I think they missed an opportunity by not calling the event ‘Hedwig and The Hangry Inch’ Drag Dinner.
Tickets for the show can be purchased here. Let me know if you go!
I think they missed an opportunity by not calling the event ‘Hedwig and The Hangry Inch’ Drag Dinner.
Tickets for the show can be purchased here. Let me know if you go!
The harsh Minnesota winter is finally being driven away and yesterday was no exception as the warm spring sun was shining all day long. Gone are the sweaters and boots, out come the bodycon dresses and stilettos.
I’m exaggerating of course. Do you think snow and ice can stop us from strutting in four-inch heels and hems that are (way) above the knee?
If you told me at fifteen years old I would have spent my morning getting a makeover so I could play bingo I never would have believed you, but it was one of the most fun events the T-Girls have had. The day started with us getting our cards and our…dabber things.
The day was hosted by two fabulous queens who called out the numbers and kept the day fun.
We played about a dozen rounds…
…and we have a winner!
It was a fun day and I want to thank Lush for being so accommodating for our large group. The staff is friendly, the queens are gorgeous, the food is delicious and it was just a wonderful day.
How are you?? Please forgive me as it’s been several months since my last newsletter. I hope this finds you doing well. And….can we get a HALLELOO!?!?!…Seems as though Spring has FINALLY started to show her lovely face. 😀
XOXO from your favorite makeup guru,
First – what is highlighting and contouring? Simply put – it’s how we can restructure or accentuate certain features of our face using light and shadows. Remember these two things: contour (shadow) shades or pushes away, highlight (light) emphasizes or brings forward.
Why would I want to highlight and/or contour? For a number of reasons. Let’s say you have a very square jaw line – we can use contouring (or shadows) to soften it and create a more feminine looking jawline. Or – you want your nose to look narrower, a sharper, more pronounced cheek, narrower looking forehead…the list goes on. You can easily do all of that with a little bit of highlighting and contouring.
All of this is great, but do I HAVE to contour and highlight? Of course not. You don’t have to do anything. Do what your comfortable with. In fact – I tell people – get efficient with your basics first (beard coverage, foundation, eyes, etc.) before tackling highlighting and contouring.
Okay – so how do I do it?? There’s a couple ways you can highlight and contour and achieve similar results. Before you can do that – you need to choose colors. For my contour, I typically like to go several shades (2 – 3) darker than my foundation and always choose a matte – no shimmer. I also like to use something that is very cool-toned. Some people say to use a bronzer as a contour. Technically – yes, you COULD use bronzer. However – a bronzer’s purpose is to warm you up – make you look like you were out in the sun. A true shadow has coolness to it, so many times, using a bronzer as a contour can make your face look dirty, not shadowed.
For highlight – I like to stick to a shade or shade and a half lighter than my foundation base (also in a matte form to start). You can over-highlight, making your face look like it’s glowing…but not in a good way!!! Many highlighters have shimmer in them – which is totally fine. We just want to use the shimmer highlighters in specific places (top of the cheek bone, a light touch on the forehead, etc.), otherwise you may end up looking sweaty or just shiny all over…which is not what we’re after.
Back to products….the first (and my personal favorite) is to use a creme or liquid product (in conjunction with your creme or liquid foundation). Start by applying your base (foundation). Before powdering the foundation, apply your highlight and contour and blend out with your sponge or brush. You want to blend in, not away, making sure you don’t have any hard lines between the foundation/contour/highlight. We’re looking for a nice gradient when we’re done. Once blended, set with powder and continue on with your application. I prefer cremes because I can create a very natural looking contour and highlight.
The second is to do your foundation and set with powder, then apply your highlight and contour in POWDER form over. Remember – we need to keep like products with like products. For example – if you want to use a powder highlight/contour, you need to be putting it over powder (a powdered creme or liquid foundation). A creme or liquid highlight/contour has to go over a creme or liquid foundation (BEFORE applying powder). If you mix the two or flip back and forth, you can end up having a difficult time blending and run the risk of your foundation cracking/flaking because it got too heavy. I generally use a powder contour and highlight as a finishing touch if I need to bump up my existing creme contour or highlight a touch.
Let’s talk about a few of my favorite highlighting/contouring products and then we’ll move on to placement. I really like the Sephora Highlight Lowlight Face Contour Duo. It has both a contour and highlight color in stick form (creme). Application is super easy, blends nicely and is super affordable.
