Tangled

T-girls know the purge.  How many times throughout our lives have we decided we are DONE, that we are NEVER EVER going to wear “girl’s” clothes ever again?  That this was a phase and we are MANLY MEN and men don’t wear five-inch black patent stilettos?  Into the trash they go!

But… in a matter or weeks, months, years or even hours, we regret it.  We hit the mall and begin rebuilding our wardrobe.

Again and again and again.

I am decades passed thinking that I would be able to resist who I am.  I knew it was never a phase, that I would always want to wear what I want to wear, but I thought I could control it.  I remember the last time I threw everything away and hoping I could tough it out.  These days my wardrobe and shoe collection are larger than it ever was.

But I still purge every once in a while.  I go through my wardrobe and closet, drawers and makeup, and toss out and donate what doesn’t fit or what I don’t wear anymore.  I like de-cluttering and it gives me more hangers and closet space for new stuff.  🙂

Yesterday I organized my jewelry and tossed out earrings that I can no longer find it’s mate, bracelets that fall into the “why did I buy this” category and necklaces that I can’t wait to wear now that I have untangled them.  I found the first pair of earrings my wife bought me, the first necklace I wore outside my home and the bracelets I bought on a shopping party the MN T-Girls attended.

I can’t speak for all t-girls, but I have a deep, personal connection to what is considered girl’s clothes and things.  This yellow dress is more than a dress, this is a dress that I was able to wear to wear after working so hard to lose weight.  It represents hard work and determination.

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I have many stories and there are meanings to so many things I own and wear.  I bet you have these stories and memories too.

This is who I am.  It’s who I grew up as and who I will grow old(er) as.

I have always been transgender, even before I knew there was a word for it.

My definition of transgender is rather broad and it basically comes down to any feeling, thinking, clothing preferences…whatever, that go against traditional societal norms about what boys and girls “should” wear or act.

I can trace back to when I tried on my first article of clothing that traditionally boys don’t wear.  It was a pair of my mom’s boots, found in the back of a closet in our basement.  I was around five or six years old.

As a child, I was fascinated by and  in love with dresses, makeup and shoes.  I still am.  My adoration for these things was always there, even before I could ride a bike without training wheels.  How’s that for perspective?

All throughout my childhood I tried on as many things as I could.  I suppose some would describe this as “experimenting” with girl’s clothes but I wasn’t experimenting.  I knew who I was, I knew what I wanted.  I didn’t think I was born with the wrong body, I just didn’t understand why simply being one gender meant that I wasn’t “allowed” to wear what I wanted to.

I remember the first day I was brave enough to wear panties under my work clothes.  All throughout my shift I was terrified but proud of myself.  I was fifteen.  I liked wearing dresses (or tops, skirts, anything) whenever I had the chance.  Wearing panties was, and still is, an intimate and personal connection to who I am.

I do not want to transition, I like who I am and I like being able to go back and forth between whatever gender I choose, but for some of us we know that presenting as male is required for most of what we do.  In a world where no one cares about gender and societal norms, sure, I suppose I could wear that dress to work, but I don’t see that happening in my lifetime.  It is enough to be able to wear a lacy pair of pink panties under my suit.  I smile inwardly when I have to do something MANLY like drive a forklift while I think about the cute undies I have on under my jeans.

The most common question we are asked is WHY.  Why do we do this?  Why do we want to?  Why do we choose to wear bras and heels?  We fumble and incoherently answer these questions without a convincing or satisfying answer.  We don’t know why we are who we are.  Usually the answer to these questions is simply “I just like wearing skirts” or “I love to feel beautiful”.  These answers are honest and real and true, but also vague.

But we also ask these questions of ourselves.  There is no answer.  There are reasons, but there is no real explanation.  We know how to go and come back from the moon and why the sky is blue but not why I love to wear lingerie.  Besides the obvious reasons, of course.

Underdressing (wearing a cute cami, panties, bras, stockings, etc, under male clothes) keeps me connected to who I am.  I wear panties, I want to wear panties, and by my definition of transgender, that alone makes me transgender.  This would also be true if ‘panties’ were replaced by ‘nail polish’ or whatever.

I need to clarify that every trans person is different.  I know many t-girls who wouldn’t wear high heels for any amount of money.   They choose jeans over dresses, sneakers instead of pumps.  I know some cis-women like that, too.  Wardrobe and makeup alone do not make you trans.  Some of us are trans because they simply (or complexly) felt like they were assigned the wrong gender at birth, or that they have anatomical features that contradict with their identity.  These feelings have nothing to do with a cute pencil skirt.

For me, gender identity and clothes, like tangled necklaces, are forever entwined.

Love, Hannah

 

 

 

 

 

Brighter than Sunshine!

