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By Tracy WH

Yes, you guessed it from the title, I have to try to pass as my male self for the first time in nearly a year and a half! None of you know the background so I'll fill in the blanks.

I'm working as a legal assistant for a firm in Salt Lake City as a woman, and have been for the past 17 months. I'm serious about my life as a woman, to the point of having my breasts augmented nearly 7 months ago. I'm a 34c and quite proud of my figure. I'm waiting for the "right time" to go all the way and do the surgery thing. For right now I'm content with my life, and am in no hurry to finish. I've recently turned 24 and have plenty of time for that later (after I've saved up the rest of the money).

As my male self I traveled to S. Korea with the Peace Corps and learned to speak Korean quite well, and used that language skill and experience on my resume.

Another firm in Salt Lake has a client that is opening an American business in Seoul. They had heard that I spoke Korean, and are willing to hire me as a translator/legal advisor for two to three months while they are getting things set up.

To make a long story short, my passport is as a male, and the people that are going to hire me know me only as a woman. Here's where the conflict arises.

I had known that this might come up, and had been doing some asking around on line, and reading some of the downloads concerning legal identity changes. I didn't really think that it would go this far, but here I am with a South Korean visa in one hand and a plane ticket in the other.

I'm really puzzled as to how I'm going to get through customs/immigration, but I have a plan.

I had to submit a photograph of me along with my visa application, and did myself up as a man quite well. The photos matched close enough, and I only had to practice my male signature a few times to get it right.

However, a photograph passing, and a living breathing (and potentially nervous) person passing are two TOTALLY different things. I've been practicing in preparation for the big day, and have a few tips on "reverse passing" as I'll call it.

First, anatomically there is the problem of the "units" attached to my chest. That shouldn't be too much of a problem, I just buy a very tight jog-bra and wear a really loose sweatshirt on the plane (corporate types don't care what you wear on a 14 hour flight).

Second, hair can be pulled into a tail and worn in a hat. Shouldn't be too much of a problem, besides, many men have ponytails these days. The biggest problem there would be the cut and style difference from the passport to the "actual head". Again, easily explained.

Third is the removal of all makeup and traces of ANYTHING. One thing I have been doing is wearing only one earring when "reverse passing", and then it is a simple gold hoop. If I let my whiskers grow for about 3 days, I look like an adolescent teenager with a light beard. With the singular earring the effect is pretty good.

I have been buying wine coolers and beer as a man in the supermarkets around town to make sure and get ID'ed to see if I can "reverse pass" effectively. So far, so good. Much to my amazement. One funny story about buying alcohol.

The first time I went to buy coolers as a man since living as a woman, I accidentally took my purse in. WHOOPS!!!! I didn't realize what I had done until I had gotten to the checkstand and had to actually take out my license. I had it in a Dooney-Burke billfold (very feminine looking) in my matching purse. I was so nervous I'd be "read backwards" (this does get a bit confusing) that I dropped my license on the floor. As I bent down to pick it up, I thought I saw the check-out boy look down my shirt and see my breasts. I could have died! I tried to regroup and just handed it to him with a $20. That's when I looked down and saw my well manicured nails. Luckily I only wear clear enamel, but no man I know of has nails this pretty! The checker gave me a quizzical look, but I rationalized that off as being an old ID. He didn't say anything, but I was so paranoid I was sure that he knew.

I hurriedly took my change and ID and stuffed them in my purse. I took the coolers, and BRISKLY walked out to my car. All the way out the door and to my car, I imagined a hand grabbing me on my shoulder and asking me to come back into the store for a "little chat". I got to my car and threw myself inside. My head was spinning, my heart was pounding, and I was nearly out of breath! I just sat in my car laughing/crying at myself for being so stupid! I am usually so methodical and plan things out, but I just got lazy and didn't think before actually going to the store.

I went home laughing the whole way, sat down in front of the TV and watched Vertigo while drinking my trophies. I felt pretty good after about 3 of them.

That story got long really fast. Sorry.

Anyway, here is where it has gotten tricky.

All of the partners in the business have decided to travel together. This would pose a problem for me if I were to have to pass as a female to them, and as a male to the customs people. Again, this has been taken care of with a little schedule juggling.

I suggested in one of the organization meetings, that I travel ahead a few days, set up short-term accommodations, purchase a vehicle, and schmooze the Korean partners before their arrival. This was met with warm welcome, as none of them had ever been there.

So, as far as they're concerned and will ever know, I'm a woman, and will work with them as one. I'm pretty proud of my little trick, but still a little nervous. I hope that this goes off smoothly and have no glitches.

I'm not sure if any of this means anything to any of you (how many "any's" can you put in one sentence?), but I thought it might be interesting nonetheless.

Let me know SOON if any of you have advice or tips that might come in handy. I leave on Oct. 18, and don't have much time.

Keep sending logs, mail and gifs. I'll be calling Honolulu to check out how things are going in the gender community while I'm gone. I'll be sending things back as well.

I can leave a mailing address to anyone who would like to get letters mailed to them on disk. I am taking my powerbook and can format for either IBM or Mac. I run Word 5 on Mac, and can convert to WordPerfect from DOS.

Well, I'll wrap this up. Thanks for listening, and for any advice that might come my way.

Don't forget me!

Tracy WH

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