What is passing? It’s that thing that puts dread into any transgender person’s persona. Especially people like me who have gender dysphoria about their looks. I was offered a great two-day gig. However, I had to wear guy clothes for the gig because that’s all I had in my closet. I asked to wear a dress but was told that is not what people wear doing that job. And to be honest it would be inappropriate for a cameraperson at a big event where you are supposed to be ninja like, very unseen. So, I sucked it up and downed my best black women’s pants and my ugly black guy shit. Part of the issue is that the shirt was one I use pretransition. It hid my breast with two large pockets on the chest.
After contemplating the gig, I almost decided not to do the job even though I really needed the money. After getting dressed I felt like shit because I felt I was back into hiding mode. When I got to the venue, I even introduced myself using my old name. It was like I jumped back in time a year. My dysphoria went off the charts. I felt depression jet in and take over my body. I found out there was a miscommunication with the time, and I was six hours early, go figure.
So, I decided to get something to eat. I also decided that I would be careful with what I drank because of the bathroom issue. I have not used a male bathroom in over a year. I felt so out of place it would be unnerving in a large arena. The venue was next to a casino and I still had five hours to kill. So, I decided to go play blackjack. Seated at the table a female came up like she knew me and started to tell me a joke. When I looked at her, she stopped and apologized. I took it as, “Oh you’re a guy.”
However, after a few minutes she made a comment about the female side of the table. I almost missed it but things like this always catch my attention. It made me question: Does she think I am a female? After a little while the person on the other side of me referred to me as “she,” it actually caught me by surprise. The table conversation was lively, and I was taken as female the whole time, except by me. I guess thanks to gender dysphoria. It took me a while to take it all in.
Being seen as female changed my attitude for the night. I realized that my gender dysphoria makes me jump to conclusion about what I think I look like. However, that is not always the case. We all make assumptions about how people will see us. Even how we see ourselves, but I think passing as female is more an attitude than a look.
I also noticed that when you present somewhere in the middle women will more often see a woman and men will more often see a man. Are we hard-wired that way? Is that why my dysphoria will always see me a male? Interesting concept, maybe, could be, somewhat true, I guess. But at times I do get glimpses of her in the mirror that stop me in my tracks and I smile.
I see so many of us talk about transgender people not being accepted. Is some of this in our own heads? Are we making up stories that are not true because we fill in the blanks with our own dysphoria? I know I do, and this story shows how I do it. So, is it true that some of the not being acceptance is made up by me?
I am learning to just do me and what people think – that’s on them. But controlling what I think, well that’s a whole different prospective that we will address at another time. As always love, light, and peace, Sophie.
Sophie Marie White, married with three kids, is a native of South Louisiana. She draws from her varied experiences as a writer, filmmaker, producer, Director of Photography, Chiropractor, EMT, firefighter, race car driver, and boxing promoter to inspire her acting and writing. She has been active in the film industry for the past 18 plus years.
Sophie began acting a little over a year ago. Since then she has been cast in several feature films, including Hummingbird and We All Think We Are Special. Sophie was also cast in several TV series including Tell Me Your Secrets and top of show, guest-starring role, on Chicago Med. In her first year and a half of acting, she has been cast in 3 television series, 14 movies, and 1 play.
She is also a syndicated writer, who writes on transgender issues in and outside the film industry. Her screenplays have won the ISA New Orleans Writers Award 2017 and have placed at Table Read My Screenplay (New Orleans, London, and Sundance), Final Draft Fellowship, ISA Fast-track Fellowship, and New York International Fright Fest.
Films she has produced from her screenplays have won or placed at numerous film festivals including AMFM, London Independent Awards, Imagination Lunchbox, and New Zealand Film Awards, just to name a few. She has even watched one of her produced films in the White House.
Sophie is a transgender female, and with her family, she’s making her way through the complicated transition process. She brings a unique voice that is extremely under-represented in the film and television industry. Her desire to share her journey will hopefully show others that there is hope, and they are not alone. Sophie tries to live up to her motto of love, light, and peace.