A Different Kind of Fog

Life is all about balance.

Marriage is all about balance.

Identifying as bi-gender is all about balance.

It’s important to have a work-life balance.  If you work too much, even if you enjoy the work, you’ll not be able to live the life you’re working so hard for.  But you also can’t neglect your responsibilities, your bills. your family obligations.  I work too much, I take on too much, and it’ll catch up with me someday.  But today is not that day.

When two people commit to each other, their lives become one.  They are both striving to live a life together, pay the same bills, take care of the same children, and work towards something.  Your partner is your everything, but you can’t lose yourself in a relationship.  It took me too many relationships to learn that, and when the relationship ended I had to get to know who I was all over again.  

And of course, I don’t need to tell you why balance is crucial in being bi-gender.  I need Hannah to come out, I need to make sure she is being looked after, in a way.  I can’t ignore this side of me, and on the opposite side of the coin, I can’t let her dominate my time, my money, my life.  Again, this is something I had to learn and you learn by doing, you learn by making mistakes.

Oh!  And walking in five-inch stilettos is all about balance but we all know that.

The Pink Fog can cause a girl like us to lose sight of that balance.  We get so enraptured in this side of us that our lives can negatively be impacted by how absorbed we are in the world of femininity.  We spend more money than we should, we spend too much time in her world, our partners get a little tired of us talking about makeup, our partners can get a little tired of us en femme.  This part of us is overwhelming for anyone in our lives, and it’s easy for our partners to get even more overwhelmed by who we are.  Of course, this is true with many parts of who we are.  If I spent every weekend fishing or talking about fishing my wife would get real tired of that real fast.  Or is that reel fast?  Sorry.  

Being in the fog can cloud our judgement.  Of course we don’ think we are spending too much money on clothes.  Of course we don’t think we are spending too much time en femme.  Of course we don’t feel like we’re talking about shoes too much.  But we probably are and goodness can that drive our partners crazy.  When I was first coming into who I am, when I moved from underdressing to HANNAH, I talked about clothes and makeup and everything else ALL THE TIME.  It drove my wife crazy.  She felt like she was losing her husband and wondered where all of this was going.  Looking back, I can absolutely see her point.  
I wasn’t keeping things in balance in terms of my gender identities and in my marriage.  I learned.  I listened.  I found the balance. 

I also stopped drinking.  

A few years ago there was nothing I looked more forward to than Saturday nights.  I would get dolled up, usually wearing a new dress, my wife and I would pour some wine, put on some music, and have a girls night in.  It sounds wonderful and it was.  She and I both got to know Hannah.  I talked about things that I never talked about before, I learned so much about myself.  I also would get really drunk.  It wasn’t long until I was drinking every night.  And not just a glass of wine, most nights it was almost an entire bottle.  Being hungover the next day soon became normal.  I got used to it.  

We all act differently when we are drunk.  Some of us get loud, belligerent, rude, aggressive, silly, or… well, the list goes on,  I lived in the moment and made bad choices.  I never would call my exe’s or anything like that, but it was easy to forget about tomorrow and purchase that dress online instead of making the car payment that was due.  It was easier to post a slightly risque photo on crossdressers.com.  Being hungover wasn’t much different.  I felt like I was always in a fog, but this was a different fog than the pink kind.  My thoughts were clouded, I was distracted and it was hard to focus.  And yes, there were mornings when I woke up still drunk.  This fog wasn’t something that stuck with me just for a few hours, it impacted my entire day.  I heard that drinking a lot kind of rewires your brain a little and I absolutely believe that.

I am not proud of any of this.  It saddens me to remember these days.  Everything I regret doing I did when I was drunk or hungover.  

The pink fog can be dangerous.  The fog I was in from drinking was dangerous.  Combine the two?  My god.

I had wanted to quit drinking ever since I began.  I admired recovering alcoholics.  I wish I had that courage and strength and discipline.  As time went by, my desire to quit grew stronger.  I knew I needed to.  But I was so afraid to try quitting.  I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to.  I was afraid I would stop for a few days and go back to the bottle and that cycle would repeat (like purging our wardrobes, for example).  I was afraid that if I couldn’t quit on my own that I would need to seek treatment.  I was terrified of being that much of an alcoholic that I needed to go that route.  

