How To Pass As A Woman | Mia Mulder

How To Pass As A Woman | Mia Mulder


Hi! I’m YouTube phenomenon and international supermodel
Mia Mulder. There seems to be a lot of transgendering
going on in the world, and I figured that I should talk about that in the way that I
can, as a trans woman. The question that so many have asked is “how
to pass as a woman”. Before I can answer that question, there are
things we need to talk about. And we also need to talk about what that even
means. [Part 1: Transitioning] I’ve been transitioning now for… over six years. And during that time, I have not just become
a woman, but a babe. I had my humble beginnings in the ancient
year of 2012. The year the world ended. In the Before Times I looked like this. [picture] eugh. Now, I can look like this. And I will teach you how to do the same. And of course it all starts out somewhere. Transitioning. When I began my transition, it was a grueling
process to even understand that I could do it. It was hard for me to understand that I could
be a woman. But I think a lot of people underestimate
how many layers society places on you about how women should be. Obviously, cis women know this a lot more
than cis men. But there are experiences, I think, that no
cis person can really experience or understand. My specific experience was a mixture of my
own life and my own desires, and the demands of society and the people around me. The impression I got was that I basically
had to conform to the standards of a 1950s housewife, who would readily submit herself
to the desires of a man. Erotic. My own views on identity and gender were simple
in comparison. I didn’t really think about it that much,
I never really deconstructed myself, I didn’t gaze within myself to see my inner soul. I, like many people, simply thought that I
would be happier if I transitioned. And, now I am. [some time in the future] Sometimes that sounds
sad. And sometimes that is sad. And that’s actually fine. It’s actually fine. I’m fine. Sarah, on the channel “let’s talk about stuff”,
talked really intimately about what transition means. But this video isn’t really about that. And if you really wanna grasp the existential
horror of transitioning, I really recommend that video. But transitioning is not the point of this
video. You wanna find out how to pass. And I will tell you. I’m not here to tell you about the terrifying
realities of coming to terms with transitioning. At least, that’s not the focus. My focus is more about the expectations laid
upon you during transition. Today, compared to six years ago, we have
a slightly more varied and nuanced view on gender. We know that gender doesn’t have a sexuality,
or a fashion style. I don’t have to act like a 1950s housewife,
who would readily suck dick on demand. Although I will. But we still have a concept of passing, frequently
meaning that you “pass” in the eyes of society as the gender you identify as. When people look at you, they will assume
that you are the gender that you are. And then you “pass”. To “pass” is the goal of many trans people
and the goal of many transitions. It is also a barrier that society places on
you if you want to be “an acceptable” trans person. Especially for binary trans people. But I will dig into what that means a bit
later. Passing obviously means different things in
different contexts and different societies. But in the “discourse”, there’s an idea that
passing is something that you don’t have to do… right now. But there’s an idea that you should, eventually. As long as you take your hormones like a good
little tran. And you can see why a of people who feel that
they “can’t pass” have issues with this idea in the discourse. Obviously, you could have any reason you want
to “pass”. I want to “pass”. I think a lot of people do. Some people want to “pass” for safety concerns,
in order to avoid violence or discrimination, or the worst parts of transphobia. If they are not seen as transgender, then
this is something that they might avoid. And that is very understandable. Some people, like me, just want to take part
in society without having the fact that we’re trans be a roadblock in our lives. Everywhere. I only take issue with the discourse bit. Not the individual choices bit. At least not that much. But it should be noted that “passing” doesn’t
necessarily mean that you’re accepted in society – all it does is hide you from people who
are hostile to trans people anyway. It doesn’t actually make them accept you,
it hides you from them. And I grant you, that is very understandable. But the only way to win with people who are
hostile to trans people is to not be trans. To transcendentally be the gender that you
are. In a way that only they can define. “Passing” or not, at the end of the day, people
are still going to legislate against you, and people are still gonna refer to “chromosomes”,
and you can’t really “pass” as a chromosome type. When we talk about passing, it’s also important
to note that it’s no coincidence that many of the successful trans people, many of the
“trans success stories” we hear, are from people who are ostensibly passing. And not just passing, but most often white,
most often have a lot of money in order to fund their transition to a level that most
people can only really dream of. But we don’t really think about that. We think that they are a success story. And you wanna be part of that. And of course you do. They seem to be happy and you wanna be happy
too. Eventually, you want to be part of those success
stories. You wanna be the “good trans person”, you
wanna be the trans person that does well. That is an inspiration to others. That “wins”. To “pass” in the eyes of society is also a
very binary thing. If you don’t identify with the binary genders,
then what are you supposed to “pass” as, exactly? Passing, in general, is often in relationship
to cis people, and cis appearances. For many people, transitioning is a journey
from not passing to passing. That is what transition means for many people. And because of that, it doesn’t really allow
for trans-expression. Passing is in essence assimilation. A very understandable one, obviously. But nevertheless, it’s not something that
we define ourselves. It becomes something that we all basically
have to exist in relationship to. It ends up becoming this aspiration of a lot
of transitions. Which is supported by society, media, the
doctors, therapists, and other trans people. And we have to respect that passing is important. We do. Love it or hate it, we just have to deal with
it. And in that case, we might as well accept
it. Or do we? You could argue that passing refers to the initial impression of someone. If you see someone, and you assume that they
are the gender they identify as, then they are passing as that gender. And sometimes, this is easy, if you conform
to the expectations of gender, and appearances, beauty, and gender roles, and everything else. This means that your face looks like it should,
your hair looks like it should, your voice sounds like it should, your skin feels like
it should. These are fairly high standards. But there’s a problem here. Cis people often don’t meet those standards
either. There are many places now which use “bathroom
bills”, so called because they regulate who has access to bathrooms. Usually they are meant to force people to
go to the bathroom that matches their birth certificate gender – the gender they were
assigned at birth. But the only way to enforce this is to look
at appearances. They look visually on who “belongs” in the
bathrooms, meaning if you are a trans woman and you don’t pass, you might not have access
to the women’s bathroom. But it’s not uncommon in areas like these
for cis women to also be excluded from these spaces, because they don’t match the expectations
of the gender that they are. Cis women who don’t conform to stereotypical
ideals of appearances are often kicked out of these places as well. But what does passing mean then? How can you look like a gender if a gender
doesn’t really have a look? Well, while it is often defined as appearing
as the gender that you identify as, I think a better definition is not being viewed as
trans. And that’s a crucial difference. For example, a non-passing trans woman does
not by default look like a cis man. That’s not really how things work. A non-passing trans woman looks like a non-passing
trans woman, and will be viewed and treated as such. For the last couple of years, trans awareness
and visibility has been on an all-time high. Probably more than at any other time in human
history. And that’s mostly good, I think? But at the same time, it’s made people aware
of us. [Including transphobes] People who don’t like
trans people have been working overtime to try to “sniff us out”. [This means that more and more things “look”
like they could be markers of trans-ness] An example of this are when cis women are
often assumed to be trans women. And of course the recent “transpiracy”, which
assumes that all powerful people in the world are actually transgender, as a form of a global
plot to… take over the world, or something? Because of this, “passing” not only has to
contend with ideals of beauty and gendered appearances, but also with “cis-hood”. I’ll try to explain with an example. When I came out as a woman in 2013, there
was probably a period at the start when I had no idea “how to be a woman”, and probably
looked like I didn’t know how to do that. But shortly into my transition, things became
rather easy. My voice didn’t really sound feminine at all,
I didn’t really look super feminine either, but because I wore feminine-coded clothing,
and I presented myself with a feminine name, people just assumed that I was that gender,
even if I didn’t match totally. Their view of what “trans” meant didn’t line
up with what I looked like. And because of that, I passed. Not because I was beautiful, or because I
had a gendered look – back then I definitely didn’t. But simply because I didn’t look “trans”. Their idea of trans was probably this. [Cartoon of masculine bearded man in a dress
and high heels], rather than this. [Picture of Mia] While this is obviously based
in ignorance, it worked. And I know that was easy for me. The same probably cannot be said for people
who weren’t as privileged as I was, or as lucky as I was. Now, however, cis people know that anyone
can be transgender. Your friend, your coworker, your boss, your
local politician. Anyone. And because of that, the mainstream view of
what “trans” looks like has changed, and because of that, some things that might earlier had
been explained away as “eh, some women just have a husky voice”, today is replaced with
“hmmm…. that woman has a very deep-set voice… I wonder…” [suspicious look] Now I know what you’re gonna say. You’re gonna say that I pass. And I used to. I definitely used to pass. But I don’t anymore. When I go out, I’m more misgendered that I
am correctly gendered. On camera, with nice lighting and some camerawork
and some editing, yeah. I probably pass. A little bit. But not totally. And isn’t that the point? I haven’t changed that much, though. I’ve gone from passing to not passing. But I haven’t changed that much. If anything, I’m more feminine now than I
have ever been, I’m more stereotypical now than ever. I’m more comfortable in my own skin, I got
some basic makeup skills, I got a fair bit of a fashion sense now. But despite that, I don’t pass anymore. Because of the public idea of what “trans”
looks like looks more like me now than it used to. If anything, I conform more to the stereotypes
