This might seem controversial and counter-intuitive, but I truly believe that for lots of reasons, passing isn’t important.
Bear with me.
What do we want as crossdressers?
I wonder sometimes, how deeply we examine this. Take a moment to consider what you want, or even why you crossdress. Really stop and think about it. Do you want to be a woman? Do you want to look like a woman? Is it just about the clothes, or is it something more? Is it purely sexual? Is it not sexual at all, but something more elusive? Is it wrapped up in your identity, and what does that mean for you?
The answers to these questions will vary wildly between different people, and each is just as valid as the other. But at the root of it all is this one universal struggle: We want to be ourselves.
What do we mean by passing?
Quick terminology check here – when we talk about passing, we mean passing as a woman, i.e. being seen as female. Passing means being able to walk down the street and have people think you are a woman. Passing without notice.
Why we can’t pass
For the vast majority of us, passing is impossible. We look around us and idealise these tiny, delicate women. Women with perfect bodies upon which they can hang gorgeous clothes; with perfect skin and faces that need no makeup to look unimaginably beautiful; who seem so utterly blissful and carefree. Then we look at ourselves and see comparative monsters. We are taller, stockier, less curvy – ultimately less feminine. We have undefined waists, broader shoulders, stronger chins, deeper voices, and hair that apparently decides to sprout from wherever it damn well pleases. Our feet won’t fit into the nicest shoes, our fingers too big for delicate jewellery, our hips too narrow for the prettier dresses.
Why do we want to pass?
This is complex. Within each of us is this seed that has grown over the years; the roots are buried somewhere deep inside us; the branches of our own identity turning painfully inwards to find still no light because we’ve built a wall to hide it – A wall built from bricks of fear, and of shame. We’ve spent so long being convinced that we’re monsters because we don’t look like women, that we’re monsters because we want to look like women. Because we’re different.
Is passing, then, the goal of looking like a woman?
Or is it the goal of not looking like a man who wants to look like a woman?
Why is this bad?
I would say that both of these are somewhat toxic.
If your ultimate goal is to be seen as a woman, knowing that the vast majority of us cannot effectively pass, you will probably be setting yourself up for failure, and ultimately depression and self-loathing.
Likewise if your goal is to hide, you are reinforcing, and further internalising, the notion that crossdressing is something to be ashamed of (it is resolutely not).
What should our goal be?
We started off by realising that crossdressing comes down to being able to be who we are; To express ourselves freely. That should be our goal. There is nothing wrong with getting better at makeup, getting better at styling your hair or choosing clothes that fit your body – but you should be aiming to do this in order to be yourself, and not some imaginary, unattainable goddess. You want to chip away the marble to find your own Venus de Milo, and not papier-mache over what you perceive as your own ugliness.
You want to throw on a dress? DO IT
You want to put on makeup and go see a movie? GREAT I’LL COME TOO
Allow yourself the personal freedom to just be you – maybe you’ll never pass, but that’s ok :)
Passing means living up to unrealistic expectations.
See more about my journey here