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Wondering if I could pass


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Part of me wonders if I could pass if I did decide to transition. I've been growing my hair out, after buzzing it since the late 90's. I do like it, but it'll be a bit before I can do anything interesting with it. Which is fine, I'm still working this all out. I found myself looking at wigs online. Which is kind of bonkers for me, as I've never had any real interest in women's cloths or make-up, never mind a wig. Not helping is the damn testosterone shots. You get a better beard with it. Which isn't really ideal. lol That's the thing though. I never really noticed how miserable I've been since starting testosterone due to low t. Can one be repelled by the hormone that goes with the body? It seems to me, one can. My therapist wants me to tell my endo about this and I will with the next appointment. I can't just stop though. There are legitimate health reasons to have at least one of the two hormones running through my system. Anyway, I'm still presenting as male, but I thought I'd post a pic of me now and see what everyone thought. 


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  • Forum Moderator

You might want to try a wig but it is difficult to do that on the internet.  I found early on that going to a wig shop with a woman who would be honest with the look helped me.  Women come in all shapes and sizes for which i am grateful.  





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Jamie, honestly, it has to do with what you are looking for in regards to passing.  For anyone looking to go stealth, that is, being indistinguishable from a cis woman, that is a high bar most of us won't ever achieve.  Some do, but not many.  If you are like I am and your objective is to be treated appropriately as the gender you are expressing, passing is easy. 


Looking at the shape of your face, I think you'd be quite passable, but being honest, probably not stealthy.  To go stealth, usually a trans woman has to have some naturally feminine facial features to start with.   I think many of your facial features are androgynous, so you could probably camouflage any of the male characteristics quite easily.


Like Charlize pointed out, woman really do come in all shapes and sizes, so even if we aren't fashion model beautiful, we can pass.


One last point and this works for me: passing has a lot more to do with how you carry yourself and having feminine mannerisms than it does possessing a classically feminine appearance.

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  • Admin

This is something I put in the Passing Forum a number of years ago, and it stands the test of time for being accurate:




35 minutes ago, Sally Stone said:

Jamie, honestly, it has to do with what you are looking for in regards to passing.  For anyone looking to go stealth, that is, being indistinguishable from a cis woman, that is a high bar most of us won't ever achieve. 


Sally has hit it there, I have been living full time for over 12 years and the whole idea of "Passing" no longer even makes sense to me.  I have my own looks and style as you can see if you go into my gallery here. 



Most of my life suits what I am doing on a given day or time as myself.  I do use feminine behavior cues which it seems were what caused my trouble in the past before I Transitioned. The behaviors are natural to me, and as cues go beyond my looks to show who I really am.  My voice is a little bit low on the Tenor range, but my speech pattern offsets the low since that pattern is feminine in word choice and conversational wording and its variable pitch which is very much a woman cue.  I have had family members misgender me in restaurants and the food service personnel corrected them before I had a chance, and at stores where they know me there is never a problem and occasionally some good humor and good cry events with their support.  

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  • Forum Moderator

Good evening Jamie, 

My last haircut was High and Tight like most public safety officers wear, in August 2019. It’s now down between my shoulder blades in the back. I don’t present completely as female just yet. I’m very much in between the male, female spectrum, presenting more androgynous. When I’m wearing a mask, most people working the customer service counter or serving a table greet me as female. When I’m with my wife we’re greeted as ladies. I don’t correct them and as long as I don’t speak I’m viewed as female. If I’m not wearing a mask then it’s a funny crap shoot, as how it will go. If I’m back lit by the shop or restaurant doors, I get gendered as female, and then as I close the distance, they realize I’m male. The embarrassment on their part begins, I smooth it over quickly by saying, I don’t care how you refer to me as long as it’s friendly, and on time for dinner. Right now I enjoy blending the lines of gender. I’m sure HRT and wearing makeup will really keep them guessing. Eventually HRT should help me be more convincing, plus I’ll put more focus on voice coaching. 

Best wishes, stay positive, and safe 



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...in your photo

Real life and whole body considerations make it more complicated.  But based on your photo I feel positive about your chances

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I think you would, but passing is a lot more than outward appearance. I think it’s mostly something internal; an attitude and behavior shift. Transition is a lifelong journey that requires patience, fortitude, self reflection, and a healthy sense of humor. I wish you peace on your journey.

