My sister once told me that I eat too quickly for a woman - I don't pass
My friend once told me that women (and I can't remember which it was) move their hips or was it shoulders when they walk - I don't pass
I don't have hips - I don't pass
I get hairs around my nipples - I don't pass
My vagina is tough to penetrate, it's painful - I don't pass
This list can go on and on and for some it becomes paralysing, destroying, isolating. It's an issue of safety, an issue of being seen as a success. It's all consuming and most of the above can apply to all women, not just trans women.
The whole process of state owned and privately provided transitioning and our fragmented history just adds to it; voice coaching, facial feminisation surgery, authentic labia (inner and outer), hair removal (hair addition), tattoo removal, breasts, bigger breasts, even bigger breasts. The history of transitioning has been the movement from one supposed binary to another. Historically, take a 'male body' and make it pass for 'female'. Even as I write that I can feel the punishing regime inherent within but before any trolls wave banners in the hope that I am aligning myself with you, I'm not. Clear and simple. Your attacks on me and my community are spiteful, simplistic and retrograde. I am not deconstructing our journey, merely questioning the binary way in which our narrative has been set and perceived.
After I wrote my piece on motherhood
, I (and Refinery29) had hundreds of spiteful attacks about my being a "man and not a woman" and my being "mentally deranged in thinking about being a mother." I will say this once and once only: you are not going to stop us from developing our community in a beautiful, proud and coherent way however spiteful you get. You are water off my back, you are history.
I do question, however, the notion that passing provides safety because like being 'beautiful' passing is subjective, fleeting and ever changing.