of beauty and gendered appearances than I have ever done. It’s just that now, everyone from transphobe
to ally knows how to spot us. They know the husky voice, they know the tells,
they can see the inches of bone. And again, I’m really lucky. I’m a white binary trans woman who already
looked kinda feminine when I started. I had an easy time. For people who can’t or don’t want to pass,
this change in perception of what “trans” looks like has probably hit a lot harder than
it has for me. But for me, my own presentation didn’t actually
matter this much. Society changed much faster than I could. But why do we want to transition then, in
the first place? If the standards keep changing, then how are
we possibly supposed to live up to them? And then, why do we keep using this term if
the term doesn’t really apply? And the standards meant to keep it also keep
changing. I think passing is a dumb concept. I think it’s transphobic, I think it’s harmful. I wanna make that really clear. But I still want to “pass”. To be honest, I kinda wanna escape living
as a trans person, even if it’s only in a superficial way. I’m not proud of that. I wish I was immune to the factors that made
me feel that way but I’m not. By not being seen as trans, we avoid some
of the hassles of transphobia, at least some levels of it. To pretend, at least for a moment, that everything’s
fine. And that you can take part in society fully. To avoid the terror of existing as a trans
person in a world where people, laws, policies would rather that we don’t exist. But if we “pass”, then maybe we’re allowed
to. But it’s not just us who feel that way. Mainbstream society also demands of us that
we pass. If we pass, then to the people who don’t think
we should exist, we don’t have to. They don’t have to acknowledge our existence. We can be ignored, and we don’t have to take
up space in their minds to disgust them. As hard as it is to admit, our existence does
disgust people. Some trans people, too. If we pass, then we can at least be ignored. Or at best tolerated. And I’d rather be tolerated than be an object
of disgust. Wouldn’t you? I know a lot of people are happy and proud to be trans. I’m sad to admit that I’m not one of them. They probably have a different view on what
passing means, they probably have a better outlook on life than I do. But I don’t. And my perspective is very much coloured by
that. Being trans is something that I really don’t
want to be. It’s something that I am, but I never identified
as trans. I identified as a woman, and because I wasn’t
one, being trans just came with the package. It’s a prefix placed on me by the circumstances
of my birth, it’s not something that I want to be. I haven’t reflected that much about my own
gender and my identity. I have reflected a lot about my place in society
because of my identity, and my place as a trans woman in society. But I haven’t really considered much of who
I am as a gender, at least not until recently. I identify as a woman. I think. I kind of look like one? Maybe? Sometimes? More than anything else, really, but does
that matter? I remember going to art school a couple of
years ago. And it was this very progressive place compared
to where I had been. I had just gotten my history degree, I had
just left this very established world of academia, where almost no one is trans. My friends were mostly men. Straight. White. Because that’s what academia was like. But when I came to art school, I was met with
a diversity that I had never encountered before. I met more non-binary people in a week starting
there than I had ever done in my entire life before. I met more trans people in general than I
had ever done before, outside of protests and activism things. This was just school. This wasn’t a trans-place-to-hangout, this
was just a place. And it was nice. It was full of many different people, and
it was filled with people who were similar to me. So when I came there, I figured that I don’t
have to resort to femininity. I can just wear whatever I want, right? I’m surrounded by trans people, they probably
understand. I’m surrounded by femininsts, for the first
time in a long while. They understand. I don’t have to conform to gendered expectations
here. And I remember walking up to someone and talking,
and they aske dme for my pronouns. And I had never had that before, not in that
genuine context, where they actually wanted to know. And I responded, a little nervous, like “yeah,
my pronouns are she/her”. And I hadn’t really done that before. And that felt nice. It felt nice for someone to ask me how I identified,
and for me to confirm. And then they responded with “oh. You don’t use they/them?” Apparently I looked like I was non-binary. They themselves, the person I was talking
to, was non-binary. And I didn’t really know how to respond. I still don’t. When we talk about being transgender or transitioning,
we often talk about “becoming our inner truths” or whatever. Becoming more comfortable with ourselves based
on our own view on ourselves. Defining for ourselves who we are, and that
sounds really great. But I can’t do that. I don’t know how. I cannot tell the difference between what
I want and what I have been told that I should want. If our bodies and identities were closed systems,
then yeah. I think that we could probably define for
ourselves what we want that to be. But they are not. They are a part of society, and they are influenced
by that society. Our identities are shaped at least in part
by the environment that we exist within, and those environments change even more than we
do. “Trans discourse” is very affirming. Validating. “You are valid”. And that’s nice. I have no problem with that. That’s nice. It’s nice to feel like you’re valid. But we do that not because it’s something
that we feel that we want, it’s not something that we just do because it’s fun. We do it because we feel like we need it. It’s a survival strategy. Society doesn’t tell us that we’re valid,
if anything society tells us that we’re not. We have to counter that, and that is why we
do it. But there’s a consequence of this forced positivity,
this forced validation. We don’t really talk about the bad things. We don’t really talk about the existential
horror of identity. And still despite all of this, we still do
it. We still transition, we still affirm each
other, we still wanna pass, we still do all of these things. Because despite all of the negative things
that we don’t really talk about, it’s worth it. Right? It’s why we do it. Transitioning, for me at least, was not really
a clear goal of what I had in mind. It was jumping into the void, hoping that
I would end up somewhere better. As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t really thought
about myself and my identity that much. The second I found out that I could be a woman,
I cried. For hours. And then the very same day I went online,
got some information, and I ordered hormone treatments online. The very same day. I didn’t even have to think about it that
much. I knew I wanted to be a woman. For as far as I can remember. I just didn’t know that I could. But again, I didn’t really had to think about
it. I never had to reflect on it, it was just
part of my life. And we talk about that sometimes. But, the more common trope that we hear in
mainstream society is the “miserable trans woman”, who cries in her sleep every night
for weeks and months and years on end until she finally accepts herself. Ugh. But why do we, in some capacity, embrace that? Why can’t we just sometimes admit that we
didn’t think about it, we didn’t consider the consequences, we just did it. And hoped, prayed that it would work. Why don’t we just admit sometimes that we
jumped into the void, hoping for this impossible goal that you can never really reach? That few people ever reach? We do it because we hope that on the way there,
maybe we can find some comfort, maybe on the way to perfection, the way to the goal that
we want to have, we’ll be happy. I still identified as
a woman, clearly. Six years later, I’m not sure I still do. Now, I think about it. Now I reflect. Now, more and more, I don’t feel comfortable
identifying as one. I used to pass. I was happy to identify as a woman then. Now, more and more, I don’t feel comfortable
doing that. I’m not sure I can identify as a woman anymore. At least not in the same way. I sometimes get the feeling that when people have passing as their transition goal, they’re
not really talking about looking like a certain gender, or avoiding looking like trans at
all. I think that many times people just wanna
be beautiful. That they say it under the guise of self-realization. That if I transition then maybe I can pass,
and by pass they mean beautiful. But we know that saying “I want to be beautiful,
I would give anything to be beautiful” is something that you’re not supposed to say. You’re not supposed to want to be beautiful. But we do. We know that wanting to be beautiful is a
harmful pursuit to dedicate a significant amount of your life to, but sometimes just
just do that. Sometimes you just want to. Cis people do that, they do that all the time,
so why can’t we? Why is it so harmful to say sometimes that
I just wanna be beautiful? We keep saying it’s part of our transition,
and we hide it away in order to excuse it for ourselves. I do that, all the time. Constantly. When I go out, and I ask a friend if I look
good, I’m not really asking if I look good. I’m not really asking if my makeup works,
I’m not really asking if my eyeliner is sharp. I’m asking several questions at once, I’m
asking if I’m beautiful. I’m asking if I’m feminine. And I’m asking if I’m okay. Because on many levels, those things are connected
to me. I associate beauty with gendered appearances,
and I associate my gendered appearance with my own validity. I feel like society forces a lot of trans
people to associate gendered looks with beauty and their own validity with gendered looks. Because of that, we associate our own validity,
our own identities to how pretty we are. A lot of people reject this, saying that you
can be attractive, that you can be beautiful without “passing”, and that’s true. I believe that. When I look at other trans people, I don’t
associate their gendered appearances with how beautiful they are, and I don’t connect
that to how valid they are either. But I know cis people do. And I do that to myself. All the time. I agree with the message, 100%. Logically, it’s true. But I don’t think so, not for myself. I keep myself to an impossible standard, and
I know other people do too. When I first began my transition and I talked
to my doctor, I resorted to hyperfemininity. I exaggerated my own feminine traits, my own
feminine desires, in order to, in the eyes of my doctor, who would judge me, feel valid. At the same time I did that, the comfort I
had in my own body was destroyed. I didn’t feel comfortable at all, because
despite being a trans woman, I’m not that feminine. And I know I don’t have to be. But society thinks that I should. My doctor at the time said that I had to,
otherwise I wouldn’t get legal recognition. Or hormone treatments. And I compensated by trying to be beautiful,
because if I’m beautiful then I can be comfortable. Because I would look at other beautiful and
I would think to myself that they must be comfortable constantly. And I ended up judging my body based on how
pretty it was, based on how it looked in the mirror. And I succeeded? I guess? By all accounts, I am pretty. I ended up becoming a model, even. And despite walking on fashion runways wearing
