Some Questions about Passing

As a Butch, my sex (based on the sexing of clothing selection/play/athleticism) has either been questioned or assumed male since I was three years old. Many Butches and females who repudiate constructed femininity/hyper femininity growing up and through out our lives, pass.

There are many unspoken detrimental affects of passing. Some may question how can passing as male much of the time be detrimental when one would receive some male privileges in doing so, but those privileges come at a great price. How has passing harmed you or someone you love?


ps Will delve into this further this evening when I return from the grind.
Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. When I "passed" as male as a butch lesbian, it makes it so, so difficult to use public bathrooms. It can be handy late at night in wierd small town gas station bathrooms to just go in to the mens room, do your business, and get out (rather than risk the womans room and stares, comments, or harassment), but it can also make the whole thing dangerous and uncomfortable. Airports - I hate airports because they are so crowded, you will always end up having to pee while you wait, and you can either just try to pass in the mens room or accidentally pass as male in the womens room. Either way, you're screwed.

  2. I've been chased into the ladies room at Charles deGaulle, I've been subjected to nervous giggles in various ladies loos, I've had the whole double take and check the sign on the door thing more times than I can mention -- and all this is despite my rather large upper abdominal secondary sexual characteristics.

    Life is too short to worry, frankly. I've had stares and comments since I was small because I'm fat, because I shave my head, because I walk into the ladies room with my wife. I had a choice -- get uptight about the stares and comments and try to avoid them, or do what i wanted to. I decided on the latter. Plus I never wanted to use the mens room, it STINKS, and where is the tampon dispenser please?

    You're NOT screwed, you just get noticed. I always got noticed, you just learn to live with it. Mind you, I did sometimes get physically threatened, but never in bathrooms, usually just by men on the street. Compared with that, a few funny looks from little old ladies is nothing -- I just smile sweetly and try not to laugh too much at their confusion.

  3. What used to hurt me is the assumption that, since I look male, like sports, beer etc. I also must be a lesbian. Back when I was in my twenties, many straight women felt very threatened by women they perceived to be lesbians, with all the accompanying awkwardness, stupid jokes, gossip etc.

    What was I supposed to do? Proclaim loudly that I was also straight? Talk about an imaginary boyfriend? Pretend to know nothing about cars and everything about fashion?

    I never really figured out. But it was a pretty lonely period for me.

  4. The absolute worst was having a woman walking alone at night be afraid of me because I was walking behind her. It felt terrible to make someone feel afraid.

    Being followed into the ladies bathroom by a security guard wasn't much fun, either. I'm sitting there doing my business, and all of a sudden I hear a man's voice - scary. He pokes his head in and asks, "Are you a lady?"

  5. What pissed me most is that people think I'm FTM when they see I'm not male. Because I'm very thin, petite (5ft5in, lol) and young (Barely adult by now! :) ), people think I'm actually one of those young women that hate their bodies and want to become pretty males. I'm not. I'm 100% woman.

    So I have friends in college that call me by the male version of my name, and joke when I go to the women's bathroom, and my own mother thinks I'm FTM. I've had a few tense moments when going to convention, as the guards said I'd have to be inspectioned my male guards and not female ones. I was terrified. :/
    But people never attempted violence on me... I think I'm actually so small people think I'm not terrifying enough to attempt violence. lol.

  6. Worst things: public toilets; being taken for being a young-ish teenager and treated accordingly patronisingly (e.g. being laughed at when trying to buy alcohol); embarrassment around my family (combinations of the latter two are worst, e.g. recently being given a child's menu at the pub with my family. I don't look that bloody young).

  7. I pass as a feminine straight woman. It sucks. I am subject to straight male attempts to pick me up almost every where I go (and much sexist/abuse stuff of course). It's exhausting, and makes me feel ashamed of my body when I should feel free and safe, as is our human right. I feel like my body let's me down for attracting those whom I don't feel sexual too, or vise versa, that my sexuality is wrong because my body attracts them! Neither are true! It's that straight culture assumes I belong to them in so many ways. It really doesn't matter whether I'm wearing a dress or jeans and wellie boots, whether I'm putting up shelves or cooking the dinner. Tbh, not only "hetereonormative culture" but the gay community, including myself, can get confused sometimes. Luckily, I've always spoken true about myself and whom I desire, no matter the struggle in communicating it or the journey to get there or the offense I've had to heal. Labels and stereotypes are dehumanising and create a firey argument these days. The only people I feel secure enough to commune with on butch and femme are those who seem to understand that no one wants to be a "man" and (my words) no one wants to be a "woman".. and what that really is! I am as proud and as different as she is, inside and out. That's where I'm at right now. With this gender binary and dominating straight culture in the way.. finding, articulating and expressing oneself seems to be a long journey, one I wish I didn't have to take! And I remember what it was like at school for girls who liked sports or cars or had short hair. It doesn't equal to lesbian or man. Social norms are ridiculous and have created so much unnessary pain and shame and confusion as a result.


Missing Person Kristin Snyder: Lost in a Sea of Myths Pt 4

Next up in our series on the The Lost Women of NXIVM mockumentary is Joseph O’Hara of Albany, NY. O'Hara was an attorney who worked fo...