Passing Notion: The Experience of Four Trans Identified Students and the Violence of Assimilation
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Passing, as a concept, serves to put down members of a minority who do not fit a stereotype devised and perpetuated by the societal norms and majorities that exist around them. This hinging of humanity on abstract and superfluous ideologies passed down from bitter generation to bitter generation leads to astonishing levels of violence against transgender people. This work seeks to explore the college experience of four transgender students and alumni – two trans male identified students, one agender student, and one femme non-binary student – and their experiences with passing or not passing in different collegiate settings. Each person was interviewed, except the author who herein offers his own narrative, about their experiences in classrooms, religious settings, and organizations with regards to the pressure from others to pass in some way, shape, or form at Texas State University. Each of these students openly expressed a strong displeasure for the stress they felt to pass to be safe, even in actions as small as choosing a bathroom and other actions as large as standing up for themselves or others. These experiences are not, unfortunately, unique to these four students or to this campus – they are regular occurrences in the lives of transgender people, and it is high time for these experiences to be a thing of the past. That starts with aggressively and actively opposing the concept of passing and the violence of assimilation.