This was the reply to someone’s post in a group I follow. She was asking for tips to look more passable, and she ended her post with “I feel unpretty.”

The last sentence is the root of your problem. If you don’t feel you’re pretty, who else will think so?

Here’s what you don’t want to hear. You’ll never pass. Go sit in a mall for an hour and watch “real” women go by. How many of them would “pass” according to the so-called rules?

Now, here’s what you need to do. Become the best you you can be. Be the girl you see in the mirror, not the one you think you’re supposed to be. Know that you’re fabulous, that you belong, and you can go anywhere you want. Walk out the door and keep your head up. When someone looks at you, smile. Talk to the strangers, laugh at the jokes, and be better than they are.

You can learn how to do makeup. You can learn how to dress for the occasion. You can learn how to walk in heels, to practice more feminine traits, to speak with a more feminine voice. But as RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are others gonna love you?”