Ask Hannah!

You are very beautiful, dressed en femme. Have you ever run into anyone you knew, and if so, did they recognize you? My guess is that they would not…but I am curious! I feel like even those who know me wouldn’t connect the dots. Have you had this happen to you at all?

Just once.

But I kind of let it happen.  I could have stepped away but I chose not to.

Being recognized was one of the biggest fears I had and it held me back from going out into the real world for too long.  But after years of stepping out, I realized no one really pays much attention to each other anyway.

Love, Hannah

Have a question for me?  Oh yes you do.  Ask me here!

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If It Makes You Happy

“If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad”

-Sheryl Crow

For me, that feeling never goes away.

The happiness of buying new lingerie, the feel of a zipper sliding up on a cute dress, the power rush of the first steps taken in my stilettos.

These feelings are connected to memories of the first time I entered this beautiful world.  It cannot be described, only experienced.  It’s not unusual for us for feel to a little confusion about all this as we realize that this feels right, that this is something that is a part of us.

I have stopped trying to understand this part of me.  I have stopped trying to determine why I am who I am.  To me, this part of me is simply that.  It’s a part of me.  Literally.   I can’t explain why this part of me makes me happy, it just does.  I can’t explain why this makes you happy, either.  To me, it’s no different than the other things in your life that create joy… whether it is a certain food, a song, or a season.  You just love it and that’s all that matters.

We feel the joy, the confusion.  We also feel the shame, the guilt, and the embarrassment.  But why?

I think some of this comes from being taught that anything feminine is associated with inferiority or weakness. We are told to man up, boys are taunted for throwing like a girl, and that men don’t cry.  These comments are meant to embarrass us.  To shame us.  To humiliate us when we express emotion.  Girls cry, girls wear dresses.  Men are taught it’s embarrassing to be associated with anything feminine, whether it is an emotion or a piece of clothing.

Is it any wonder we felt ashamed or embarrassed when we dressed?

Our feelings about ourselves and others are sometimes influenced about what we are taught and exposed to.  Some of us feel we are too tall to “pass”.  Some of us feel our hands are too big to be feminine.  Some of us feel we are too masculine to be beautiful.  In a way, these perspectives are a result of us being told what a woman “should” look like.  A woman needs to be a certain dress or shoe size, a woman needs to be a certain height or weight, a woman must have a certain face shape….

When we don’t fit these arbitrary and subjective standards, we feel that we can’t be beautiful, we can’t be feminine, we can’t present as the gender we identify as.  But there are no standards we must fit.  There are no standards a woman, cis or trans, must fit.  No one is too tall to be feminine, for example.  Once I realized this, I completely stopped worrying about “passing” and meeting someone else’s expectations of what I needed to look like.  I never looked back.

I can’t recall ever being ashamed about wanting to, or wearing panties or makeup or anything else that is considered feminine.  I was raised by a single mom for most of my childhood and I have two strong and independent sisters.  In my world, women were leaders.  People to emulate.  I was used to being around girls, and I was friends with girls in grade school at an age when that wasn’t normal.

Eventually I got tired of being called a sissy for being friends with girls and started to hang out with the guys instead.  Grade school is tough, and it’s sad how strong gender roles and expectations are enforced even today.

But this side of you is nothing to be ashamed of… unless you think it’s shameful to do anything that is commonly considered feminine.  Perhaps Iggy Pop said it best when he stated  “I’m not ashamed to dress “like a woman” because I don’t think it’s shameful to be a woman.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Years ago I had a coworker who stated he just didn’t “get” people who were transgender.  As he spoke, he said he sort of understood why women wanted to be men, but didn’t see why any man wanted to be a woman.  “It’s a demotion”, he said with a laugh.  I wish I had had the courage to say something at that time.

This perspective is a perfect example of someone who thinks it’s shameful to be a woman.  I don’t think it’s shameful, and I doubt you think so either.

Some of us feel guilt when we dress.  We are going against arbitrary gender roles that we were taught growing up.  Boys do this, girls do that.  Why?  Well….  no one really knows but it’s often explained that these rules are in place because that’s the way it’s always been.  Well, perhaps not always.

Some of us were told that God made us a certain way and we need to remain that way.  If God made you a boy, then you must be a boy.  Doing anything that isn’t “for boys” goes against God’s plan.  As someone who was raised Catholic I can certainly attest to being told to live a certain way because that’s what God wants, but I seriously doubted God cared about what color underwear I wore.

You might feel guilty for keeping this side of you a secret.  We are used to keeping this side of us to ourselves and we likely have gotten quite good at little white lies and concealing things.  Telling a coworker that I had a boring weekend when I really spent Saturday getting a makeover and going shoe shopping is technically a lie, but it’s a lie I can live with.  Lying to our significant others about this side of us is a different story.  This will likely trigger deep feelings of guilt.  Some of us can live with the guilt, some can’t.

I know that this side of us is complicated.  I know that we want to know why we dress, why this makes us happy, what this means.  I know this side of us unleashes countless different feelings from fear to happiness to confusion to excitement to calmness to anxiety.  I know this.  You know this too.  We are told and taught so many things about gender and gender roles from a very young age.  So many things in this world are categorized by gender, whether it is shaving cream, sports, or colors.

