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Thread: Results of 15 Years of Research on "Passing"

  1. #1
    Dana Matthews danam's Avatar
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    Results of 15 Years of Research on "Passing"

    I have been researching and contemplating the subject of "passing" for 15 years. Here are the results of my years of experience.

    Passing requires three rules. These are:

    1. Dress appropriate to the environment. Are you going to the grocery store? Or the opera?

    2. Dress appropriate to your age. If you are a 45-year-old GM, dress as a 45-year-old GF. Sorry, but this is a "tough love" message to the community.

    3. Use body language that conveys that today is an ordinary day just like any other. You are just another woman getting through the day (and life!) like the rest of us. Behave that way.

    If you can nail these three things, you pass. Everything else falls into place. Everything else is just details.
    Last edited by danam; 07-02-2019 at 12:25 PM. Reason: Edited for clarity
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  2. #2
    Junior Member StephanieIndy's Avatar
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    Great rules! If you dont give people a reason to look at you twice, they wont look at you twice!

  3. #3
    Super Moderator char GG's Avatar
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    Great rules,
    I would just like to chime in and add:

    Don't lurk around looking suspicious (which is really part of the OP's #3 point) . Smile, be confident, and own it.

  4. #4
    Weirdest woman ever! docrobbysherry's Avatar
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    Sorry, Danam, I disagree. I think u just described how to dress to blend and be noticed as little as possible. And, maybe how to feel more confident about your looks when out?

    There's a huge difference from passing and being accepted when out as a trans!

    Passing is the Golden Fleece for dressers. It means being accepted as and treated as a female with no second thots from anyone!
    Sadly, none of the things u mentioned can do that for most of us!
    Last edited by docrobbysherry; 07-02-2019 at 04:42 PM.
    U can't keep doing the same things over and over and expect to enjoy life to the max. When u try new things, even if they r out of your comfort zone, u may experience new excitement and growth that u never expected.

    Challenge yourself and pursue your passions! When your life clock runs out, you'll have few or NO REGRETS!

  5. #5
    Yeah Ok like whatever Tracii G's Avatar
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    I totally agree with you Dana.
    The only problem is some get offended if you speak the truth.
    You will always have the crowd that are in it to shock and be a spectacle.
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    Agreed.

    One of the hardest things for me was to quit looking at others for their reaction. If you look like you're looking, you'll likely get a reaction (Did that even make sense?). This has the simultaneous effect of making you look more comfortable/natural and thus passing better. At least I think so. You don't really know if you're not looking at everybody for a reaction!

  7. #7
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    I partially agree, I think the most important thing for passing honestly is feeling comfortable in how you are dressed and just doing your own thing. If you are moving around nervously and cautiously people will notice you more than they would if you are just walking like its any other day. It's one of those things where if you act like you belong then no one will question anything. How I dress has not really changed that much through the years, but my body language and how confident I am while I dress has changed between night and day. Before I was terrified of doing something as simple as going to Nordstrom to shop and I would stick out because I was super concerned with whether people would clock me or not. I do feel that I was clocked more often than I am now.

    Today, I have no issues going into any store or really doing any activity because I am not really that concerned with whether I am clocked or not. What I have noticed is far more people surprised that I was not born female than before. I think it boils down to feeling like you belong and modifying some mannerisms slightly. Those two things combined have had far more of an effect in allowing me to pass than anything else.

