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Passing vs. Blending

Just a dose of reality, but not anything you that should prevent you from being you!

Passing is the ability of a person to be regarded as a member of an identity group or category different from their own, which may include racial identity, ethnicity, caste, social class, sexual orientation, gender, religion, age and/or disability status.

Blending is to be harmonious or consistent with. In our case, to fit into the mainstream flow of society without standing out or drawing any undue attention.

Our discussion here has nothing to do with biological males that have had plastic surgery and/or are on HRT (hormone replacement therapy). Apples and oranges.

There are as many biological males that completely pass as biological women as there are Super Bowl winning quarterbacks. They exist, but are rare. Do not attempt to reach a standard that is completely impossible. That will only doom you to failure and may discourage you from fully realizing the woman you are and that you can be!

I have met some of the most drop dead gorgeous ladies that many have seen here on the old world wide web, unbelievably beautiful women. But they all have tells, easy to see in person. We all have tells, many, many tells. They are as undeniable as death and taxes. I am not going to list them here, but when all is said and done it’s either the voice or the hands that are dead giveaways.

Now, does that mean we all should not strive to present ourselves in the best fashion possible? Of course not. Seek to blend, not pass. You can absolutely succeed at blending. Look at me for goodness sake and I have done so (humbly) quite successfully. I have been out well over a thousand times, I have been to tens of thousands of different places, I have been in front of hundreds of thousands of people, never once experiencing anything negative. Why? Because I blend. I mix into my surroundings so as not to stand out. Most importantly I am authentic and confident. No one’s head is spinning around to “read” me. If they do so, they quickly can figure me out but since I am doing nothing to draw negative attention, they go about their business while I go about mine.

You will never pass. Sure you may for some period of time, but there will be a moment where you have to speak extensively or shake someone’s hand. Or hand someone a credit card or reach for your drink. Beautiful acrylic nails don’t make the hands any smaller. They don’t change nature. They do assist greatly with blending. The Seinfeldian term “man hands” is real!

Also, don’t assume that someone’s photograph is proof that they pass. Photo angles, lighting and different techniques can hide or minimize the tells. Real life cannot. I have taken quite a few photos that could be mistaken for a CIS woman. My purpose here is not to discourage you, it is to arm you with the tools and knowledge essential for getting out safely and confidently. Let me tell you, living a truth, there is simply nothing like it! It is so worth making the effort because the rewards are indescribable.

Times are different as many of my guest (well, more like permanent guest) bloggers can attest. Correction, contributors, because without them I would have bored you all to tears by now. They offer a different view, a change in perspective and I am blessed to have them. But I digress…….

Blend, dear ladies! Just because you don’t “pass” does not mean you can’t be the woman you want to be, that you are!

People come in all shapes, sizes, races, genders, variations of genders, on and on and on……

Editorial comment: We sometimes tread old ground because you never know when someone struggling with gender issues is reading our blog for the first time, looking for answers, trying to figure themselves out.

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8 Responses

  1. This is a fantastic post, Kandi, and being a ‘newbie’ as far as breaking out into the real world is concern, I can attest to the validity of every single word of it. There are many CDers who are totally happy remaining within the confines of their house but there are many others who want to break free but are paralysed with fear at the prospect of not ‘passing’. But I think it’s fair to say that most people who are out and about and my encounter us really don’t care. My outings are still relatively short and anonymous (in that I don’t yet interact with others) but, with the exception of a small boy out with his father, I have never noticed anyone staring at me and I have never heard any comments made about me behind my back.

    And I’d like to add my endorsement to your final editorial comment as that was me until very recently. Every time I read an account of acceptance by you or one of the other contributors, the pull to join in the fun myself came ever more irresistable. With a few basic precautions, there’s nothing to fear and whilst you all inspired me to take those steps, more importantly I couldn’t have done it without you.

  2. Dear Kandi and other ladies,
    Here in lies the secret in my honest opinion:
    Kandi said, ” since I am doing nothing to draw negative attention”
    I have never had a bad experience in twenty years of all kinds of outings and activities and I attribute this to blending in.
    Dressing one’s age and appropriately for the situation and occasion is a large part of blending.
    Get out there and enjoy being you.
    Nobody cares.

  3. Thanks Kandi . Once again great advice that makes perfect sense. I’m learning so much here in Kandis land. 🙂

  4. Kandi,
    Your editorial note makes a good point , whether it’s treading old ground or not people in our community need to be encouraged from time to time . To many this is fundamental in the quest to ” blend or pass ” .

