Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Passing vs Acceptance

I have never liked the concept of passing. It denotes some type of subterfuge is in play. Early on during my support group days, it was a term that was bantered about plenty. "Wow, he passes well. I bet he could go the movies and dinner and no one would notice." Pinterest is loaded with boards of dubious trans girls that pass and are beautiful. The passing concept has even become part of our social structure. Note Wikipedia’s definition

Billy Tipton 1935
 Dorothy commemorated the decisio
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, sexuality, gender, religion, age and/or disability status. Passing may result in privileges, rewards, or an increase in social standing..

Gender passing refers when an individual is perceived as belonging to a gender identity group that differs from the gender with which they were assigned at birth.  In Passing and the Fictions of Identity, Elaine Ginsberg provides Billy Tipton, a jazz musician who was assigned female sex at birth, but lived and performed as a man until his death in 1989, as an example of gender passing. A real life "Tootsie".

Within the transgender community, passing refers to the perception or recognition of a transitioned or transitioning trans-person as belonging to the gender identity to which they are transitioning rather than the sex or gender they were assigned at birth.                     
Gender variance is becoming so widely recognized, I question the relevance of “passing”. I know in my case I am Ma’am 3/4 the time, irrespective my presentation; AND I DO NOT CARE. Am I passing and as what? More important to me is how I am accepted. To accept me you do not categorizing me as attractive, or unappealing – intelligent or ill-informed - feminine or masculine. Acceptance is acknowledging me without judgement. I like that better!