designer clothing, basically living the “ideal life” of someone who does value their own
appearance in that way, I hated myself. I realise now that what I really wanted wasn’t
to be pretty, it was to be comfortable. I wanted to be content being who I was. But we live in a society that tells us over
and over and over again to all women, that the road to comfort is found in beauty. It’s found in the exterior, in how we look. And there is comfort to be found there, too. So there’s a grain of truth in it? It’s partially true, it’s nice to feel cute. It’s nice to feel beautiful. But “looking good” is not just something that
we can define for ourselves. As with everything in this video, it’s something
that is also shaped and influenced by the society we live in and the standard that society
has. It’s no surprise that what we consider to
be “beautiful” or what we consider to be “passing” is almost always the same thing that white
straight guys find attractive. I spent a lot of time early in my transition
in different web forums talking about how well we passed. We would upload pictures of ourselves and
ask people to rank us. How well do I pass? zero out of ten. And we’d give each other tips. You know, smile more, don’t show your teeth,
let your hair out, don’t use too much makeup, don’t use too much hair product, use some
makeup, open your eyes more, trim your eyebrows, bit more flirty look. We did this to support each other. And we tried to. When transphobic people attack us for “repeating”
patriarchal standards of appearance, we all roll our eyes because we think they’re dumb. And they are. But they see something, they see a phenomenon,
they just can’t pinpoint the source. Because they’re transphobic, and they don’t
think about that. They see trans women repeating stereotypical
ideas of what women should look like. But not because we want to do those things. It’s not because we want to embody something. It’s because it’s a survival technique. We have to do that in order to get just the
most basic kind of respect there is because if we don’t, we aren’t respected at all. We repeat stereotypes because that’s what
we’ve been told to do by friends, family, doctors, society, in some cases even the actual
laws that we have to abide by. We don’t really have a choice. And sometimes, we hear it from other trans
people. And that last one, that stings. How to pass as a woman. To answer this question, I’ve had to slog
through a lot of background. My own opinions, the opinions of some friends
that I’ve reached out to to make this video. The answer? If you wanna “pass” as a woman? You can’t. And you already are. And you always have, and you never will. In theory, the term passing works. In theory, we can discuss terms like identity
and appearance and passing in a very clean, effective way. But in practice, it doesn’t work like that. Real life is messy in a way that we can’t
really comprehend. Passing, as a term, doesn’t really fit that
well into real life. It’s a nice, academic term. It’s a nice term to use in a theoretical way. But, in practice, it kind of falls apart. I can’t answer that question. How to pass as a woman. How to present yourself as a woman. I can’t answer that question. No one can. The very nature of the question either defies
definition or has been part of the human anguish since we first looked into pond water to see
our reflection and started to ask “who am I, really?” “I want to pass.” The term is, as I’ve talked about, almost
useless. But everyone knows what you mean when you
say it. I also wanna pass. Wanting to avoid transphobia by not looking
trans is very understandable. But they’re not actions that we do for ourselves. They are reactions that we do in order to
cope with how society treats us. That’s not us living our “inner truth”, that
is us compromising with society in order to survive. Passing is a concession. A compromise. They are concessions to people who dictate
how our lives should be. They aren’t empowering if they are made under
duress. But they are understandable. As I’ve said, I still wanna pass. Despite everything. Despite me hating the term, despite me hating
everything connected to the term, despite me hating the concept, and despite knowing
that it’s not who I am, I still want to do it. That is why I become very worried when I see
other trans people use the term as aspirational, as a goal to be pursued, and not just for
themselves, but for all trans people. Saying that in the ideal world, all trans
people “pass”. But I don’t know what they mean by that. Does that mean that passing as a term has
become irrelevant? Or does it mean that we all fit into the norm
of mainstream society? If you want to pass, only for yourself, that’s
great. But I don’t know how to do that. I can’t divorce my own feelings from the pressures
that I have received from society over the last 25 years on how women should be. A couple of months ago, I got a surgery time
for bottom surgery. And the second I read the time, I had a panic
attack. There wasn’t anything specific about the date,
it’s just a surgery time. Fairly routine. And I cried for days. I still don’t know if I want it. I don’t know if I want bottom surgery. After six years I’m not that sure. When I began my transition, my doctor basically
told me that I had to want everything. That he would not be convinced I was a woman
unless I said that I wanted the entire package. I had to say that I wanted everything. The entire package. The vagina, the hormone treatment, the voice
training, everything. And if I didn’t want everything, I would get
nothing. So I lied, and I said that yeah, of course
I want surgery, of course I want all the surgeries, I want everything, I want to be the perfect
1950s housewife. And six years later, I never really got the
chance to reflect if that’s what I really wanted. I never got to think about whether it was
true. I just know that it had to be true. I had to want that. Because if I didn’t, I would get nothing. And now, I don’t know. When I see cis people say that we should pass,
I can explain away that. They’re ignorant. They don’t know any better. They’re tactless. But when trans people say that, I feel like
I’ve failed. When trans people say that I should pass,
or that I should try to pass, or even that I do pass, I feel either like I have failed,
or that I’m lying. And that hurts. As you can hear, I have a complicated relationship
to passing. Even though I want to toss the term away into
the dumpster fire of bad words, there is no other way that accurately describes the feeling
of wanting to be something as close as you can, while not actually being that. I don’t want to “pass” as a woman, I am a
woman, and I want that to be true in a way that is physically impossible. Because of the norms that have been drilled
into me since I was born, of how a woman should be. But passing is still a useful word. We can still use it. But we also need to discuss the negative effects
that keeping the word and the discourse that surrounds it would entail. I don’t know how to pass. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Most times I don’t. I don’t know how important passing is when
it comes to your identity. I can’t tell you that. I can’t tell that for myself either. I don’t know the role passing and appearances
play when it comes to your identity. I don’t know how that applies to me, or to
you. I mean, I want to pass. And we as a community, we keep talking about
passing. I just want to escape it. I feel like whenever we talk about presentation,
or initial impressions, or passing as a concept, whenever we talk about that as a community,
I feel like it’s more weight being put on my shoulders. And I feel sick when trans people tell me
to embrace that weight instead of criticizing why the weight exists at all. And I am lucky. Because sometimes I pass. By most definitions, I’m also pretty. And I hate myself. Because I don’t pass all the time. For everyone, everywhere. Some days I’m going to look very trans. Most days. But I’m not allowed, because if I don’t pass,
I have failed. If I’m with a partner, I’m putting them in
a shameful position too. They might not care, but society does. I’m still gonna look like me. But “me”, more often than not, looks like
a trans woman. And that’s fine. Except when it isn’t. I never think about this about other trans
people. I don’t think you should, I think this way
of thinking is harmful and awful and horrible. But I know cis people do. They think of us like this. And I know it about myself, I do this to myself
all the time. I don’t want this video to be an entry into
the conversation whether or not passing is important or not. This video is more a criticism towards the
question instead. “How to pass as a woman?”. There is no answer. Because the question is fundamentally wrong. And I’m sick of hearing trans people reinforce
this way of thinking about ourselves, this awful way of reflecting on our own worth. And if someone does talk about it in that
context, to want to separate themselves from it, we all feel bad. We all feel awful because so many of us think
this way about ourselves, but we don’t talk about it. Instead, we’re just stuck in the status quo
between passing or not passing. Either we win, or we lose. In the trans discourse, trying to be part
of the mainstream world, we aren’t allowed to just be. I wish I could be proud. I wish, beyond anything, that I could take
pride in looking and sounding trans. But I can’t. And I wish I had a happy end to this video,
where I could talk about me finding some comfort in all of this, in my own experience, which
I talk about a lot in this video, but I don’t. The truth is, I’m going to, when this video
is over, go down in the comments and I’m going to look for people telling me that I’m beautiful,
and people telling me that I pass. And I’m also going to see people telling me
that I sound and look like a man. And I’m going to place a lot of value in those
comments. I wish I didn’t, but I will. I know I will. I think that sometimes, you just need to say,
with some explanation, that the question is bad. The topic is bad. And sometimes that sounds sad. And sometimes that is sad. And that’s actually fine. It’s actually fine. I’m fine. It sucks. But, yeah. Thank you for watching this video. I had a really intense time making it so if you liked it I would really appreciate if you told me, in the comments or subscribed to my channel I’m really close to 5000 subscribers and I would really like to be that. so I can feel… valid. I like when the internet number goes up I wanna give a big thanks to all my patrons who helped make this video a reality But I wanna give a special thanks to Rosie Kim Ibrahim Aldridge Wario Van Pebbels Alice Ryan Kolak Sinzdri.. (I’m not good with names, sorry) Emma (not) Goldman Emil Rutowski Dan Sinfield Amelia Fletcher Eggs_Box! Linus2Punkt0 William Pietri Christopher Steinmuller And, of course, you! For watching this very emotional video that I made Thank you! Thank you so much! If you liked this video you should join all these lovely people on the list, scrolling by, on Patreon It’s nice! I do things! Okay… uh.. Bye. I just realized I have so many Patrons now that I kind of have to organize you all alphabetically so that you can find yourselves because there’s so many of you! Like every time I finish a video and I type in all your names I’m stunned to have you all here! And there’s so many of you now and I just want you all to feel seen and I want you all to know that I see you and that… I love you so much.

