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Real Talk: The Dos and Don’ts of Passing As Male

The Dos & Don'tsThrow a rock and you’ll hit some Wikihow or orphaned webpage filled to the brim with tips on how to pass as male. Usually, these tips consist of how to dress, stand, talk, and so on. If you spend any time paying attention to these guides, you’ll note one thing: you’re usually presented with one ideal of how a guy should think or behave.

I should note that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel more confident in how you’re presenting yourself or wanting to be familiar with how local guys in your area were socialized. Passing can mean a lot of things for many people but here I’m going to use it in the sense of wanting to present as male and increase your chances of being perceived as such.

But we’re going to go a little beyond a style guide here. If you’re looking for that, there’s better guides out there and you’re better off taking hints from a guy who isn’t fashion inept in every sense of the word. What I do want to do, however, is give you a few things to keep in mind.

It’s not going to matter if you’ve been on T or not, how long you’ve been out of the closet, or so on. If you’re reading this guide, I’m assuming you’ve probably just started thinking about going public with your transition but I’m hoping no matter where you are or where your journey goes, you’ll get something out of this.

Be Real and Don't Be JerkDON’T: Be a Stereotype
DO: Be Authentic

I think one thing that really does irk me about a lot of passing guides is this whole idea that you have to fit into one very narrow mold of whatever the author thinks a guy should be. That guy, more often than not, dons jerseys, swigs Coors Light, and carries himself akin to how a gorilla would if it had hemorrhoids and was looking for pennies on a sidewalk. You may do all or some the things I listed, which is cool. But not everyone fits into one box.

You’re transitioning to finally be yourself. And while it may take you a while to figure out who you are now and how to express yourself, the whole point is not to become a whole other person for the sake of “passing”. It’s being yourself and who you’ve wanted to be for a long time. So when you’re figuring out your wardrobe, presentation and all of that, what appeals to you is what matters. I can tell you right now that you’ll come across as a more authentic male when you allow yourself to express the man you’ve always wanted to be.

DON’T: Flip Out
DO: Relax

It’s also incredibly easy to feel paranoid while walking about in public. I know from personal experience that I used to spend a lot of time looking over my shoulders, wondering if someone knew I was trans, what gender they thought I was, and so on.

The big thing is to be confident. You don’t necessarily have to swagger but the more you allow yourself to relax, the better. By looking like you’re on edge all the time, naturally you’ll draw more attention to yourself. Take a deep breath, buddy. You’re here to be you. You’re not answering for anyone but yourself.

DON’T: Be a Jerk
DO: Be Awesome

You’d think this would be general advice but it’s sad how a lot of guides and people say otherwise. No one wants to hang around a boorish, obnoxious jerk. Don’t be homophobic, misogynist, racist, etc. Catcalling a woman might help you pass in the general sense but you’re not going to come across as the kind of guy people want to respect.

And you want to be the kind of guy you would look up to. No one looks up to a total jerk. But everyone looks up to the kind of guy willing to hold open doors for people and help out if needed.

About Byron James Kimball

Byron James Kimball
Byron James Kimball is a freelance writer based in Salem, Oregon. Along with a love of food and gaming, Byron is passionate about the issues that the transgender community faces on a daily basis.

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