How Well Do I Pass?

How Well Do I Pass?

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This month we will step away from dealing with all of the current assaults on transgender persons. They will still be there when we get back.

Right now, I want to do a more personal article. I wrote a similar article a year ago, but it is worth a new look. One can never stop looking at this topic. There is always something new to consider.

It has been almost five years since the day I put on feminine clothes and makeup before going to work. Ever since then I have been trying to present myself as a feminine person to match my inner view of myself. I do not always come across as feminine, but it is not for lack of desire.

Every so often, it is worth taking a fresh look at how well I present as female, as well as trying to figure out what more I could do to improve my ability to be accepted as female. Since it has been over a year, we will use this article to perform an updated self-review.

General Status

I would put myself roughly in the middle of the passing spectrum. I do get a fair number of notices as female. On the opposite side, I still get misgendered more often than I would like. Just yesterday, the superintendent at my building called me “Sir” after all these years. He quickly corrected himself. I appreciated the correction but he should have known better.

It could be worse. At least I have little trouble using a feminine bathroom in public. I keep to myself and try not to bother the other ladies. It seems to work.

So why have I not gotten any better at passing after almost five years? I can think of a couple of reasons.

I have not had any surgeries to improve the situation.

I do not want bottom surgery; I am too old for that kind of thing and probably cannot afford it. Besides, even today’s surgeries leave the patient with only a crude approximation of a true female genital area. There is not even any guarantee that you will be able to feel anything in that area.

I do not have a prominent Adam’s apple to worry about. That eliminated one possible surgery.

I wanted to have a boob job, but in the last couple of years I have had to deal with atrial fibrillation that prevented me from going off the anticoagulant medicine. If the fibrillation issue ever gets solved, maybe I can finally have the breast surgery. It would make some parts of life easier to manage. But the fake boobs should not have caused a problem. My falsies work reasonably well. I have received compliments on them.

The other factor that has diverted me from working on passing is the book that I wrote, Trans Right, about the issues facing a transgender conservative. I was concentrating on the book and thus could not do a whole lot else during that time. This is not an issue any longer, so I should be able to face the passing question with a clear focus.

Let’s look at specific parts of the passing question to see where I am and where I would like to be.


I am not quite where I want to be, but closer than I might think.

I still wear denim pants the majority of the time. They are comfortable and long-lasting, so they will stay in the closet as long as they are in decent condition.

I have added a few pairs of other pants with female styling over the years. Since most women wear pants much of the time, I do not feel out of place in that department.

I have added various female blouses over the last five years.

One area where I might not be where I should be is in shoes. My main pairs of shoes were styled for females but may look fairly androgynous or masculine. I purchased a couple of pairs of feminine pumps a year or two ago but have not found the courage to wear them. I really ought to try them out.

Early on, I bought a number of feminine pants suits for more formal occasions. I thought I would wear them fairly often. But now, retired from work, I do not wear them much. Some of them are a bit big in the waist. I like them but wish I could find more upscale versions. It is not easy to find such clothing in stores. There is a local tailor, but that business wanted close to $1,000 for a suit the last time I checked. I keep them and dig them out for special occasions, but they are not a part of my regular attire.

I do not believe my clothing is causing people to see me as masculine, but I may be mistaken.


I have not made as much progress here as I would have liked.

When I was working, I put on basic face makeup almost every day. Now, I only put it on for special occasions. It does not seem to make much difference.

I did have one makeup-related procedure done. Specifically, I had eyebrows tattooed on since my real ones were too light to see well. It has helped a lot. They are not quite as dark as I would like, but I can use the tattoo outline to designate the area the eyebrow pencil should cover.

I still need to do something about eyeliner and mascara. I do not use either of them, mainly because I do not know how to apply them correctly.

Nail polish is one item that I can put on myself or go to a nail salon to have them do it. It just depends. I do not wear it that often, but will put it on when I want to be more dressy.

People say there are places that will help you with makeup. I need more help than that. I need a total makeup course that will tell me what to do and how to do it. Birth females learn this subject as they grow up. It is harder for someone who transitions to living as female. However, a small city like mine really does not offer such instruction, as least as far as I can tell. I would go to a larger city for a week or so if I could find the right situation.


This is one area where my situation has improved at least a little bit.

I started the transition with hair of only about a quarter-inch in length. Now my hair has grown out on the sides and back to around shoulder length.

Even at age 67, my hair was still a light brown shade. Within the last month, I had my remaining hair colored to a darker blonde. It seems to work. I like it. I believe it does help make me look more feminine.

However, the top of my head went almost bald before the transition. People have said that I should consider finding a hairpiece to cover up the top of my head. If I could find something that might work, I would consider it. For now, I wear baseball caps most times when I go out. It is tiresome but is the best I can do for now.


I do not accessorize much. I have a couple of strings of fake pearl necklaces that come out every once in a while.

Clip-on earrings do not work for me. They slide off quite quickly. Eventually I had my ears pierced so I could wear earrings. But I left out the retainers one night and the holes healed up overnight. I may try it again later, but not right now.

I do not do rings because my knuckles are rather knobby. A ring that was big enough to fit over the knuckle would be too big for the finger. I do not feel any great desire to go that way.

Other accessories just do not seem necessary. I doubt they would help much. Maybe I will change my mind later.


This is an odd area.

I thought I had a fairly high voice for a male. I sang tenor in choirs. But people still tell me that I sound masculine. I am not sure how that happens.

There are numerous video courses for trans people to work on raising or lowering their voices. I probably ought to find one of them and try it out.

I suspect that I would be better off working with someone in person. But to my knowledge, my small city does not offer such services. I know that someone in Atlanta offers such instruction. But I already go down there regularly. Do I want to add more trips to that schedule?

I really thought I would be alright on that topic. But apparently not. Sigh.

Overall Assessment

I believe I have done decently well on clothing and hair. I need more work on makeup and voice.

Final grade: C.

Those who know me may have different opinions. I would be willing to hear those assessments.


Some trans females do not worry about passing. I am not one of those people. I definitely want to be as feminine as I can be.

It frustrates me that I am not farther along in my journey after so much time living as female. Will I ever be happy with my presentation? I doubt it.

Anyone who wants to offer suggestions on any of these topics may do so by direct contact.

I guess I can dream, but someday I would like to be in the situation in which no one would ever misgender me. But for now, I must live in the real world and keep trying.

What’s a girl supposed to do?

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul


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