100 thoughts on “How To Pass As A Woman | Mia Mulder

  1. This… This hit really close to home.
    I'm a transfeminine nonbinary person, but for various reasons (both medical and personal) I have facial hair. Not only is there not an archetype to attempt to pass as, I basically can't do anything that gets me read as anything but a cis man. I can be wearing a skirt and nail polish and a feminine blouse and… No twitch in the needle. In fact, the more femme I present, the more I get "sir"-ed. As result, I've always had a super fraught relationship with the concept of passing, and it's been super hard to separate "I hate this thing because it's bad and harmful" from "I hate this thing because, whether I want it or not, I can't have it."
    Thank you for this video.

  2. Great video. I find this illuminating. Also, as a cishet guy I hope I can help as an auxiliary soldier. You, the trans and LGBTQIA+ community in general deserve way more validation than you get from the society. Solidarity forever and we need Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism yesterday. <3

  3. This isn't just brave; this is human. We all mill around acting as if we've reached some "final form", as if we sprang out of bed looking the way we do, as if our fingernails and our hair aren't growing as we speak, as if we aren't the tragically open-ended animals that we truly are. We love to hear and tell stories so much because they have an ending. Meanwhile we're each living in the midst of our own story that isn't over yet. It gives us incredible angst because we want it to end and not end at the same time. Cis people (and, frankly, all privileged perspectives) expect to be spoon-fed clear-cut foreclosed ideas about all the ways people can exist in the world. They want to hear the one-size-fits-all definitive story, not realizing that trans (and in general non-normative) people can only work with the literal material they've been given and are already going beyond their due diligence of trying to figure themselves out by tiptoeing around the powers that be and making up a half true story about themselves just to get by.

    I'm not trying to rant or anything. It's just that this video affected me. It affected me because I relate so deeply. Everyday I have to dance for the able-bodied gaze. And no matter how much Marxian or queer theory I read, deep down I too just want to pass as normative, to go through a day feeling inherently unquestionable, to feel like a proven human being. That's why I say this video is human. By showing your unguarded truth, you've made many people feel a lot less alone. It has also given us a glimpse of beauty in the world. Mia, when I say you're beautiful, I mean truly beautiful, the way Rosa Luxembourg and Rainer Rilke and Frida Kahlo and Robert Smith and Pablo Neruda and Walter Benjamin and Nina Simone and John Coltrane and Raya Dunayevskaya and Hannah Arendt and millions of other open hearts were (and are) beautiful. You're humanly beautiful.and beautifully human. Thank you.

