There’s no question that clothes transform me. I move differently in heels than I do in boy shoes, not only because, well, I have to, but there’s something about a stiletto, and a dress, and… anything else in my closet that creates a change in me. I zip up my dress and I wiggle my hips a little. I apply my lipstick and smile.
I feel happy, I glow. I feel the tension of my boy life fade away. I transition into Hannah’s world.
This is not to say that it’s a relief to leave my male life behind for a while. I am happy in both of my gender identities and I would miss either of them if I was ever required to chose one gender to present as for the rest of my life.
As we enter the real word and interact with others, we begin to get to know our femme selves. Perhaps we are shy in our male lives, but become social butterflies when we are in a skirt.
These changes can surprise us. I have a pretty healthy self-esteem in both of my genders, but I am always a little taken aback at how confident Hannah is. Not only when it comes to how I feel about myself, but the things I do. If you had told me ten years ago I would be walking confidently through the Mall of America, modeling, writing for blogs, running a transgender support group, or public speaking I would have told you that your gaff was too tight.
But here I am.
It’s exciting to meet this side of us. It can be surprising to discover or create who our femme selves are. This discovery needs to happen naturally, organically. Not by force. It’s kind of like building a wardrobe. I used to think I was all little black dresses and evening gowns, but I was surprised that I fell in love with bright colors and pattern dresses.
I do a lot of introspection about who I am and what I do and what I want. This is something I have done all my life. This self-analysis, and often over-analysis, has helped me come to terms with who I am and where I am on my “journey”. I don’t want to transition, I love who I am, I love all my genders. All both of them. 🙂
Having a online presence also can require a little discovery. Like most of us, I have a social media life and I am active there, but Hannah’s online life is a zillion times busier than my male side. I write differently depending on who is posting, not only in terms of content but also in how I write. These styles are in sync with how I present in real life. Hannah, both online and in the real world, is chattier, more social, and sassier than the boy.
I know it sounds odd, but if I have to explain it to you then you wouldn’t understand it.
When I first joined social media, it was all about posting photos of myself. I was excited about a new dress and I wanted compliments. I wanted validation. I wanted to be told I was pretty. Yes, I know that is pretty shallow but I was incredibly insecure those days (and even today dysphoria still hits) and any kind and flattering words were (and still are) appreciated.
Social media in it of itself allows us to create another persona, in a way. For girls like us, this is doubly so. As I got to know my femme self, I also got to know my online femme self. I started a website about seven years ago writing about common experiences girls in our community have. People started to relate to what I wrote and I enjoyed what I what I was doing.
After four years I shut down that site and started this one. As I started to do more introspective writing and blogging about bigger issues, I felt it was a good time to start a new site. Over the past few years I have gotten more involved in modeling and product reviews than I had ever anticipated. These days I feel that I have two sides to what I post.
On one side is my writing about activism, social justice, support, and just reflecting on who I am and how many different ways one can identify as transgender.
The other side is all about photos. Whether I am in leather, lace, or a pleated pink skirt, the pictures show different sides of the same girl.
I sometimes feel that these two sides are in such contrast to each other that they might as well be different people. It’s not unrealistic to think that, I mean, I have two different genders after all.
As someone who lives their life in two genders, I understand how complex we can be. Those in my life who I have come out to couldn’t be more surprised at who I am.
Sometimes I wonder what I want to do. Do I want to be a voice in the community? Do I want to model? Do I want to be an influencer and do product reviews? I feel there are different sides of me doing different things and they kind of conflict with each other. The responses and interaction are also different depending on what I post. There doesn’t seem to be much overlap, either. Photos get likes and re-posts, writings get emails and comments.
I often wonder what my role is in our community. The modeling I think can be helpful in terms of representation, the reviews highlight companies that make products designed for our girls like us, the writings hopefully show that we are not alone.
I suppose this is really nothing to worry about and I am probably overthinking all of this. The important thing to me is that I come off as sincere in everything I do. We can be fabulous, a voice for the community, and raise awareness for social issues. Look at Laverne Cox, after all. I’ll be be as beautiful or as an important of a voice as she is, but I do what I can.