The actual term "passing" seems to have originated in the 1920s in reference to African-Americans who were light-skinned enough to be perceived as Caucasian. It has become something of a sociological term for the ability of a person to be regarded as a member of a combination of social groups other than his or her own.
For those born with HBS, the concept of passing may be a part of the early stages of their transition, but they usually outrgow it quickly as they become more confident. For those who are transgender it either becomes a way of life, or an anathema to be condemned at all costs.
An example of this latter attitude can be seen in the "Autumn" Sandeen's article on Pam's House Blend, "Four-Year Transactivists." One has to remember, Mr. Sandeen identifies as an out, loud, and proud "transgender activist." In the article, he bemoans the fact that many transsexuals come to realize that they are able to be accepted as women, and then decide to stop being out. And, of course. he simply cannot comprehend the simple truth that a woman simply might realize that she has no reason to continue to be seen as a man. As is typical of the gender fascists, Mr Sandeen has to spin this as a negative thing:
Welcome to the reality of how "passing" impacts individuals in the trans community; welcome to the broader concept of how there are individual members of oppressed, minority populations who don't appear to be members of their population(s), and "pass" as members of the unoppressed, majority population.Like other "transgender" activists, he believes transsexuals are not really women, they are members of an oppressed minority population. He recoils in horror at the idea that one might actually succeed in one's transition and move on with one's life as simply a woman.
Mr. Sandeen goes on to whine about how he is treated:
Personally, I've been called Mr. Sandeen, "Autumn" Sandeen, and called by male pronouns by both people on the religious right and by people who would seem to be my natural allies. To trans people who take the public stage, I tell them "expect to be hit by a lot of lighting" -- similar names to what folk on both sides my transactivist peers are called are what they should expect to also be called.Sadly, he simply cannot conceive of the glaring error he makes here... He simply cannot, or perhaps refuses to concede, that those who refer to him that way are not at all his natural allies. We are quite opposed to what he is trying to force on people. I share few, if any of his goals. I do not want to see gender "deconstructed." I do not believe that the criteria for being a woman should be that you say you are. I do not believe that women should have penises. (Yes, some of us are born with them, but if you want to keep it, you are not remotely a woman.) I do not believe that people should be able to change their birth certificate without having completed surgery. I do not want to see ENDA passed in a form that would acceptable to Mr. Sandeen. I do not want to be called "transgender." So where this man gets that I am his "natural ally" is beyond me.
In any case, for those of us who are HBS, and not "transgender" do move on from the concept of passing. We realize that to say that we "pass" would be to give in to the silliness of those like Mr. Sandeen who are not, and ever will be women, and who are all too aware of this. I mean, simply put, one cannot pass as what one is.