What it Means to be a Man

1971_grey_dress_600sqWe all know 2016 was a very difficult year when it comes to the deaths of iconic and famous celebrities.  It was a year that not only had a significant number of deaths but also how many were unexpected, starting with David Bowie, then Prince and most recently George Michael.  Even if you didn’t care for their music, I’m sure most of us were struck by the gender fluidity and androgynous looks they presented.  These days a male pop star wearing a dress might not be that big of a deal, but in the early 70’s it was almost scandalous.   Prince was…well, growing up in Minneapolis in the 80’s, Prince was 58e601dd97d3d67c11eb083f057f45a4everything.  It was really fun having one of the biggest pop stars of the era living in our city, especially someone as, well, fabulous as Prince in our midwestern city.  I remember seeing him when I was younger and was blown away by him…I didn’t care for his music at the time but here was a man wearing make up.  He wasn’t in drag, he just…wore it.  My whole little world changed at the thought of wearing eyeliner.  These days I suppose it’s commonly referred to as being agender or gender fluid but at the time it really had an impact on me.  George Michael was one of the first celebrities I remember as coming out as gay when I was growing up.  I think all three of these musicians really shaped and changed what it meant to be a man for me.

My father was a very typical man of the time…dominating, loud, angry and very mean.  To children, their father sets the standards of what a man is “supposed” to be.  To see these musicians at a young, impressionable time was nothing less than life changing.  Perhaps life affirming might be a better phrase because all of a sudden I didn’t “have” to be anything.  There were others besides myself that didn’t want to be what a man was “supposed” to be.

NPR has an interesting article about these artists and how they redefined gender roles and it’s really worth a read.

Love, Hannah

Trans girl, 9, makes history on National Geographic cover

636175772195489616-cover0117-subscriberI’m sure we all have seen the cover for the upcoming issue of National Geographic that features a trans girl.

From the magazine:

“The story of gender plays out all around us. More and more, celebrities are shining a spotlight on the subject. But more quietly, our children, parents, teachers, medical professionals, and officials every day confront an array of issues with gender at the center. Everywhere we looked, in the U.S. and around the globe, individuals and organizations are fighting to redefine traditional gender roles, whether it is girls in war-torn Sierra Leone rejecting the cultural norm of female genital mutilation and child marriage, men in Sweden making use of extended paternal leave after having a child, or people who reject binary, boy-girl labels and find their true identity elsewhere on a gender spectrum.

This is why we’re devoting the January issue of National Geographic magazine entirely to an exploration of gender issues — in science, social systems, and civilizations — and decided to feature the first transgender person on the cover of our magazine: nine-year-old Avery Jackson.”

What struck me about the cover and the upcoming article is how much I appreciate a respected media source such as National Geographic putting our community out front in such a public, positive and matter-of-fact way.  Being transgender is hard to explain to ourselves, let alone to someone else.  It is wonderful to read an article like this that explains what being transgender is and what it means in a clearer way than I ever could.

Love, Hannah

North Carolina’s Legislature Poised To Repeal ‘Bathroom Bill’

From NPR

North Carolina’s Legislature is poised to repeal the controversial “bathroom bill,” after the Charlotte City Council unanimously voted to repeal its local anti-discrimination measure.

The state law, called House Bill 2 or HB2, was passed in March as a direct response to that Charlotte measure — over the course of 12 hours, in the state’s first special legislative session in 35 years.


This is wonderful news.  I was afraid that this law would set a precedent and other states would follow suit, especially with the incoming vice-president.  Bathroom laws change from state to state and change from time to time, so it is important you are aware of the laws and of your rights.  Bathroom laws are also, in my opinion, a way to gauge the public’s perception of us and a way for us to see what they think of us.  A law like this changing helps our community become a little more accepted.

Love, Hannah


Repeal Of North Carolina’s HB2 Law Fails As Legislature Adjourns Special Session

From NPR

The North Carolina Legislature began a special session on Wednesday morning to vote on the repeal of a controversial state law that limits civil rights protections for LGBT people, but the effort failed by day’s end as the Legislature adjourned without passing any bill.

