Minneapolis Trans Equity Summit

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Minneapolis is hosting the 6th annual Minneapolis Trans Equity Summit on Thursday, September 26th at the Walker Art Center.

From the press release:

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, the theme for this year’s Summit is “Shifting the Narrative.” As trans and gender non-conforming people, what are the stories that are told about us, our histories, and our futures? How do we want to change those stories? What is the silenced history we want to highlight, and what are the futures we’re envisioning?

The Summit is free and open to the public, and we encourage anyone interested in furthering transgender equity to attend. This is an event for trans/GNC community members to connect to resources and each other, and for potential allies to learn more about issues impacting trans/GNC community and how to integrate community visions through an equity lens

Hope you can attend!

Love, Hannah

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En Femme Photo Shoot!

This weekend I did another photo shoot for En Femme, the premier clothing brand for the crossdresser and trans woman! 

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I modeled four different outfits, including the Luxurious Sleeveless Swing Dress as seen in these photos. If you want to add one to your wardrobe, you can shop for it at EnFemmeStyle.com here!  I also have a special discount code (ENFHANNAH) that you can use at checkout to get 15% off your first purchase!*

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The photos were taken near downtown Saint Paul by my friend and incomparable photographer Shannonlee.  It was a fun day and I can’t wait for you to see the finished pictures!

Love, Hannah

*Please note the discount does not apply to ultra-premium products

 

 

Coffee and Tea and T-Girls

It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over!  It feels like yesterday when I was dreaming of wearing short dresses and feeling the warm sun on my skin but now my thoughts are turning towards…well, short dresses and fall weather.  🙂

Yesterday the MN T-Girls had our monthly outing and it felt like forever since we have all had a chance to sit down and catch up.  It’s been a busy few months for the group so I thought it’d be nice to relax and have girl talk over coffee, so that’s exactly what we did!

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We met at Nina’s Cafe in Saint Paul, a beautiful coffee shop with delicious food and friendly staff.  We chatted about everything from makeup to the next few MN T-Girls events.  It was a fun afternoon and a nice way to spend a Saturday.

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Love, Hannah

 

La Femme Mystique Photos!

Last year I had the honor of visiting La Femme Mystique, a gender transformation studio in Saint Paul run by the incredibly talented Rebecca.  I know many of you have had the pleasure of getting a makeover and photos from her, and I wanted to share the pictures from my visit.

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Not only is Rebecca an accomplished makeup artist and a skilled photographer, her studio is located in a really beautiful building which seems like it was built for perfect photo shoots.  We did pictures in the hall, on the roof, by huge windows…. I loved the variety.  Rebecca’s eye for the camera always gave her the perfect shot.

La Femme Mystique is a wonderful little studio and Rebecca couldn’t be nicer.  I hope you all visit her soon!

Love, Hannah

Ladies and Gentlemen

For those of us who aren’t full time or haven’t transitioned, we carry (or wear) secrets.  I have been in work meetings about revenue projections and I’ll think to myself that under this three-piece suit I am wearing the laciest panties I own.  That’s  a fun secret.

We share experiences and perspectives that our female co-workers, sisters, friends, and wives have.  They just might not know it.  I have listened to conversations between my female colleagues about how their lipstick wears off too quickly and I am tempted to suggest applying an eyeshadow primer before putting lipstick on, but that would raise more questions (and eyebrows) than I am comfortable with, so I keep my advice to myself.

We know what it’s like when a girl gets frustrated when a $18 pair of stockings runs.  We can relate (and become a little jealous) when a girl says that her heels are killing her.

We notice subtle things, like accessories a girl is wearing, the color of her nail polish, the perfect swoosh of her eyeliner.

We understand the joy of finding a cute outfit that fits.  The happiness of finding a new shade of lipstick.

I know that this might sound a little superficial, but these things make me happy, these are things I notice, appreciate, and can identify with.

I have learned many things over the years.  How to move my hips when I strut in heels, how to blend foundation, how to hold my head high when people stare at me in the mall.  I have also learned that in male mode that it’s better not to comment on a girl’s outfit or makeup.

This is likely going to spark a discussion, so let me explain.

A couple of years ago I went to a coffee shop in male mode and the barista had the most amazing eye makeup.  The color, her eyeliner, her eyelashes… glam, glam, glam.  Forgetting for a moment which gender I was presenting as, I told her that I thought her eye makeup was amazing.

As Hannah, a comment like this is usually met with a thank you, but not that this time.  She just rolled her eyes, handed me my coffee and that was that.  She wasn’t rude, she was probably tired of men commenting on her appearance.

She doesn’t know who I am. She doesn’t know that I appreciate and strive to achieve makeup like hers.  To her, I am just a boring man who was flirting with her or felt that her appearance was up for discussion.

When I dress, I dress for myself.  I don’t give a second thought about what others might think about my outfit or makeup or shoes.  Most women, cis and trans, do the same thing.  She spent who knows how long on her eyes, and she did it for her.  Not me, not for anyone else.

The #metoo and #timesup discussions are focusing on bringing women’s experiences with harassment into the public eye.  Almost every woman I know has shared their own experiences with sexual comments and harassment from men.  This includes everything from inappropriate jokes from male co-workers, to unwanted physical contact, to comments about their appearance.

“Um, Hannah?  NOT ALL MEN.” 

