1918: Court Refuses to Fine Woman in Man’s Attire

“St. Louis, Mo., Dec 14.– Ruling that male attire was not unbecoming to Mrs. Mary Bertha Schmidt, alias ‘Mister Schmidt,’ judge Hogan, in police court here, refused to fine the young woman who for two years posed as a man and who ‘married’ her cousin, Anna Assade, last October. 

‘I think you look very nice,’ said the court. Mrs. Schmidt was clad in her neatly pressed trousers and pinchback coat. She explained she had adopted the garments because she could earn $80 a month as a man and $6 a week as a woman. 

‘If a woman can earn $4 a day by reason of wearing trousers, I say wear ‘em,’ said the court, and ‘Mister Schmidt’ walked out of court with a smile on ‘his’ face.”

~From El Paso Herald (El Paso, Tex.), December 14, 1918


you can find fashion advice on how to make things more visually manageable and more comfortable, but for bigger guys some of those tips don’t apply and some issues will come up anyway. here’s some stuff I could’ve stood to know last year.

  • if you feel the need to layer or wear something thick, sleeveless hoodies exist. they can save you a bit of heat.
  • take off layers when you can. wash carefully in the folds of your skin, dab moisture away occasionally during the day, and wash your binders OFTEN.
  • fungal infections: for bigger guys, these can happen between and under breasts. if you notice a vinegary smell when you unbind, that’s what that is. afaik there’s no massive health risk from this kind of thing on your skin, but still try to keep those areas dry and clean.
  • you might get some pimples on your chest, which is fine.
  • you might also get sebaceous cysts. LEAVE THEM ALONE. do not try to pop them yourself, it increases risk of infection. they’ll probably go away on their own; if one becomes inflamed, see a doctor.
  • in the heat, your binder will stick to your skin more and the shoulder straps will dig into your skin. don’t wait until you’re bleeding - if it feels raw at all, pad your straps. you can get bra strap pads online, or just make your own with whatever you have handy.
  • lastly: drink a lot of water. you’re wearing layers, and binders are skintight. you will sweat more.

I know everything is gross + miserable but hang in there and take care of yourself.

This example is mostly in ‘female-empowerment’ circles, but it comes up everywhere. Binary Trans people are expected to live up to ridiculous extremes for their gender in order to be accepted as credible. And if we don’t, then we get the lovely comment of “If you wanted to do X so much, why didn’t you just stay as your birth gender”. THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS. And most people aren’t even conscious of it. But if you have ever thought that of course that transwoman didn’t pass, she won’t even shave her legs! Or that transman shouldn’t be wearing such feminine clothes YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM. YOU ARE SUPPORTING AND FORCING GENDER STEREOTYPES ON US. AND WE WANT YOU TO STOP.

My boyfriend wrote a lovely rant to go with this post.

Tips From a Trans Guy

-Walk tall, confidence is the key in everything you do. As a transgender individual not everyone will take you seriously but you need to be strong.

-Shave the fuzz. A smooth face is better than a fuzzy face.

-Vests honestly work to hiding chest thingies. Bajas do as well.

-Finding pants can suck for people. Even cis guys who lift unfortunately. Levis have these amazing jeans. They’re athletic fit which helps around the hips, and thighs which is my issue.

-Acne will suck once you go on T. Wash your face twice a day with soap and water. Acne wipes will help during that time. Lemon water (drink it, or you know I’m sure you can rub it all over) also clears skin and serves other amazing purposes.

-When using the boys bathroom, do not talk, do not interact. Do your business and leave. Do not make eye contact. It’s not the same as using a bathroom with feminine individuals.

-Dating can be hard. You look younger than you really are which sometimes isn’t a good thing. People younger than you will also be all over you. Like teenagers. Do not give in! One day you won’t look like a baby (cross your fingers), that means hopefully people your own age will date you! You could also try getting a tattoo if you’re old enough so people know you’re older than 18 .-.