  8. #8
    Yeah Ok like whatever Tracii G's Avatar
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    Adopting correct mannerisms helps the look. Don't overdo your mannerisms as well.
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    Senior Member Majella St Gerard's Avatar
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    Here's some tough love, If you think that you PASS, you don't.
    Just because you aren't called out on it and are "accepted " does not mean you pass 100% as a woman.
    My rules are dress appropriate for the location, wear something that is flattering to your figure, age has absolutely nothing to do with it, and OWN IT. Confidence is key.
    With that, the best you can hope for and get is that you BLEND.
    This is my experience.
    PASSING is the Holy Grail and the hardest thing to get is a female voice, to me that is the give away.
    Anyway just my 2 cents

  10. #10
    Platinum Blonde member Ressie's Avatar
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    Another tip: keep your distance from people. We can all be passable at a distance. That could be 50 feet, 50 yards or more! Being face to face with someone probably won't work for more than a few seconds for most of us. I've met a few girls that passed to me. And a couple of others that were so close that it didn't matter. If people have a hard time guessing, that's close enough.
    "You're the only one to see the changes you take yourself through", Stevie Wonder

  11. #11
    Senior Member Jean 103's Avatar
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    If you think pass , blend, ect.... I'm my opinion you are wrong.

    What is it that you want?

    To go out in public dressed as you like or think others like?

    Here is what I want. To just be treated like anyone else.

    Being treated special, extra attention, being touched, hugging, is something I have gotten use to. It is ok, part of being a woman, as this is how I present.

    As I have said many times here, most all my friends are GGs. These are the people as I say, I have been schooled by.


    There is an execption kinda. That is if you are going to have you body changed . I don't think that applies here.

    Oh if dress I like an old lady my friends (GGs) disapprove. I have been told , don't ever wear that again, burn it. I still have that blouse, My roommate (she is fifteen years older) likes it, I wore it at DLV. Still my friend is right, it is not the best look for me.

    I am so glad I didn't listen to so many here. I would not be where I am now.

    It is this simple, be the best you, that you can be.
    Last edited by Jean 103; 07-02-2019 at 04:04 PM.

  12. #12
    Gold Member Lana Mae's Avatar
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    Passing is not necessary to be accepted! I flew from Raleigh, NC to Tampa, Florida, to Houston Texas then from Houston to Atlanta, Georgia, and back to Raleigh! ( of course there were a few days in between) I was about 6 inches from my seat mates! Each asked me politely if they could sit there. There was no staring, no comments, no nothing! Just people interacting with people! I had a Christian man stare at me for a few seconds then he smiled and went back to what he was doing! I did all of that flying and in and about the airports with no, I repeat, no problems! I was just me! I owned it and all was right with the world! Do "you" and forget the competition! As has been said, passing is the Holy Grail and no one has found it yet! So just get out there and be "you"! Hugs Lana Mae
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    We talk about the difference between passing and acceptance. Those who think they pass may feel disheartened that they are just accepted or tolerated in public. Many of us strive to look attractive and we spend much time and money in the process. The stage I’m at is that within the world I live in when en femme is that I am told by female friends that they treat outings with me like those with their girl friends and that’s good enough for me. They say no one can tell.I go out and am treated like a woman everywhere. Whether that’s passing or not I don’t really care. I feel sorry for those who go out dressed so badly that people laugh at them. Wish they had a wife who could advise them better. It can be a cruel world and I always avoid staring if I see a CDer in public looking awful as I’m afraid some do.

  14. #14
    Gold Member Rachael Leigh's Avatar
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    Dana, these are all great rules and well thought out. I do agree that for the most part these are more about blending into
    the RW. Yes I’ve seen some girls who pass without question but that number is small. I know in my case I don’t pass closeup as was pointed out, I’m 6”2 and broad shouldered so I know I’m clocked. However if I’m dressed as most women my age I do feel I can pass, as a trans women that is, and for me that’s a win. My confidence has increased by just being out there and as I say being me. I hope the more I go out being me I will help those out there accept us more and realize
    we are just trying to live our lives just like everyone else
    Great topic by the way

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    Dana Matthews danam's Avatar
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    Thank you! It's always dangerous to discuss topics like this, because someone somewhere will get upset. Such is social media. Fortunately, I have developed a thick skin over the years.

    Unfortunately, the term "passing" means different things to different people. One source of argument/discussion stems from the fact that it has multiple, nuanced meanings.

