On “Passing” As A Woman

Ask Matt: Correcting Pronouns on Someone Else’s Behalf
September 19, 2013
Creating a world without fear
September 23, 2013

On “Passing” As A Woman

Right up front I will tell you that I cringe when I hear passing as a woman in relation to a trans woman. What this really means is passing as a cisgender woman. A real woman, right?

We see this all of the time in trans* related support forums where trans* women give advice to other trans* women on how to look like a woman. It is all based on the oppressive sex stereotype of what a woman is supposed to look like.  This is what makes the patriarchy happy. They want all women to meet certain stereotypical criteria which includes how you look, smell, walk, talk, etc.  We should never tell our sisters that they must meet this criteria to be a woman.

Even though you may think you are trying to help this person you may actually be causing damage to them. For instance, there are some trans* women who have physical male characteristics that will never allow them to meet the passing criteria.  I am one of those women. If I had listened to a lot of advice from trans* women on being a woman, I am not sure where I would be today. It is difficult enough to come out and try to be who you are than to have all these other requirements put on you. This can cause some trans* women who are not out yet to never come out thinking there is no way they could pass. And we all know what that could lead to. We are painfully aware of the attempted suicide statistics in our community.

A woman is a woman who makes her own choices on how she wants to look, dress, smell or anything else that has to do with her own body. If she wants to follow the stereotypical concept of being a woman, she should be free to do so.

What we need to do is this. With the help of our allies, educate the public on what being trans* means and to make transphobia and transmisogyny as unacceptable as being racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. We need serious help from feminists and womanist groups to make this happen. One group of feminists have done just that and I must share this.  Feminists Fighting Transphobia has written an article about feminism being trans*-inclusive. This was in response to the comical The TERF Empire Declares War Against Trans People where an organization that doesn’t really exist wrote a letter telling trans* women how icky they are and had a small number of supposed feminists and academics sign it.  The Feminists Fighting Transphobia article has received close to 700 signatures and is still growing. They can barely keep up with the new signatures.

We need our cis allies to call out transphobia and transmisogyny when they see it, contact media outlets for the same and also to listen to us when we are talking about our own experiences. To those allies who are doing this now, thank you. Thank you THANK YOU!

And to trans* support groups, please think before you help someone transition. Ask them how they feel about themselves and how they want to express themselves.

Also, please take a look at 30 examples of cis privilege minus the one that shames sex workers.

In closing I would like to say I am a woman and i will look and act the way I fucking want to.

Dana Taylor

Plug for new website to stop online abuse
http://stopabuseonline.org/

Current petition to address Ask.FM abuse.

32 Comments

  1. laglasnost says:


