Neckties and Necklaces

Mother’s Day was just a few days ago and judging by the greeting card companies, mothers equal flowers.  Almost every card I looked at had flowers on it.  And that’s fine, some moms like flowers.  My mom does.  I suppose it’s hard to summarize exactly what a mom is and what a mom does.  My dad was always an alcoholic and lost his job when I was in high school.  He never found another one.

He eventually left our home when I was 18 and I think I’ve seen him twice since then.  It’s better this way.  I suspect he’s still alive but I really am not sure. My point is that my mom raised me and my siblings pretty much on her own.  Not only did she do all the things two parents typically share the responsibilities in, she also had to do all of that under the threat of an abusive spouse.  It wasn’t easy living in our family for a long time. 


As I get older I realize how hard life was for my mom, especially under those circumstances.  She was, and still is, very strong.  Despite how complex my relationship is with her (in both of my genders) I have nothing but love and respect for her.  Knowing all this, and after experiencing everything she went through, a card and a bouquet of flowers doesn’t seem sufficient for everything she is, and for everything she did.  As we move from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day I have similar thoughts when it comes to how men are portrayed and thought of.  The greeting cards are already out and judging by what is on them, you’d think that fathers love nothing except grilling, fishing, and beer.  And that’s fine, people can like those things.  Father’s Day, as you can imagine, was a complicated day for me and my siblings.  How (and why) would you “celebrate” such an abusive person?  There’s not a greeting card for that.  Well, unless you picked up one of the beer-themed ones.


I haven’t had to purchase a Father’s Day card or present in decades and again, it’s better this way.  Greeting cards and suggested gifts are a window into how much of the world sees someone in a particular role.  It’s almost a stereotype, an extreme exaggeration.  In looking at anniversary cards you’d think the most romantic thing a husband can do for his wife is letting her have the remote control for the day.  


Some t-girls are parents.  For those of us who identify as anything besides cisgender, we may have clearly defined lines between our gender identities, our wardrobes, and our lives.  I love my femme life, and I love my boy life.  There is very little overlap.  You also may be a parent, a dad, in your boy life.  And yes, perhaps the greeting card companies are right, maybe you DO like to fish while having a beer.  Maybe you are handy and a master steak griller or whatever.  Please know I am not trivializing anyone’s hobbies, interests, or talents.  I wish I were handy and could repair stuff.  I can fix my eyeliner but I can’t fix a leaky faucet.  


For those like us, we are more complex than any greeting card could ever guess.  There are countless dads out there that would prefer a necklace over a necktie on Father’s Day.  They love their kids AND they love a cute skirt.  They love being a dad and they love strutting in stilettos.  I can’t imagine Hallmark having a card for someone like us.  


My point is that there is more to everyone than you could possibly imagine.  My mom is stronger than any flower, some of Hannah’s friends are dads who are beautiful.  Some of us have come out to others in our lives and have completely stunned them.  So many of us keep this side of us a secret because it’s the last thing anyone would ever guess about them.  If you are reading this, there’s likely a side of you that seemingly contradicts with how much of the world sees you.  You might drive a big truck on your way to work at the construction site, but no one would imagine you have pink nails under your steel-toed work boots.  


Father’s Day is a somewhat uncomfortable and awkward reminder of how much of the world sees MEN and what they think a MAN is and should be.  I hate the world’s assumption that just because I present as a man most of the time that there’s nothing more to me than what they think a man IS and what a man SHOULD be.  I have a much more interesting wardrobe than the shirt and tie my co-workers see me wear. So for the dads out there that are reading this, please know that although you may be getting a a new fishing pole or a greeting card with a grill on it next month, there are many like you who would also love a gift certificate for a manicure.

Love, Hannah

New Adventures

I have always loved lingerie.  It was my first introduction to this beautiful world and today it helps me stay connected to my femme side when I am in boy mode.  Growing up I had the occasional chance to try on a bra, nylons, and panties.  I was fascinated with and in love with the pairing of stockings and a garter belt and for a long time I had dreamed of wearing such beautiful lingerie.  The mannequins at department stores always drew my eye when they modeled such amazing lingerie.  When I was in my teens and started to drive I finally had the courage and the ability to purchase a garter belt and  it was everything I had dreamed of.  