    There really is no substitute to reality , as you say we could all post beautiful pictures given the right circumstances where the tell-tales can be hidden or disguised . It’s is a perrenial debate within our community do we ” blend or do we ” pass ” ? In a recent conversation with a transgender friend she insisted that everyone in the RW clearly knows we’re male and they are just being good mannered or kind . After attending a Xmas lunch held by my local National Trust group with a good GG friend I repeated the conversation to her and asked her thoughts of the other guests all being kind to me in the knowledge I’m actually a man . She doesn’t mince her words and clearly stated that I appeared more female than many of the other female guests in attendance , I very much blurr the lines between blending and passing . She also pointed out that being a true sis female is impossible but importantly I naturally understood what it takes to almost achieve it . I feel she descibed the situation well for me and others who are in a similar situation , in your words being authentic , confidence takes time , it can only happen when you can truly believe in yourself , that is the hardest part for many in our community .

    I do feel it’s sometimes a red herring to equate this question to taking hormones and/or having surgery . In my earlier years I felt I would always be a fraud by not going down that road , meeting other transgender people over the years has disproved that . They exchange one set of problems for others , in their minds they still haven’t achieved what they set out to do . The confusion of crossdressing within my family didn’t give me a clear picture , it’s only in the last five years I realised living authentically as Teresa was my goal , hormones or surgery wouldn’t change that outcome on a daily basis and I don’t think they would make any difference with the ” blending -passing ” question .

    Perhaps it’s worth trying an exercise , so many say , ” I can’t be a woman because ……” Turn it around and be postive by saying , ” I can be that woman if ……..” Hopefully you can make the internal feelings become a visible reality .

  5. Once I figured this out that I don’t pass but can blend it made such a difference and now I’m very comfortable being out.
    My motto is just be you and the best you can be.
    I love being me that girl that’s inside
    Thanks Kandi my dear for the great reminder

  6. I would like to add 1 point-find a friend or 2 -preferably a cis woman and get their opinion on your prospects of blending. Don’t get carried away and just trust yourself. As you go out the reactions of others should lend greater validity to your prospects. If you commence a conversation in a bar etc with a cis woman and she launches in to all kinds of personal stuff re: her life-then congrats-you really have “blended”

  7. Emily,
    I agree that self appraisal isn’t a good idea but if you don’t have a choice then a selection if good photographs can give a better idea , what we think we look like and what we actually do isn’t always the same thing . Chosing a good GG friend is a good idea , my GG friend is very truthful she doesn’t sugar coat her comments . It easy to fall into the trap of asking people what they think , in the early days validation is important but I found going full time meant doing your own thing . Keeping an eye on other women and checking what a similar aged woman is wearing forms a guideline for dressing appropriately . On the whole I find women are wearing skirts and dresses less , I let the weather dictate my choice rather than other women most of the time . I choose to wear makeup everyday , at times it does stand out especially when I attend my oaintinf group , I must admit I have to smile because more women in the group have started to wear makeup .

  8. Always such wonderful advice from one of my favorite people. You are a perfect example of the things you preach about. I’ve never deluded myself in thinking I could pass in public even though I’ve had comments on pictures where people said I could easily pass as a “ciswoman.” But the two things you mentioned are both dead giveaways. The voice and the hands. So I try to keep my hands low profile most of the time and avoid talking, even though I know the voice can be improved, which I’m working on.

    As you know, like my wonderful friend and sister Amanda, I only recently started to go in very public places dressed as a woman. I’ve also never yet had a negative reaction or really any reaction other than a few stares. Everything is exactly as you say Kandi. I never really doubted you, but also never had the inner courage to actually do it, even though I’ve been longing to for several years now. Once I finally did it and realized the worst scenarios were all a figment of my imagination, I could not believe it took me so long. There was really not much to it and certainly nothing to be afraid of.

    But I will say one thing I know for sure is if I hadn’t met you, Kandi and been introduced to your site by Amanda, I doubt I ever would have had the guts to actually go out in public dressed as a woman. The more I read about your daily experiences out and about as a woman and even the realities you talk about like this, such as not actually passing, but still blending in and being treated like a woman, finally started sinking in as I began to realize I could probably actually do this.

    I’m sure your infectious smile and positive attitude is one of your secret weapons in public! And I’m still learning how to use them. But I do have to say, the few times I was out publicly the past couple weeks, I was thinking about you a lot of the time because I really couldn’t think of a better role model. Most thoughts were like, how would Kandi act if she was shopping in this store? What would be her reaction to this guy staring at me? So I tried to hold my head up and keep that smile on and it has been a very positive experience every time, just like you said.

    So thank you for all you’ve done to help Liz come out of her shell, Kandi. You are a gem and I treasure having you for a sister and friend who’s advice has never failed me. When I think about it I’ve been the most transphobic person towards myself by keeping her locked up inside, so that she was afraid to show her face in public. It was really enlightening and freeing to go all out like that at last and overcome some of the bigotry I’ve had towards my other self. We really are our worst enemy sometimes.

    Thank you so much for everything!
    Love, Liz

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