  4. This was tough to watch, I'm in the same boat though I never transitioned, I'm not even sure I'm trans because I don't have much dysphoria ,I'm definitely queer/nb but I don't even feel comfortable identifying as those, I can't help but be angry at the stupidly backward way we view gender…

  5. "Transitioning for me wasn't a clear goal I had in mind, it was jumping into the void, and hoping I would end up somewhere better."
    Thanks so much for this vid Mia. As a cis[tm] dude, I like to consider myself an ally, but I'm also aware that as someone without any tangible, personal, stakes in the rights of trans people, I am prone to the snap judgements about trans ppl that are harmful, especially considering my conservative background.
    Its been difficult personally to subconsciously come to terms with what I intellectually know about Trans, non-binary people and my personal concept of "passing, and while I know this vid was almost certainly not specifically intended for people like me, I want you to know that this has helped with that (relatively small in terms of the actual struggle of non-binary and trans ppl) personal struggle.
    Understanding the view of someone like urself, who has to come to terms and live with societal expectations placed upon ppl like you, by ppl like me, I think, has helped.

    (I get that this probably comes off as some bullshit statement from a cis male "ally" who is faux woke or whatever bullshit, but its late and i cant really word things properly and just wanted to say thanks for the vid, its really helpful and I think ur doing great work, even if it isnt necessarily for ppl like me.
    Sorry if I sound like an ass)

  6. yeah
    that was

    you know.

    had to sit on it for a while, still though have nothing intelligent to say. many thanks.
    at times it even can be extremely helpful to see oneself through the eyes of others, and we all can and do that, except we clearly have the propensity to see ourselves through the eyes of the very, very wrong others. double consciousness is a bitch and sometimes it feels like the easiest way to get rid of that at least for a time is to fucking hammer oneself in the head to silence also the primary consciousness.

    (and also – yeah you are insanely beautiful, and while it's fair to question why even give a scone abt my opinion, i say why not, i clearly can be trusted to be a ~beauty~arbitress~, right)

  7. Hi, I've never seen any of your work before but this video really blew my mind. Thanks for making a story out of all these horrible thoughts that constantly pop into my head. It opens up new avenues for me to think and to talk about my experiences. Ideally we can find a way to live our lives despite this BS. Thank you!

  8. 1. Subscribed
    2. Thank you
    3. I love the expression, by (I think Hank) Green, "A question wrongly asked".
    4. Watching this has made me pondered a bit deeper into something my partner asked me, as an agender person, regarding how I picture myself, and now I may or may not be crying a bit.

  9. From one trans woman (earlier in her transition) to another… thank you for this. It was beautiful, and raw, and messy. It was a discussion on passing (and gender and being trans) that I've never seen done in such a way before. Instead of so many abstractions it pierced through to the uncomfortable contradictions and ambiguities that come with living as trans in this world. My heart really went out to you. I think that there is a certain pain of existence that comes with being trans that only we can understand. And this video made me feel such an affinity with you. We are forced to exist in the world in such a strange way. This video made me feel lots of strange emotions.

    And for what it's worth, when I began watching this video, before you had really started talking, I thought to myself, my god, she is so beautiful. I luxuriated in your image, and I wondered if I could ever be as beautiful as you, if my chin is too big, my hair not so fine. And I had some odd little fantasy in which I would show this video to a cis friend, in part to show her the complex relationship trans women have to gender, but also, to show her how beautiful trans women can be. As if to prove something. And we would agree with one another about how beautiful you are. Sorry if this is strange haha.

    <3 <3 <3

  10. I really liked your video. It was interesting, emotional and it really touched me.
    You are a great an lovable person! Don't forget this!

  11. OMG I am only 1 minute in and your style of video presentation, mode of communication, and look has me squeeing

  12. I am a white cishet ally. What you are talking about here is something I see a lot. The word beautiful is very seldom used by trans people in my experience. Cute is a lot more common. And I've even had one friend tell me not to say she was beautiful. Well, she is. As an outsider, discussions about this make me very sad. Because dysphoria as I've seen it tells you you are worse than you are. And if you are one of those who is unlikely to pass ( and it is so unfair because this is so related to finances) it has to be so hurtful. All I can tell you is I hear what you're saying. And God bless you for saying it.

  13. Thank you for broaching this painful and beautiful subject. It is because of people like you that I may take pride in being a trans woman, rather than disjointed pride each time I may pass.

    EDIT: Wow, I meant to type "personal" but my hands typed "beautiful" instead. I wonder what my brain is trying to tell me.

  14. this was a really important video to me, and you’ve helped me to realize some things about my trans experience that i hadn’t before. so, thank you very much.

  15. I don't get the whole identity thing; I don't identify as things, I just am. I'm not queer because I like the word so much or feel such a strong connection to it (which I do), I am because its definition applies to me.

    But a few years ago, I realized I hated to be a male, and that since becoming a woman didn't seem any more appealing to me than being male, I had to be nonbinary, and that's the way I've felt more comfortable describing my inner sense of what my gender is ever since.

    However, I'm not out as nonbinary except to a handful of friends (all of them either GNC or questioning their gender themselves), and even if I were, I present masculinely enought that I even have more straight-passing privilege than the average queer guy (which always comes as a surprise to me, I always feel like I don't pass as straight at all, and when I ask my queer friends whether I do or not they often tell me that I definitely don't and that I'm quite visibly queer, but in my experience I actually pass as straight more than I don't, specially when I'm with people above the age of thirty/forty or with people who are cishet, specially cishet guys), so I know almost nobody would take me seriously if I were out and that for the most part I'd still be read (and, most importantly, treated) as a cis guy, even among other queer people (at least until now, the few GNC/questioning friends of mine I've come out still treat me as and mostly consider me a guy, quite likely because of the fact that I present pretty masculine, at least for an AMAB nonbinary person).

    I tend to view gender more as a patriarchal sociopolitical structure rather than a psychological one, so the way I see it, even if I'm nonbinary, I'll also be a man until I get androgynous enough I stop enjoying male privilege and become visibly GNC and trans, and that sucks so much.

    As I've said, I hate to be a man, it feels so viscerally wrong to be one, and that feeling was what made me realize I'm nonbinary, but I also know androgyny is not for me, and becoming a woman even less so (although tbh the thought of aging into the body of an old man in the future makes me so dysphoric I'm not ruling out anything), "male" clothing is and always will be the kind of clothing I feel more comfortable wearing, and I want to be far more muscular and robust than I'm now, not the other way around, so I guess my options are either trying to make peace with the fact that I'll always be a man (an AMAB nonbinary man, or whatever lol) or trying to become androgynous enough that I lose my sociopolitical status as a man (or at least as a gender conforming man) while presenting in a way that doesn't feel right.

    I just wish so much I could stop being a man without having to sacrifice presenting in the way I feel more comfortable and more like myself.

  16. passing is a concept id never really thought too much about before i watched this video so thank you for making this.

  17. I love this video, despite it being so painful. Its personally painful. I watch this video with hunger pains because I can’t stand being fat, and because I have worried that it will affect my ability to ever pass, based on the advice of a trans friend. She’s guiding me through my transition, but I feel that her view of passing is harmful to attain, and yet I chase it anyway. I don’t know if she’s a hardass or a wise pragmatist. I’m scared that it’s the latter, and that we live in a world crueller than I ever imagined. It’s painful.

