I just threw my two cents into the ring over at the Yahoo Facial Feminization Surgery Group and I imagine I'll take a lot of grief over what I said. I agreed with another member who said that without FFS, it's damn near impossible to pass as female. I've met very few, actually none, that pass without it. That some girls have the nerve to post pre-FFS pics on that group and wonder aloud if they might need FFS is insulting and delusional. Even post-FFS, passing is still very difficult. I'm a perfect example of that. Despite spending nearly $30,000 on the works with one of the top surgeons in the world, I still get "read" as male nearly every single day. For the most part, people are nice and respectful and try to use the right pronouns and such but you can see it in the eyes, the way they do a double take, that they have put two and two together and come up with five.
Look, testosterone is a pretty nasty thing. It does it's job well and unless you start female hormones at puberty or before, it's going to be difficult to pass without some major work being done on your face. The male and female face are just so fundamentaly different that it becomes very difficult to create the illusion of being the other gender. That being said, it doesn't make one any less female, it's just that many of us are kidding ourselves when we think that we look great and that we're passable 100% of the time. In my years of browsing the web and interacting with the queer community, I've come across a few girls who do really, really well and probably never get "read" as male. The rest, well, they are a lot like me, doing the best they possibly can and just trying to get by.
This was taken today and is proof positive that I still look a lot like a guy.