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Two Transgender Definitions

Living stealth: Living your life so that as few people as possible are aware that your current sex doesn't match the one you were assigned at birth.

Passing: Presenting yourself in such a manner that people you encounter in your day-to-day life don't realize that your current sex doesn't match the one you were assigned at birth; being recognized as the gender with which you identify.

I don't have any real interest in living stealth, but the lack of passing wears on me. The idea of spending several more years (possibly all of them) being called "ma'am," and even "ladies" when I'm in the company of a woman, flat-out exhausts me sometimes. The only thing harder would be continuing to live a lie.

Photo on 2012-06-14 at 02.55 #2


( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 14th, 2012 07:07 am (UTC)
Get a beard? People don't tend to look past a beard. I can tell: since I got one, people have stopped vomiting when they see me. ;}P>
Jun. 14th, 2012 07:57 am (UTC)
I can't seem to get past chin fuzz (see pic I added to entry), but unfortunately, there are trans guys with full beards who get misgendered because of their voices, height, or whatever ...
Jun. 14th, 2012 11:47 am (UTC)
Have you read "Self-Made Man" by Norah Vincent? You might find it interesting. I know I did.
Jun. 16th, 2012 02:39 pm (UTC)
An awesome book. I give this one to feminists.
Jun. 15th, 2012 12:27 am (UTC)
I can only grow hair on my chin, and not even fully at that. I have to really grow it out to cover a "bald spot" on one side of my mouth.

I also have a soft, higher pitched voice.

I don't get ma'am'd in person because although I'm not as big and muscular as I was, I am still over 240lb. But on the phone? You bet.

When we met in person, I didn't clock you as female. Still don't, Bill. If that means anything.
Jun. 16th, 2012 11:10 pm (UTC)
And, because hair growth patterns are totally unfair, I'm a cis gal with PCOS who would look like a member of ZZTop if I didn't shave my face regularly... I'm not saying that I'm ashamed of my fuzzy face (I'm not! I'm actually kind of proud of it, somehow), but if I could give it to you, I surely would.
Jun. 21st, 2012 01:28 am (UTC)
Are the other men in your family very hairy? My brother never got much of a beard till he was 30 or so, though he has been rocking moustaches for a very long time, but he still only has a goatee at 45. That fuzz will thicken up in time though, for sure.
Jun. 14th, 2012 07:23 am (UTC)
It is not about being clocked.
It is about folks who clearly see a difference, but cannot make (or choose not) the jump to the idea that a person wishes to be perceived a certain way.
Jun. 14th, 2012 07:54 am (UTC)
Sometimes I feel like the farther I go in transition, the more I get ma'amed. The world is always ready to assure me that this is just my imagination and surely not anyone else's discomfort with ambiguous gender. :-P
Jun. 14th, 2012 11:52 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's about right.
The more you change, the more it seems like you have to be slapped down.
Jun. 14th, 2012 08:06 pm (UTC)
It's quite normal that during the first year of T ou retain a lot of fluid and look more rounded in the face, which might result in looking more feminine. Also, you might have to adjust your dosage.
Interrupting T can also slow down the whole process. But it's gonna happen!
Jun. 15th, 2012 12:26 am (UTC)
It's also hard, in the South, to get past the immediate "sir/ma'am" conditioning you basically get pounded into you. A story a coworker was telling me about a person with a buzzcut and facial hair that he sirred and, in a deep voice, the person said "it's MA'AM" and his reaction (which, tbf, made me cringe but he's older) just made me rethink everything I say at the kiosk. If I am ever unsure, I simply say "How can I help you today?" instead of "How can I help you, sir/ma'am?" It's HARD to snap out of that mindset. But an extra touch of expected respect is not worth misgendering someone, in my mind. You and my other trans friends have evoked that change in me, because I think about how you would feel, or that one guy I really like, or others...and how my well-meaning but careless remark could hurt. And I thank you for teaching me that it's just not worth it, that I can overcome my conditioning.
Jun. 14th, 2012 09:15 am (UTC)
'Passing'; such a frickin' crappy word//notion anyhow.
The exhaustion of notice though, jeez i wouldn't wish that on anyone. No, i come not armed with peppy 'be proud' button slogans.

i just hope that, in a slow and dullard world, "Ma'am" becomes white-noise to you - and if/when you get your beard you promise to put 'i was a teenage ZZ-Top' photos up at once!

Apart from which -ah, i got nuthin.

Keep on keepin' on.
Jun. 14th, 2012 10:20 am (UTC)
For what it's worth, when I was glancing down my Friends page just now and saw your pic, my brain identified you as male before I recognised you.
Jun. 14th, 2012 12:52 pm (UTC)
It certainly won't be always, age tends to rub the hard edges off of gender whether we like it or not.

Also in this pic, you look a bit like my cis, hetero ex-husband. He'd get called ma'am or ladies when we were out together, and it had nothing to do with his actual gender. We were never clear why some folks read him as female, but but it was clearly an issue of their assumptions not his identity.
Jun. 14th, 2012 01:13 pm (UTC)
The only place anyone calls me sir is the taco joint down the road. Consequently, I eat many tacos.
Jun. 14th, 2012 06:45 pm (UTC)
If it's any comfort at all, I have come to despise 'ladies' and I'm CIS female.