-Also with dating. It’s a whole lot different as a man. You’re no longer girlxgirl or girlxguy (well the last one is possible but you won’t be the girl anymore). The dynamic is so different. It might take time to get your groove back so don’t get frustrated.

-As you get older and start passing (you’ll get there!). Privileges will open up to you. Your world will change. But that doesn’t give you the right to be an asshole! You don’t need to be a feminist but remember what it’s like to be a women and how the world treated you.

-Bullying can suck, even if you have an amazing support system. I have a warning for you. Do Not Engage. They will pick fights. Yes stand up for yourself but do not stoop to their level. Stay strong and keep your head up. You’re more than them.

-You will lose friends. It sucks but your true friends who are meant to be in your life will stick by you to support you. You will have an amazing support system even if you don’t have one now. If your family isn’t supportive then you can create your own in the future.

-Last but not least, be you. Stay amazing. Stay you. You’re perfect and some day people will see that. I promise.

It’s so weird how life is so full of moving around – people coming and going, people passing by each other all day long. You never know which person’s going to steal your heart. You never know which place is going to settle your soul. All you can do is look. And hope. And believe.
—  A Snicker of Magic (Natalie Lloyd)

By awarding more value to transgender people who “pass” as their gender, we send the message that something’s wrong with being trans.

That message is wrong…

(from Everyday Feminism)

An elaboration before I get to other things,

As others have pointed out before me, the process of misgendering a trans woman is not actually one of positioning her in the social place of a ‘man’. If this were the case, I would be treated better when I didn’t pass versus when I did. Like, if the issue were that I was being read as a man, wouldn’t that hypothetically make me more likely to get a job? Yet that is clearly not the case.

I usually don’t like the equivocation of historical eunuchs with trans women, but I’ve become more and more interested in the similarities at least in the rhetoric used against both groups.

In his attacks on the eunuch Eutropius, Claudian continuously refers to the assigned sex of Eutropius, yet holds those attacks in tension with his argument that eunuchs don’t really properly belong to either sex, esp. since they are unable to have children.

Most pointedly he calls eunuchs “you whom the male sex has discarded and the female will not adopt“

And even tho this was written over 1500 years ago, that sort of social position feels like how cis people come at trans women. While they continuously cite our assignment, in reality they see us as some sort of rejected Other, and treat us accordingly.

That sense of placeless-ness (or, abjection) typifies most of the social responses to trans women. There’s a certain tragic symbolism in being discarded frequently both from our birth families, yet also being in a certain sense, orphaned of gendered community too.

When I’m called a ‘man’, it means a completely different position from cis men, and is only used because it denotes disrespect. The people who have called me an ‘abomination’, or an ‘ugliness’ have been much more eloquent in what they are trying to say.

1856: A Female in Men's Apparel

“A young woman, who had worn men’s clothes for six years, and acted in the capacity of cabin boy, second steward and bar-keeper on the river boats, was recently arrested in Memphis, Tenn., and, says the Bulletin, will be tried and fined for violating the city ordinances for wearing apparel not suited to her sex. This case affords a plea for the advocates of Women’s rights. We think it is to be regretted that she could not escape detection and be allowed to earn an honest living." 

~From Galveston Weekly News (Galveston, Tex.), August 12, 1856

Hello all! While trying to pass myself, I have gathered many sources and I intend to share them. So, my love for masterposts has manifested into this! Everything is categorized by are of the body/topic, so let’s get started :)

Let’s start with the head!