Okay good, glad we got that out of the way.

No matter if we are wearing lingerie under our clothes or slipping into a nightgown when we go to bed, many of us present as men for most of our lives.  I do.  To most of the world, I am seen as a married, white male.  Which is fair and accurate.  These discussions will hopefully make men examine their conduct and be held accountable when we say or do something inappropriate or offensive.

It is not up to me to decide what is offensive or inappropriate to someone else.  Yes, commenting on a girl’s eyeshadow might be perfectly innocent from my perspective.  I may mean it a compliment, but to the barista, some man commenting on how she looks might make her uncomfortable.

She doesn’t know (or care) that I appreciate amazing makeup.  As soon as I commented on her makeup, I knew I crossed a line.  I felt awful the rest of the day.  While it’s true some people might take what I said as a compliment, it’s not up to me to decide how someone else should interpret my words.

“Gee, Hannah, you’re so politically correct” you might be thinking.  For starters, I think that term gets thrown around so often that it loses it’s meaning.  There is nothing political about being respectful.  Keeping opinions about someone’s appearance to yourself shouldn’t be up for debate.  Sure, YOU might appreciate someone commenting on your makeup or outfit, but it can cross the line for someone else.

If you present as male at all, I am sure you are a respectful and kind man, and would never say or do anything that is disrespectful, hurtful, or offensive to women.  It’s easy for us to feel like “one of the girls” because for many of us, we are… but perhaps not at that moment.  I listen to my female coworkers who compliment each other on their outfit or shoes.  I often want to do the same thing.  But it could easily make them feel uncomfortable or taken in a way I did not intend.  For those who have more than one gender identity, we need to be ladies and gentlemen.

I write a lot about being transgender, I write a lot about having more than one gender identity, and I write a lot about being a girl.  But I can’t ignore the fact that I present and interact with the world as male for most of the time.  The Hannah part of me might want to compliment a girl on her outfit, but it would the male side that says the words.    My wife knows what I mean when I compliment her on her makeup or outfit, but very few others do.

As someone who identifies as a t-girl, I feel I have a lot of responsibility when it comes to representing the transgender community and I think I do a fairly decent job of being a positive voice for us.  As someone who also identifies as male, I also have responsibilities when it comes to how I interact with the world and I will always choose to speak with upmost respect to everyone and to do my best to not let others feel uncomfortable with my words and actions.

No matter how stunning their eye makeup is.

Love, Hannah

 

Ask Hannah!

I have been crossdressing in my mind since I was 15. I am now 45. I have been in clothes from time to time. I have been I a relationship for 8 months and I have told her everything. She is totally on board and thinks this will be really fun. I have never had any support and of course she doesn’t know where we should begin. We both agree we aren’t ready to hit dressing rooms to find my clothes. The thing I’m struggling with is my size. I’m 6’1 and 260. Definitely not a feminine figure but we want to get the ball rolling. My dream is to get to wear skirts and blouses. Can you help us out with this?

Congratulations on taking this step!  I am very excited for you, and I am very happy you were upfront and honest in your relationship.

Just a reminder, that there is no standard you must meet in order to be feminine.  No one is too tall, too short, too thin, too masculine, too… anything, to be beautiful.  Being comfortable and happy with who you are has more to do with how you feel than with how you look.  We all know women, whether they are cis or trans, who are all shapes and sizes and every single one of us is drop-dead gorgeous.

And you are too.

When you are ready to start building your wardrobe, you’ll find that determining your measurements is the most important thing you can know.

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When I purchase “male” clothes (please note I don’t think there are such a thing as “male” clothes or “female” clothes, they’re just clothes), I purchase shirts that fit my shoulders and pants that are long enough and are the proper waist size. It’s pretty straightforward. Dresses are a different story. I have dresses that fit perfectly around my hips and waist, but don’t fit my shoulders and chest as I am wider on top than my middle. And of course every dressmaker has different sizing standards, as well. When shopping, you need to know your measurements, and yes, sometimes it is a flip of the coin when it comes to deciding to order based off of hips or waist measurements.

And remember, as the two embark on this… (ugh), journey, and it IS a journey, no matter how much I hate that word, you will both feel different things at different times and it is easy to let this overwhelm someone.  I write a lot about relationships on this site, but if you take anything from my writing, just be worth it and beware the fog.

Love, Hannah

 

 

Resources: Gender Therapists

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Therapists that focus on issues regarding gender are not easy to find, so I am happy when I learn of a therapist that specializes in gender identity.

Hanna Zipes, according to her website, introduces herself as a psychotherapist located in Minneapolis and providing individual and couples therapy, coaching and supervision in-office and online. I come to this work with a belief in people, in possibilities, and in the power of relationships. I work from the perspective that healing happens in a positive environment, and that relationships are sustained through love, laughter, presence, humanity, acceptance, and solidarity. While people consult with me for a variety of reasons, I specialize in addressing concerns related to intimacy, communication, infidelity, sexuality, gender identity, and fostering healthy relationships.

I am LGBTQIA+ affirmative and respect diversity in sexual identity, relationships, sexual orientation, and sexual practices and lifestyles. I work to create an environment of radical inclusivity for clients of all genders, sexual orientations, races, cultures, faiths, sizes, and lifestyles.

More information about Ms. Zipes and her practice is available on her website.

Love, Hannah