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Passability is an issue I think most transgendered women worry about. For those who are not sure what "passability" means (I realize not everybody is familiar with transgender "lingo"!), I will give a brief definition. Passability means that by your looks, voice, and the way you act (mainly by your looks though) that you are able to "pass" as a woman in public. In other words, people do not realize that you are a transgendered woman (whether you are a cd, tv, ts, intersexed, or whatever you identify as).
I think it is important to keep the passability issue in balance. Yes, we all want to look, sound and act as passable as possible because it does make life easier. People don't know, so we are less likely to encounter prejudice or criticism. Plus, it does feel good to look passable and be seen as the woman you are.
However, I think it is also important to not become so obsessed with passability that we let it rule our lives. Passability is not everything. Be happy with yourself too - just as you are.
Passability may not be a concern of yours. You just want to express your female side or have fun or just do not care about being passable. That is ok! Passability does not legitimize you. If you are not passable or not completely passable, it does not "illegitimize" you as a woman. You have just as much a right to be who you are as a very passable woman.
Also, no matter how passable you are, there is always going to be somebody at one time or the other who can tell. It is just the way it is. It may happen very rarely. However, some people just know how to tell. More than likely, they have encountered or have a transsexual in their life, and that is why they can tell. More than likely they are supportive. In any case, you do not want to be ashamed of who you are. You are a special person! Be proud of being transgendered (in whatever category you fall in). If they know, they know! You are transgendered. Why be ashamed of it! That does not illegitimize you either.
The drive for being passable can also lead you on a never-ending quest for self acceptance. This can lead to overdoing plastic surgery, for example, trying to "make" yourself appear completely passable. Plastic surgery is not bad. If something really bothers you and you can do something, go for it. Just do not go overboard. In many cases, girls are constantly trying to become a perfect Barbie doll and are constantly seeking the next plastic surgery to become more passable and beautiful. In the process, they lose themselves and their individuality. Who said Barbie was the only beautiful woman?
You are MUCH more than your looks. YOu are a beautiful person inside too, with your own unique personality and dreams and talents. Let that out! Don't lose your individuality. Look to enhance your looks more than replace them (with a completely new face, body, etc).
So have a balanced perspective on passability. Appreciate your uniqueness. Be proud of who you are. Passability is a wonderful trait to have, but it is not everything. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be passable or beautiful or enhance your looks. I myself like to look pretty too!
However, first and foremost, be happy with yourself just as you are and appreciate who you are as a wonderful human being and woman. That is what will bring you true happiness. Not looking like the perfect plastic Barbie doll.
There was a wonderful quote by John Mason I read one day that I will share now:
"You were born an original. Don't die a copy."
Don't forget that! You're great.
For more practical advice and step by step guidance on transitioning, go to http://www.tgcompanion.com and order “The Transgender Companion” today! FREE excerpt included on the web site.