  • A short haircut, but not too short. All over buzz doesn’t usually work due to shaping of the head and jawlines. 
  • Classic boy cuts can usually work, depending on how well the rest of you passes.
  • I’ve found that some bangs (even just to slick them back) helps with passing. 
  • If you have a very feminine face, use makeup to contour the face. Like in this diagram 
  • Lemon juice can reduce rosiness in the lips & cheeks, as cis men typically have less contrast in facial coloring. 
  • Use a brow pencil or something of the sorts to darken and add in eyebrows, as cis men’s eyebrows usually start lower and closer to the eyes.
  • Also about eyes, cis men usually don’t have the wide eyed look, try to keep squinting, you don’t want to look doe eyed.
  • and now, about voice. Man guys pass, until they open their mouth. 
  • To get into lower voice mode, stick your tongue out and talk. Yes, you sound ridiculous, but your voice lowers. Put your tongue in your mouth and try to keep going with that voice tone.
  • Raise your palette, which sounds weird but is kind of easy (especially if you have a history of singing.) it feels like lowering your tongue, even though it can push down into your mouth any further. 
  • Also, to get into low voice mode, hum in the deep bottom of your throat, and after awhile (weeks I mean, of doing this once or twice daily for 10 minutes.) your voice is now naturally lowered. 
  • Along with this humming say “bing-bong king-kong” in the same part of your throat, holding the “nnng"s
  • Lie flat on your back, knees bent, (like a curl up position) and move your neck into quadruple chin mode, then relax. Repeat for 20 minutes daily and your voice should naturally lower. 
  • This takes about 20 seconds and significantly deepens your voice for up to an hour 

So now we’re onto the torso!

  • To get broader shoulders, lift your shoulders up and down it builds up muscle in your next to shoulder area (according to football player in my Italian 1 class) 
  • If you’re super scrawny, lift! If you have a small body type make sure to not over-do it, nobody wants to be this guy
  • Of course, binding
  • I’m starting with safety, do not ever use ace bandage or tape to bind, no matter how "good” the result look. It’s not good. trust me.
  • If you can purchase a proper binder 
  • I use this one which is only $4.99 and accepts PayPal 
  • Another makeshift way to bind is this tutorial i’ve seen people use is this diy
  • How to bind properly (YouTube video)
  • And remember, if it hurts, stop. and also, never bind for more than 8 hours at a time, with some good rest time in between!
  • Okay but you know what else in on the torso? Your clothes.
  • Observe guys around you? What do they wear? Model after it, but also, stick to your own style.
  • Depending on how well your binding is, you might want to wear looser shirts. 
  • The looser shirts also eliminate curves 
  • But don’t get too baggy. You’ll just look foolish if you’re practically in that ghost costume from when you were younger trying to be charlie brown
  • Also, if you’re not super muscled/have good binding hoodies and jackets can cover these up.

Legs and the *whispers* nether regions

  • If wearing jeans, wear them loose and in a boy style. Fyi: Boy Jeans are comfortable as hell. Same goes for sweats. Waaay better than the ones sold to women.
  • If wearing skinny jeans, you need to pack, when cis guys wear skinny jeans you can see their, stuff
  • People may not be looking for a bulge but in skinny jeans they’ll notice. 
  • When wearing shorts, you might want a substantial amount of leg hair, unless you swim, then you kind of have an excuse. 
  • And keep them loose unless you plan on packing!
  • Okay but about packing, there are at home ways, and store bought ways, both pretty effective. 
  • Guide to a homemade packer: Gel in condom edition (YouTube Video)
  • Packer from a sock tutorial
  • Mr.Limpy products work well
  • But if you’re packing, you could consider using the men’s room. Only do this if you pass 100%, for safety reasons of course.
  • Guide to bathrooms (YouTube video)
  • But if you’re suing the men’s room, especially urinals, you need an STP
  • Make one using a packer & a harness
  • Make one using a medicine spoon or under $5 edition
  • For shoes, only wear what you like, you need to like what you’re wearing after all. Vans, Converse, Nike, and most sneakers will pass. 
  • If you have really tiny feet, maybe wear a size up, with like 2 pairs of socks to keep them on.
  • TOMS and other shoes like that may work if you a more stereotypically flamboyant gay guy. But if you like it, go for it. stereotyping sucks sorry for that. 

And then of course, what’s all this if you don’t act the part? Male mannerisms are weird, especially to those of us socialized as girls.