I also really like using the Graftobian HD Glamour Creme Hi-Lite Contour palette. It has both highlighting and contouring colors you can mix and blend easily. It comes in a light and dark version depending on your skin tone. LOVE Graftobian!!!!
For Powders – I’ve been OBSESSED with Smashbox lately. They have these great little three color highlight/contour palettes that blend like BUTTER when you put them on. I just got the Cali Contour Palette (this has highlight/contour, blush, bronzer and a shimmer highlight – so lots of bang for your buck) and it is my new fave!!!
Okay – let’s talk placement. Now as I mentioned before – you can watch videos and tutorials with people going bananas applying highlight and contour. That is not necessary. I suggest you only highlight/contour what you want to emphasize. You want a more pronounced cheek, do the cheeks, you want your nose to appear narrower, do your nose. You can so as little or as much as you want or have time for.
Generally speaking – unless someone asks for specific highlighting and contouring, these are the areas I normally do: cheek bone, forehead, jawline and nose. I also like to throw a little highlight under the eyes to brighten things up a touch. Here’s a diagram of my general highlight and contour placement:
Lastly – I want to touch on blush quick. We don’t want to forget our blush. Blush adds the color back into the face we’re missing. It gives us a nice glow we all need – especially this time of year. I like to put the blush on the apples of the cheek and blend up and out. You can check out my tips and tricks on blush application here.
Earlier on, I mentioned how I do like using shimmer highlighters but in specific places. I mention blush as well because I like to put my blush on first, blend, then add my shimmer highlight after. I like to apply the shimmer last because it can lose it’s shimmery-ness (?) if I’m putting something matte back over the top.
Okay – are your heads spinning yet?? I realize this is a lot of information to take in so if you have ANY questions at all – please ask (I can be reached here)!! I know it seems kind of scary at first but give it some time and practice and you’ll have it down in no time.
Alright my darlings – I hope you’ve been well. If you have any questions or want to book a session – holler!!
If you are reading this, there is a really good chance you could, and do, identify as transgender. I define that term rather broadly so whether you are on hormones, living full-time or just wearing a cute pair of panties or have pink toenails there’s a really strong likelihood you fit within that definition.
Based on the comments on this blog and the emails I receive, I suspect that most of you are like me. I happily go back and forth between genders, I am secure with who I am, I have no plans to transition and I am at peace with who I am.
I am also happily married.
Relationships with those like us are not easy. For either partner. We wrestle with if we should tell our partner, how we should tell them as well as the fear of what will happen if we do.
I will make the first one easy for you YES TELL THEM. Tell them while you are dating. Tell them when the relationship gets serious. Tell them when it feels like you want to be with them for a long time. Tell them before any commitment is made, whether that commitment is moving in with each other, getting engaged or getting married.
You need to tell them because this part of you is not a phase. It is not going to go away. It will not fade over time. You will not outgrow it. Some of us hope that we will because it creates a lot of conflict and tension within themselves. It scares them. I understand. We all wonder what this means, why we want to wear heels or eyeliner or feel a little… strange when someone calls us a typical guy. We wonder if we were born in the wrong body, we wonder if we need to transition. We wonder where all this is going.
Our partners wonder the same thing.
Truly the only way you can determine for yourself where this is is all going and what it means is to let yourself find out. We need to embrace and accept this part of us. We need to stop being in denial about who we are and what we feel. If you want to wear that dress or skirt, then you need to wear that dress or skirt. How does it feel? How do you feel?
Does the next step feel right?
Growing up I thought all of …this was about pretty panties and lingerie. When I got older I realized it wasn’t. In my early thirties I had a makeover, a wig and a little black dress. I kept going to the next “level” and each step felt…well, it felt wonderful. It was normal (and scary) for my wife to think about what was next. But there was nothing next. I continued to, well, let’s call it evolve, but there was no consideration from me about hormones or transitioning or anything. I was done. I found out where all of this was leading. I even attended PFLAG meetings to talk to others like me and discussed this with a therapist to make sure I wasn’t in denial.