    di Courtney Demone  (pezzo in lingua originale QUI. traduzione di Antonella)
    Cari Facebook e Instagram, sono una donna trans che ha iniziato la terapia ormonale. Mi censurerete?
    –==ooOoo==–
    E’ strano e imbarazzante, per me e per voi: qualche settimana fa i miei capezzoli hanno iniziato a far male. Mi è stato detto che il fastidio sarebbe iniziato, ma niente mi aveva preparato a questo pulsare sordo e di tanto in tanto a quella sensazione di bruciore che sento quando la camicia fa attrito con il mio petto nel modo sbagliato.
    A rischio di suonare masochista, vi dirò che ogni piccolo dolore mi procura un lieve sorriso. “Lo sto facendo davvero,” penso “sta davvero accadendo.”
    Da donna trans sotto terapia ormonale sostitutiva (HRT in inglese, TOS in italiano), il mio seno sta iniziando a crescere. Nonostante il dolore che questo comporta, sono emozionata.
    Sto per avere le tette! Tutti i cambiamenti che la TSO sta portando al mio corpo mi confermano la mia identità in una maniera che non avrei creduto possibile. Sto iniziando a sentirmi a mio agio col mio corpo in modi per cui avevo solo pregato e sognato.
    La mia emozione spesso sconfina nella confusione. Poco dopo aver fatto coming out come donna e prima di iniziare con la TSO, stavo prendendo il sole in topless nel mio giardino quando un compagno di stanza mi chiese “Dal momento che ora sei una ragazza, significa che non posso più guardarti quando sei senza maglietta?”. Anche se lo disse scherzando, quel pensiero mi colpì profondamente. Il giorno seguente andai a nuotare e mi coprii, perché in quanto donna mi vergognavo di avere i capezzoli in mostra, a prescindere dal fatto che il resto del mondo lo considerasse o no un problema.
    Il privilegio che avevo, di sentirmi a mio agio in pubblico a torso nudo, dal momento in cui le persone hanno iniziato regolarmente a considerarmi una donna, mi ha abbandonato per sempre.
    Ma possiamo mettere in discussione questa cosa.
    –==ooOoo==–
    La gente ti tratta in maniera completamente diversa quando vedono che sei una donna trans piuttosto che un maschio cis. Molti dei miei privilegi sono andati già persi nella transizione.
    Non fraintendetemi, io sono straordinariamente privilegiata pur da persona trans: vivo in una città di ampie vedute (Victoria in British Columbia, Canada); amic* e famiglia sono stati dalla mia parte in maniera straordinaria; ho accesso a risorse che rendono sostenibili le spese legate alla transizione (la TSO da sola può arrivare a costare fino a 150 $ al mese); ed il mio aspetto unitamente alla mia età (24 anni) mi fanno passare per una cisgender. Inoltre: sono bianca, non disabile ed ho avuto un’istruzione. Tutti questi privilegi restano intatti. Ma da quando ho fatto coming out come donna, tuttavia, i miei privilegi di maschio cisgender sono evaporati.
    Mentre eravamo fuori a bere, una notte, un mio amico mi disse “Se vuoi veramente essere una ragazza in effetti dovresti avere una borsetta. E oh: i peli sulle braccia mi sembrano un po’ troppo lunghi.” Prima del mio coming out nessuno mi aveva mai detto come sarei dovuta apparire. Quindi benvenuto, controllo dell’immagine!
    Dopo aver cambiato la mia immagine del profilo su OKCupid con una particolarmente carina, sono tornata a casa con diversi messaggi. “Posso leccarti i piedi?” diceva uno. “Ti darei una botta volentieri” diceva un altro. Un altro tipo a dire il vero inviò un messaggio veramente simpatico a cui non risposi perché il mio profilo diceva chiaramente che non ero interessata ad uomini. Per cui lo stesso tipo, qualche giorno dopo, tornò con questo messaggio: “brutta troia”. Nei miei anni di rimorchio in rete, prima del mio coming out, non avevo mai ricevuto un messaggio simile. Ciao ciao privilegio di non essere continuamente molestata da sconosciuti. Benvenute aspettative di acchiappare qualunque uomo mi avvicinasse.
    Mentre camminavo da sola in centro, una notte, un tizio strano mi gridò dietro “Hey baby, che fai me la dai?” Lo ignorai, ma il tizio non smise “Dove te ne vai… Hey, ma… che cazzo…? Sei un uomo! Chi vorresti pigliare per il culo, brutto frocio?” Questo tipo di situazione mi succede praticamente ogni fine settimana. E tanto è più femminile il mio aspetto, tanto più frequente e minaccioso è la molestia. Ciao ciao, privilegio di sentirsi al sicuro in luoghi pubblici.
    Nella mia vita, prima di fare coming out come donna, mi ero già sentita qualche volta mancare di rispetto o minacciata. Ma ora questo accade praticamente ogni volta che sono fuori di casa.
