The problem with 'passing'

This is a post I wanted to write for a very long time. So here we go. The concept of passing and trying to suceed with it is fairly widespread thing in the trans community. Maybe I should explain first what it means. Passing is, when the gender you are presenting as (and which might not be the one you were assigned at birth) isn't questioned by strangers. Example: you are a trans women and everyone you meet perceives you as a woman and never questions this.

Photo by Alexandru Zdrobău

Not every trans person seeks to pass (I for example absolutely don't, but that's another post), but those who do generally suffer pretty badly from being misgendered or visibly trans. So addressing this by for example FFS (female feminization surgery) and/or voice therapy is an option. If this alleviates the incongruence they feel that's perfecty OK and no one also and especially no trans person should react with "oh, but you don't need this!" You literally have no clue how much the other person is suffering.

There's a dark side to this concept, when trans people judge other trans people by the ability to pass. This is internalized transphobia. We should be allies to each other, not foes! Also this is closely related to transmedicalism or truscum, which is the is the idea that there are 'valid' and 'invalid' trans people. The valid ones are those who suffer from severe dysphoria and therefore go a long way with medical procedures.

And there might be sort of a cross pollination of the judging form of passing to the one referring to oneself. This standard some people apply to others because they don't want to see trans people as trans might fall back on them. They apply thoughts like "no one should look like they are trans, this is ugly, what are you even" to themselves. This is a form of self-harm. The only way to escape is by thorough introspection. No one can tell you if you really need it but yourself!

Conclusion: Don't question anyone's decision to have or not have mjedical interventions. You don#t need to have dysphoria to be a 'valid' trans person. You are the only one who can tell if you are trans or not. And no one else has a right to know. You don't own anyone an explanation for who you are!

Live long and be queer ✌️