01 02 03 Genderqueer Chicago: The Privilege of Passing 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

The Privilege of Passing

By Aidan Christopher

Passing privilege is a constant thing I am trying to unpack in my life, especially because I identify more as genderqueer than I ever did as male even though I decided to transition (whatever that really means). I am writing this while sitting on a flight back from Atlanta and my experience in the airport has brought me back to the topic of my passing once more. Even though all of my ID’s say female, it seems that people either ignore, rewrite, or completely miss my complicated history when I need to use my ID. I am almost always Sir’d, and when I am not it normally makes no sense and the person corrects themselves without my comment. And yet I am a very queer body, seemingly invisible in a hetero-world, and it bothers me.

When I was living in rural Indiana, I could go into any bar and would automatically be assumed not only male but straight. And what was worse, at the time I would let them continue to believe that. Today I am not so sure I could stand to allow that assumption to continue. I feel like I am always in the balance between being visibly queer and passing as male or even passing as a hetro male and understanding what that means, how I feel about it and what it would mean if I were correct someone’s assumption. In rural Indiana, the decision was based on safety and now in Chicago, though safety is important, I feel that it is more important to not allow people to remain oblivious or ignorant to the idea of variant genders. But what does this mean for my life? I am not sure I have an answer. What does it mean if I allow myself the privileges that come with passing? What if I scream from the rafters That I am queer and gender queer? Though I may not be screaming aloud at all times, I think it is important at least in my life to not be silent. I cannot be indifferent to people assumptions and allow people to continue those assumptions about me or about anyone else. But how is this done? Is it with a slip of a sentence that places questions on my gender or an outright correction on the assumption?

This is more a point of discussion than an actual post, I do not have the answers to these postulated questions, nor do I think I will ever have the answers. My life is too fluid to even have a concrete response or understanding.
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