Read more here

Transgender Activist Runs for Minneapolis City Council

If elected, she would be the first transgender member of the council.


Jenkins, a former policy aide for Glidden and veteran presence at City Hall, would be the first transgender member of the Minneapolis City Council if elected. Another transgender candidate, Phillipe Cunningham, is running for council in Ward 4.

“I am prepared and ready to bring positive change toward a more equitable Minneapolis,” Jenkins said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the residents of the 8th Ward, and beyond, in creating the policies and programs necessary to bring sustainable improvement for everyone in our economy, housing, and services.”

Read the full article here!

Love, Hannah

MN T-Girls: Joy to the T-Girl

3The MN T-Girls celebrated the holiday last night with our annual Christmas party and it was a incredibly fun, glam evening.  This was our second Christmas party and it was a huge success, despite the cold, snowy weather.

The party was held at a rented suite and everyone brought something to share, whether it was a bottle of wine or Christmas cookies.  We all looked fabulous in our sparkly holiday dresses.  Over the course of the night there were around twenty of us and it was so fun to meet new friends.  I was so proud of those who were out for the very first time and so happy for those who brought their amazing, supportive. wives.

It was a wonderful way to end the year as we looked back over everything that not only the group has done in 2016, but how we all have grown as individuals as well.  So many of us had milestones this year, whether it was coming out to people in our lives or leaving the house for the first time.

Thank you the MN T-Girls for making the party as well as 2016 a success.  I can’t wait for next year!

Love, Hannah


Mental Health and Being Transgender

I think this is so important, especially right now.  We live in a society accepts us and hates us more than ever.  There are laws against us, there are people who don’t accept us, people who don’t even try to understand us.

It all gets very depressing.

There are many resources for us.  Here’s a list for those of us who live here in Minnesota, but there are many places to get help, to find a friend, to have someone to talk to.

Love, Hannah




11 Transgender Americans Share Their Stories In HBO’s ‘The Trans List’


NPR had a fascinating preview of the upcoming HBO documentary The Trans List

Directed by acclaimed portrait photographer and filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders (HBO’s The Black List, The Out List and The Latino List, among others) and featuring interviews and an introduction by Janet Mock, The Trans List shines a light on prominent members of the transgender community.

Featuring such outspoken subjects as Kylar Broadus, Caroline Cossey, Amos Mac, Bamby Salcedo, Buck Angel, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Nicole Maines, Shane Ortega, Caitlyn Jenner, Alok Vaid-Menon and Laverne Cox, the film profiles this diverse group of 11 transgender individuals, telling their stories in their own words, addressing identity, family, career, love, struggle and accomplishment.

Simultaneously, The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles is presenting IDENTITY: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders The List Portraits, a special exhibition in which the renowned photographer’s List Series portfolios (The Black List, The Latino List, The Women’s List and The Out List) will be shown together for the first time, along with The Trans List portraits, through February 2017.

The Trans List was directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders; interviews by Janet Mock; executive producers, Ingrid Duran, Catherine Pino, Chad Thompson and Tommy Walker; producers, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Sam McConnell and Janet Mock; editor, Johanna Giebelhaus. For HBO: supervising producer, Lisa Heller; executive producer Sheila Nevins.



Explaining Being Trans to Kids

When I started going out, I was worried about what people would think of me, say to me or even do to me.  But years of going out have really helped ease this tension.  The last few years have been illuminating in many ways as I am constantly surprised at how little anyone cares and how wonderful people can be.


I think interacting with kids have been the most surprising.  When I do see kids, they do stare at me.  But when I smile at them, they smile back.  I do wonder what this generation will be like as they get older since transgender men and women are in the news, entertainment and even children’s books.  Society is normalizing being transgender to this generation.  I think shows like SheZow are a step in the right direction.

Explaining what being transgender is can be hard and easy at the same time, and explaining things to kids is a different type of easy and hard.  I wanted to share a post on Huffinging Post that featured some great resources for talking to kids about what being transgender means.

Love, Hannah