  18. This was honest, raw, and alive. Everything about this especially part 5 felt so succinctly genuine, feeling trapped in taking part of the status quo but also wanting to break out of it. I feel like an exasperating whirlwind of BLEAUGH.
    Thank you for sharing this and opening up. I am learning a lot.
    Also, I think you're funny, I like the sound of your voice, and I appreciate you
    Now l'mgonna go watch you're other videos.

  19. I am reeling from the video so I am not gonna comment on that rn.

    You look like some actress but I can't quite put my finger on it? And the deliberate pauses and changes in tone are very Olly-like. Maybe it's a theater thing

  20. Are you really a model? I'd believe it but then why are you spending time getting yelled at by internet fash?

  21. This is the first video of yours that I have watched. Wow. I don't quite know what to say, as a cis woman, except that I have tried to make your argument to people that the reason trans people get forced into the 1950s housewife stereotype is because of society and society's expectations, and not what you would choose for yourselves. I really had not heard any trans people say so as clearly as you have here. You are absolutely right. There should be no need for you to feel that you have to "pass" yet I totally understand. I am a brown woman raised in white spaces, too brown to fit in, but too pale and too culturally white to fit in brown spaces, so I suspect it's similar. You are a beautiful, intelligent trans woman and that should be enough for everyone, including you. I am very sorry that it is not enough. I hope one day that it is enough for you at least, and that you are comfortable in your self.

  22. Great video! What you said about trans people not being able to pass or that you can maybe never stayed with me. I'm wondering if in that case, less binary terms, you know less yes-or-no terms, would be more helpful for trans people, terms like two-spirit, like many indigenous people around the world use. Because to me by using those terms it feels like we're acknowledging the coexistence of two things instead of saying you have one identity that you want to completely,100% and fully transform into another identity.

    Of course this has a lot to do with how trans people themselves self-identify, and if trans people even want to identify as either non-binary or as having a double identity, and obviously trans experiences aren't a monolith

  23. I know this video is kinda bit older, but I'd like to tell you, that you're still beautiful and im sort of in love with you. Although, that latter might have a lot to do with the fact, that you are a historian.

  24. I thank you so so much for making this video. Alot of what you've said resonates with me, and while it doesn't fix how I feel, whether I want to transition or even if I deserve to be a woman, this video shows me that I'm not alone in feeling that there's a ugly reality that needs to be confronted.

    You're beautiful and you're valid <3

  25. I always have this weird back and forth desire to pass and to just "be me" whatever the hell that means… Thank you for this video

  26. Interestingly, the fact that I kinda look like that photo you dropped of the image of a trans woman is why I love being trans. I will never pass for cis. The only way I get to not be trans is by pretending to be a man.
    Because of this, I am strangely immune to much of the pressure to pass as cis. I've given up on it, and somehow, been freed from it. I instead have had the chance to fucking fall in love with being trans. Being trans fuckin slaps. It's being trans in this society that will kill me one of these days

  27. The thing I knew absolutely was that I wanted bottom surgery before I even cared about passing. I had bottom surgery, I am very happy to be a year and a half out of that. I've had sex with my neovagina, enjoyed it, and it was incredibly meaningful. I never considered bottom surgery as a means of passing, but a gateway for my own acceptance and enjoyment of self.

    I think it got me to an important point mentally to do some things, like get on meds and sort through other problems in life. But now I see a new surgery on the horizon, FFS, and I thought for so long I could do without it. I really like my face, I really like how I look, but on down times I see it and I know it is messing with me all the time.

    I think that for me has shifted my efforts toward FFS b/c it's this constant grind on my awareness and mood. I don't think it will make me beautiful, I just want it to shift my own self image and tip the scales for myself to see what I feel.

  28. This is frighteningly close to my experience. I came out in my head a bunch of times, but always dismissed it as silly. I was born with a penis… obviously I was a man. When I finally committed to it, I was still unsure. I know I’ve wished to be a woman, and I know I still want to be, but it was scary. I held my nose and plunged into the gender void to find myself, and sometimes I catch glimpses of her, and it makes me happy. I never felt obvious dysphoria with my body before coming out. Honestly it was just as surprising to me that I was a woman as it was for everyone else.

  29. you are part of why passing is bullshit
    you are way more beautiful than most cis women I've seen and in a way that is unique from them. as a society we should encourage that beauty instead of forcing us to conform to the traditional standards.
    at least that is how I see myself. I don't need to pass, I just don't want to be called pretty boy anymore >_>

  30. i just found out about you after today's shout-out by olly from philosophy tube in his newest video essay (on sex work), and girl was i in for a surprise. this video is so stimulating to watch and process. great job you did here. SUBBED!

  31. Great video, Mia! I appreciated your insight into how passing means looking cis, and that's gotten harder as we've become more visible. I came out in '06 at age 25, and I had a similar experience of not really considering if being trans was a possibility until I had an epiphany and did a lot of crying one day; I was able to started transitioning fairly quickly. I pass a lot of the time these days but not always. Part of me is still ashamed of being trans (and looking like it), but I think I'm able to feel proud most of the time. I'm proud of how hard I've fought to build a life worth living and to support other people getting the chance to do the same. I don't mean to preach, and I know everyone has a different journey. I'm glad you shared part of yours!

  32. While I say it as it is a matter of safety, and it just means I have to hone my voice even more even in resonance as to buy safety. Is it right? Probably not, but bigots will think one is cis but ugly if they sound cis.

  33. I love this as a cis woman who doesn’t always “pass” as the “right” kind of cis woman because I don’t work as hard at being feminine as people assume a woman should. It’s fucking bananas. My mom buys me dresses, pressures me to wear makeup, in NO universe could I ever be perceived as “butch” or whatever, I have a naturally feminine physique and face, but JUST because I like wearing pants and don’t always play the hair/makeup game. I can’t imagine how much more stressful the insane standards for “proper” womanhood would be for a trans person. I’m really sorry that you have to deal with it, and I’m happy to see how comfortable in your own skin you are as a cis person who still isn’t, most of the time.

    “I can’t tell the difference between what I want and what I’ve been told that I should want.”

    Wow. You’re so effortlessly articulate, I’m very jealous. Anyway thank you for making this, I’ll stop rambling. ❤️🤓

  34. The closest I came to anything like this was the realization that I didn't find my (now) ex-boyfriend attractive. And that that was a problem for my relationship. That I couldn't change what I find beautiful.

    And – as with pursuing beauty – Society implicates "the one values count". Love should be true to the person.

    Well it isn't. At least not for me. And I have to learn that's okay. I can change what I like to a very limited degree.

  35. Thank you for this video, this was incredible and cathartic even though it was so hard to watch. The bit about wanting to be beautiful really hit home…
    Full disclosure, I’m a gay trans man, so I don’t experience this on the same level of trans women: but finally being able to look at myself and thinking “I’m a handsome man, I’m finally attractive” whether that entails passing or not is, even though I would never admit it, one of my main reasons for transitioning. I keep telling myself “well, I can’t pull this off now, but once I transition I will”- in a way that is way way too reminiscent of the thought process that comes with my eating disorder. Maybe this sweater will look good on me when I’m skinny- maybe my long hair will look gorgeous, and not “womanly”, when I’m on testosterone – and so on.
    To point out the elephant in the room of the trans community and say it out loud is incredibly brave and I’m grateful for the fact that you shared such a vulnerable thought. It helped me feel less alone 🙂 and hopefully one more step towards not thinking of me in terms of unrealistic and unattainable cis beauty standards.

