Professor Wikipedia defines passing as:
“…a person’s ability to be accepted or regarded as a member of the sex or gender with which they identify, or with which they physically present. Typically, passing involves a mixture of physical gender cues (for example, hair style or clothing) as well as certain behavioral attributes that tend to be culturally associated with a particular gender. Irrespective of a person’s presentation, many experienced crossdressers assert that confidence is far more important for passing than the physical aspects of appearance.”
There is some controversy within the community regarding passing. Most obvious drag queens, for example, don’t bother with trying to pass, whereas many crossdressers do try to pass while dressed up and some succeed. The split within the transgendered community can vary wildly. Some transgendered folks feel that passing is not their style or that passing is beneath them, that society should accept them no matter how they present themselves physically. Others yearn to pass and will go to extreme lengths to do so. This schism in the community is occasionally cause for harsh words on forums and at gatherings, but for the most part is a personal preference and subject to any number of factors for each individual.
One’s ability to pass is dependent upon a number of factors including birth height and body build, mannerisms, and medical interventions that can include surgery and hormone treatments. Furthermore, you’d be surprised how a tasteful wardrobe and expertly applied makeup can transform an individual from being mostly manly to positively girly in a matter of minutes.
I generally don’t talk about FTM (female to male) transgenders on this site as I have very little experience with them myself, however the lengths a FTM goes to are no less varied or extreme than their male-born counterparts. A MTF may purchase breast prosthesis or padding for the hips, thighs, and rear while a FTM may decide to “pack”, which is the regular stuffing of the groin area to give the impression of male genitalia. FTM transgenders will use any number of easy to intricate methods to bind their breasts while their MTF counterparts will employ methods beginning at stuffing a bra and using makeup to enhance cleavage to obtaining breast implants.
For my regular readers, this sort of explanatory post is moot. This is merely a very simple overview some of the most BASIC choices a crossdresser has to make. To come out or not to come out, to pass or not to pass, to become a part of the community or to go it alone. These are tough choices, real decisions, and hard decisions for someone who’s just learning about themselves and their bodies has to face. If you are a parent of a crossdresser or a transgendered individual, if you are a lover or a spouse, if you are a child or a best friend… please, cut them some slack.
They aren’t doing this to hurt you. None of the crossdressers I’ve ever, EVER spoken to have said to me, “TheWife, you know I really don’t like crossdressing that much. I just want to annoy and upset my wife.” I promise you that if your loved one has put enough trust in you to tell you that they are having these feelings, that they want to dress or have already been dressing for years, then they love you enough to trust you with the most precious gift they have… their true selves.
There is no cure. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There is no cure and even if there was, why would you want to strip away the core of your loved one? Because that is exactly what you’d be doing – taking away their inner selves in order to make things more comfortable for you. And if you’re willing to do that to another person then you don’t deserve the love and trust just instilled in you. You wouldn’t do it to a child, you wouldn’t do it to a stranger, so why would you do it to your spouse?
I plan on writing more about the basics of crossdressing in the future. I intend to go on and write a series of posts regarding how to dress up and pass (both for men and women) and would appreciate any input or advice the community has to offer.
I am also going to write a series of posts about how to come to terms with and eventually be able to support your crossdresser. There’s a lot coming to CDWife in the near future and I encourage you to stick around. This may be uncomfortable at first, and I’m sorry about that, but we had to learn to crawl before we could walk, and how to walk before we could run. That means skinned knees and bruised egos, folks.