As time passed I started to buy and wear matching bras, panties, and garter belts under my boy clothes.  There was, and still is, something so irresistible about matching lingerie.  For me, it’s a requirement.  As I became more emboldened and braver I started to add corsets and other lingerie to my closet (but would quickly be purged, sadly).  Lingerie options always seemed endless and they still are.  


When I moved towards actual clothes, it was an entirely new world.  Again the choices and the potential were limitless.  There’s everything from cute skirts paired with a comfy cardigan to evening gowns.  Little black dresses to flirty dresses.  Leather, silk, satin, PVC, lace… I wanted to (and do) wear it all.  It was an amazing feeling to look for, and add to my wardrobe, new styles, new clothes, new… everything.  


It was the same feeling, and the same excitement, when it came to shoes.  Stilettos, pumps, thigh-high PVC boots…  There’s a thrill knowing that there’s a perfect shoe for any outfit you can think of, and vice-versa.  


Oh!  And makeup is the same.  There are as many looks as there are outfits and occasions.  Sultry, vampy, everyday, glam, goth…


I loved the thrill of newness.  Wearing something I had always dreamed of.  Looking like I always fantasized about.  Photo shoots give me an opportunity to wear anything I have always wanted… from lingerie to evening wear, to casual, to fantasy.  There is an outfit, a shoe, a look for any feeling or event.  Feeling cute?  Wear a cute dress.  Feeling invincible?  Slip into your stilettos.  Going to a wedding reception or the mall?  You get the idea.






But eventually one might feel that they have done it all.  If there’s something I wanted to wear more than likely it’s hanging up in my closet or in a drawer.  The newness kind of wears off a little.  It’s true that fashion is always changing so there is always going to be a new look, a new style that catches our eyelinered eye so that’s fun, but for me my excitement is turning towards experiences and what I could wear on a new adventure.  Now that COVID restrictions are easing (Minnesota’s mask mandate is scheduled to end on July 1st!) I am starting to let myself fantasize about potential experiences.  Where can I go?  What can I do?  What will I wear?


I think of everything I dream of doing, getting ready for a wedding or even a formal event, such as a gala, are at the top of the list.  How fun would it be to spend hours at the mall looking for the perfect dress?  It could be a prom dress, perhaps a bridesmaid dress, or even a head-turning floor-length ball gown.  How glamorous would it be to spend the evening dressed in a breathtaking dress?

  


Prior to the pandemic I traveled for my job.  And I did it a lot.  It became something I was used to.  But flying pretty?  Oh my.  It’s like when I first went out en femme to simply get a cup of coffee.  Getting a coffee was something I did everyday but it was a new experience doing it in a skirt and heels.  I think about flying pretty a lot… what I would wear, where I would go, what I would do.  How amazing would that be? 


I’m always looking for a new style to wear, and always thinking about a new adventure.  What are you dreaming about these days?


Love, Hannah 

Ask Hannah!

Have you done a blog post (or a couple) that describe how your wife and you first started down the trans path together? I know you told her early on. I’m interested in how she was at first, how you’ve grown together with this, and how she helps and related to you today. My wife knows I underdress (several drawers full) and has been great, but I’m leery of pushing too hard and causing an issue.

Oh, and on a lighter note, who sells the cutest floral panties now? 🙂

I think all I have to say (and it’s a LOT lol) on our relationship (and relationships in general) can be read here.

As for panties, I am in love with a pair from En Femme at the moment. I don’t normally like boyshort styles but their Satin Floral Hot Pant is cute and comfortable!

Love, Hannah

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

T-Girl Survival Guide

Hi!

The most read part of this website is “A Beginner’s Guide to Crossdressing” and to be honest that makes me so happy.  The point of this site is to provide resources and help to girls like us.  I try to be helpful and offer advice when and where I can.  I think one of my strengths is offering a perspective on identifying as anything but cisgender when it comes to how we see ourselves and how we move through our lives and through the world.  For example, I can’t do anything about how tall some of us are, but I can remind us that no one is too tall to be femme.  