    Questo cambiamento è avvenuto in maniera graduale e proporzionale alla percezione della mia femminilità. All’inizio Facebook mi proponeva pubblicità per saloni estetici invece di barbieri specializzati (Dollar Shave Club), poi sono passata da “amico” a “tesoro” ed ora sono molestata in strada su base regolare.
    Certo, ora sono solita truccarmi e vestirmi in maniera diversa. Il mio corpo e la mia voce sono leggermente cambiate, ma la maggior parte di ciò che ero è rimasto praticamente lo stesso. Sono ancora una designer, una scrittrice, un’attivista. Sparo ancora ad alto volume Kendrick Lamar (musicista hip hop, NdT) quando sono nella mia macchina. Tratto le persone intorno a me con la stessa attenzione e lo stesso rispetto di prima.
    Io non sono cambiata poi molto. Ma la percezione che la società ha di me: quella è immensamente cambiata. Non ho improvvisamente perso la mia capacità di camminare da sola di notte sentendomi al sicuro, dal momento in cui ho iniziato ad identificarmi come donna. Ma è successo invece ad un certo punto quando gli uomini hanno iniziato a considerarmi a distanza abbastanza attraente da tentare un approccio. Ed è la mia femminilità, non il mio essere transgender, a comportare la quasi totale perdita di questo privilegio. E’ la misoginia che priva le donne di questo privilegio.
    Si dirà che in fondo il non potersi mostrare in pubblico a torso nudo, questa gran perdita di privilegio non è, potrebbe insomma non essere così importante. Voglio dire che non ha questo grande impatto sulla mia vita, come invece sarebbe per una vera e propria molestia. Rimane tuttavia un chiaro esempio di come il sessismo possa influenzare chi viva in un corpo di donna.
    Per cui: a che punto del mio sviluppo del seno dovrò iniziare a coprire i miei capezzoli? Già mi sento imbarazzata ora quando sono in vista, ma a che punto la società dirà che è inaccettabile che siano scoperti? Per averne un’idea e per rispondere a queste domande, ho chiesto aiuto ai miei grandi amici Facebook e Instagram.
    Con la campagna #FreeTheNipple, donne di ogni provenienza hanno invaso Facebook e Instagram con foto di topless, photoshoppando capezzoli maschili sui propri e indossando costumi con su immagini di seni nudi per protestare contro la censura del corpo femminile sui social.
    #FreeTheNipple ha dimostrato il sessismo, l’ipersessualizzazione e l’assurdo che c’è dietro lo scandalizzarsi della società per i capezzoli femminili in un modo chiaro e comprensibile a chiunque.
    Tuttavia #FreeTheNipple è stato carente nel mostrare i diversi modi in cui le persone con corpi differenti sono sessualizzate, ridotte a feticcio, emarginate e messe alla gogna. Ha anche fallito nel riconoscere che mostrare i capezzoli non equivale a “libertà” per qualunque donna. Per esplorare ulteriormente queste idee e per prendere in esame la questione attraverso le esperienze di gente con corpi differenti, #FreeTheNipple avrebbe dovuto infatti spingersi oltre nella narrazione di cosa sia il femminile.
    Nei mesi che verranno posterò mie foto su Facebook, Instagram e altri social media usando l’hashtag #DoIHaveBoobsNow finché questi network decideranno che le mie tette sono cresciute abbastanza da essere sessuate e degne di censura (ma se nel frattempo dovessero cambiare le loro regole, tanto meglio!).
    Allo stesso tempo scriverò articoli su Mashable per parlare di come la mia femminilità venga riconosciuta dalla società in maniera crescente. Poiché la sessualizzazione e la misoginia sono qualcosa di totalmente nuovo per me, la mia amica Cynthia Williams mi aiuterà a decostruire il cambio di atteggiamento che la società ha nei confronti miei e del mio corpo.
    Di più: vogliamo le vostre storie. Sia che siate transgender, che abbiate avuto una mastectomia, se avete una grande corporatura, se state allattando al seno, se avete una disabilità, cicatrici, se siete persone di colore o avete un qualunque singolare punto di vista a partire da un corpo singolare, vorremmo il vostro aiuto per sfidare le politiche oppressive e censorie di cui avete avuto esperienza a causa del vostro corpo.
    Utilizzando le tag #DoIHaveBoobsNow o anche #FreeAllBodies, scrivete delle vostre esperienze e/o postate immagini, a torso nudo oppure no. Seguite i nostri account Facebook e Tumblr dove condivideremo le nostre storie e le storie che riceveremo da voi.
    Le nostre storie, i nostri corpi, sono unici e bellissimi. Celebriamoli e liberiamoli da ogni vergogna!