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When I started my transition, which really wasn't that long ago, I held some of the same fears regarding how I could or would be perceived.  Maybe that's why it has taken me so long to finally admit to myself who I really am and who I want to be.  Thus far "passing" hasn't been much of an issue for me when I am out and about.  And like @Mmindy, I am always wearing my mask.  I shave and try to keep it as smooth as possible, but that alone isn't enough to hide my facial hair.  I'd really love to look into the available options for hair removal.  As it stands, however, I always wear my mask when I am out in the general public.  It's a rather large mask with filtered vents and it velcros behind my neck.  It does a wonderful job hiding what, in my opinion, I find the largest "tell" in my efforts to be recognized as a woman.  You also mentioned that you were never particularly taken with women's clothing or make-up.  I differ from you here because I most certainly am.  I have been for over two decades (which should have been one of several flags to me as far as my true feelings and identity)  I have gone all in with my efforts to be seen, spoken to, and interacted with as my true self. 

My hair is just above my shoulders and generally tied back in a scrunchie.  My hair is also extremely frizzy and obnoxiously difficult to work with.  To handle that as best I can, I use anti-frizz conditioner, carry a brush in my purse, and always wear a bandana or hair band.  I tried various clips and alternatives to that, but I am not exaggerating when I say my hair is obnoxiously difficult.  If I really wanted to keep it all down I have to use ridiculous amounts of various products.  It used to be quite a bit longer and would get it relaxed every year or so.  Sadly I developed a rather severe case of psoriasis which led to a lot of hair loss.  It's not as bad as it could be because I still have enough to pull back.  It also made it impossible to keep getting it relaxed becasue the chemicals get along well with the psoriasis.  I have wanted to have my ears pierced since I was a teenager.  I finally got it done and, on top of what I bought at the time they were pierced, I found a pretty earring and necklace set as well as a pair of Sailor Moon earrings from my partner.

Speaking of my partner, they helped me look for, essentially, a new wardrobe.  A number of blouses, scarves, capris, footware, and some basic bracelets.  I also set out to get some basic make-up, but I don't need that much given how little of my face is visible enough, between the mask, glasses, and headgear, to really  matter.  I did go to town on the nail polish though.  My partner took me to a place they shop at consistently with a good selection of items either inexpensive or marked down for one reason or another.  My partner also surpised me with a few colors they found and knew I'd be happy with.  I've been painting my nails every day since.  

With all of that said, by the time I'm done I've got a bra stuffed with liner pads, either a pink or purple undershirt, either a blouse or graphic t-shirt (mostly from https://www.teeturtle.com/ and so cute), capris or skirt (mostly the skirt.  It's denim and comes to my ankles), a bracelet on the left wrist and Apple watch in a pink band on the right, earrings, necklace, headware, and either a shawl like garment or a pink hoodie for colder environments.  With the skirt I generally wear a pair of cute boots with heels and women's athletic sneakers with the capris.  With glasses chosen from the women's section (pink, color on the ear pieces, and little hearts on the tips) on top of all the other items and with purse in hand (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SVTFJVB/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 if anyone is interested), it seems to work rather well.  People typically use the correct terms and pronouns when interacting with me.  "Knock on wood" here, but with all of these things contributing to my expression of my identiy and sense of self, I haven't been misgendered when I'm out and about.  If people do suspect anything they're not talking about it with me.  The only problem I really have is my driver's license showing the name still legally attached to me beside the part listing me as male and a picture of me with a full beard and curly, frizzy hair.  I've never had a problem because of it, but I have gotten quite a few stares from people I show it to when it's legally required for me to do so.

You may not want to do any, or all, of that however.  That's simply what I do and, for me, it's working beautifully.  I actually went to Victoria's Secret today and was referred to by "ma'am" a few times as well as offered a measurement by two seperate employees.  @Sally Stone, made some excellent points about body language, behaviors, and mannerisms.  I have no idea how successful I am with these things because, for the moment, I've not had anyone observe or comment on those things.  Personally, I can absolutely see you being successful in your endeavors to present and be accepted for who you are during your transition, should you ultimately decide to do so.  I agree with Sally's observations regarding your picture.  You have the bone structure.  If you ever decide to pierce your ears, I believe that alone would be enough to tilt people's perception of you.  I was looking at earrings yesterday and there are some you'd probably like if you go that route.  They'd frame your face quite beautifully.  Between that and your general bone structure I should think it would, at the very least, cause people to question themselves when deciding which gender you would fit under.  I haven't looked into wigs, but if you get one, or let your own hair simply continue to grow, it would, in my opinion, certainly leave people more inclined to see you as female.  Also, another thing I do, which , again, you may not feel like doing, is shaving everything I can reach.  Anywhere I have hair as the byproduct of that frustrating Y chromosome I get rid of as best I can.  I do that every few days.