When it comes to stepping out en femme, I am only too happy to share my experiences in regards to facing the world.  I started to think the other day that most of my adventures have been, for the most part, either positive or at least uneventful.  And honestly, anyone can have a good experience en femme when the rest of the world (or the mall) doesn’t really care or notice a girl like us.  Most of the time things go right and we all move on with our lives.


For many of us this side of us is a secret.  We not only are scared that someone will recognize us, we are also terrified someone will see the panties hidden in our dresser drawer or our browser history.  We protect ourselves, or more accurately, we protect her at any cost.  


We are paranoid and terrified when it comes to the beautiful side of who we are. 


Again, almost all of my outings have been uneventful, but what happens when we are en femme and things don’t go smoothly?  What happens if someone accidentally sees our femme Facebook account?  What about getting a flat tire when we are out?  When I am in boy mode and things go wrong I just handle it.  If I have car problems I call a tow truck.  If I saw a friend of mine while dining out I would say hello.  But if these things happen when I am en femme then it’s completely different.  Things will go wrong and I feel mostly prepared for problems that likely won’t happen, but I am terrified about car problems when I am en femme.  The last thing I want to do is watch some tow truck driver hoist my car onto his truck and offer me a ride back to the shop.  I mean, I know it’s not much different than interacting with a barista or a salesclerk, but when I am en femme I choose how I spend my day and who I interact with, no one really plans on chatting up mechanics as they tell you that your alignment or whatever is messed up.


But these things happen, and they will happen.  Sure I can change a tire but I am not doing it in stilettos and a LBD.  Yes, I’ve gone to the emergency room but never after a makeover.  If these things happen to me you can be certain I will write about it, but they (knock on wood) haven’t. 

Really, the scariest thing that happened to me was at Pride a few years ago when the wind caused a tent to flip over which hit me on the head and I was treated by the EMTs.  I still have the scar, but thankfully it’s the only scar (physical, emotional, and mental) I have related to being out en femme.
But I’m sure things have happened to others.


I would like your help in putting together somewhat of a survival guide.  And I know that sounds a little extreme but it’s the best way I can describe it.  If you have had a negative (or frustrating or terrifying or even a funny) experience out en femme, how did you handle it?  How did others respond?  If you had something happen, something other than pleasant or uneventful, I would love to read (and post) your experience on this site.


Some of the things I have in mind:


-Car problems (or getting pulled over)

-Being recognized en femme

-Your social media page being discovered-Someone seeing your bra strap when you are in boy mode

-Flying pretty

-“Getting caught”

-Trying on heels at the mall in boy mode

-Anything else that you might helpful


Please send me an email (hannahgotta@gmail.com) with the subject line “T-Girl Survival Guide” and I’ll be happy to share it with others.


Thanks!

Love, Hannah

New En Femme Blog!

My new blog for En Femme is live!

Class is in session! Welcome to Crossdressing 101, Part IV: the latest article with blogger, trans-activist and fashionista, Hannah McKnight – now available in our Learning Center! Hannah’s blog discusses more in-depth her life as a self-described T-girl. 

Hannah’s newest article is the fourth and last part in a series about starting out crossdressing and exploring gender, identity and labels: “Crossdressing 101.” In this installment, Hannah talks about her own personal experience identifying as bi-gender and transgender.  Read it now>>

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

 I was wondering if you ever came across a person that struggled with their CD life and something that is very personal to people and their faith. I am a person that has struggled with this conflict within myself. I deeply desire to live as a CD and maybe even Trans, but I also have this faith that I have grown up with that tells me that what I am doing is wrong. Have you talked with anyone else with problems like this? 


I was raised Catholic and up until I was in my final days of high school I spent every Sunday in church.  I was told how EVERYTHING you did, thought, and said mattered to God.  Everything was being used to determine whether or not I would go to heaven or, uh, somewhere else when I died.  If everything I did was noticed, then I’m sure God saw me trying on my sister’s clothes and knew I was longing at the dresses I saw girls wore.  I’m sure what I was wearing (or wanting to wear) would be considered when it came to my afterlife.  Of course confession is used to absolve those “sins” but I certainly was not going to tell the priest about what I tried on in secret.


