“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
“I suppose you are real?” said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.
“The Boy’s Uncle made me Real,” he said. “That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”
The Rabbit sighed. He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. He wished that he could become it without these uncomfortable things happening to him.
-Opening segment from THE VELVETEEN RABBIT by Margery Williams
This is what it’s like to be transgender. I feel this in my heart, my soul, my very essence. This is what we strive for. Total acceptance. No judgements. Living life as who we really are. We want to be “real”. We want to be loved so much that our hair is gone or that our eyes have fallen out. To be that totally and unequivocally loved and accepted is the dream of all dreams for the trans community.
The act of passing, blending or being “stealth” are all facets of the different layers of the TG label. A crossdresser would like to be “passable” but many will tell you that they are not. Passing is something that allows the crossdresser to venture out in public, sometimes only to run to a mailbox, or ATM, or simply for a drive. Passability means that you can be out and, most of the time, move throughout your fellow pedestrians and not get “read”.
Blending, for me, is the next step up in the TG forum. I think that blending is a bit above passing, much like the difference between a passing grade and a good grade. Blending is the C+ to B+ of the grading curve, to the D+ to C on the passable side of the curve. Blending is a feat that allows us to walk amongst the crowds and really not get noticed. We look good. We carry ourselves well. We look like most of the women around us. After all, that IS what we are. Right? Blending is the highest grade that we can reach without going full time.
Full time TGs can either have gone through SRS or not. As long as they are living full time as a woman. Some who have not undergone the great leap can live stealthily and never ever be “read” (there’s that word again). They live happy lives as a woman but retain their male organs. Someone who has undergone SRS will live as a woman (again, this is all M2F, since that is how I relate) and, hopefully, be able to live as they see fit. Not all gender reassigned women can go stealth. Some don’t need to or even wish to. The SRS was not to be a model, but to simply be a woman. I have seen those who have blended in with the female populous, never to be discovered as ever being anything except the woman that they are. Others tend to retain a bit of the maleness, but where live in Indiana, a lot of our women look this way too. 🙂
The term “read” means to be perceived as a “man dressed as a woman”. We usually aren’t read unless it is by teen girls, who are looking at every other woman to check out clothes, style and persona. The largest group of people who can read us are children. They just know. They have their built in gaydar and transperiscopes, and can pick up on the very slightest of inconsistencies. Usually, both the teen girls and the children will end up vocalizing, loudly, that we are not what we seem to be. Children in an inquisitive way, teens in a hurtful, mocking way.
My favorite act of being read by a child was as follows. I was shopping and a cart was stopped in the same section. The cart held a 3 or 4 year old. I was looking around, as was his mother, when all of a sudden he spoke up. “MOM! Is that a boy or a girl?!” The mother spun around quickly and said, “Hush. She is shopping just like us.” That made me feel good but then she continued, “Besides, does it really matter if it is a boy or girl? No it doesn’t. People are free to live as they need.” I about passed out. I turned and thanked her for that great response. She said, “Hun, you look better than I do on my best days and I think that is marvelous. Honestly, I wasn’t sure you were a boy until you just spoke to me. You look great!” Up went the emotional hands to the face. I think I floated the rest of the way through the store. I know I shed some tears of joy and appreciation. That must be why the tears flow at Miss Gay USA and any other pageant where someone is crowned (but not those creepy little kid ones, that’s just sick)
But being real is what we strive for. Despite those around us that like us better when we are living a lie, than when we have the courage to fix what has plagued us our entire lives. I would rather not have my hair rubbed off, or lose my eyes, but to have someone love me that much, for who I truly am, I would go through all of that, a million times over, just to be real.