For some reason people think the best way to refer to a group of professional cleaners is as either 'ladies' or 'girls.' 'Girls' sounds just damn ridiculous when referring to a group with an average age of 42 but it's fun to watch them stumble over 'ladies' when there's a man in the group.

I might suggest going with a rather heavier, nerdier frame the next time you get glasses. They might look more masculine.
Jun. 14th, 2012 10:09 pm (UTC)
first, let me say you look mighty handsome!

second, how did I not know your birthday is the day before my guy's? I find this endlessly amusing as mine is the day after Stephen King's...

Anyway... I think this is my new favorite pic of you!


Jun. 14th, 2012 10:18 pm (UTC)
Judging from the pictures, I would identify you as male if I saw you in passing.

What English really needs is a polite way to say "Good evening, humans" or "Pardon me, person" without specifying gender.

(Incidentally, if I'm with my long-haired cis-gender husband and we're approached from behind [him] in a restaurant, we're often addressed as "ladies" -- and several people have apologized by saying that I look more male from behind that he does [which is offensive, since I'm a cis-gender female, but heavy-set and with shorter hair.)
Jun. 17th, 2012 11:49 pm (UTC)
I agree with you. I tend not to use gender pronouns until I know what gender the person says they are. Maybe the commies had it right calling everyone Comrade.
Jun. 14th, 2012 11:18 pm (UTC)
Oh man, I am so with you on the exhaustion of constantly being "miss"'d and "ma'am"'d.

Makes me not want to leave the house sometimes, except my family thinks of me as female as well. D:
Jun. 15th, 2012 12:41 am (UTC)
In conversation with the wife
she said that basically in her opinion people just are too lazy to look.

When she had short hair she'd get "sir" all the time, and once had someone chase her into the bathroom going "SIR SIR SIR YOU CANNOT GO IN THERE OR I WILL HAVE YOU... oh I'm sorry..."
(Deleted comment)
Nada Jones
Jun. 15th, 2012 04:23 am (UTC)
help a 14 yr old FTM out

just the publicity could make all the difference
Jun. 15th, 2012 12:32 pm (UTC)
Not to sound unsympathetic to your struggle, but being misgendered happens. I am a whatever the currently correct term is for a woman who was born that way and I am 'sir'ed quite frequently. I do not think that any of the people who have 'sir'ed me over the years had any particular malicious intent or evil in their hearts, they just made a judgement call on their part that was wrong. It's their misperception, based on my somewhat ambiguous appearance, and happens whether I am in a dress or in jeans, and despite my rather ample bosom. Yeah, the first couple of times I was a little befuddled by it, but honestly, I have better things to do in my life than worry about if some stranger I don't give a rat's behind about thinks I'm a man or a woman.
Jun. 21st, 2012 01:26 am (UTC)
I am a similar type of person, and I kind of agree, but at the same time you and I don't have the ongoing trigger reaction that misgendering could cause a transperson. I mean, if it comes down to it we can show people that our sex and gender match with NO ambiguity, not that anybody should have to. So we know our bodies and genders are the same, even if other fools mistake us for men sometimes.

But I do agree that ideally one should not give a stuff about what strangers think about us, and go on with our lives and our loved ones who know exactly who we are and love us for it.
Jun. 16th, 2012 02:14 am (UTC)
Live your life as you were meant to,as Billy...fuck the small stuff...don't let it matter
Jun. 16th, 2012 05:48 pm (UTC)
I took T injections for 7 years, 5 months (I'm taking a break right now) and I still get called "ma'am" on the phone by guys sometimes even though my voice is pretty deep and I have a beard and stuff. It's really annoying, because it's never women who call me the wrong thing.

Your first year or two on T can be especially hard because those are the puberty years, especially year 1. I think it'll get better for you with regard to being read as a guy as you get further along in male puberty.
Jun. 17th, 2012 03:37 am (UTC)
For what it's worth from a old, straight woman, I think you're a pretty hot guy. Love the glasses, BTW!
Jun. 21st, 2012 01:21 am (UTC)
I am sorry that keeps happening. FWIW the change of look is clearly coming on and I am sure that with another year of T the misgendering is less likely to occur. Teenage boys get misgendered all the time, and hormonally I guess that is where you are at, again.

FWIW I am a tallish cisgendered female with fairly large hips, small shoulders and huge bosoms and I was frequently mistaken for a young man from the back 20 years ago, when I was slightly smaller and had longer hair. I think it was height and choice of jacket.
Jul. 16th, 2012 03:11 am (UTC)
Some people are profoundly ignorant/forgetful, or assholes, or both, and you will find them even in places where you'd expect everyone to know better.

Last weekend I was at a large sci-fi/fantasy convention with the theme of "Celebrating Female Characters and Creators", and due to the theme, there were people of every conceivable gender state dressed up as female characters, with widely variable degrees of passing.

At one point I saw a man with a camera approach a person in a lovely and elaborate Bellatrix LeStrange (evil witch from Harry Potter) costume and say, "Sir, would you mind if I took your picture?" Bellatrix politely ignored the "sir" and posed for the picture, but I was just astounded that someone would make that gender assumption on a stranger in obvious female garb.
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

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