God created the heavens and the earth and everything in the universe, we were told.  God loves us.  These were some of the things we were taught every single day growing up.  It’s natural to question one’s faith, and for me I wondered if God was as powerful and as loving as we were told, did it really matter that I wore panties?  Did God REALLY care?  And if this was “wrong”, why was it wrong?  Did the Bible say it was?  I mean, they are just clothes, for heaven’s sake.  My relationship with God has nothing to do with religion.  I don’t base any of my life on what the Bible or the Vatican or whatever says.  


Religion, faith, gender…  these are all very personal things and you shouldn’t let anyone tell you what is right and what is wrong (even me).  

Related reading

Ask Hannah

Holy Hannah

Love, Hannah

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

Ask Hannah!

I noticed that you are getting very comfortable wearing sleeveless dresses. You look great wearing them, besides that is what the women wear. So you are fitting in very nicely. I am wondering what advice can you give to t-girls on how to be confident wearing sleeveless tops and dresses? 


I wasn’t always brave enough to wear dresses with thin straps.  I used to think my shoulders and arms were toooooo masculine to wear spaghetti straps.  But I started to take my own advice when I saw a really cute dress that I really wanted to wear.  The hill that I will die on is there is no such thing as passing.  No one has a body that is too tall, too wide, too muscular, too ANYTHING to be femme.  I am a tall t-girl but there are cis-girls that are taller than me.  Are they too tall to be beautiful?  Of course not.  Am I too tall to be beautiful?  Of course not.  Are you too tall to be beautiful?  Of course not.


This is all easier said than done, obviously.  It’s easy to believe something, it’s easy to say this, but doing something requires something else.  For me, it required two things.  I needed to stop caring (and wondering) what other people thought (and that included what I myself thought).  I also needed a reminder that life is short.  When the first weeks of COVID hit life was turned inside out.  Things were falling apart, things were changing quickly.  Things we took for granted, like going outside of the house, seeing friends, and shopping were all very different and weren’t the safest things to do.  I started to think about all the things I still wanted to do and how I didn’t want to live my life with any regrets.  


And yes, it’s shallow but I didn’t want to have a life where I didn’t wear a certain outfit that I loved.  I found a dress that I loved but it would show off my shoulders in a way that I never did before.  I didn’t think I could pull it off.  But fueled by the new uncertainty of the world I bought the dress and I promised myself I would wear it out.


And I DID.  And I looked amazing.  And I know that’s egotistical. 


I wish I had let myself wear dresses like this sooner.  I wish I didn’t let myself stop myself.  Now I have beautiful and fun dresses without sleeves, with halter ties, and thin straps.  I also have a confidence that I didn’t think I would.  


As for advice all I can say is to wear what you want.  Stop caring what others think (because unless you specifically ask someone you won’t know what they think anyway).  In terms of practical advice, have a strapless bra and a cover up.  When I wore the animal print dress in the picture above I had a long cardigan with it.  It was a little chilly that morning and it helped keep me warm, but I also looked at it as armor that I could put back on (or leave on) if I wasn’t quite ready to flaunt what I got.  


I hope this helps!

Related reading

All We Have is Who We Are

Impossible Things

Love, Hannah

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

Because I’m Alive

Yesterday was an absolutely perfect day.

Minnesota hasn’t seen too many days with blue skies lately so a day of sunshine and warmth was welcome indeed. It was perfect weather for my “Because I’m Alive” photo shoot.

Granted, the reason was pretty extreme but every once in a while I feel a combination of gratefulness and joy that I have the life I do. It’s not an extravagant life but it’s more than I thought I would ever have.

I dd this photo shoot because I am alive and because I could. And thank God for that.

Anyway, here’s some shots of some of the outfits I wore. It was a fun shoot.

