Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Passable or Recognizable

There have been comments of other people's blog about one's ability to 'Pass'; to not be clocked or perceived as 'transgender'. Those of us who have been at this process of transitioning for a while, hope that how we incorporate gestures, or the walk, or the voice, or our ability to accessorize our outfits will help us in creating a person who is recognized as female. Some of us girls have to do more that others; in my case, I have female friends who say my face is the typical female shape. I have a trachea that is not very noticeable; hardly noticeable at all and the tambre of my voice is within the typical female range with similar inflections.

Now that I have let my hair grow longer, as thin as it is, and now have rather perky breasts since the implants; I would say that overall, I have become me; female, and look like my sisters. Kay says that I look better then my sisters; I still have some of my natural color as well as wonderful streaks of gray in various hues. All of my sisters have solid white or grayish hair.

I have stood next to people that I had known for many years in my other life and they didn't give any hints or clues that suggested they recognized the person they once knew standing next to them. So, yesterday when I attended a church service in a town up the road from us and recognized the choir director as someone who I worked closely with for 5 or 6 years I wondered if I should reintroduce myself to him. Yes he lived in a different town, but we spent many hours working together, chatting together as people who worked for the same music company, selling musical instruments. After the service I missed the chance to have a one on one talk with him so I figured I wouldn't say anything to him. There was a room full of his friends and choir members and church members, but the parish hall was very crowded and noisy. As it happened, I was throwing my dish away and getting more punch, when he came out of the kitchen and bumped into me as he mingled with the people. When he bumped me, he turned facing me, paused a few seconds looking me face to face and said, "excuse me Ma'am!" Ok, I didn't say anything to him or give him any clues as to who I was; but we stood face to face and he didn't see the old friend in my face. Granted, he wasn't expecting to bump into me at his church 50 miles from where we worked together for so many years, those many years ago. I didn't know he was a member of that church since I had been to other services or functions in that same church over the years. I know that people see what they expect to see and if all the clues we present are female then people will see a woman if they do not see other conflicting clues.

As trans women, we internalize our own preconceived ideas of what women, females should look like and we sometimes over compensate with clothing, and jewelry and make up that might be over the top; because our mothers never sat us down and shared her beauty secrets with us as her son. We learned by expensive trial and errors and if we are truly lucky, we have a woman friend who is compassionate and will help us and show us her secrets.

No comments: