The term ‘trans’ is a Latin prefix that means a few different things, but one of the definitions is ‘changing thoroughly’.  If one is transgender, we are, essentially, completing transforming our gender.

There is no standard or measure that one must change their appearance, wardrobe or anything else to be able to be transgender or as the gender we identify as.  Some of us completely alter how we dress, some of us will make very few, if any, changes to our appearance.  Some of us will change our names, some will not.  There is not a list that we must check off to be able to identify as transgender or as anything else.

As members of the transgender community, being transgender means different things to each of us.  Yes, both myself and Laverne Cox identify as transgender but whereas she has had operations and legally changed her name, I am happy to go back and forth between genders and never committing permanently to one or the other.

I think it’s safe to say that we all have explored many different things, whether it is clothes or makeup that is traditionally considered “for girls”.  Some of us have tried makeup and fell in love with it, some of us have very little interest in it.  Some of us happily spend a lot of money on a pair of heels we wear three times a year, others think that is an incredible waste of money and are happy with a pair of practical flats.

I have tried many things as I became who I am.  I learned a lot about myself and what I like.  I have no problem spending an hour doing my makeup or buying a sixty dollar dress, but I have little patience for doing my nails.  I do love doing my nails but it feels impractical to do so as I spend most days completely in male mode.

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Discovering who we are can be a humbling, exciting and eye opening experience.  It’s humbling because we realize early on that this discovery is something that requires time, patience and money.  We need to accept that the first time we try liquid eyeliner on our waterline that it will be a messy disaster.  We need to accept that it may take several wigs before we find one that truly suits us.  We can’t let ourselves get frustrated when applying false eyelashes takes 45 minutes.  It’s exciting to find a pair of heels that fit us and that we can wear for hours at a time without any discomfort.  It’s exciting to zip up that dress that we fell in love with.  It’s exciting to look in the mirror and feel happy.

Before I go further, I want to stress that I do not believe there is a standard you have to meet to be transgender or to be a woman.  You do not have to paint your nails, wear skirts or heels to identify as any gender you want.  Not all women wear makeup and you do not have to in order to be a t-girl, transgender or identify as anything else.  Again, I can only speak from my experiences.

Transforming my gender, even if it’s for only a few hours at a time, has been an eye opening experience.  It’s also been an expensive experience.  I accepted early on that if I wanted to look how I wanted to look that I needed to take the time to learn makeup and I needed to be willing to invest in my look and wardrobe.  I was stunned to learn how much a tube of lipstick cost.  I was shocked at how easily a pair of stockings can run and how expensive it was to replace them.  I couldn’t imagine spending $120 on a haircut.  I was used to fifteen dollar haircuts, a half dozen pair of socks costing under ten dollars and renting a tux for a wedding for around a hundred dollars or so.

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An amazing dress I found on clearance…but it still cost sixty dollars

I accepted that if I wanted to look how I wanted to look I needed to accept that it was going to be expensive.  That’s not to say you can’t be thrifty or find for an amazing dress on clearance but how I wanted to look was going to be more expensive than how I want to look in male mode.  Based on my experiences, you generally get what you pay for on makeup.  Yes, I can buy foundation for $6…or I can spend $45 for foundation that I feel suits me better.  My recent makeup lesson with Corrie at Midwest Makeup Supply gave me a chance to experiment with different foundations, powders and techniques.  I always had trouble getting my lipstick as even as I would like, so I bought a lipstick brush to help apply it.  Sure, I could have spent the eight dollars on something else, but I wanted my lipstick to look better so it was an easy investment to make.

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Like my lips?  The lipstick and lip liner will cost $42

As we start to reach out to others that can help us with makeup or other services, we may find out that certain services cost more than we expected.  I have a friend who went through hair removal and I was taken aback at how expensive and extensive of a process it was.  But I can’t argue with results and she’s incredibly happy with the decision.  Truth be told if I could afford it I would do it, too.  Private makeup lessons are not free.  As much as Corrie loves makeup and helping others, she also has to pay rent.  Makeovers are not free.  When we schedule a makeover we are hiring someone for their time.  I’ve never had makeover that was less than 45 minutes.