    Condividi:TumblrGoogleRedditPinterestLinkedInStampaE-mailTwitterPocketFacebookMi piace:Mi piace Caricamento…

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  2. Ally Raymond says:

    Average, or ‘the norm’ is extremely boring to me. Exotic differences or different ways of thinking inspire me. That is the one thing I love about being a trans woman. A cis woman could NEVER be you, nor could offer more in friendship and life experience than a beautiful trans woman. Embrace your differences and the fortunate fact of who you are and where you’ve come. You are special..the third sex. Hold your head high, knowing you are wonderfully different. Celebrate your difference…it’s certain NOTHING to be ashamed of. The ignorant and fearful will challenge anything different, and others will admire and even be drawn to your strength, balls(no pun intended) and beauty. You are strong, beautiful, and desirable both inside and out. Our insecurities are shared by all people, cis or trans…and are similar in life, period. Fat, too tall, big hands/feet, big nose, square jaw, bony face, small boobs, big boobs, skinny legs, small hips, bad hair or lack of it are ALL shared by cis and trans woman. So, let’s stop beating ourselves up unnecessarily and live happy and healthy with what and who we are!

  3. I’ve always hated it when a trans sister would ask me if she “passes.” Not just because I loath the term but also because I am always honest. I would rather bruise someone’s ego than to help induce some false sense of security that may help get them killed.

    Nice job, Dana!

  4. Dana looks wonderful… her article is spot on but she really doesn’t have any issues I can see looking typically female. I also checked her FB page. I hate the whole culture of “passing” too yet it can make obstacles more challenging… and I have to say she looks fine to me. Maybe a lot of it is just having confidence and moving forward without excuses to anyone. Anyway, after reading the article I wanted to tell someone what I thought.

    • Dana Taylor says:

      Those photos were taken by a professional camera and I was wearing makeup and had perfect lighting. I rarely wear makeup and don’t have that awesome camera and light hitting me every day.

      • I used to wear makeup… but these days its eyeliner 95% of the time… lipstick 5% of the time. All the makeup in the world can’t help everyone blend in… my preferred term…. but if you look basically female at some level, nobody sees you anyway… you just are. But you look okay, I don’t schmooze anybody… its cruel… so… be happy,

  5. I tell girls all the time, it doesn’t matter whether anyone else thinks you pass or not, it only matters what you think of yourself. Too many girls are worried about what everyone else thinks, when in reality they simply need to have more confidence in themselves. Trans women and GGs come in all shapes and sizes.

    Where ever you go, act like you own the place. This is true whether you’re in the woman’s room, or in a bar, grocery store, in a bikini, etc. Do not be nervous, you have no reason to ever be nervous. You need to act like where ever you are is exactly the place you are supposed to be.

  6. […] To read more on “passing” from the view point of a Trans* Woman visit http://www.transadvocate.com/on-passing-as-a-woman.htm […]

  7. Lily Solomon says:

    Oh, Dana, yes. I occasionally check out trans* forums because I long for connection and support from people who might just be able to see me and relate to my experiences, but I don’t stay very long because I invariably find myself defending trans women from other trans women! I always say the same thing: transition to being more and more YOU, whatever that means! Coming out as trans is a coming out to a most authentic part of ourselves that we may have been hiding all our lives, so it hurts so much to see so many women coming out to only to be baraged with with all sorts of outside ideas about how we must look/sound/etc…. and then internalizing them. It adds another layer of despair that’s so not needed…

    It’s subtle body shaming and we need to be doing the opposite of that. I want a community of sisters that can celebrate each other and our bodies no matter what the hell we look like and even if we can’t do that for ourselves…

    There’s so much hatred coming from every which way, and even in places we should belong we have to deal with the subtle hatred of scrutiny and the culture of passing. I went to a trans support group and came away feeling worse than I felt when I went in: I want a discussion about being authentic in the world, about finding our way to a body that reflects us, not passing! (And I didn’t ask for your unsolicited advice on passing, voice training, whatever, thank you very much.) I’m conscious that so many cis women have to deal with others constantly scrutinizing how they look; that how they look is often the first thing that’s commented on; I choose NOT to accept that.