    Oh, and this won’t probably mean much from a rando on the internet especially for a career model, but you /are/ beautiful! And not just in appearance, but you’re so smart and brilliant, I only found your channel a couple days ago and I can’t stop binge watching your videos, they reasonate with me so much. Keep doing you 💚🍯

  36. Though I do not id as trans, this video made me feel understood in a way that few others have. The existential terror of being stuck in one body, one place, at one time. Not knowing what you want, when everyone tells you you should know. Feeling like you are lying about your gender.
    I'm afab, and to me, womanhood has always felt like a chore, a piece of performance art, but everything else also kind of does. I want to be free of all those expectations from myself and others, all the boxes I have to check and the self-hate.
    Thank you for sharing your experience so openly and vulnerably. It is good to feel like you are not alone. Because you aren't. <3

  37. Such a brave, raw, and insightful exploration here. I'm a cis/hetero guy raised in one the globe's most infamously homophobic societies (hence, too, an anti-transgender environment), but decades ago I realized that I could transcend my culture's prejudices and in fact needed to, for real humanity. Mia's reflections here leave me with a profound sense of tragedy, reminding me that some constraints upon our identities and communal bonds are insurmountable and inherent to the human condition. These painful issues go beyond transgender and "passing" matters, to pervasive and even spiritual conundrums. I recall the quote ascribed to Irish writer James Joyce: "Man is eccentric and Society concentric; therein lies the eternal struggle." And I think of notions like the Original Sin of Christianity and the Essential Suffering of Buddhism. Sorry if I wax philosophical here, but for me it beats weeping.

  38. shouldn't the person making the video actually pass if they are trying to give tips?

    your voice isn't female even remotely, your face is masculine, chin/jaw brow/hairline, you don't even know how to do makeup properly so many hugboxers in comments lol

  39. I was turned onto your channel from Breadtube. I love your videos. I also love Natalie, but you brought something truly unique to the table and gave me yet another perspective on transition and "passing." As a ciswoman, I really appreciate the perspective. I do have trans friends but I don't want to make them a token by only ever asking them about that part of them. They don't necessarily want to talk about it either, and I feel it's safest to let them bring it up. I don't know if it means anything at all, but I couldn't tell you were trans when I started watching the video you made on concentration camps, and now that I know you did transition away from your assigned gender, I'm delighted that you have shared your experiences with me! I think what you've said here is really interesting. I wish people could just be who they want to be without being cis or trans or non-binary. I wish we could just be ourselves!

    For me… I was always a sturdily built awkward tomboy with bad skin who never did my hair. When I started realizing the skinny girls with pale skin and waify bodies were treated better than me, I did everything I could to look like them. I still have body dysmorphia and an eating disorder. I finally…finally at age 32… Became comfortable with how I look without makeup. It took years of deprogramming.

    I hope we all grow into ourselves, whoever we are on the outside and inside. I like you and I think you're GORGEOUS in both ways. So, with that in mind, you pass 100% to me 💜 I'm glad to be a new subscriber and I look forward to all your vids.

  40. Wow, that was an incredible, nuanced & considered video. It does leave me feeling so sad. Sad for all the damage that I feel our heteronormative society does to all of us but particularly trans & non-binary ppl. In my idealised world we would celebrate our diversity of identity expression. It would be a world that I would feel safe to see my son grow up in, instead of feeling so much of the anxiety & insecurity you talk about. And don’t get me started on the public toilet situation. What a nightmare!

  41. Wow. I admit, I thought this was going to be something different, despite having seen a Mia video before. But then, your practical advice might as well be, "Be born with androgynous good looks, like me. Then talk in a higher range or something, I don't know."

    You shouldn't have to want "it all." Bottom surgery is a big scary thing, and not everyone is going to want it.

  42. I don't really know how to process this. The way I want my body to be would I guess fit "passing", but is that bad? Am I working against the interests of myself and other trans people by wanting that? Is that a harmful thing to even aspire to? It makes me question if I should even transition, period. Is it even responsible to do anything but make myself fit being non-binary? I'm not saying you're saying these things, btw, but what you've said has given me room to ask these questions.

    It makes me feel wrong to value what I do, and to feel disgusted with myself as I am, but not in an encouraging way. It's just another thing to be disgusted by. I honestly just don't even want to be alive, if even at such a fundamental level I can't make any move that is simultaneously positive in consequence for people broadly or for myself. It's like, my existence on its own already hurts other people. I don't want to hurt other hurting people even further by trying to better myself, and build my own "self-improvement" on their suffering.

    But then I also can't willfully put myself through more suffering. I guess that in order for society to improve and people to be able to live better lives, some of us just need to not be around anymore. This is a good video, but it hurts to realize that I won't please cis people, binary trans people, non-binary trans people, or even myself, ever. Something so(seemingly) simple is out of reach and probably harmful to even have anyway, but something I want anyway.

  43. You don't "pass" as a woman. You look like a "trans woman". You look like a feminised man. But the problem is, YOU invalidate yourself by trying to reach a standard you simultaneously criticise. I know you'll hate this but the truth is – you are not a woman. Not a cis woman. You are a male trans woman, or a female man. And the sooner you cam accept that and stop trying to obtain the unobtainable, the happier you'll be. I think you're beautiful, BTW.

  44. I don't know about how I feel about the concept of passing, but I do know that you are excellent. Best wishes. ❤

  45. Hey I liked your video! It was helpful as a cis person to have a little better understanding of things. Thanks!

  46. After 5 years i now realize I can't pass 100% . And now I'm on tons of medications. Sometimes i feel i rather cut my hands and legs if that makes me pass 100%. Being identified as a woman whose handicapped is still feels better that identifying as a healthy athletic educated trans woman to me. Why the fuck am i feeling this way…srry💔
    And you look gorgeous.

  47. For me, you are an inspiration. You are what I want to be, not in the way that I want to be you, but for me you are perfect and I wish I could be close to what you are. Lots of love, and I know exactly how you feel…

  48. screams internally and whimpers in a corner the words I could never say being said to me. Whelp looks like I'm going to cry for no reason for the next few days thanks to anxiety and wanting to share this but anxiety not allowing me to.

  49. Ok I'm late but 1) yes you look beautiful 2) yes you look feminine(that hair girl!) 3) point 1 and 2 don't matter really, it is you that have to feel this way, my opinion is just an exterior validation that maybe can help but doesn't have to be crucial. The transphobia that our society puts in the brain of everyone, including trans people, can be a pain to get rid of. Being trans is ok, looking trans is ok, maybe once we will all realize that, the pressure for passing will be less heavy, you will still try to look good(as every single human on heart) but in a way that is more up to you to decide. I'm a cishet so this problems really don't affect me but I wish happiness to all of you wonderful people out there. Remember that the worst "passing judge" is yourself.

  50. I rarely, if ever, make comments on YouTube. But this video was incredibly impactful on me, and deeply resonated with the difficult & nebulous questions of passing and appearance and happiness and identity that I’ve been having lately. It’s hard to exist in the world as a trans person and constantly having to justify yourself not only to society, but to yourself too. It’s exhausting in a way cis people will never understand. But it’s incredibly comforting to hear another trans person talk about this. Making it all the way through this video and mulling over the message made me feel inspired and free in a way I haven’t felt in a while. I know this must have been difficult to film, but thank you so much for doing so. Wishing you the best <3

  51. The first time my friends saw me as a woman the general consensus was that they had never seen me more relaxed and quite a few could not relate to me as I had been before. I hardly pass but people seem to pick up on the demeanour I present and accept me as female.

  52. Let me tell you this feeling you have is not something that is universal, and you do have something to be envious of when it comes to those people who have never been asked to question.

