For many of us passing is the holy grail, the ability to go out in public and be indistinguishable from other women, of course not everyone is concerned about passing to the same degree, but I would imagine most of us enjoy that little confidence boost when someone opens a door for us or calls us ma?am.
Of course, we are all different, and what is possible will vary depending on many factors. However, there are a few tips I have picked up in my time that I feel are invaluable and could potentially help anyone improve their chances of passing. I learned these things from experience and observation, and obviously would not recommend them if I didn?t use them myself with some degree of success, (yes, I do generally pass when I am out and about.)
Confidence Is Key
Confident people are far less likely to attract negative attention, as is true conversely for those who appear self-conscious and/or nervous. I recall some sage advice I was given by an elder when I was quite young, he was referring to nefarious activities at the time, but the advice was that if you are somewhere you should not be, then don?t try to hide, but rather act as though you have every right to be there.
The thinking here is that human nature is that we are much more comfortable challenging those we see as weaker than ourselves, we tend to avoid confrontation with those we perceive as our equals or betters. You are supposed to be out and about dressed any way you choose, it is your absolute right to do so, you are not doing anything wrong and do not deserve to receive people?s negativity. Keep that in mind when you go out and it will be a good foundation for building your confidence.
It is all very well for me to say ?be confident? as if that will fix everything, but of course how do you get that confidence to begin with? Well let me begin by sharing this observation about confidence, I have discovered it is like money in the bank the more of it you have the more you gain, each time you go out and are successful in your mission will help build that balance in your confidence wallet.
But back to the original point, how to get that initial confidence to begin going out and dealing with the world as the real you? It is a combination of many factors, but to put it in broad terms you need to feel confident and comfortable with the image you are presenting to the world. This is often about finding a compromise between how you wish to look or how you envision yourself, and a more realistic image that also takes into consideration how other women dress and act. The goal here is to blend in, not stand out (unless of course you enjoy all the attention then go for it!)
Try to be realistic about your clothing choices, look at what women of your age are wearing, then adapt it to suit your own personal style. Choose clothes that actually fit you properly, I cannot stress this point enough, there is nothing more awkward looking than a woman who looks like she is wearing clothing two sizes too small. Same goes for shoes, of course those 4-inch red stilettos are to die for, but can you walk in them?
Finally, makeup and hair, choose a good style and colour that suits your face, and makeup that is appropriate for the venue, i.e. a day out shopping is likely to be a much less dramatic look than a trip to a night club. (Of course, Born can help with finding that look!)
So, you have your outfit sorted, makeup and hair done, nerves under control and you are about ready to leave the house. Well, not quite, let?s adjust that posture a little, stand up straight, smile and open those eyes wide. One thing I notice quite often with trans women that is a big deal breaker where passing is concerned, that is the way they still have that masculine scowl, men and women have very different resting facial expressions, with women being softer and more open, and men being a little more closed up and tight generally.
The key to achieving this look is practice, relax, smile and breathe and think soft and open, no matter how stressed you might feel inside. Women also make eye contact and smile at one another, try it, you?ll be surprised how many people smile back!
These are not hard and fast rules, I am sure there are many other things that can benefit and enhance your ability to pass, but I have found the above very helpful in my personal journey and wanted to share them with you, in the hope that they might be at least somewhat helpful to some of you.
Thank you Sarah Kemsing for writing this blog for Born. xx