  8. Clare Din says:

    A very well-written article!

  9. […] No more “passing” (or transpassing) […]

  10. sabrina lyn says:

    so true that the world wants us living up to stereotypes, but one thing i always try to tell myself and others is that the ultimate perfection of a person is to be imperfect

  11. Caitlin Rice says:

    I am a cis female, never identified as feminist, but never played the roles society assigned to me either. I just want to say that I support you all, I speak up if I hear ignorance, and I see you as being the same as me. I know you face different challenges, but don’t we all? Its not a contest, its not a race to a finish line. Being a woman is hard enough. I openly embrace you as someone who knows and shares the strangely beautiful struggle, comical in its worst moments and solid in the face of weakness, struggle as a female.

      • Caitlin Rice says:

        I’m glad you write articles like this, don’t ever stop. I want to know how people feel and what is respect vs what isn’t. I have had personal trauma that makes me sensitive to certain words and things too, I get that. I am so thankful for the women who spoke for me because I never could have done that.

        I am a volunteer full time for a parrot rescue. I work with 2 trans women there. One I could tell, the other I had NO idea until she friended me on FB. I could have been a complete ass if I hadn’t been aware of the issues. I seriously thought of how I could have said something so stupid, like offering a makeover to one or saying “OMG I had no idea!!!!” to the other. I’m just SO SO glad I knew better, thanks to the awareness you and others share. I just never bring it up and treat them like I would any other woman. This thing about passing makes me think of when people would say “she’s a lesbian? but she’s so pretty!” Its the same thing, seems like a compliment to someone who is clueless but its so offensive.

        And I hate putting on make up and doing my hair. I only do that when I need to be professional and I resent it. I do it because I care about making a good impression for the birds I care for, but its a pain. Gives me acne and I feel self-conscious about whether my face matches my neck. Some girls wear this stuff because they like it, but for many of us its because we are afraid that we will look ugly/raggy/non professional/won’t be taken seriously/not look like a woman enough. It sucks!!! I’d never tell another woman what would make her prettier, that includes all women.

        How dare these people blame the victim and try to silence people who are trying to communicate that they’re being hurt. “you’re too sensitive” is something abusive people say. This Lady J is awful, like she only sees other trans people as a reflection of her public personality. “Don’t make me look bad, ladies!” that’s her shitty attitude. That is her lack of confidence, and don’t worry because real people see right through all that!!!!!

    • Dana Taylor says:

      All women are beautiful unless they are bigots.

  12. Kelly says:

    I’m a cis feminist and really appreciate this article. I can respect people wanting to “pass” as a stereotypical female because that is their right but people need to understand that femaleness is broad and we don’t all, cis and trans, fit or want to fit gender stereotypes.

  13. […] On “Passing” As A Woman | The TransAdvocate.  by Dana Taylor  September 22, 2013 […]

  14. […] men? How does that affect whether a transgender person passes in society (and by passing I mean passing as a cisgendered person). How many butch lesbians get misgendered on a daily basis and therefore have access to male […]

  15. […] are familiar to most marginalized people, whether marginalization happens on the basis of gender identity, ethnicity, sexuality, falling below an imaginary line drawn somewhere right around “middle […]

  16. […] are familiar to most marginalized people, whether marginalization happens on the basis of gender identity, ethnicity, sexuality, falling below an imaginary line drawn somewhere right around “middle […]

  17. […] Dana Taylor discusses the problem with the concept of “passing” as a part of the Trans* narrative. […]

  18. […] at least in terms of skin, sexuality and sex. If you are percieved by the world as a woman and by extension a cisgender woman, you will recieve the disadvantages and advantages that are assigned to women. The same if you are […]

  19. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this post and
    the rest of the site is very good.