  •  the most important part, don’t swing your hips. Arm gestures are mostly unimportant, but if you want to work on that, just don’t sway them in a flamboyant fashion, and keep them in a consistent position and direction with the sides of your hands facing forward and you’ll be fine.
  • For walking as a guy, I have cis friends who taught me to walk, and they told me this: Shake out your arms, get them loose, thumbs in pockets. Shoulders up and back, but your entire posture should be slouched. When you walk, lead with your shoulders, it reduces hip movement. Oh, and keep your head up.
  • Confidence is key, remember you are a guy, so be a little cocky.
  • When sitting, take up space, legs spread, arms resting on things around you.  
  • When crossing legs, cross them at the ankles, or rest your ankle on your knee. Don’t cross them at the knee. 
  • Remember, girls move their hands more when they talk, unless you’re extremely Italian, then you might be able to get away with it.
  • For posture, I notice that guys either stand straight up and down, or their shoulders hunch over a little. Now girls seem to have a posture where their butt sticks out a little and their shoulders are pulled a little and their chest comes out and up. Like for girls, the small of their back is pulled in more, giving their spine a noticeable curve. Whereas on guys, it seems like their spine just goes straight up and down.
  • When walking, take long strides and clomp your feet a little. Never walk on your toes or the ball of your foot.
  • Skip stairs, take then 2 or 3 at a time.
  • Scratch your “package”
  • Don’t use “like” a lot when you talk either.
  • The head nod, you know, the little “sup” motion
  • Really, the main thing is looking male – once this happens, your behavior will be seen as “male behavior” because it is coming from someone who looks male. Even if it isn’t stereotypical. You could be the butchest woman alive, and people would still see it as “female behavior” to some degree. It’s just an unfortunate flaw in human thought.
  • Eat. Have you seen the football team at school eat? Yeah. Be that guy. 
  • 2 burgers and large fries for me please
  • Loose some table manners
  • But not all of them, be a decent human being

And that’s all I have. I don’t have advice on T or surgery, because this wasn’t a guide to your trans life. This is a guide on passing everyday. So good luck my fellow men! But always remember, be yourself, do’t try to fit the all american stereotype. Being yourself can lead to more confidence, so always keep a touch of you in what you wear and do. 


-“shrug” your shoulders very slightly. eventually it’ll feel nature if you keep at it. it makes your shoulders look bigger. Put your elbows on chair arms to do it while sitting

-clench your jaw a little bit. it sounds really weird but it’ll make you look like you have a more masculine jaw line

-walk with your stance every so slightly wider than usual. it’ll make your lips slightly less pronounced and make your shoulders look squarer

-Don’t move out of the way for people gracefully. not saying don’t move out of the way at all, but let yourself brush shoulders sometimes. You can also just be more spacious about it. And yes, in a crowded hallway you probably shouldn’t maneuver your way through.

-Be comfortable! I shit you not, this can be magic for passing. Be relax, act confident, and lean back and be comfortable. People see it as dominance and we subconsciously see dominance and our mind trails to masculinity

-when you sit in the floor, sit with your ass on the floor. Indian style or with your legs out works. Don’t sit on your legs or in that weird W shape (that’s bad for you anyway)

anyone feel free to add any other weird behavior passing tips you’ve discovered!

Like, to be honest, it was never completely about whether a trans woman has a penis or not because when you press most of those people, they still wouldn’t want to be with a post-op trans woman.

It’s abt the aggregation of  physical and social things that code as as trans and therefore monstrous, undesirable except as fetish objects, and ‘male’, and if our argument is based on “well what if she’s indistinguishable from a cis woman” than we have already ceded the whole point for the majority of trans women.

When you pass (as cis, as het, as allistic) you are having your identity erased. That is a marginalization, full stop.

That doesn’t mean you don’t have an edge - to be clear, you absolutely have an edge. The net gains may even be greater than the losses; plenty of people prefer passing despite the emotional tax and that is absolutely legit.

But marginalization is still marginalization. It still takes a toll on you. Whether physically (able-passing), mentally (allistic passing), or emotionally (cishet passing), you still have that marginalization. It still hurts.

We need to start recognizing that. We need to make a point of acknowledging that you can be advantaged, without being privileged.

Start calling passing what it is - an advantage, not a privilege.