Love, Hannah

Still Me But Not Really

In the evening when you see my eyes
Looking back at you, no disguise
I’m not sure who you think you’ll see
I’m just hoping you’ll still know that it’s me

Oh – what if it’s true
Better ask the man inside
Oh, oh – there seem to be two

-Jackson Browne


Whether you identify as a crossdresser, as gender fluid, as transgender, most of us realize early in our lives that there’s something more to us.  As we grow up we see that this side of us isn’t going away and is in fact, growing stronger within us.  We get to know this side us, and we learn that this side of us IS us.  It’s not limited to simply being a part of us, it’s who we are.

Once we acknowledge all of ourselves it becomes part of our everyday lives.  We likely will try on clothes that don’t belong to us, we shop in different stores in the mall than we normally do, we buy clothes that we hide in our drawers and in the back of our closets.  We become accustomed to having more than one side of our gender identity, or understanding the gender the world thinks we are is different than how we really feel.

After we acknowledge who we are, we will (hopefully) embrace our identity.  Even after we make peace with ourselves, it’s still likely a secret.   And usually it’s a secret for a loooong time. Until the day that we fall in love, of course.


When we fall in love, it unlocks a part of us that wants to share our lives with that person  ALL PARTS OF OUR LIVES.  We know that we should tell this beloved person about who we are, about what’s in our closets.  The idea terrifies us but we know we should tell them.  And we (probably) should.  The hesitancy is understandable.  There are few revelations that could instantly end a relationship as quickly as this one.  Sometimes we are in denial and are convinced that we can stop or shut off this side of us.  We cannnnnnnnnn’t.  And we don’t neeeeeeeeeeeed to.  There’s nothing wrong with who we are.  I mean, it’s true that this is a lot to ask of our partners but please know that even if your beloved thinks there is something wrong with who you are, there’s nothing wrong with who you are.  Yes, it’s a little unusual, but it is what it is.

You need to be ready and stable in a few ways before you can (and should) commit to someone.  Emotionally yes, but you need to understand (as much as one can) your gender identity as much as possible.  Who are you?  How do you identify?  What do you want?  These questions are also about making peace with who you are.  It’s a lot to ask of our partners to go through your personal gender identity journey with you.

Of course one’s gender identity can change and grow as you do.  Ten years ago I was a crossdresser.  Today I am bi-gender.

When I met my wife I told her about panties.  Today we talk about eyeliner and fashion.  But the BIG thing I knew was that transitioning was not right for me.I am blessed in quite a few ways, but when it came to my gender identity evolving from lingerie to who I am now, my wife was there at the beginning.  Yes I tried on a few dresses as I grew up, but my first real time was with my wife.  She did some light makeup and after that our lives were never the same.  She was there when I settled on a name, did my eye makeup the first night I went out, and gave me the idea for the MN T-Girls.  Of course this makes it all sound so easy but there have been plenty of difficult conversations as we both learned about gender and (ugh) my journey.

However most partners do not get this perspective.  For most, it’s a bombshell that is dropped on them, whether we come out to them, or we are “caught”.  We try our best to explain who we are, why we are, but we also try to explain that we are still the same person that they knew.  We are still ourselves.And to some extent that is true.  But it’s kind of not, at least not to our partners.  We live with this side of us, we have done so for years.  This side of us IS who we are.  It’s been who we are for decades.  But to our partners, it’s a shock, it’s something about us that they didn’t know about.  They didn’t know we had this side.  They didn’t know this was a part of ourselves.    

Coming out to someone is one of the biggest, scariest things we will ever do.  It’s also risky as we have really no way of knowing how someone will react and we will be changing that relationship FOREVER.  Telling our partners about who we are is essential.  It’s only fair to let them know about this side of us.  Coming out also takes a huge amount of compassion as they will likely react in a very strong way and will likely be confused, hurt, and scared.  I know we feel we are still the same person, but our significant others don’t see it that way, at least not at first.  We grew into, and grew up with this side of us.  Our femme selves are as much of a part of us as our boy lives, but our partners don’t know that.  Yes, we are the same person that we’ve always been but please be kind when you come out to someone.  They will likely have a different perspective than we do.


Love, Hannah

The First Time

I get a lot of emails about going out for the first time en femme and what my experience was.  I’ve written about it here and there but I think it’s time for a full recap of that day.  Buckle up and fasten your garter belt, this is going to be a looooong one.