  20. […] On “Passing” as a woman – Dana explains why the concept of passing for trans people is not as positive as one may think. […]

  21. […] about their bodies, and the safety of trans* women from violence often depends on their ability “to pass,” so when these women work to be beautiful by society’s measure, it is often from a place of […]

  22. admin says:

    Dear Facebook and Instagram, I’m a trans woman starting hormones. Are you going to censor me?
    by Courtney Demone


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    I’m going to make this awkward for both of us: A few weeks ago, my nipples started to ache. They told me it would hurt, but that didn’t prepare me for the constant dull throbbing and occasional burning sensation I feel when my shirt rubs across my chest the wrong way.
    I’m going to sound like a masochist, but every little pain is followed by a slight smile. “I’m actually doing it,” I think. “This is actually happening.”
    As a trans woman on hormone replacement therapy (HRT), I’m starting to grow breasts. Despite the pain it causes, it is exciting. I’m going to have boobs! All the changes HRT is having on my body are confirming my identity in ways I never thought possible. I’m starting to feel comfortable in my body in ways I’ve only prayed for and dreamed about.
    My excitement often bleeds into confusion. Shortly after coming out as a woman and before I had started HRT, I was sunbathing topless in my yard when a roommate asked, “Since you’re a girl now, does that mean I’m not allowed to look at you shirtless anymore?” Though he said it jokingly, that thought stuck with me. The next day I went swimming and left a top on, because as a woman I feel ashamed when my nipples are showing, regardless whether the world sees them as a problem.
    When people start to consistently see me as a woman, my privilege to be comfortably topless in public will be gone for good.
    We can challenge that.

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    People treat you much differently when they see you as a trans woman instead of as a cis man. I already have a long list of privileges lost in transition.
    Don’t get me wrong, I am remarkably privileged for a trans person: I live in the liberal city of Victoria, BC, Canada; my friends and family have been exceptionally accepting; I have access to resources that make the various expenses of transitioning financially viable (HRT alone can cost up to $150 per month); and my appearance and age (24) mean that I’m already starting to pass as cisgender. On top of that, I’m white, able-bodied and have had access to education. All those privileges will remain intact. Since coming out as a woman, though, I’ve slowly watched my cisgender male privilege evaporate.

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    While having drinks one night, a guy friend told me, “If you really want to be a girl, you should really have a purse. Oh, and your armpit hair is getting a little long.” Before coming out, no one told me how I should look. Hello, image policing.
    After changing my OKCupid profile picture to a particularly flattering photo, I came home to a few messages. “Can I lick your feet?” said one. “I’d hit it, probably,” said another. One guy actually sent a really nice message, but I didn’t respond because my profile clearly said I wasn’t interested in men. A few days later, he followed up this message: “fucking bitch.” In my years of Internet dating before coming out, I never received messages like this. Goodbye, privilege to not be frequently sexually harassed by strangers. Hello, expectation to engage with every man who approaches me.
    While walking downtown alone one night, a strange man shouted at me, “Hey baby! Bring that this way!” I ignored him, but eventually he caught up with me. “Where you go…Hey, what the fuck?! You’re a dude! You ain’t fooling anyone, faggot.” This situation plays out almost every weekend, and the more feminine I appear, the more frequent and threatening the abuse. Goodbye, privilege to feel safe in public spaces.

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    Prior to coming out as a woman, I probably felt legitimately threatened or disrespected a handful of times in my life. Now, it happens almost every time I leave the house.
    This change happened slowly, proportional to my perceived femininity. First, Facebook started showing me ads for estheticians instead of Dollar Shave Club, then I stopped being “buddy” and started being “hun,” and now I’m starting to get regularly harassed on the streets.
    Sure, I put on makeup and different clothes now, and my body and voice is changing slightly, but most everything else about me has stayed very much the same. I’m still a designer, writer and activist. I still bump Kendrick Lamar way too loud in my rental car. I still treat others with the same care and respect I always have.
    I haven’t changed much, but society’s perception of me has changed immensely. I didn’t lose my ability to walk around at night feeling safe once I started identifying as a woman. It happened at some arbitrary point when men found me attractive enough at a distance to approach me. It’s my femininity, not my being transgender, that has brought about much of this privilege loss, and it’s misogyny that robs women of these privileges.

    After all of this loss of privilege, not being able to be comfortably topless in public might not seem important. While it certainly doesn’t have as big an effect on my life as overt harassment, it’s a clear example of the sexism that comes with living in a female body.
    So at what point in my breast development do I need to start covering my nipples? I already feel shameful about them being visible, but at what point does society say it’s unacceptable for them to be out? To give me some idea, I have my good friends Facebook and Instagram to help answer that question.