Sorry this was so long.  I do understand some part of your plight and genuinely hope you can find a resolution for it.  And regardless of which choice you make, you've got a community of support behind you. 

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I've been spending time reflecting on all of your responses. There's certainly been a lot to reflect on. I think I was thinking along the lines of passing for myself. I suppose it's vanity, but it's the little things that matter to me. I'm in counseling now and it can be strange talking so openly about these things. Not that I haven't been through it before. I did come out as gay back in the early '90s. Pride sticker on the bumper and all.

I'm not sure where I fall on this yet and it's a bit frustrating. I do however appreciate all the support. Such a wonderful group. 


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On 1/3/2022 at 8:39 PM, Jamie73 said:

I never really noticed how miserable I've been since starting testosterone due to low t. Can one be repelled by the hormone that goes with the body? It seems to me, one can.

Absolutely. Testosterone made me feel like a stranger to everyone and more depressed than can possibly be normal, for over a decade. Your therapist is right to guide you to talk to your doctor, what a good job they're doing.

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@Jamie73, I totally understand the desire to be openly seen for who you are and want to be.  I don't personally see it as vanity.  For me, at least, I feel validated in knowing people see me the way I am.  I haven't dealt specifically with the feelings you're grappling with right now, but the closest thing to it I can think of is how long I have felt unhappy with being what I was told was "right" or "correct."  Long before I realized I was definitively trans I would wish and dream about being a girl.  To be seen and interacted with as female.  I spent years hating myself for being male and being lumped into groups, situations, or enviroments based on what people saw me as and what I thought I was supposed to do and act in that role.  I got married, got 2 beautiful boys from it, and restricted myself from dwelling on what I wanted and felt was right.  The marriage fell apart, which is a story for another day, and I began to really examine and explore those feelings.  When I finally accepted and knew I simply wasn't what the people in my family and community (Traditional conservative and more often than not, religious) were telling me I was supposed to be.  I put as much effort as I can into "passing" because everything about it is affirming for me and all those feelings I have dealt with for all those years aren't something I actively struggle with.  Any time people call me "ma'am", "she/her," or interact with me in a way I know is the result of finally being who I have wanted to be under all the struggling and frustrations leaves me excited, joyful, and no longer crushed by all the longing and feelings of futality.  Every time I am out and know I'm being identified in the way I wanted to be for all those years, I think about those times when I wished I could be someone I thought I couldn't or shouldn't be, as well as the unhappiness and depression fostered by trying to conform to what I was told was "right" despite not truly wanting or feeling that way and it's like finally being able to breathe.  It's overwhelming at times because I don't feel all of that confusion and anger.  I don't feel like I'm something I never wanted to be and weighed down with the expectations and judgement of the people around me to do so.

I know there are innumerable beliefs and opinions about "passing" carried by god knows how many people.  For me, it's extremely important.  I want to know beyond any doubt, that I am finally getting something I desperately wanted.  I want to feel the joy in knowing that I am getting what I have wanted for so long.  I want to know that the kid angry and resentful over feeling and wanting an identity she believed was impossible is able to be at peace.  I realize everyone has different reasons for wanting to pass.  For me, those "little things" add up and anything that brings me closer to being truly "me" is always important.  So like I said earlier, I don't believe it's vanity if it brings you closer to who you are and allows you to find any peace or comfort in your life and your identity.  I'm certainly no expert in this stuff and I've admitted to my own journey down this road is still relatively new, but I'm happy to answer any questions I possibly can if you ever want to ask.

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Hi Jamie, you have had so many wonderful responses here. Of course with the right hair and clothes you could pass walking around a shop.

Authenticity is a huge personal struggle, and one I think we all battle with. I spent ages working out if wearing a wig to help me pass was vanity or me dressing up in a costume, especially when all of my long term friends would know I've been bald since I left school. In the end it boiled down to 3 things. 1> Wig shops exist for cis women and men, we don't have the numbers to be their biggest clientelle. 2> Bald women get stared at more often because it is unusual, and I want to fit in because it is objectively safer. 3> I feel prettier and therefore better about myself.  Women do not all look the same, whether you put the effort into changing your voice or what you perceive to be your more masculine features is up to you, but you are already a woman - the HRT just helps to get the exterior to match the interior.

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  • 1 month later...
On 1/3/2022 at 7:39 PM, Jamie73 said:

Not helping is the damn testosterone shots. You get a better beard with it. Which isn't really ideal. lol That's the thing though. I never really noticed how miserable I've been since starting testosterone due to low t. Can one be repelled by the hormone that goes with the body? I

I was in the exact same boat. Had to take t-shots for,I think, 2 years getting more and more miserable. Finally told my endo “Hey, I think i need to come off the shots because I’m actually trans.”  He pulled me off them immediately and helped get me with a therapist to get on E. 

