questions: "Will I pass? Am I passable? Will they clock me? Do I pass?" and so on.

Let me say, right here, with conviction......."I PASS!!!!"

In order to say that, I've had to go into some deep reflection and thinking. First, I asked myself why I never worried about being a genuine male as I grew up. Instead, I just took it for granted... unquestioned. While I wished to be a girl my whole life, I knew the biological fact. And I tried to be that girl, tentative, anxious, and most times ashamed. I was soundly conditioned according to the social programming of the 50s and 60s. That was until five years ago; my life partner got cancer and fought it for two years. She finally lost... I shared her last breath... the greatest privilege of my life. Three days later, I chose to be Carly.

Yes! I made the decision!!!!! So, I started from scratch. Built a wardrobe, learned makeup routines, exfoliating and moisturizing, hair styling, the whole SHE-bang! It was a dream fulfilled, accompanied by fear of being ostracized and rejected. As time went on, I became more adventurous, spent a week in Vegas, and took a Caribbean cruise, another Vegas trip. I performed twice at LGBT gatherings in Oklahoma City. And I worked diligently to reorganize my thinking and way of approaching life to reflect it.

I always took the greatest effort to be feminine... it was a full-time job... and often stressful. In the first few months, I discarded a full male wardrobe. So, it compelled me to make sure I was "put together" fashionably, even to go to McDonald's. Maybe I overdid it in that first year. Just to be clear, I do not have a face or body that is very disguisable as a female. Not even close! Maybe my case is unusual... I never once met social rejection. And I live in an ultra-conservative Ozark Mountain town of fewer than 10,000 people. I tell people, "I go by Carly, now," and everyone seems cool with it. And that is exactly what I hoped for.

Well, this wasn't intended to be about me... it really has to do with passing. Somewhere in the last two years, I knew I passed. I just KNEW it! I wasn't hiding. I wasn't ashamed or embarrassed, or shy... It was just me. I passed! Then, now, and tomorrow. I am a woman. I don't really care if biology disagrees!

Finding a reasonable way to enhance comfort is a part of being human. When my thoughts generate discomfort, perhaps it's time to change my thinking. In the absence of real danger, which is a truism. And it really isn't that difficult. Imagine a video camera that monitors a room. It is available for close review when desired. Instead of a room, let the video capture your thoughts. Pay attention to the chatter in your head. Do you like the messages running through your head? If not, take the time to change it. Consciously substitute for a more desirable thought. Keep monitoring and changing as needed. It may seem awkward at first, but the process becomes more automatic as you practice. Soon, it will become almost automatic.

Before transitioning, I felt constantly on guard, vigilant, and self-conscious. I was always worried that someone, somewhere, would ferret out my deep, dark secret. Keep alert; stay quiet and behind the scenes; keep my opinions and preferences to myself; blend into the background. Nobody can ever even suspect anything about me. Life's circumstances sent it all into a jumble. And when the dust settled... here I was. I feel extremely comfortable and confident, more so than at any time in the past. In the final analysis, I changed the way I think about myself. I feel good; I like myself as I am, and I'm not afraid or timid about being me. I think I am fine just the way I am. It is amazingly liberating.

Now, I feel whole. No internal conflicts. No doubt about my womanhood. And a profound sense of gratitude to the one who came before me... the ones who paved the way for me, protected and nurtured me until I was ready to blossom. I have transitioned! Past tense: It is done. I smile more, laugh more, enjoy life more. When some neanderthal gives me the evil eye, I smile and blow him a kiss. When Ms. Crabby scowls, it's easy to shuffle a little closer and ask what she thinks about the eye shadow palette I'm holding. The discomfort is theirs, not mine.

I think I am okay... more than okay! I'm stylish, pretty, and at peace with the world. I am a woman.

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Posts: 168
Managing Ambassador
(@alexispw)
Estimable Member     Canada, Alberta, Edmonton
Joined: 3 years ago

You sure do Carly , looking good as always hun !

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Posts: 44
(@roxanne)
Eminent Member     United States of America, Georgia, Clarkesville
Joined: 6 years ago

"DO I PASS?", article. How very insightful! I could write a book on this one! Firtst, I am Roxanne Lanyon, and I am a "mature" trans woman. Mature means in her mid-70's!. I began as an occasional 8th grade crossdresser, and, after three GG wives years of being and adjusting to being a male, and finally a final divorce and retirement in N.E. Georgia, I have decided I wannt to be a woman, have a male (or female?) partner, and finish my life as happy as I can be! Too late at my age, right? I keep asking, but cannot get any satisfactory answers! First, in this "much more" age of acceptance, I still feel un-accepted as Roxanne. Is it the area I am in, the fact that things haven't improved as much as I would like, I am not a very attractive woman, or I am just simply afraid, or a combination of all? I adore feminizing myself with makeup, clothing, hairpieces and such, but am simply afraid to go out in public and "BE" Roxanne! I do enter the mysterious world of femininty in public once in a while, but certainly not in my rural, conservative hometown, and practically hibernate when I adorn myself with a pretty skirt, or dress, or even leggings and a blouse! I mpray there will come a time when I can just say to myself, "OK, Roxanne. Let's put on our girly clothing , and venture into the world!". I mean, what's a girl to do? Or "a guy?"

I keep praying that someday, when it has become safe and acceptable, I will go out and live as Roxanne, and be happy! But, will that day ever come, and when?
Roxanne Lanyon

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Posts: 98
(@middleground)
Estimable Member     United States of America, Ohio, Ashland
Joined: 3 years ago

Carly,
I enjoyed your article. I think I'm a bit lucky. As time goes on I concern myself less and less about whether others clock me.

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Posts: 34
Member
(@amylove2dress)
Trusted Member     Canada, Ontario, Brantford
Joined: 11 months ago

Thank you for your great article! I'm so sad you lost your loved one, but now you are leading your true life!
About passing. To be clear I'm still part time, so you can call me a crossdresser though I feel it goes much deeper than that and that is the main reason I'm here.
However back to passing. When I first got serious about this which isn't so long ago and finally achieved my decades long dream of going out fully femme I was very worried about being spotted so passing was a big worry. I always made sure I had my shoulders and biceps covered too, though I'm not built like many men are, they certainly aren't very feminine either.
I passed on many pretty clothes because of that. Sorry for the unintended pun.

Of course I was "made" a few times, but I never had an adverse reaction, on the contrary some people congratulated me for having the courage to "be myself". Though I don't think I'm very a courageous person.
Now I don't care if I'm spotted as a transwoman or not, so I now have embraced the short sleeve and sleeveless styles at last.
It's so freeing to simply be yourself and go about whatever you are doing and not to worry about passing.

I think the main reason we are so concerned about passing is twofold, we don't want to bring abuse upon ourselves, and we so much desire to be feminine and wish we were and when we don't pass it's a big blow to one's self image. Though I don't think the concern about passing or not will ever go away for those who are starting to embrace a more public life.

Canada tends to be an accepting place to live, even though I do live in a small farming community which is quite conservative everyone I've encountered has been wonderful and that's quite a few now. Of course I'm aware that I might run into some who don't believe in my right to present myself in my chosen gender, not my biological one.

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Posts: 3
 Leah
Member
(@zendawg)
New Member     United States of America, Pennsylvania, Lancaster
Joined: 2 years ago

Thank you for your article, Carly. It is well written and full of wisdom and experience.

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