Do you ‘pass’ in Trump’s America?

Elif Gabb Opinion Editor

I am fortunate enough to have never worried about “passing” in today’s society.

Used mostly in the transsexual and transgender communities, “passing” is the act of successfully appearing as a desired definition of a person in the world, according to If a transsexual or transgender person does not “pass” (for either a woman or man), then this can put their safety at risk. 

Personally, it is deplorable that anyone has to “pass” as something to live in a safe environment — no one should fear for their safety because they are living authentically. 

But this recent election has made me think about “passing” as a concept and who inevitably will need to “pass” in Trump’s America to live safely.

You see, I am incredibly lucky in that I have always “passed” for a white, cisgendered and heterosexual female. Even though this doesn’t get close to describing me correctly.

Yes, I am white. But I come from Muslim descent. My mother is Turkish, where the primary religion is Islam. Hence all lineage on that side of my family has followed Islam. But I am white, with blonde hair and blue eyes, so I don’t look like a “terrorist,” apparently.

I also look straight, but I am not. I am actually a member of the LGBTQ+ community. But because my sexuality includes being in heterosexual relationships, I can look straight. 

In simple terms, I “pass.” 

But what about those who aren’t as lucky as me?

Those people who aren’t white. Those people whose faith has been made to look as if it only harbors terrorism by the new president-elect.

Or those who can’t pass as straight? Those who have to face the fact the new vice-president-elect has funded conversion therapy?

The only reason I can even say all of these things is because I “pass.” But I say them for a reason, to fuel a discussion that analyzes your own privilege. Or perhaps your lack of it.

Luckily, I “pass” in Trump’s America.

But the question is, do you?

Elif Gabb is the Opinion Editor for The Collegian and can be reached at [email protected]