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This is what a 90 minute makeover looks like

Not only are we hiring someone for their time, we also need to consider how hard the artist worked to get where they are.  If they went to cosmetology school it’s not unrealistic for them to have spent tens of thousands of dollars investing in their art.  And of course, the makeup they use is not free, either.

Yes, it can be surprising and perhaps a little shocking to explore the financial impact on obtaining the look we want, but for some of us its worth every penny.  The feeling I get from an amazing dress, an incredible makeover and killer heels is priceless.

Love, Hannah


T-Girls and Queens

Last night was the monthly MN T-Girls outing and we were invited to a preview of an upcoming documentary ‘The Queens’.  The showing was held at Lush, a fabulous LGBTQ nightclub in Northeast Minneapolis.

According to the documentary’s website, The Queens takes viewers out of the politics and onto the stage with an exclusive look inside the first beauty pageant to ever allow transgender female impersonators to participate. Born out of discrimination, the Miss Continental Pageant is now one of the longest running and most prestigious contests of its kind in the United States, attracting competitors from around the globe.

The Queens humanizes and demystifies this group of often-misunderstood individuals; they’re fiercely determined, strikingly imaginative and possess jaw-dropping talent. The Queens will have you cheering for the creative spirit that lives within us all!

You can watch the first few minutes of the documentary here!

In attendance was director Mark Saxenmeyer and Tiffany T. Hunter, one of the featured girls in the movie.

After the showing Mark and Tiffany took questions from the audience and Tiffany performed for the crowd.


It was a very fun night and it’s always interesting to see a part of the transgender spectrum that I am not too familiar with.  Thank you to Mark, Tiffany, Lush and to the MN T-Girls for coming!  Unfortunately it was too dark to take photos of the group, but rest assured we all looked fabulous. Oh, and thank you to Corrie of Midwest Makeup Supply for the amazing makeover before the night started.


Love, Hannah



Pinup T-Girl – Part 3!

This is the final photo set from my recent visit to Christi William’s boudoir and pinup photography studio last week.  I had two outfit changes and I posted the first set the other day, but I have to say that of the two sets, this is my favorite.

I love, love, love the poses, the dress and the mischievous smile Christi coaxed out of me.  It was hard to pull off these shots but she made it so fun and I had an absolute blast.

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If you are looking for a once in a lifetime experiences and looking to feel your sexiest, I highly recommend visiting Christi and treating yourself.

Thank you to Christi and to Corrie of Midwest Makeup Supply who did a fabulous job with my makeup.

Love, Hannah

Pinup T-Girl – Part 2!

Last week I had the honor of visiting Christi Williams, the photographer of one of Minneapolis’ most incredible boudoir and pinup photography studios.  I had an amazing time modeling, smiling, posing and trying on clothes.  I heard she had a fun wardrobe to pick from but I was blown away but how many fun things there were to wear.

I love the fit of this dress and I love how these photos turned out.

What do you think?

Love, Hannah

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Pinup T-Girl!

Yesterday I had the incredible honor of visiting Christi Williams, the makeup artist and photographer of one of Minneapolis’ most incredible boudoir and pinup studios.  If you’ve known me for more than two minutes you know that I love modeling and having my photo taken.  I’ve been lucky in many parts of my life and working with my friend and photographer Shannonlee from studio Fotofida as been one of the best things that has happened to me.


I’m always looking for a fun experience and this opportunity seemed too fun to pass up.  I’m waaay too shy to do anything in a boudoir style, but who can resist the fun, flirty dresses of a pinup girl?

Before the visit, I had a makeover with the incredibly talented Corrie Dupay of Midwest Makeup Supply.  I’ve been blessed to know Corrie for a little more than a year now and even had a makeup lesson with her recently.  She always does *amazing* work, but this makeover was dynamite.