    Interesting point earlier on the importance female voice. I remember a prolific YouTube crossdresser years ago (Jessica Who) who didn't bother attempting a female voice, but it didn't matter. She spoke with ease and comfort in her identity, and, as a viewer, my subconscious completely overlooked it. Obviously that won't apply if you have a extreme, DJ-quality male baritone voice. But for the rest of us...point #3 goes a long, long way.
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    Yeah Ok like whatever Tracii G's Avatar
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    Not sure whatever happened to Jessica Who or if still doing the comedy act.
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  17. #17
    Dana Matthews danam's Avatar
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    I brought up the question of Jessica Who a few years ago. From what I gather (4th or 5th-hand information here), her success as a crossdresser-celebrity caused a lot of problems in other aspects of her life, so she walked away completely. That's all I could surmise.
    Been around for a while, been away for a while. On the verge of coming back...Help me!

  18. #18
    Silver Member Aunt Kelly's Avatar
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    If we define "passing" as not being "read" while interacting directly with others, very few of us can claim to do so with any degree of consistency. Sorry, no. Drunks at the club don't count.

    Many, if not most of us who work at it can "blend", which we will define here as escaping the notice of those for whom we are "in plain sight", but not interacting with or otherwise attracting attention. Break that veil of "obliviousness", by speaking with a male voice, being too tall, "walking like a guy" in heels, being 50 and dressing like a teenager, anything that doesn't fit, and 200,000 years of evolution will raise awareness in the observer, and all the other gender cues get added up almost instantly. Anyone who's been out and managed to blend knows "that look" that comes with completion of that process.

    So Dana's suggestions are still valid. Anyone hoping to pass must do those things, but even when we only "blend", we can still get by if we observe her suggestion number 3, especially after being read. If you comport yourself appropriately, people will, almost always, "play along", which is to say that they will treat you as the person you are presenting. Those eons of evolution also gave rise to the social norms that most of us learn as we grow and become the social creatures we are. It doesn't always work that way, but by far, it usually does. Most people have learned to be polite, even in awkward situations, and let's face it. Suddenly realizing that one is interacting with a TG person is awkward for most people.
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    Member FrannGurl's Avatar
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    I really like your post dana, and I totally agree with each part of it. Some will disagree as Tracii G said too, and I've always admired her input also.

    To be more specific on your points...

    1) Dressing appropriate to the enviornment.

    Do you want to stand out ,or just blend in like any woman wearing jeans, flats and a top? … Who dresses like a diva at Target ? I go there literally every day and never even see a woman in a dress!

    2) Dress appropriate to your age

    I'm 57
    I feel lucky to have a slender body, legs, and shoulders that are not broad, and a shoe size that I can buy in most stores ( size 10) Do I love a cute skater dress?....You betcha! ...And I have several. Would I look out of place wearing one in public?....I'm pretty sure I would at my age, even though my legs wouldn't give me away, the fact that I'm older certainly would! ( I'm a bit envious of you younger girls who can get away with it , and rock it well!) The boyfriends I've had love it, but in public, I believe I would certainly make a spectacle of myself!... So I go for jeans , capris or leggings,and flats...which suits me fine. Wear your tight skirts if you want , but to me , its not a good look at all.

    3) Use body language that conveys that today is an ordinary day just like any other.

    This might be easier said than done if we are nervous , but it's easier the more you get the courage to venture out.

    On Sunday, I was out in Fredericksburg , Va. very near to where I live.Its well known locally for being pretty open minded. I was at a stoplight in the old town section. I noticed a woman who was rather tall and pretty sure she was trans or a crossdresser. She walked in front of me at the stoplight and didn't seem to have a care in the world. Others walked by her at the crosswalk and took no notice of her at all. Maybe I noticed because I was also...I'm not sure. It actually inspired me. Its the only local town where I've gone out as Franni, but because of her , and other girls I've seen there, I feel I have nothing to worry about and plan to go there more.