    Its part of the reason that I think I never questioned even the possibility that trans women could not be women because that constant fear that you're not fundamentally doing something right and you could be presenting a better image To Society is fundamentally feminine and fundamentally sucks.

    I'm a very traditionally masculine man. Like every good American stereotype I went out for the football team in high school and when you watch a game of American football, there's a distinctive sound of the game. One guy yells, you hear a small "smack" as the ball hits his hand, and then a huge CRUNCH as 20 huge guys in armor hit each other and form a wall. My job was the crunch sound on the team because that's what I'm built for.

    I learned at age 27 that I was born with ambiguous genitalia, that really quite rare "both a penis and testicles and an opening between the legs" condition and that was surgically….corrected at birth, and I was never told. I found out only by reviewing my medical history with a new doctor.

    That day was the very first time I looked in the mirror and asked "do my hands have enough veins?" "This one center spot on my chin where no hair grows, is that….?" I'm a mechanical engineer, calipers were involved, fomulae were applied, I used FACTS and LOGIC to PROVE that my cock was fine and good and even a bit above average depending on the source!

    Never once, well, never once since I dfirst developed these secondary sex features had I ever once questioned them. I guess I identify as a double jeopardy all-or – nothing winner because boy would I have been PISSED if I turned out to be trans and I had to storm into a doctors office and yell "WELL GET BACK IN THERE AND UN-STITCH IT YOU BASTARD" but I don't.

    Part of being the default states of being – cis, male, white, straight – is the luxury of all your perspectives being right by default.

    If it lets me send a couple milliliters of endorphins through these ones and zeroes the part of my brain that isn't super logical has been very confused this past hour about why you're talking so much about trans stuff and I have to keep reminding myself you are. Look at her, um….hm. maybe that's lighting and camera and makeup and whatever else you said but you know what exists in the real universe that you need to see and judge the gender presentation of anybody, light. My brain firmly sorts you into the category of "woman" and is disgustingly pleased at itself for its wonderful function of automatic pattern recognition. Surely, it says, we shall get to reproduce with someone before we are eaten by a leopard if only I keep up this vital function.

  53. Thanks for this video, I thought it was going to be much more difficult to watch than it actually was because I actually wish I would look more like you. I agree with you and relate to everything you shared, though a bit surprised you don't pass. Then again, accepting people tell me they are surprised I don't pass too, but I always shrug off what they say because my experience is that I often don't pass and like you, I wish that I could pass all the time but I also wish I didn't want to pass all the time and could be happy with passing as trans because in principle there is nothing wrong with looking trans, and I have no problem applying that principle to others but it's really hard to do so for myself.

    I also recognize that it shouldn't matter in principle how I pass with strangers, and the people who accept me and I let them stay in my life because of that, only they should matter.

    But I can't, and I don't think I ever will, because I can't let go of the desire to live in a fantasy world that cis women seem to have access to, a reality where they seem to never get misgendered, where who they are is just who they are and even if they do get misgendered sometimes, it doesn't seem they get hurt by it because they have a whole lifetime where their identity is validated, unlike me and probably other trans women too.

  54. Food for thought. My thoughts about "passing" are limited to putting on makeup, a wig and sometimes falsies and going on hormones. I think of it as looking like other women around me-especially ones I'm attracted to. I like being treated like a lady and seduced–by beautiful, kinky Goth women or British men in tuxedos and dreadlocks. My ideas of femininity are more flexible than the '50s housewife, because my role models included Xena, Wonder Woman, Red Sonja, Buffy, Pam Grier's blaxploitation movie characters and the Bionic Woman. I just do everything I did as a man, only in women's clothes, such as read comics, do martial arts, draw comics, etc. All I gave up was men's clothing, short hair, beard, barber shops and men's bathrooms. As a woman, I also do new things, such as ninjitsu, publish zines, graphic novels and webcomics, get orgasmic foot massages, Pilates, nudism, group sex and BDSM.

  55. I see and hear you and the you is beautiful. Beauty surpasses gender. Yes women approach beauty but many non-women do to. Beauty it part is sex appeal but also more. Beauty is truth, harmony, transcendent. You posses this. It think sex appeal and female beauty is an alignment with ultimate beauty. But of course my tagline is "beauty is love and love is beauty for this self to be for all to see."

  56. The counselor I was seeing from before I started even considering my gender up to actually starting to come to terms with it was quite second wave feminist in regards to gender. Not really transphobic, she was actually very accepting of me she just always reminded me that what it means to be feminine is a social idea and what it is to look "feminine" is actually quite different from how a great many cis women actually look. And when I felt feminine then how I looked really shouldn't matter. That was quite a useful thing to be reminded of, being asked to think of women I know, women I see on the street and think about whether they would match up to my idea of how I "should" look as a girl. Of course a lot of the time they didn't but I would never dream of criticizing them for it. Like you my ideas of femininity are inextricably bound up with ideals of beauty.

    I am grateful I had that as an introduction to thinking about gender rather than doctors telling me had to want to look as feminine as possible. That having been said that outlook also caused me a deal of anxiety too. As then I had the constant feeling that I shouldn't be wanting to look the way I wanted to look because that was misogamist. But the more you try to not think something only brings it into your mind more. And when you live in a society you cant help having you're ideas shaped by what you are exposed to on a daily basis. Like you I couldn't untangle my own desires from what I was seeing and being told. Maybe some really independently minded people can but not me. So I only really started accepting myself when I came to terms with the fact that I dont NEED to look any way to feel feminine but I am going to WANT to. That's a balance that can only be maintained by pure acceptance, not logic or reasoning. While holding both ideas at the same time is contradictory and irrational that's fine. We are humans, we are fundamentally contradictory and irrational creatures and coming to that realization helped me let go of a lot of the anxiety and inner conflict I was experiencing.

    Obviously it didn't solve anything. It was a start, that's all. I still feel shitty quite often, I still struggle with how I look and how other people see me but not nearly as often and not to the same overwhelming existential extent. It was only the very start of something not the end point but its working for me at the moment. As a gender fluid nonbinary person I will probably never "pass" as feminine although sometimes I want to. The most important thing is that I stop trying to solve gender like an equation. It's somewhere between biology and psychology so its both squishier and fuzzier than that. Really all we can do is bumble through and do whatever helps us the most in whatever position we are at this moment.

    Its really nice to see you talking about this so honestly.

  57. I really like this video. It shows how messy the emotional life of an individual is. How contradicting our thoughts and feelings are. Even though I am a white cis man, who is mostly straight (I am not too fond of an either or category when it comes to sexuality), so I have no experience when it comes to transitioning or passing, I still kinda relate to the emotional turmoil displayed in this video.
    We feel so many things that don't make a lot sense. It is really hard, at least for me, to figure out what I really think or feel. Expectations from society, but also family and friends and ourselves influence us in so many ways. To me, there is a beauty in this mess of emotions and thoughts (perhaps a bit cliché).

  58. Am I just a weird fucker because currently I feel only want to "pass" for myself? In winter I already pass for most people. In summer I feel extremely self-conscious even though I've had no transphobic comments directed at me since I started hormones three years ago. Yet I feel my body is disgusting and I want to change it. I feel like my dysphoria, at least at this point, is about me, not other people's perception of me.

  59. 0:50 The truth has been spoken lol. But seriously. I just started watching your stuff and I love how unabashedly confident you are about your looks. Seeing you be that way it's much easier to be that way myself. Not just about looks either. About anything society has said I shouldn't be confident about. So thank you.

  60. O yea I didn't even though I have to say how beautiful you are. Just one creepy thing tells it all. I was binging your videos last couple of days.

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