When I walked into Christie’s studio, I was blown away by how…cool it was.  It felt like I was stepping back in time as I was surrounded by vintage furniture and props.


I was impressed with the wardrobe options, of course.  What t-girl wouldn’t be?


The shoe selection was to die for.


Christi is also ready to provide hair styling.


After picking out a couple outfits, Christi and I got to work.  She helped me pose, showed me where to point my toes, how to position my hand and kept things light, fun and playful.  After we were done shooting, we sat down and looked over her work and picked out the best photos.


Once the photos were picked, Christi and I sat and chatter about beauty, fashion and of course, the transcommunity.  Christi works with a lot of transgender clients and does some remarkable work.  She does gender transformations and I can absolutely testify to her talent and support.

I am dying to see the final photos and I will post them when I have them.  Until then, I hope you enjoy this preview.


Thank you to Christi for an unforgettable shoot.  If you’d like to experience this yourself, drop her a line.

Love, Hannah

Time To Up My Game!

I started doing my makeup about ten years ago.  Over the last decade, my face has changed quite a lot.  The first picture here was from about six years ago.  The second is from last fall.

Yes, I am older but I think I actually look younger in the second photo, mainly due to losing a significant amount of weight between the two pictures.  My face has changed shape and has become narrower and more angular.  I also tend to get dark circles around my eyes that I didn’t get when I was younger.

As one’s face changes, a makeup routine will need to adapt as well.  Over the last year or so I’ve been getting a little frustrated with my makeup routine.  No matter how much highlighter or concealer I was using, the darkness would start to show through after a couple hours.  I had tried to contour my face to have a rounder shape to contrast the bonier structure my face had developed after losing weight.

I decided to was time to schedule a makeup lesson with Corrie, the owner and incredibly talented artist of Midwest Makeup in the Uptown neighborhood in Minneapolis.  I had a few goals I wanted to accomplish during our appointment.

First of all, I wanted to streamline my makeup process.  My routine consisted of color correcting by using red lipstick over my jawline to contrast the blueness that facial hair can create under foundation.  It’s effective…but due to my dark hair I need several layers of foundation to counteract the blueness.  Corrie had introduced me to Dermacolor Camouflage Creme beard cover.  I was really pleased with how effective this worked.  I only needed one layer of foundation to use over the beard cover and my jawline.

I also wanted to find new foundation besides the Dermablend (and others) that I normally use.  Besides the Dermablend, I use liquid foundation, but Corrie introduced to cream foundation and corrector for under my eyes.

Cream foundation is used with a pallet and a pallet knife similar to how a painter would use paint…which, if you think about it, is exactly what one is doing.  I then used a brush to apply the foundation.  I really liked the Groaftobin line of foundation and corrector that Corrie taught me how to use.

3I wanted to learn contouring to achieve a more oval shape to my face.  It’s widely thought that the “ideal” facial shape is an oval and contouring is an effective way to achieve that.  After watching a lot of makeup tutorial videos I thought I knew how to make this work for my face but I was never happy with the results.  Corrie taught me how to contour MY face.  My face is different than yours, and it’s different than every face in a makeup video.  What works for one face will not necessarily work for another face.  Corrie matched my skin color to a few different shades and showed me how to which foundation shade to which parts of my face.  She showed me how to blend and how blending foundation uses a different technique than blending highlighter.

Another goal was upping my eyes hadow game.  This was a lot simpler than I was making it, and I was really happy to learn some new techniques using different colors.

Finally, I wanted to find new brushes to use for foundation, blending and for my lipstick.  No matter how careful I am, I can never achieve a nice smooth defining lip line.  Corrie showed me which brush she uses for lipstick and taught me some helpful tricks.