It’s another snowy weekend in Minnesota and I thought it would be a good day for my third and final outfit that I wore for my itsy-bitsy photo shoot with Shannonlee  last month.   This bright yellow dress makes me so excited for summer!

Makeup brilliantly done by the incomparable Corrie Dubay.

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Specially Designed Luxury Lingerie For Transwomen

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From The London Economic

A transgender woman has launched the world’s first range of specially designed luxury lingerie – for trans women.

She said trans women who haven’t had surgery have few options to help conceal their genitals – and what’s out there is a far cry from anything found on the shelves of Victoria’s Secret and Anne Summers.

Carmen Liu, 27, from London, has designed flattering underwear that ‘tucks’ the genitals in while featuring pretty bows and lace trimmings usually found on conventional lingerie.

Slamming the traditional ‘gaff’ – which she describes as the “love child of Borat’s mankini and a jock strap” – Carmen says all women deserve the experience of wearing sexy lingerie.

She is also adding bras to the range to match her innovative bottoms, which keeps the area down below looking flat with a secret combination of design and fabric.

As well as underwear, the entrepreneur is also bringing out her own ‘tucking tape’ – which is safe for skin and a less painful alternative to household tapes that many trans women use.

More here!

Love, Hannah

 

 

The T Word

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I get a lot of emails from girls like me and it never surprises me how similar our experiences are.  For most of us, we started dressing when we were younger and whether it was conscience or instinctive, we knew we had to hide this.  Some of us felt shame, some of us were embarrassed, some of us terrified of being caught.

We usually started to experiment a little more with this as teenagers.  We started to buy (and hide) clothes, usually starting with panties.  Endless cycles of shopping, shame, terror, purging and ultimately shopping again.  Like a caterpillar into a butterfly, we are constantly trying to be beautiful.

We suppress it as we start to date and find committed relationships and we either hope this side of us will go away or that we will ignore it.

But we cannot outgrow this part of us.  This is who we are.  It will never go away.

I’ll say it again in case you don’t believe me, but this is a part of you and it will always be a part of you and it’s a beautiful part of you.

I think feelings of shame, embarrassment, and fear for some of us come from the perceived link between sexuality and wearing lingerie or anything else.

Every single one of us knows that what we wear has zero connection to who we want to be intimate with or who we want to be in a relationship with.

But not everyone knows that.  If you’ve ever come out to someone, whether intentionally or not, you probably have been asked if you’re gay.  The first time I was asked that I was a little taken aback.  I knew there was no link between what I wore to bed and who I wanted to go to bed with.

People who ask this about us can be forgiven, though.  For many, the first introduction to our world, whether we are trans, gender non-conforming or something else is drag.  The world of drag is typically dominated by gay men dressing up in a very exaggerated fashion.  For most of us, that is not who we are.  We know the difference between wanting to dress up and hit the mall and glamming up to strut the stage at a drag show.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  🙂  Or any of this.

The point I am trying to make is that a label can be very divisive when it comes to who we are.  We might be offended by one label, we may need to clarify a different one, or change our label at different points of our lives.

Of course, I don’t care for labels, but I understand the nuances our community has and in come cases, a specific label might be useful.

The big T word is a loaded word.  When I identify as transgender, I often will clarify what being trans means to me.  Yes, Caitlyn Jenner and Lavern Cox are transgender but I am not trans like them.  I have not transitioned nor do I feel that I want or need to.   I resisted identifying as transgender for a long time until a t-girl friend of mine said that her definition of trans was anything that went against the societal norms of the gender you were assigned at birth.

So, you like to paint your nails?  Trans.  You’re rocking eyeliner?  Trans.  Wearing a beautiful matching bra and panty under your suit?  Trans.  Looking amazing from wig to heels at the mall?  Lipsyncing to Madonna in 7 inch platforms at a gay club?  Trans.

I know that this is a very broad definition and that’s what I like about it.  When I identified as a crossdresser, at a certain point I felt that the term didn’t really encompass who I was.  It was more than just clothes but I didn’t feel that it was appropriate to call myself transgender.  Using the definition my friend gave me, I accepted that a crossdresser was also transgender.

I embraced that term and never looked back.  I like identifying as trans.  People know the term.  If needed, I can get more in-depth about what being transgender means to me specifically, but more often than not, just identifying as transgender is enough.  When I used to schedule makeovers I could, if needed, tell the salon I was transgender.  These days I don’t because I don’t think it matters; makeup is makeup.  Every face is different, regardless of gender.

As I said, people know the term.  Over the last few years the rest of the world has gotten a crash course in the different ways someone can identify as when it comes to gender.  It’s been exhausting for many of us as we often take on the role of educator and explaining the difference between terms like cis, trans, non-binary and many others.  It’s also been heartbreaking as we see our community lose our rights, attacked, misunderstood and portrayed in completely inaccurate ways.