When I talk about the first time I went out en femme, I am talking about the first time I woke up, dressed in a cute cami, black cardigan, floral skirt, black stockings, black heels, did my makeup and nervously stepped out into the real world.  But that wasn’t the first time I went out.  It was the first time I went out during the day, but even that isn’t exactly true.


The first time I went out en femme I went to The Townhouse (now named The Black Heart).  The Townhouse is/was the oldest LGBTQ+ bar in the Twin Cities and is almost a rite of passage for a girl like me.  It’s usually the first place someone like us goes to.  Although it was the first time I left the house dressed, I don’t really think of it as the first time out as I went from my home to the parking lot to the drag show to back home.  No one batted a false eyelash at a girl like me.  It was about as safe as it gets.  And thank God for that.  When you go out for the first time it’s helpful to go someplace like that.


The first time I went out during the day and went somewhere that wasn’t an LGBTQ+ bar was when I had a dress altered.  My wife gave me a beautiful gown for my birthday one year and I wanted to have it altered so it would fit me better as it was a little large and it needed to be taken in.  I made an appointment at a seamstress, got dolled up, and had a few fittings.  This was also a fairly safe adventure as I only went to one place and interacted with one other person.  


But both of these experiences took away from the “firstness” of going out en femme.  I learned how to walk in heels on the sidewalk, how to use the ladies room, how to drive in stilettos.  Baby steps before my first proper time out.  Getting the dress altered and walking to the seamstress took away some of the fear and nervousness of going out during the day.  Although I only spoke to one other person I didn’t notice anyone staring at me while I drove there or walked to the shop from where I parked.  I told myself if I can do all of that, then perhaps I could do more.  


It took a few more months to work up the courage to take the next baby steps.  But in retrospect they weren’t baby steps, they were huge, huge strides and struts forward.  


Why did I want to go out?  I was tired of being in my living room.  I wanted to experience life en femme.  I wanted to stop for heels while wearing heels.  It was nothing more (or less) than that.  Once I decided to have this experience, I needed a plan.  Where would I go?  Eventually I decided on getting coffee in Uptown. 


Uptown is a neighborhood in Minneapolis where twenty years ago was a lot hipper, a lot cooler, a lot more independent than it is now.  It was, and I suppose it still is, the gay friendliest part of the Twin Cities.  I knew that although I would stand out, I also knew that I wouldn’t be the first t-girl that people in that neighborhood would see.   If you are nervous about going out en femme (and of course you are) it’s helpful to go someplace like this, whether it is a cafe or a bar or a part of the city  Of course, I know that not every city has a place like that, so you may need to someplace that does.


How did I work up the courage?  The bar and the seamstress experiences were good first steps.  I learned the fundamentals (if you will) of going out en femme, such as getting in and out of a car in a skirt.  I knew I would be around other people on this next adventure and I would be paranoid and scared and nervous and I would have enough to worry about so I was glad I didn’t have to learn some of these things while I was dealing with my nerves at the same time.


How did I get over the fear and nervousness of being recognized?  Perhaps its naive of me, but I don’t think I am recognizable when I am en femme (or at least I hope I’m not).  I know some days I look VERY male when I am en femme but that’s okay.  I KNOW I’m transgender and I don’t think anyone thinks I am cis.  I know I’m trans, they know I’m trans, and I know they know I’m trans.  But I didn’t want (and still don’t) to run into anyone I knew.  I also wanted to go to a more liberal, more artsy part of the city.  Cue Uptown. 


I live about twenty miles from Uptown so I felt it was far enough away from most people I knew and the risk of running into anyone was pretty small.  I also was leaving for my adventure early enough that getting coffee was really the only option for that time of the day.  The plan was to park, get my coffee, and go home.  In boy mode this was as boring as it gets.  For Hannah, it was like going to the moon.  In heels.  


