Five Years of the MN T-Girls!

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Five years ago the MN T-Girls had our very first outing.

It was held at a coffee shop in south Minneapolis that sadly is no longer in business.  I remember waiting, a little nervously, to see if anyone would show up.  But they did.  I think there were a total of four others who made it that day.  I was surprised that this little event was successful and a little proud of myself that the first event had happened.

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My confidence was bolstered by the first outing and by the number of t-girls who were emailing and wanting to join.  I had planned a shopping trip at the Mall of America…which no one had committed to going.  The event didn’t happen.

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My enthusiasm and confidence plummeted and I wondered if this group was going to make it.  I planned a third outing at the same coffee shop and it was attended by about a half dozen of us.  My confidence was restored and each month since then the group has met and had a lot of pretty amazing experiences.

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Running the MN T-Girls has been frustrating, amazing, rewarding and stressful…often all in the same day.  I really never know how an event will go until it starts.  I can plan an event with fifteen girls committing to attend…but only three show up.  That’s not too surprising when the group members are all at varying stages in their lives.  Some girls have been going out in public for years, others make their first visit into the real world at the event itself.

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I have been filled with pride as I watched some of the members make their first high-heeled step into a museum on their first venture into the outside world.  I have met girls in parking lots so they wouldn’t walk into a restaurant for their first time alone.  I have seen members blossom from attending outings in male mode to fully transitioning.  I have seen faces light up as a t-girl looks at themselves in a mirror after their very first makeover at a makeup demonstration event.

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When a t-girl joins, I often ask them what they want to do.  Some girls tell me they dream of going to a play, or going shopping or learning makeup.  So, I plan events where we go to a theater, hit the mall or attend a makeup demonstration.  It’s easy to get frustrated when it takes two months to plan and coordinate an event and have only four girls show up.

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When an event doesn’t go as planned and fewer girls show up than I had planned, I often think about why it wasn’t a successful event.  What was it about the event that wasn’t attractive to the members?  I do my best to plan events throughout the year that appeal to those who have been in public for years as well as events intended for girls who aren’t quite ready to be that visible.  I try to learn from the events so I can plan future events that the members want.

What do t-girls want?

Is it makeup lessons?  Private shopping events?  Dinner at nice restaurants?

After five years and literally hundreds of members later, I think I figured it out.

We want to be understood.

We want to be understood without explaining ourselves.

For those of us who have come out to others, we know it can take a long time to find the right words to answer questions that others have.  Why do we do this?  Why do we want to wear a dress?  Why can’t we change?

It can take years for someone else to somewhat understand why we are who we are.  I am not sure someone can fully understand why we are who we are as I am not sure we do ourselves.

But we are not a math problem that needs to be solved.  We are poetry that simply is.

I believe t-girls want to talk to others without having to explain why and who we are.  We understand each other.  We all have had many of the same experiences and feelings and thoughts.  The same conversations with our loved ones.  We know why another t-girl is who they are because we know why we are who we are.

T-girls fall into easy friendships and conversations because we don’t need to have the conversation about identity with each other.  We know how complex and how simple gender identity can be.  We know how it is fluid and beautiful and personal.

This side of us is yearning to have experiences in the world.  We want to experience things as this side of us.  Those experiences can range from flying pretty to having a cup of coffee with a new friend.

Yes, there will always be events where we learn how to contour, events where we go shopping and events where we go out to dinner.  The events over the past five years have ranged from wildly successful to complete disasters.  That will not change over the next five years.  But the measure of success needs to be gauged by building the community.  It makes me happy when friendships are formed because of the group and members are meeting up with each other outside of the monthly events.  It’s heartwarming to see girls build their confidence and find the courage to come out to others in their life.  I am inspired by the members and I am often bursting with pride.

