Face Feminisation, Passing and Dysphoria

Today I think I better understand dysphoria, or at least how it affects me. As I written previously, I never really felt significantly affected but no longer. Today is tough.

I know I don’t pass. But I really wish I did. I hate that I might be/am seen as a ‘man’ in a dress. Sometimes I sorta wish there was a pill that would remove this ‘woman’ in me and let me be fully a man. And then again that idea horrifies me. I love living as a woman, this IS me and I don’t want/can’t go back. But I wish (and I know many/most of us do too) that I would be seen as a woman.

I look at cis women’s faces for what it is that tells me they are ‘woman’. I particularly look at older women, around my age ( it is said that women and men get to look more similar as we age). I wonder what is it exactly that conveys that here is a woman. Is there a feature that I could change that would significantly improve my chances of being read as a woman?

And then, why should it matter? Trans women were born male and are male, no one can change that – we can only change the appearance of our bodies. Those not lucky to transition before the evils of testosterone bear the scars. Maybe we should be proud to be seen as transgender, accepted as transgender and as ‘normal’ people, because we are.

So far I have only talked in terms of appearance. I know my voice is quite deep and I am not fluent in the style in which women typically speak. This I can learn. I presumably can learn to speak in a more feminine tone. But both take effort and realistically require working with a voice coach and that means money. Probably more than I have. And if my face doesn’t pass what’s the point of my voice ‘passing’.

I am for the first time considering exploring face feminisation surgery (FFS). I don’t know whether it can make a significant difference and how affordable it might be. Tomorrow I may feel differently, perhaps there are make-up skills I can learn that will achieve a similar effect.

The further I travel along my transition path, the more obstacles there seem to be.

P.S. If you are in the UK and have had FFS or voice coaching, might you reply (or email me) with your thoughts. Any practitioners to consider?

P.P.S Feeling that bad tonight, that I am going out in drab for the first time in months. Sure I’ll feel better tomorrow.








12 thoughts on “Face Feminisation, Passing and Dysphoria

  1. “Trans women were born male and are male”
    I have to say I strongly disagree with this statement. Trans women might be born with a male body, but that doesn’t make us male in perpetuity, and the law would agree with me on that. It really depends how you define “male”. I certainly don’t take a reductionist genetic view, I take the feminist view that gender is largely a social construct, in which case the only consistent way to determine a person’s gender is to ask them. I certainly don’t accept the view that possession of a Y chromosome is the determining feature of maleness, it’s just something that most men have in common, although not trans men who are of course male too.
    Hopefully in a few years I will have a birth certificate that states that I am female. At which point nobody gets to accuse me of being male.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sorry, I certainly have no wish to cause offence.

      When I say male/female I am meaning our genetic sex. I use man/woman to relate to our gender. So yes maleness is about chromosomes.

      I do understand and sympathise. We conflate sex and gender in everyday language and that was why it took me so long to recognise my true gender; I assumed I must be a man because I was born male. Changing our bodies doesn’t change our sex. When you have transitioned fully with GRS etc, you will still be subject to illnesses reserved for males, like prostate cancer.

      I wish you well on your journey. I feel I am too old for GRS plus being in a happy relationship, it feels less necessary, but otherwise my transition progresses, just somewhat behind yours . Best wishes

      Liked by 3 people

      1. No offence taken, and I understand the distinction between biological sex and gender, but again I would argue that those illnesses are not reserved for males, because trans women can get them, and trans women are not males, and trans men can’t get them, and they are males. These illnesses are reserved for people with a Y chromosome, a characteristic shared by cis men and trans women. It’s probably just hair-splitting, but when the are plenty of people wanting to deny is our true gender, I think we need to continually assert that we are female and not give the haters an excuse to exclude us.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I was about to pounce on your statement that “Trans women were born male and are male” however Kirsty has got in there first. However I would echo what she says. My situation is a little different in that I will not be teansitioning but even then when I present as Michelle, then I am female not male.

    As for a pill to remove all desire to be the opposite gender. No I would not even consider it and never have. I am who I am. I am comfortable in myself and would never wish to change that.

    Work on your voice. There are numerous tutorials etc on Youtube among other sources. You can sofen it, also listen and observe how women speak etc. And!! There are many many cis women out there with a deep voice etc.

    Good luck

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I couldn’t reply earlier. As I said to Kirsty, we do use male and female when asking about gender whereas these along with intersex name our sex. Gender is our sense of self. I guess I have to stop being picky over language because it just gets me into hot water.

      I am with you both regards a pill. Which I guess we all like being women; I certainly do. I am glad I am a woman, I just wish I had understood that my gender could be/was different to the sex implied by what was between my legs.

      I will take a look on Youtube, though I suspect one really needs 1 2 1 support for objective feedback. One’s voice sound different in ones skull to that others hear, though of course I can always record it. I agree a lot of the difference between a man and a woman’s voice lies in differing speech patterns. And women tend to gesture more than men. Thanks for your good wishes. I hope I didn’t offend, it’s the last thing I ever want to do.


    1. Fair question. I did look at both these ladies. I am not sure what standard I am using other than when you look at someone you ‘know’ they are female’/ feminine. I recognise that feminine means different things to different people hence, I guess, your question. I am certainly not thinking of it in terms of beauty, whatever that is, but more in the sense that one instinctively ‘knows’ that you are looking at a woman.


  3. I hear what you’re saying, Antonia. I too started very late in life and I know I will never really pass. All I can do is be me. I’m wrestling with thoughts of SRS, whether I’d be untrue to myself if I got it. But that’s a whole other bucket of worms.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Michelle:

    I, too, have been surprised by dysphoria; the shock of that coming on is, for me, far worse than the actual dsyphoria once I got over the shock of it. I pray that this will be the same for you.

    I know that my face doesn’t pass … and I won’t be affording FFS unless I win the lottery … so I am left with the choice of smiling through it. Incidentally, smiling helps with passing — women are brought up from a young age to smile at strangers, while men are trained to not necessarily smile (mind you, not frowning either) at strangers or others.

    Another thing I have noticed is that not-passing hurts much more around people you think should “get it”. Around strangers, it’s more painful for me. I think that’s because I tend to hope I’m projecting that feminine image that a stranger, who likely only glances at me, will see a woman .. whereas with people I now, they all know I’m transitioning, but mistakes are to be forgiven.

    Oh yes, I do have work to do in the passing department. I guess my goal right now is to not be seen.

    Here’s hoping your dysphoria fades quickly. ā¤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deb I’ve had a busy morning working and that always helps take ones mind off things. Reality is, very few of us pass unless we are lucky to transition early in life. For many of us older folks we just never realised transitioning was possible and sometimes never realised our true gender till late in life.


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