It’s a complicated term for some of us in our community, too.

I often get emails from girls like us who are looking for support and looking for friends and others like them.  Many of us start by identifying as a crossdresser.  For some, they just want to look beautiful.  Some just want to wear lingerie.  Some want to have adventures in the real world presenting as the gender they (sometimes) identify as.  Crossdressing is a comfortable label for them.  I get it, I was there.

When someone is looking for support, more often than not I refer them to PFLAG.  According to their website, their mission is in 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. This vast grassroots network is cultivated, resourced, and serviced by PFLAG National, located in Washington, D.C., the National Board of Directors and 13 volunteer Regional Directors. 

I attended PFLAG meetings years ago, back before I identified as trans.  The meetings were wonderful and I got to meet people who loved and accepted me regardless of what I was wearing.  The support groups were important too as I met others like me, others who wanted to be beautiful but were happy to live most of their lives as male.  PFLAG meetings and support groups are also a safe way to go somewhere dressed, especially the first few times you go out.  It’s helpful to know you are going to be surrounded by people who will not bat an eyelash at a girl like us.

Some people get angry or offended when I suggest PFLAG.  They insist they are a crossdresser, not transgender.  They want to emphasize that they are straight and do not want to transition.  They like wearing lingerie, dresses, they have a femme name but they are not transgender.  They just want to meet others like them and to talk about this side of themselves to others.

Number one, yes, you are transgender.

And number two, that’s what PFLAG is for.

I don’t want to transition.  I do not, and have never wanted to date men.  But I am transgender.

We all remember the first time we wore…something.  Whether it was a pair of panties or a high heel we remember that thrill.  We also knew that it was a complicated moment.  What did it mean?  We tried our entire lives to understand this and why we do what we do, but there is no reason.  Nothing to understand.  Just something to accept and embrace.

We tell the media and the cis-world to not be afraid of the word transgender.  We shouldn’t be either.

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My Favorite Letter.  And shoes.

Love, Hannah

 

 

Little Black (Mesh) Dress!

This is the second outfit that I wore for my teeny-tiny photo shoot with Shannonlee  last month.   When I first started to dress beyond lingerie, I was really, really into little black dresses.   I have quite a few of them but every once in a while I find one that I HAVE to have.  This was one of them.  The slit is a little high but I don’t mind at all. 😉

Makeup expertly done by the fantastic Corrie Dubay.

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Love, Hannah

PFLAG Events for February

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 us for our February 19th support groups.
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Tuesday, February 19th, 6:30 – 7:45 pm.
Union Congregational Church
3700 Alabama Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55416
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In March MN author Austen Hartke will discuss his new book:

Transforming; The Bible & the Lives of Transgender Christians.

An Alluring Evening!

After the comments by a Victoria’s Secret CEO a few months ago, many in our community, including myself,  have decided to stop shopping there.  It’s hard to deny that they had really cute panties and for the most part, many of us had very welcoming and comfortable experiences there.  So, where’s a t-girl to go?

There are other options.

However, shopping online and shopping in a store are different experiences, especially when it comes to lingerie.   A few members of the MN T-Girls reached out to me and asked where a girl like us could go for a bra fitting in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area.

I live to serve.

IMG_1830For the February MN T-Girl outing, I arranged for a private shopping event at Allure, a really wonderful lingerie boutique in Saint Paul.  Like other private events we’ve been to, this took place after the store closed to the general public in order to create a safe, supportive and inclusive night of shopping en femme.

There’s no denying that Allure is just a really wonderful lingerie shop.  It’s warm, intimate,  and has a really incredible selection of panties, bras, bodysuits, shapewear and pajamas.  Their sizing is also inclusive which can go up to 3x and bras that go up to 48k.

For our event we had three amazing hosts who helped us all with bra fittings, recommendations, and special orders.  But the most important thing they did for our group and our community is showing how supportive they are.

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There were about twenty of us at the event and we definitely kept our hosts busy.  Our hosts were amazing as they helped us with bra fittings and educating us with everything from bra care to explaining how to find our cup size for those of us who wear forms.  Our hosts helped us find matching panties for beautiful bras as well as shapewear for those who are looking for some curves.  Some of us came to the event who were just looking to start building their lingerie wardrobe, some of us were looking for new sleepwear but for myself I wanted a new matching bra/panty set and a new black push-up bra.  I am thrilled with what I found.

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It was a wonderful night.  I am so happy that we have such an amazing store in the area.  There are other locations across the Twin Cities as well as in Wisconsin and Texas.

Here are some pictures from the event.  Huge thank you to Allure, our hosts Hannah, Angela and Ann and to all the MN T-Girls who helped create a really magical night.

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Love, Hannah