WORDS IN PASSING
SOME WORDS IN PASSING
As a transgender woman, I frequently heard from those around me, during and after my transition, that I was or wasnâ€™t â€śPassingâ€ť. Itâ€™s a commonly used term and it is thought that we newly transitioned women and men are very occupied by the necessity to â€śPassâ€ť. However I have adopted a new term. I call it â€śBlendingâ€ť
In todayâ€™s culture, in referring to the transgender community, the term â€śPassingâ€ť is still used frequently. I have felt, however, that the term â€śPassingâ€ť implies deceit, and pretense. Hearing the term â€śpassingâ€ť applied to me, even approvingly, feels as though I am still in hiding, and that the appearance I project to the world is not the authentic me.
I would argue that the reverse is true. I feel that it is actually during the years before gathering the courage to transition, is when we are â€śPassingâ€ť and that is when we are pretending to be someone that we are not. Since the age of five, I felt that I was struggling to â€śPassâ€ť as a boy, and much later as an adult, I was doing my very best to â€śPassâ€ť, to convincingly say to the world that the image I presented to the world was authentic and real. And I knew very well that it was not! For years, my most fearful thought was â€śIf you knew who I am inside, you wouldnâ€™t want to know me.â€ť I also realized that revealing who I was inside would make me vulnerable to being physically threatened, or worse! That went on for many years, and the feeling of having to â€śpassâ€ť stayed with me. It was only at the time I started to transition, that my feeling of pretense and hiding evaporated. I was finally daring to reveal my authentic self and was not pretending anything. â€śWhat you saw is what you gotâ€ť. Whether I â€śblendedâ€ť well or not so well, I was finally revealing my authentic self.
In truth, the point at which I stopped â€śpassingâ€ť and began to â€śblendâ€ť was not well defined, but gradually the sense of rightness with me became so strong, that all pretense was gone, and I knew I was hiding nothing. The term â€śPassingâ€ť was no longer appropriate and the term â€śBlendingâ€ť, whether blending well, or not so well, was the right word to use.