In terms of how you should tell your partner, well, I can’t answer that for you. I get emails several times a week from others like me asking me to email their partner, girlfriend, wife, spouse or family and talk to them and explain this to them. I’m not going to do that, obviously. It’s not my place. Coming out to our partners, or anyone, is a private and personal conversation. The best advice I can give is to approach this as it were potentially devastating. We have all had to break difficult news to someone. We needed to be gentle and honest in those times. We need to be gentle and honest with this.
It’s normal to be afraid of the aftermath. No matter how well you know someone you will never be able to predict how they will react. That fear is no excuse for not being honest with your partner. They deserve to know so they can make their own decisions about their relationships. If they do not feel they can, or want to be in a relationship with someone like us they deserve the right and ability to make that choice.
If this is a deal-breaker for them that does not make them a bad person by any means. If it is, then they should be respected for being honest. And you should know that you did the right thing by being upfront about who you are.
But if this is not a deal-breaker, then the two of you learn how to live with this. And it likely won’t be easy. Compromises may be made, boundaries may be set. For the love of God please respect them. If they ask you not to post photos online or leave the house, then don’t do it. Just don’t. It is a violation of respect and trust. If you get caught then why should they believe anything you say? I believe lying about this is the worst thing you can do to someone.
The dust will settle, the shock with subside and the two of you will enter into a new reality. This new reality could take on many dynamics. It could be ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, it could be the two of you getting makeovers and hitting the mall. It could be a million different things in-between.
Every marriage is different. Every marriage handles things in different ways. It could be finances, raising children, or how two people adapt to the husband rocking a miniskirt. I could write a book about relationships and being who we are but the point I want to make is that you know who you are and so do they.
Even if the two of you go out to the movies or the theater or dinner dressed to kill, there’s a good chance that it took a lot to get there. It could have been a lot of time, patience, tears, conversations, arguments, counseling or anything else. Regardless of where the two of you have landed, it was not easy to get there.
For either of you.
This is not an easy thing to discuss or understand. Tying to help someone else understand who we are is almost impossible. It’s a dynamic that most people don’t anticipate having to deal with in their relationships. It could be a lonely thing for a wife to live with. In a way, this is not as simple or direct as their husband having an affair. This is not something that many people can relate to. Many spouses may feel like there is no one they can talk to that might help sort out their feelings. They may just keep their feelings to themselves where the fear, doubt, confusion, or perhaps resentment, grows.
If you are a partner of someone like me and are struggling or looking for support or understanding, please seek out a local PFLAG support group.
We as human beings and as partners need to be the best people we can be. Always. It’s kind of a basic thing, you know? But for those like us we need to be better than the best. Our partners are coming to terms with this side of us just like we had to come to terms with this side of us. This is not something most partners anticipated living with in their relationships.
So, be worth it. They are, or have, struggled with this. They may be stressed, scared or lonely. Be gentle with them, not only when it comes to this but also with everything else the two of you live with. Be honest. Surprise them. It could be with flowers or power tools or a massage or anything else they might want. Talk with them about anything besides this. Be their husband, be their boyfriend, if you know they need their man, too. Fixing something or wearing work boots does not diminish this other side of you in any way.
We always need to show our partners we appreciate them. However, just like there is something a little bit more to us, we need to be a little bit more to them.
The world is a more beautiful place thanks to Corrie Dubay.
Although the world has many talented makeup artists, I can’t imagine anyone better than Ms. Dubay. Corrie is the owner and makeup magician of Femme Makeovers, a makeup and transformation studio wedged comfortably between Minneapolis and Saint Paul. I have had the honor of Corrie doing my makeup many times and she has also given me a private lesson as well. She has also invited the MN T-Girls into her studio for private makeup demonstrations on several occasions.
If Corrie can make me look this good, imagine what she can do for you.
Like many of us, Corrie’s studio is forever evolving. She has recently completely renovated her space and has added more clothes and more heels and more wigs. I had a chance to see her new studio and was blown away by what she has to offer.
Many conversations our community has begin with the word “why”. Why can’t we wear what we want? Why doesn’t society try harder to understand us? Why aren’t we accepted as the gender we present as? Why are we treated so differently?
I think we all dream and strive for a world where no one thinks differently of us. A world where we are accepted for who we are. I know I do.
How do we get there? I’ve written before that even if the newspapers all over the world printed a headline that read “It’s Okay to Wear Whatever You Want”, it’s still not going to be “okay”. We cannot wait for that moment to come because it’s not coming. Even if it does, it still doesn’t mean that people’s minds will change about us. Laws are on thing, people’s attitudes and perspectives are another.