    Just my .02 cents, but I totally agree.
    Last edited by FrannGurl; 07-02-2019 at 10:47 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by syome View Post
    It's one of those things where if you act like you belong then no one will question anything.
    It's not that they don't question anything. It's that they can't be bothered to. Plenty get clocked, but nothing is ever said to them, so they just assume that they have passed. I'm sure it's a nice feeling. But probably not entirely accurate.

    If what you are doing, allows you to 'pass', to yourself, let that be enough. It's really no different from believing that we're better looking than most of the population, above average in intelligence, better drivers than the majority, etc.. We all like to believe that we're above average.

    Quote Originally Posted by Majella St Gerard View Post
    Confidence is key.
    And yet, there are many hundreds of millions of insecure women who would never be mistaken for a man.

    A female bone structure, attention to appearance, and all the appropriate mannerisms, are key, otherwise all it takes is ONE dead give away to inspire further inspection of us, and very, very few can pass the detail oriented eyes of the women in the world, who pick apart each other's appearance so critically that when you stick one of us in there, we, well, most likely stick out like a sort thumb.
    For those of you who do indeed pass, congratulations. For all who don't, don't worry about it, because there's not much you can do about it, anyway.

  21. #21
    Dana Matthews danam's Avatar
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    As I review the mountain of videos I took last weekend, I realize that, in about 90% of the images, I look like a guy in a skirt. Those 10% in which I look real, wow, I treasure those images. But I digress....

    If I follow the three rules I listed above, and of course maintain personal safety (like, don't walk around in seedy parts of town alone at night, stuff like that), I honestly believe I can pass. That doesn't mean I won't be clocked, or I am necessarily attractive as a woman, it means that I can get through the shopping line or gas up my car or browse the library or do whatever people do during the day, and everyone will pretty much be indifferent to me.
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  22. #22
    1.#QNaN Lydianne's Avatar
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    Heh, passing?.. Go to your next door neighbour and ask for directions. That's passing.

    - Lydianne.

  23. #23
    Isn't Life Grand? AllieSF's Avatar
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    Yes Danam, your definition is much closer to blending than passing. As those who have gone before us have many times stated is that passing is just that, interfacing with others and not being identified as our birth identified gender, which we are not presenting as in the moment. I am with Majella on this one. I have been going out since 2007 with no fear nor shyness when it came to interfacing with complete strangers. If you own your own situation and the place that you just walked into, you will most likely have a wonderful time based on your own definition as to what that means. Dressing age appropriate is a fairy tale for others for those that go out a lot and do not second guess themselves. Now, if you are still shy or have fear of what you are doing, that is an excellent recommendation to try to go unnoticed and learn to be out. However, if just being yourself is more important, than it may not even enter into the conversation nor equation. I do not claim to pass though I have a very few times to the surprise to the person with whom I am communicating and to myself. However, I more than fit in and blend into the local scenery. I talk to everyone from the bar back to the DJ, to the owner of the establishment and they remember me as me, not some age appropriate dressing transgender woman. They like, as far as I can tell, my personality and that is more me than a 70 year old woman's wardrobe. They like me much better than that! Try it, it works well.

  24. #24
    Aspiring Member Maid_Marion's Avatar
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    I find that as my presentation gets more feminine, my social interactions become more natural and less awkward. I've had tons of really bad male fails.

  25. #25
    Silver Member Leslie Mary S's Avatar
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    Over all I think your rules are a good set of guidelines.

    I just need a clarification for rule #2.

    2. Dress appropriate to your age.
    If you are a 45-year-old GM, dress as a 45-year-old GF. Sorry, but this is a "tough love" message to the community.
    I don't understand this one. Does GF = Girl Friend, Grand Father, of something else? When I was in school we were taught that you should ALWAYS indicate a full title with the abbreviation following in () marks. i.e. Grand Mother (GM). you do this specially if you abrogation has maulitible options.
    Leslie Mary Shy
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