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 wasn’t “Passing”. It’s a commonly used term and it is thought that we newly transitioned women and men are very occupied by the necessity to “Pass”. However I have adopted a new term. I call it “Blending”
In today’s culture, in referring to the transgender community, the term “Passing” is still used frequently. I have felt, however, that the term “Passing” implies deceit, and pretense. Hearing the term “passing” 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 “Passing” 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 “Pass” as a boy, and much later as an adult, I was doing my very best to “Pass”, 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 “If you knew who I am inside, you wouldn’t want to know me.” 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 “pass” 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. “What you saw is what you got”. Whether I “blended” well or not so well, I was finally revealing my authentic self.
In truth, the point at which I stopped “passing” and began to “blend” 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 “Passing” was no longer appropriate and the term “Blending”, whether blending well, or not so well, was the right word to use.