When You Don’t Pass

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[Image: Blurry image of Sage shaking their head. They have short red hair and are wearing a black shirt with a white bird on each shoulder].
Disclaimer: I don’t feel like this all the time. There are multiple sides to every story, to every experience. There are lots of wonderful and exciting things about my transition. It has opened up new doors, allowed me to access a happiness and freedom I was unable to before. There are also many supportive and lovely people in my life.

But there is a less glamorous side as well. There is a difficult side, a challenging side, a painful side. There are shitty people, as well as the broader transphobic society that is slowly changing but still has a long way to go. Sometimes, it’s necessary to express this side of things. Having a creative outlet for darker feelings is important. So, if you don’t want to read something heavy right now, please feel free to skip this. Just respect my right to share it.

Also, YES, the whole concept of “passing” is problematic af. Doesn’t mean I don’t get caught up in and affected by it.

CW: transphobia (internal and external), mild self-loathing, general sads

When you don’t pass:

You feel like a failure,
A fuck-up who’s constantly “getting it wrong”.
When people misgender you,
Sometimes you think you deserve it.
You’re lonely
Because you’re the only one who can see
Who you really are.

You’re accused of
“Not being real,” of
“Following a trend,” of
Being otherwise “illegitimate”.
You are dismissed,

You are waging a war against your body,
Constantly disappointed by the mirror,
By the reflection that feels like an insult—
The cruellest thing anyone could ever say.

You ask yourself, over and over,
What am I doing wrong?
What is wrong with me?

You ask yourself, again and again,
When will it happen?
Will it ever happen?
And how much longer do I have to wait?

You look around you and see
Other people’s radical transformations.
You contrast & compare.
You come up short.

You feel fucking exhausted.

What is(n’t) happening?
Why isn’t this working?

You’re not taken seriously.
You’re not respected.
You don’t

You’re left asking,
Who am I?
Who am I?
And why am I stuck here?

When you don’t pass
Every day takes a little more out of you,
While you work towards the day that you do.
But more importantly,

You work towards a world that doesn’t require you to.


I’m not looking for sympathy by sharing this, it’s just something I wanted to express. Thanks for reading.

1 thought on “When You Don’t Pass”

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