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I am happy to report that I am off of Testosterone after telling my endo I thought it was making me miserable. I had been on it for five years with no change. I didn't mention the trans thing, but I am in therapy now. Thanks for all the input everyone.

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14 hours ago, Jamie73 said:

I am happy to report that I am off of Testosterone after telling my endo I thought it was making me miserable. I had been on it for five years with no change. I didn't mention the trans thing, but I am in therapy now. Thanks for all the input everyone.


Anytime!  Not feeling miserable is always a positive!  As for the trans topic, you'll get there in your own time.  You've certainly got support on this end.

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18 hours ago, Jamie73 said:

I am off of Testosterone

I know precious little about hormones still, at this point in my journey, but I did notice you said "one of the two" hormones are needed, so...maybe if and when the time comes, this makes it easy for your body and your life situation to accept the E side of things. 😊
I wanted to chime in, too, because your questions and thoughts resonate with many I've had, and reminded me of something I read in another forum somewhere. An experienced transitioned MtF woman was responding to a poster with the same basic concern: "If I won't pass, why transition?" and her answer was something to the effect of: "You're experiencing the same pressure to look beautiful that so many cis women do, and you shouldn't worry about it anymore than they should." 😄

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26 minutes ago, Zelaire said:

"You're experiencing the same pressure to look beautiful that so many cis women do, and you shouldn't worry about it anymore than they should." 😄

Well said.

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29 minutes ago, Zelaire said:

I know precious little about hormones still, at this point in my journey, but I did notice you said "one of the two" hormones are needed, so...maybe if and when the time comes, this makes it easy for your body and your life situation to accept the E side of things. 😊
I wanted to chime in, too, because your questions and thoughts resonate with many I've had, and reminded me of something I read in another forum somewhere. An experienced transitioned MtF woman was responding to a poster with the same basic concern: "If I won't pass, why transition?" and her answer was something to the effect of: "You're experiencing the same pressure to look beautiful that so many cis women do, and you shouldn't worry about it anymore than they should." 😄


This is what I feel to an extent.  It's why the largest, most intense trigger and dysphoric response is when I have to take my mask off in public and you can still see the shadow where my goatee would be.  Speaking is bad too, but to a lesser degree.  My voice only comes off as loosely feminine sometimes and people have a hard time hearing it.  If I get louder, it gets deeper and the dysphoria starts.

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  • 2 years later...

This is a question I ask myself all the time. When I'm out I hope that I can some what pass

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I would like to, but I don't obsess over it.

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There are trans folk who pass better than some cis people.  People usually aren't on the lookout for those who are cross dressed.  As long as there are no multiple screaming signals and you don't draw attention to yourself you can probably pass better than you think. For example, if you walk into a bank in heels, however, and you DON'T know how to walk in heels, you will attract the attention of a security guard, especially if you are acting nervous. If you wear flats and just go to the bank and do your business like anyone else, it is likely no one will notice, except that there was a customer who was taller than most women are, but then there are tall women, and tall, broad shouldered woman.  I made the mistake years ago of thinking I had outed such, and knew she was a he.  Later I learned she had five kids, and her husband was bigger than she was.  Ooops.

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  • 2 weeks later...

From what I have read and heard most people are so.busy with their everyday lives and either looking at their phones or in a hurry to notice you out and about. 

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I have been told that I "pass" better than I realize.

I hope that is true.

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No one seemed to pay attention to me other than a young woman who complimented me on my skirt and an older gentleman who smiled at me as we passed each other.

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      G'morning! Green tea for my morning beverage. My mom made me eat breakfast so I could take a pill... and now I feel sick, thanks to my weird stomach .-.   Stomach issues aside, I signed up for a story gift exchange a little while ago and just got in the story with four minutes to spare! Liiiiittle close for comfort, but, hey, it's in!   We're at that point in the school year where we aren't doing much. AP testing is done for my history class, so we're watching a WWII film rn (Dunkirk). My college course is already over as well (the semester ends earlier), so I've really only got two classes to worry about, and one of those is an art class. Lowest stress I've had all year.
    • Heather Shay
      Another Hidden Treasure I heard for the first time today. Well written, wonderful vocals and nice instrumental work throughot and even covered two Dalton and Dubarri songs.  
    • Ladypcnj
      I noticed that there is not too many online intersex support groups?  
    • Lydia_R
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