I know this thread is a couple weeks old but I just now found it. I am certainly no expert and a lot of what I could have said has been said and I definitely don't want to fight with anyone. But I still want to bring up some thoughts/opinions I have on the subject as a transgender person of color.
In a vacuum, the wigs and getting a tan is not wrong to me. That's just expressing yourself. It's when you slap in a statement like "I am black" that makes it a problem. To say you are something is one of the most powerful things a person can do and it shouldn't be taken lightly. Which brings me to the whole transrace vs transgender debate.
To understand what trans___ is, you have to know what the actual word itself means. What is race? Race is usually defined in a genetic way. You're born from parents of x classification so you are x classification. Your parents make your race. However, gender is defined usually as a state of mind. You can feel like a boy or a girl or neither of those or both of those. Your parents don't make your gender. That's entirely up to that person (but it's still not a choice because you can't choose how you feel, feelings are fluid and just happen). While we have stereotypes and roles for different genders, we have no set in stone definition of what makes up a specific gender.
What it means to be transgender is to feel like you're not the gender you've been told you are your whole life because of a role being enforced on you at birth. But the theory of transrace people isn't like being transgender because race isn't like gender. Race isn't fluid. Race is your DNA. Your blood. Your heritage. You can't feel black. Just like you can't feel like a person who has a penis. (What the fuck would that even mean?) Race is physical. Sex is physical. Gender is mental.
Expression is where some people start to get confused. Expression is about personal preference. A guy can wear a dress or wear pants or run around naked depending on what he wants to do. A white person can get a spray tan or stay pale, whatever they wanna do. (It's when you start to get into cultural appropriation that expression turns into blackface, redface, etc.) But, I do believe it's possible for someone to culturally be different than the culture associated with their race. Not changing their culture, but just having a different culture. There are slang terms I've heard for it like "apple" or "rotten apple" meaning someone is red on the outside (indigenous) but either white or black on the inside (referring to the culture associated with said races). But that isn't to say culture is a choice. Culture is about the environment you were raised in. Which brings me to my conclusion.
Rachel Dolezal is white. Rachel Dolezal chose to "change" her race and adopt a culture that isn't hers. She could have been an advocate for POC rights without calling herself black. And when it comes to comparisons of this act to transgender people, it's just not accurate to me. What people are usually comparing is changing gender expression to changing other forms of expression but they aren't comparing the actual meaning of what it means to be transgender to the theory of transrace people. And when you actually compare those two, you see they're not at all the same because just slapping the word trans in front of it doesn't make it the same thing. Transrace would imply someone could change their heritage and that's not possible.