I am often asked about the future of the group.  Some days I want to walk away from it but ten minutes later I am thinking about future outings.  It’s my dream to see the group someday being able to exist without me.  If I decide to retire as the head of the MN T-Girls I hope there would be someone to take the leadership role and keep the group going.  I would love to see the group become more involved in activism and social issues.  I would love to see the group grow.

This weekend we will celebrate our anniversary and all that we have done as a group and as individuals.  The event planned for tomorrow will be a typical event for me in terms of swinging from frustration to elation, but I’m used to that by now.

I want to thank every member of the MN T-Girls.  Whether you joined and have yet to attend an outing or are there for every event.  You are why I do what I do.  The group exists for you and I will continue to plan events as long as t-girls want to come to them.  I want to thank all our honoring members as well, such as Corrie Dupay and Shannonlee.  Two amazing women who do so much for our group and community.

Love, Hannah

 

 

 

 

 

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Pleated Pink Skirt!

Here’s another set of photos from the recent MN T-Girls recent photo shoot!  This isn’t an outfit I would normally wear but I stumbled across it on Amazon and thought it was super cute.  Hope you like it!.

 

Photography by Shannonlee.

Makeup by Ana at Rita Ambourne.

 

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Love, Hannah

PFLAG Events for November

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.

Guest Speaker: Billy Eloy

Billy will be providing information on events and services available to queer, trans and gender nonconforming youth in the Twin Cities.Suggestions for how parents can provide support and advocacy for their queer, trans and

Parents and youth welcome!

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Tuesday, November 20th, 2018 at 6:30 pm
Union Congregational Church
3700 Alabama Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55416
Support groups will be held at 7:30 pm directly following the program.
Love, Hannah

Transgender, Nonbinary Individuals and Allies March Through U of M Campus

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From MPR.org

A group of about 60 people marched through the University of Minnesota campus Thursday in support of transgender and nonbinary individuals’ rights on campus.

The march, dubbed “We Will Not Be Erased,” was largely in response to a statement by the university’s College Republicans student group painted on the Washington Avenue Bridge. The message read, “The proposed pronoun policy mocks real social issues,” which the marchers called “hate speech”.

Continued here!

Love, Hannah

Vote, Dammit

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In previous elections, I often heard that one should vote as if their life depended on it.

I think its safe to say without hyperbole that with the midterm elections on Tuesday and likely the presidential election in 2020, we have moved into a climate where we should vote BECAUSE our lives depend on it.

I know some of you of don’t like it when I discuss politics, but I will always maintain that the transgender community never sought to make being trans a political issue.  But being transgender has now become front and center when it comes to human rights.

I make it no secret that I am liberal.  I believe in science, I believe in equality and I believe in helping others.  As someone who presents as a white male most of the time, I am not often faced with discrimination.  I am constantly learning what it’s like for other genders and races to do things that I take for granted.  It’s important that I see life through the eyes of others.  Issues regarding anyone’s rights and experiences are issues that everyone should treat as important.

In the last two years we have seen laws and legislature discussed and pass that affects our community.  Some of us shrug them off.  I get emails that tell I am making too big of a deal about this.  Some ask why I care since I don’t plan on transition.  I’ll tell you why.

We are all members of the transcommunity.  Whether you have legally changed your name, starting hormones or just wear panties, we are all in this together.  Although I don’t plan on transitioning, I do not want any law passed that affects the rights and medical options of my friends who have, or will, or may one day transition.

When I go out to dinner or hit the mall, I do not want to be refused service just because I am wearing a dress and heels.  But now the Department of Justice says that businesses can discriminate because I am transgender.  If you live in a state that allows you to update the gender box on your driver’s license to reflect something other that the gender you were assigned to at birth, you may soon lose that right.  If my employer ever found out I identified as transgender, it’s perfectly legal for them to fire me because of that.

If you are transgender and this does not make you afraid, or if you believe in human rights and this does not anger you, I don’t know what else I can tell you to convince you to vote.

Please vote.  Find your polling place here.

Love, Hannah