For most trans women, “passing” refers to the ability to be perceived and treated by strangers as a cis woman. This can be determined by any number of things, including physical traits, gender expression, vocal pitch/tone, sexuality, and more.
Good afternoon class. Now that you’ve all had a chance to look over the syllabus, I’d like to set down a solid foundation of the non-oppressive language we will be using throughout the semester.
For some of you, these words will be familiar but the definitions may be slightly different. For others, this list will look like a foreign language. It does not matter to me what level of experience you already have in transfeminism discussions, for the purposes of this class we are all going to start from the beginning so there will be no confusion or misunderstanding.
A side note, many of your required reading will use slightly different language or definitions. I ask you to remember that language is an ever-evolving aspect of communication for all groups, not just trans women. If at any point during your reading you become confused or would like clarification, please do not hesitate to ask me for assistance. The last thing I want is for something as petty as word choice to get in the way of fighting transmisogyny.
It’s easy (and popular) to claim the media has no effect on who we are. To claim we’re sophisticated enough to rise above influence and separate the truth from the hype. But the truth is, whether we’re born trans or cis; gay, straight or bi; the world has a lot to say about gender and most of those messages either start with or are reflected by the media.
Before we’re even born, our parents-to-be are asked, “Is it a boy or a girl?”