There was a time when I thought passing was a necessity. Passing, the ability to be recognized as a “real” woman, would allow me to move around in public without having to deal with any of issues that might result, when someone recognized my birth gender.
So, for the longest time, I found myself consumed by the need to pass. Unfortunately, I possess secondary male characteristics that are impossible to completely hide. No matter how hard I tried to feminize my appearance, there was always enough maleness showing through to give me away. Even after perfecting my camouflage skills, my feminine persona has never been absolutely foolproof.
Knowing that I was going to be clocked most of the time, caused my ventures out into public spaces to be stressful and generally uncomfortable. The nervousness that resulted, tended to mute any enjoyment, and kept me from fulfilling my need for feminine self-expression.
Finally, though, I experienced an epiphany of sorts. I began to realize that my need to pass, was being fueled by the belief that I needed to look authentically feminine to express what I was feeling inside. I was trying to measure my femininity based upon how I was being perceived by others. I was trying to achieve an aesthetic that would satisfy others, an aesthetic by the way, that was virtually impossible for me to achieve. What I finally realized, was, the only important aesthetic, was the one that pleased me.
As soon as I stopped worrying about what other people thought of my appearance, and focused on the appearance that made me feel feminine, I was instantly liberated. I accepted the fact that I was never going to pass as an authentic woman, and in doing so, I freed myself of all the stress and discomfort that was hindering my self-expression.
I would like make a personal observation about the concept of passing. I have learned that passing has a lot less to do with my looks and way more to do with how I present. Presentation is the real key. When I take the time to dress nicely, carry myself in an unassuming feminine manner, and do it all with confidence, I find myself “passing” in spite the fact that some of my physical, male attributes might be showing.
When I stopped worrying about how I was being perceived by others and began satisfying my own sense of feminine beauty, I discovered the means to achieve real, feminine, self-expression. My external expression of femininity had finally mirrored the way I was feeling on the inside, and when that occurred, others began seeing the woman I was always trying to be.