A Passing Interest
Most transpeople have an opinion on passing and seem to be in one of two camps on the subject.
One camp feels that passing is overrated and not important, while the other camp feels that passing is a goal that they work to achieve. I am in the latter camp and along with Faith DaBrooke of Adventures of a Gender Rebel fame. Her recent podcast about passing is a must-hear on the subject.
One of my favorite passing stories occurred about ten years ago when I was doing outreach at Southern Connecticut State University. I started the day in 3-1/2-inch stilettos, but just in case, I brought a pair of flats that I left in the car.
After shopping at the mall before outreach and going to the first of two classes to do outreach, my 3-1/2-inch stilettos had to go, so I went to the car to fetch my more comfortable shoes.
As I walked through the parking lot, I saw a university dump truck parked right in front of the car. The driver was talking with another university employee standing next to the truck. Oh, damn, just what I needed: the classic trans-woman nightmare, a Transwoman Vs. Macho Guy face-off!
I was ready for the worst! Making a beeline for the car, I tried to ignore the guys, but the guy standing by the side of the truck greeted me with a very flirtatious, "Good afternoon," while the guy in the truck smiled appreciatively and drove away.
They flirted with me! Wow – that was an affirming moment!
I switched shoes and went to the student center to eat lunch, but I was unsure where it was located. I got lost fast, so I asked a couple – girl and guy students – for directions. The guy was really helpful. He dumped the girl and walked with me down a long sidewalk to a place where I could actually see the student center.
My success at passing was amazing that day especially since I thought that I didn't think I look my best! But did I really pass or were the people I encountered just being very respectful of a person showing a lot of diversity?
I have no doubt that I passed with the university workers. If they knew I was a guy, I don't think they would have flirted with me.
I probably also passed with the male student who gave me directions. He was just a little bit too solicitous dumping the young girl student to help out the older woman on campus.
Needless to say, I was very pleased.