Enough.

These things reinforce any negative feelings we may have about our own gender identity.  We want to paint our nails but boys don’t paint their nails.  We want to wear a nightgown but those are for girls.  We want to be friends with girls but that’s gay. 

If we are to accept and embrace this side of us then we must stop listening to what the world says we must be.

We must listen to our hearts.

We must be who we are.

Love, Hannah

 

 

 

Ask Hannah!

How did you get comfortable enough to be public and how did you meet people who are accepting?  Should I keep it a secret from employers and is there some kind of protection against some sort of discrimination?

For a very long time I was scared to go out in public  Safety and being recognized were two concerns, but another was that I wasn’t able to “pass”.  But I had an epiphany one day and I realized that I am the only one who matters when it comes to how I feel about myself.  What do I care if someone else thinks I “pass” or that I am beautiful enough?  It led me to realize that there are no standards I must meet to be a girl and there is no such thing as passing.

As for meeting people who are accepting, starting the MN T-Girls was a big part of that.  You can also find support at a local PFLAG meeting.

As for coming out to anyone, be it a family member or an employer, it’s important to think it through.  You should consider why you want to come out to them and why you feel they need to know.  You can’t unring a bell, after all.

As for protection against discrimination… well, that could change very soon.  In some states someone can be fired for LGBTQ+, so check your state’s laws.  You also should look at the employer’s policy when it comes to inclusion.

Love, Hannah

Have a question for me?  Oh yes you do.  Ask me here!

 

PFLAG Events for October

PFLAG’s mission is uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies.  PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy.  PFLAG has 400 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

PFLAG was the first support organization I heard of when I was growing up.  I attended their meetings a few years ago and found it was a supportive and inclusive community.  PFLAG is a wonderful group, especially for our spouses and family members and I am happy to promote the events the Twin Cities chapter has scheduled.

Please join them for their October support group meeting.
Tuesday, October 15 at 6:30 pm
Union Congregational Church
3700 Alabama Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55416
Love, Hannah

Stealthing

Fifteen years ago I identified as a crossdresser.  I still do, I suppose, but I prefer t-girl.  I think bi-gender might be a more fitting label, however all these titles fall under identifying as transgender, in my opinion.

Regardless, I went from strictly underdressing to, well, who I am today.  I still underdress, but as I started to add makeup and clothes that weren’t panties and lingerie, I wanted to look as good as I could in dresses and pencil skirts.  I never thought I would want to wear padding or shape enhancers, but I have been completely won over with my Jolie Thigh Pads from the Breast Form Store.  The look is amazing, and feeling my curvier shape is incredible.  I look more natural when I wear them, as seen in the photo below.

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I have worn corsets in the past and I have always loved how sexy they looked, but I wasn’t wearing them for the practical purpose of obtaining a more hourglass look or a trimmer waist.  That changed when I received my Dita Corset from Glamorous Corset a few months ago.  Pairing the corset with my thigh pads and breast forms achieves a shapelier look beyond anything I could have hoped for.

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Seasoning a corset takes time and dedication.  I got used to wearing it in male mode, but like underdressing, I was always conscious of it being visible under my clothes.  The lacy edging of my panties or my bra strap is one thing, but a corset is a little different.

Glamorous Corset is here to help with some tips for ‘stealthing’, basically how to wear a corset in public.  I thought this would be helpful for those of us who underdress in male mode.  It certainly was helpful to me.

Love, Hannah

 

 

 

Protection for the Transgender Community

Next week the United States Supreme Court will begin to weigh a decision that will have a huge and significant impact on the transgender community.

According to The Guardian’s story on Aimee Stephens:

After years of mixed decisions in lower courts the justices must decide whether or not sex is a defining factor when LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination at work by the Civil Rights Act, the landmark 1964 legislation that outlaws discrimination based on race, colour, religion, sex, or national origin.

Stephens’ case is one of three discrimination cases involving LGBTQ individuals that the court will hear on 8 October and the first supreme court case involving the civil rights of transgender people.

…Lack of legal protections has unfairly affected the trans community for too long, said Kaplan. At its heart, he says, Stephens’ case is very simple and should offer more protection in future. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prevents people from being discriminated against on the grounds of sex. And that definition should include sexual orientation and identity, he argues. “The definition of being transgender is someone who identifies differently from the sex assigned to them at birth. If the motivation for firing somebody is because they’re transgender, it’s motivated by sex. It’s sex discrimination. It’s right there,” he said.

The ramifications of the case could stretch far beyond the LGBTQ community. In 1989 the supreme court found Price Waterhouse guilty of sex discrimination when it denied a partnership to Ann Hopkins, a manager who was deemed too aggressive and “manly” in her behavior and in need of a “course in charm school” according to one of her bosses. Kaplan worries that a ruling against Stephens could support discrimination against people of any gender who don’t conform to their employer’s stereotypes.

It’s sad and scary to think that our basic rights are being determined by our gender identity, but here we are.

Love, Hannah