I believe that our community has the opportunity to show the world that we are just…people. We have this opportunity every time we go out. In every conversation we have. We are not deviants, perverts, or confused. We are not trying to fool anyone. We just want to live our lives.
So, how do we change the world? For a start, we can do small things. When I am in line at Starbucks I will often chat up the person next to me. In doing this, even if it’s small talk about the weather, I want them to know that I am a human being and hopefully they will walk away from that conversation, no matter how small, realizing that they just spoke with a t-girl and that maybe, just maybe, we are not the horrible people that we are sometimes portrayed as.
We can also make this change on a political level.
I can hear your eyes rolling.
I stand by my opinion that as a member of the trans community I never intended to make our community a political issue. It was thrust upon us.
In addition to that, the Trump administration announced its plan to begin implementing their discriminatory ban on transgender people serving in the military. The plan calls for the armed services to begin discharging transgender service members effective April 12, putting the honorable service of thousands of troops on the line, endangering their careers—and their very livelihoods (from The National Center for Transgender Equality Action Fund).
The reason for these changes, according to the president, is because we a burden and he cited “tremendous medical costs” as a reason for the ban (from the Military Times).
This has been a long and dangerous fight and there’s no justification to the ban, according to the courts.
As of October 2017, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia temporarily blocked the ban on transgender people serving in the military, which was set to take effect in March 2018. She stated that “there is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effect on the military at all. In fact, there is considerable evidence that it is the discharge and banning of such individuals that would have such effects”. As three federal courts have ruled against the Trump administration’s ban, transgender people have been allowed to continue serving. However, the arguments surrounding the kinds of support the government provides transgender military personnel have continued to evolve on the basis of perceived financial strain. The catalyst for President Trump’s controversial decision – the debate over whether the military (and taxpayers) should be footing the bill for covering transgender service members’ medical care – will likely not disappear. Economic analysis of transgender military personnel health care costs can lead one to a logical conclusion on whether these expenses pose an undue burden that justifies the termination of coverage (from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania).
What does this have to do with members of our community that are not serving in the military? Not only is this another distracting lie that has no basis in reality, but this is one more law that will create fear and prejudice of people like us. People will believe that our community is a burden, that we are expensive. It furthers the stereotype that all transgender people want surgery. This provides precedent to future or justification to keeping existing laws that will discriminate against us.
This is a major step back in an effort for equality or even normalcy for our community. This is, in a way, the opposite of newspapers printing headlines that read “It’s Okay to Wear Whatever You Want”. This is the president calling you and I a burden.
I am not a burden.
As members of the community, I believe we must push forward together. Support each other. Vote against politicians who implement laws that are based on fearmongering and lies about who we are.
You want to change the world? You want the world to be better for us? More accepting of us? Safer for us? I do too. This does not help.
All throughout my life I have been unintentionally and subtly reminded how different I was. Not different in a bad way, just different. I remember being in high school and the guys in my class would talk about seeing a girl’s cleavage because of a dress she wore to the homecoming dance. I just wanted to hear more about the dress. Strapless? Was there a slit up the side? What fabric was it made of? How did her makeup look? How did she wear her hair? TELL ME ABOUT THE HEELS.
But instances like this started before I was a teenager, even before grade school. I knew I was unique because not every boy wanted to dress up as the princess in kindergarten. I did not want to be the construction worker or the doctor. No hardhat or stethoscope for me, I wanted the pink gown and fairy wings.
I still do.
I was six and I was transgender.
I define being transgender as any deviation from the traditional gender and societal norms for the gender we are assigned to at birth. Yes, this is a broad perspective but I like that it can cover quite almost all of us. Whether you are a drag queen, a part-time t-girl like myself or you just enjoy panties or painting your nails, we are all under this inclusive umbrella.
Under this definition, I have always been trans. Even before I knew how to spell it, I was transgender. And I will still be transgender in ten years from now. This isn’t something we outgrow. If you’ve been reading my ramblings for a while you know that the hill I will die on is that this is not a phase.
As I made my way through junior high and high school, I would try on anything I could. It wasn’t long until I gravitated towards lingerie. After all, what is more feminine than a beautiful bra and matching panty? What is sexier than pairing it with a garter belt and stockings? Is there any secret more fun than wearing cute panties under your regular clothes? I loved underdressing. I still do. Your perspective may vary, but I think of panties as a way of connecting to my femme self when I am presenting as male.