I left the house before the sun was up.  Going that early was part of the plan, but I also was too excited and nervous to sleep.  I drove to Uptown and trembled the whole time.  I was worried about being able to drive in heels especially with my foot shaking nervously the whole time but I made it.  I parked in a public ramp and made my way to the coffee shop which was located in a small shopping mall.  Although the stores were closed, you could still access the mall.  It had been a while since I had been to this coffee shop and was surprised that the cafe was no longer in business.  My perfectly planned morning now had a fly in the honey.  


In boy mode this would be no problem as there are dozens of places to get a coffee in Uptown but things were different, I was in a new world.  I was determined not to spin on my heels and go back to my car, I was doing this.  I walked two blocks to another coffee shop and nervously walked past the cars in the street and the other people on the sidewalk.  


No one cared.  No one looked at me.  Well, sure, they looked at me similar to how you look up when you notice someone is near you, but it’s not as if people were gawking or staring at me.  Just a girl out for coffee.  


I opened the door to the coffee shop and the cashier greeted me, I ordered my coffee, gave her my name, and a few minutes later the barista called out for a vanilla latte for Hannah.  I thanked her, she wished me a good day, and that was that.  It was a new world, I had accomplished something small and mundane and life-changing.  And it was easy.  It wasn’t a big deal.  I did it.  


The coffee shop was attached to a small grocery store and not knowing what else to do I went inside.  I sipped my coffee, listened to my heels click on the linoleum, and soaked up the day.  Most of the people in the store at that time of the day worked there.  They looked up as I approached but there was no sign of smirking, eye rolling, or staring.   No one cared.  Or if they did, they kept it to themselves.  


After I wandered around for a bit I headed back to my car.  Paid the automatic gate and left Uptown.  It was still early and the sun had just popped up.  The plan was to head home after getting coffee but I was too awake, too alive, too excited to go back.  Since it was still early, there were only a handful of places open and luckily Target was one of them.  I went in, headed to the Starbucks inside, bought another coffee and wandered around the store, beaming the whole while.  Employees and shoppers smiled at me, and I smiled back  I looked at dresses and just lived in the moment.  


A girl can only kill so much time at Target, so it was time to move on.  By this time a nearby mall opened and I spent more time there wandering around.  I drank more coffee.  I smiled, I strutted, I had the door opened for me, I felt the wind in my hair.  


It was time for lunch and I ate out for the first time en femme.  I popped into a Noodles and Company, ate my salad and by then I was tired.  The coffee had worn off, my feet were tired, and the thrill of going out was coming down.  I went to my car, and drove home.


I had a lovely time.  Everyone was so kind to me, or they ignored me completely.  Not a nasty comment was heard.  Usually I’m asked “what did people think?”.  I don’t know.  I didn’t ask them, but I learned that when you act like you belong, when you are dressed to blend in, no one really notices.  They think you belong there.  And I did.  Girls like us belong everywhere.


I learned a lot on my first time out, and when I went out for the second time, I realized how much more I learned than I had originally thought.  The second time I went out was a few months later.  I was encouraged and emboldened by my first adventure and I had naively assumed my second time out would be just as wonderful.  It wasn’t.  I went to the same mall as my first time and I had a lot more stares than I expected.  I couldn’t figure it out but I realized it might have to do something with my outfit.  I wore a tight bodycon dress with knee-high boots.  I looked cute, but perhaps a little… spicy for the mall on a Saturday afternoon.  Or maybe not, perhaps there was a store giving discounts to Rude People Who Stare At Transpeople that day. It’s impossible and pointless to speculate what people are thinking.

Maybe I was nervous this time and people could sense my anxiety. Perhaps the constant looking around and over my shoulders caught people’s attention as I was acting a little off. These days I am much more comfortable and confident and can look around a lot more subtlety.

I learned that you need to dress for the occasion, for what you’re doing, for where you’ll be.  This is not to say you can’t dress cute or wear heels but perhaps I was dressed for a nice dinner out or for cocktails, not for the mall.  I drew less stares the first time out because I looked like a girl on her way to work.   I learn something about, ah, something, almost every time I go out en femme.  Most times I go out are wonderful or at least uneventful.  Rude comments happen but they don’t happen often.  No matter how many times I go out, there’s still apprehension, fear, and excitement.

Love, Hannah