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    With the #FreeTheNipple campaign, women all over social media have been flooding Facebook and Instagram with topless photos, photoshopping men’s nipples onto their own and wearing swimsuits with images of bare breasts on the outside, all to protest the censorship of women’s bodies on social media.
    #FreeTheNipple has demonstrated the sexism, hyper-sexualization and absurdity behind society’s scandalization of women’s nipples in a way everyone can clearly observe and understand.
    However, #FreeTheNipple has failed to show the diverse ways in which people with differing bodies are sexualized, fetishized, exoticized and shamed. It has also failed to recognize that baring her nipples doesn’t mean freedom for every woman. To further explore those ideas and examine these same issues through the experiences of people with different bodies, #FreeTheNipple needs to be pushed beyond narrow definitions of femininity.
    In the coming months, I’ll be posting topless photos of myself on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms using the hashtag #DoIHaveBoobsNow until those networks decide that my breasts have developed enough to be sexualized and worthy of censorship. (If they change their policies in the meantime, even better!)
    At the same time, I will be writing monthly articles on Mashable to talk about my own experiences as my femininity is increasingly recognized by society. Since experiencing sexualization and misogyny is new to me, my friend and co-author Cynthia Williams will help deconstruct society’s changing attitude toward me and my body.
    We want to hear your stories, too. Whether you are transgender, have had a mastectomy, are bigger-bodied, are breastfeeding, have a disability, have scarring, are a person of color, or have a unique view from a unique body, we want you to help challenge oppressive censorship policies and share your experiences of your own body. Using the #DoIHaveBoobsNow or #FreeAllBodies tag, write about your own experiences and/or post your own photos, topless or not. You can check out our Facebook and Tumblr pages where we will be sharing our own stories and the stories we receive from you.
    Our bodies and our stories are unique and amazing. Let’s celebrate them and free them from unwanted sexualization and shame!
    Read more at Mashable.com

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  23. J. D. says:

    Thank you for writing this. “Passing” is a concept that always felt so wrong to me. Being honest about who we are is what forms the foundation of self-acceptance, self-confidence, and honest relationships with others. None of us choose our sexuality, our sex, our gender, or even what qualities we’re attracted to in other people. These things are just built in to who we are. So having people “pass” and enter into relationships with people who may not have been open to having a relationship with a trans person, ends up creating a lot of bad blood. — And for a community already subject to so much intolerance, violence, and cruelty, this just makes matters worse.

    I support people who are trans, and would gladly be an ally and friend to anyone from the trans community, but “passing” is where I draw the line. As a homosexual, I understand the need to be reserved about certain details of yourself with strangers (for safety reasons), but that sort of thing is never acceptable if one expects to be close to another human being. You literally can’t be close to someone unless you let who you are show, and like it or not, that is part of who you are. We all have circumstances and life experiences that we’re not happy about, but it’s through sharing them with others that our relationships can become deeper and more meaningful. Leaving them out is a sure way never to be judged, but it’s also a sure way never to be known for who we are.

    I really hope that people will stop trying to “pass” — not just for the gender stereotypes and patriarchal reasons you mentioned, but because acceptance can’t happen if you’re not really seen for who you are. I mean, if someone looks at you and thinks they see a cis person and accepts that, what they’re accepting is just an illusion. On the other hand, if they look at you, see a man or woman, and know that you’re trans deep down, when they accept you, they’ll be accepting all of who you are, and not just an appearance. Perhaps when more people take this chance and reach out to people who will love them as they are, we won’t have so many trans people becoming depressed and ending their lives. Everyone deserves to be seen, known, and loved for who they are. But, sometimes, it does take others giving us that chance for it to happen.

  24. Rachel Richardson says:

    <3

  25. […] about “passing” (a controversial and problematic term to many trans women as it implies that there is a specific way women should look and behave, although for many trans people it is “rooted in a desire for safety“) for Kalu’s […]

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