"Jenner himself seems to have absorbed the notion that “passing” – when strangers assume that we are cisgender instead of trans women – is vital to transition and is preparing for a “transformation” before going out in public again. But I fear that much of his political power as a woman who struggles to pass will be simply replaced, without discussion, by conventional constructions of female beauty.
“Passing” is a controversial term and concept in the trans community. Those who don’t look trans to others, like celebrity author and trans activist Janet Mock, resent the implication that her gender or her presentation are intended to deceive: “I’m a woman. I live my life as a woman and that’s how I should be perceived. I’m not passing as anything, I’m being.”
Mock’s description of the dynamics of passing is precisely why we need to continue to use the term; “passing” isn’t about one’s intention as a trans person, but how one’s acceptability is judged by others, and one need not seek out the privilege it affords to benefit from it. Some women, like Mock and me, might have the choice to disclose, but I don’t experience being unquestionably accepted as a woman until I disclose as trans as “just being” – and I know that “just being” is a privilege that many other trans people don’t have. We risk minimizing the enormous benefits that passing in a society that continues to be deeply transphobic brings if we reject discussing it because we focus on our own intentions."
See entire article @ The Guardian