I added heels and dresses once I had my own apartment. I slept in a nightie. My tiny wardrobe would grow and then get purged and then grow again. These days my shoe collection, makeup shelf and wardrobe is larger than I had ever dared to dream.
I am beyond fortunate.
I don’t think anyone will know why they are trans. I mean, there are signs and moments in one’s life that can pinpoint when they knew they were not cisgender. There may have been feelings that they were born with the wrong body but trying to come up with why one felt this way is hard to do. I don’t know why I wanted (and still want to) be a cheerleader instead of a football player, but there it is.
Growing up boys my age were constantly labeling things as ‘boy things’ or ‘girl things’. Whether it was jumping rope or what side of the table you sat on for lunch, there were things boys did and things boys did not do. Of course, this hasn’t changed much now that I am an adult. Men don’t typically exfoliate because I guess men don’t do that? Really? Don’t men have…skin? Black coffee is for men, pumpkin spice lattes are for the ladies.
However nothing is more divisive in terms of gender norms than clothes. Men do not wear leggings. Men do not wear camisoles. Men do not wear things like this:
Of course, these outfits may be on the more extreme side of the feminine societal norms. I don’t think that a dude rocking an evening gown is the same thing as a dude taking care of his pores. There are many cis-women who do not want to wear heels and dresses. You don’t have to want to wear a dress, but you should know you can if you want to.
I believe that I will never know why I am who I am. It doesn’t keep me up at night though. I love who I am, I have long ago embraced and accepted myself. You should do that for yourself, too. I don’t ask myself why I am who I am.
What I do ask myself is do I wear what I wear because I am transgender or am I transgender because I wear what I wear?
Going by my definition of what being transgender is, I would still be trans if the only thing I owned was the nightie I wear to bed. Accepting myself as transgender has given me the confidence, and in a way, permission to wear whatever I want. There are some of us who want nothing more than to wear that red dress we saw at the mall. But we just can’t do it. Buying that dress means that we are entering a new world. We would cross that line from “I wonder what it’s like to wear a dress” to “I own a dress”. Sure, it might be hanging up waaaaay in the back between your old football jersey and suit, but you are one step closer to knowing what it’s like to wear one.
If we look at clothes on a spectrum for what is traditionally for boys and what is traditionally for girls, dresses, lingerie, mascara are among the things that will be very much on one side. Tuxedos, beards, and, I don’t know, jock straps are on the opposite end. These are all items that are typically highly genderized. Spellcheck is telling me that ‘genderized’ isn’t a word, but you know what I mean.
There are clothes in my closet that I think are, and should be, right in the middle. Things that I believe I would wear even if I weren’t transgender. I do not think clothes should be for boys or for girls. I roll my eyes when I go shopping and I see the section for “Women’s Dresses”. I mean, they’re just dresses.
When I go to bed, I think about how good it feels to wear my black nightgown. After a day in a suit or jeans, wearing a simple nightie feels like the ultimate freedom. Physically and in a way, emotionally. Gone are the trappings of “male clothes” and power suits and neckties and wingtip shoes. Gone is the socially accepted uniform that men are supposed to wear. All is left is a simple, but beyond beautiful nightie.
You probably know what I mean.
I have clothes that I wear regardless of what gender I present as. I have “boy jeans” and “girl jeans”. I wear both in male mode. The boy jeans have pockets and the girl jeans are softer. I have “boy shirts” and “girl shirts”. The differences are minimal. One has a v-neck, the other a scoop.
When I am home, I slip on leggings. I love leggings. LOVE them. Everyone should wear them. I accept that most men will never know what its like to wear an evening gown, but I believe things like leggings and nightgowns are things men would wear if they tried them on.
But they won’t. No matter how much they want to. They are “for girls”. They are in the same category as moisturizer, Taylor Swift songs and pedicures. Sure, a boy COULD enjoy these things, but they are FOR GIRLS.
Accepting myself as transgender and believing that there are no such thing as girl things and boy things has given me the confidence and security to wear whatever I want, whether it is eyeliner, a nightie or a little black dress.
So, do I wear what I wear because I am transgender or am I transgender because I wear what I wear?