An hour and half later, I was more energized and more excited and confident about my makeup routine that I have been in years.  During the appointment Corrie would work on half of my face and I would mirror her technique on the other side of my face.  She was patient, supportive and talented.  I really feel I know what works for my “new” face, not anyone else’s.   Makeup is one of the most challenging, satisfying things one can learn.  It’s a humbling, empowering skill.  There are times where I feel amazing and times I feel very male.  Although I used the same technique and products for years, I almost always looked different each time I did my face.  It’s not an easy thing to learn, and it’s absolutely worth investing time and money to learn techniques and which products to learn.

Love, Hannah


T-Girls – The Next Generation

I know I can only speak for myself, but in conversations with other t-girls, it seems one of the many things we have in common is that we have always been who we are, as far back as we can remember.   Who we are, what we want to wear and be only grows as we get older.

No one outgrows this side of us.  So many of us thought we would stop doing “this” when we hit certain milestones in our lives.  Whether it was becoming a teenager, becoming an adult or even getting married.  But the truth is that we will always be who we are.

Which is wonderful, actually, since there’s nothing wrong with who we are.

As I hit my teen years I grew bolder and more accepting and understanding (and forgiving) of who I was.  I started buying clothes for myself in my teens and purging them a few days or weeks later.  When I moved into my own apartment at age 20 I started to build my wardrobe.  I still purged but it took longer than it used to.  I didn’t purge because I thought I would or could outgrow this, rather I purged because I was terrified of being caught.

When I started the MN T-Girls almost five years ago, I really had no idea who would be members, but I expected t-girls from a variety of age groups.  Today the members of the group number in the hundreds and although I haven’t met everyone yet,  I would estimate that over 90% of the group are in their 40’s or older.  This surprises me.

Most members have discovered the group by googling “Minnesota” and “crossdresser”.  My site is the first option that pops up.  When I was in my teens and the internet was in the early days, the first thing I searched was the term ‘crossdresser’.  I was amazed at how many results the search provided.  It also affirmed my belief that I was far, far from the only one like me out there.  My thinking was that as others like us hit their late teens and early 20ths that they would want to reach out to others like themselves.

When I started the MN T-Girls, I had thought there would be many members in their early 20’s joining the group as that was the age that I had started to grow bolder and wanting to meet others like myself.  But that’s not really the case and I often wonder why.  I would have loved to have found a group like the many that exist today in the Twin Cities at that age.

I have two thought on this.

My first thought is that perhaps a support or social group is just not needed.  I started the group because I wanted to connect with others as Hannah.  I wanted to have friends as Hannah.  There are very, very few people in my life that know me as both of my genders.  I had wanted to expand this number but for various reasons I don’t see myself coming out to anyone else in my life.  In a recent survey, more U.S. teens than previously thought are transgender or identify themselves using other nontraditional gender terms, with many rejecting the idea that girl and boy are the only options.  This aligns with the thought that perhaps the younger generation does not feel the need to seek out support for others like them because they are finding the support within their own current social circles.  If their friends and peers are accepting of those who identify as transgender, then the need to find support may not be as strong.  I often think that if more people in my male life knew about Hannah, I may not have needed to start the T-Girls.  But I’m glad I did.

My second thought is that coming out as transgender is still terrifying for many of us and it’s still easy to think that no one would understand or accept who we are, regardless of a survey indicating that more youth are identifying as gender non-conforming.  Those in their late teens and early 20’s just simply many not be ready to reach out.  As much as I would have moved to have joined a group like the MN T-Girls or attend a PFLAG meeting when I was younger I probably would not have been ready to do so.  Although the support and acceptance from one’s peers may be there, there is also more media attention and laws that specifically target the transgender population than ever before.  Almost every day there is a news story about a high school and the issue of which bathroom a transgender teenager is allowed to use.  Far too often there are reports about a transperson getting ridiculed, hurt or worse for simply being who they are.  There may be more acceptance, but there is also more vocalized hate than ever before.  From that perspective, it’s not a surprise that more of us are not coming out.

But these are just my thoughts.  I would love to hear from others on this topic, especially from those in their teens or late 20’s.

Love, Hannah