It took me almost a year to quit.  I stopped drinking during the week at first.  The first morning I woke up without a hangover was… amazing.  I felt amazing.  I didn’t have a headache, I slept hard, I felt rested.  I had forgotten what not being hungover felt like.  The weekdays were incredible.  I was so productive, so focused.  My workouts became more efficient and I started to lose weight.  I went from 240 pounds to 165 in about six months.  And it was all from not drinking during the week and exercising more.  I felt empowered, I felt like maybe, just maybe I could stop drinking altogether.  Drinking on Saturday nights was still a thing, but after the weight loss I would get drunk after one or two drinks.  And the hangovers and the clouded thoughts that came the next day were worse than ever.
Four years ago I stopped.  I just decided to stop.  My wife and I were settling in for our normal Saturday night and I just.didn’t pour myself a drink.  I’ve been sober since I woke up on November 20th, 2016.  

Of course, this all sounds so easy.  It wasn’t and it still isn’t.  Making the decision to stop drinking isn’t a choice I made one four years ago.  It’s a choice I make every single day.  Some days are easier than others.  Some days are hard.  Sometimes I find myself eyeing the glass of wine my wife poured for herself and I often have to push it away from my reach.  Sometimes it doesn’t bother me at all.  One day at a time.  One moment at a time.

I’m glad I quit drinking, and I am glad I quit drinking before the pandemic.  As much and as often as I drank four years ago, I know I would be drinking a lot more now.  

As much as I admire recovering alcoholics, I also admire those who can have a drink at dinner a few times a month and be fine with that.  Again, that balance….But that’s not me.  I know one drink would turn into three, I know one night of drinking would turn into another lifetime of it.  

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in life due to one fog or another.  I’m also lucky to have learned from those mistakes.  I am not perfect and I never will be and I don’t want to be.  But I am getting better.

It’s hard to be who we are.  It’s easy to drink to escape whatever we need to escape from.  Some of us drink to forget about this side of us.  Some of us drink to let this side of us out.  I get it.  I can relate.  But if you think you need help, then please seek it.

Love, Hannah  

New En Femme Blog!

My new article for En Femme is live!

The latest article with blogger, trans-activist and fashionista, Hannah McKnight is now available on our Learning Center! Hannah’s blog discusses more in-depth her life as a self-described T-girl. In past articles for our Learning Center, Hannah has discussed her gender identity evolution and journey towards self-acceptance, coming out to friends and family, and coping during the lockdown.

Now, Hannah begins to focus on the physical side of things! When we start to build a wardrobe, how do we determine our body type?  In her newest article, Hannah talks about which types of clothing are best-suited to certain body types, so we know which styles will help us to best express ourselves.  Read it now>>

Love, Hannah

Magic and Loss

When you pass through the fire
You pass through humble
You pass through a maze of self doubt
When you pass through humble
The lights can blind you
Some people never figure that out
You pass through arrogance, you pass through hurt
You pass through an ever-present past
And it’s best not to wait for luck to save you
Pass through the fire to the light
As you pass through the fire
Your right hand waving
There are things you have to throw out
That caustic dread inside your head
Will never help you out
You have to be very strong
‘Cause you’ll start from zero
Over and over again
And as the smoke clears
There’s an all-consuming fire
Lying straight ahead
They say no one person can do it all
But you want to in your head
But you can’t be Joyce
So what is left instead?
You’re stuck with yourself
And a rage that can hurt you
You have to start at the beginning again
And just this moment
This wonderful fire started up again
When you pass through humble
When you pass through sickly
When you pass through
I’m better than you all
When you pass through
Anger and self deprecation
And have the strength to acknowledge it all
When the past makes you laugh
And you can savor the magic
That let you survive your own war
You find that that fire is passion
And there’s a door up ahead; not a wall
As you pass through fire, as you pass through fire
Trying to remember its name
When you pass through fire, licking at your lips
You cannot remain the same
And if the building’s burning
Move towards that door
But don’t put the flames out
There’s a bit of magic in everything
And then some loss to even things out 
-Lou Reed 

Many of us agonize (to say the least) about accepting, understanding, and embracing who we are.  We go through decades of denial and therapy sessions and internal (and external) conflict about our gender identity.  It’s not easy, to say the least.  Accepting who we are can often come with a great loss.  Many of us have lost friends and family members once our gender identity has been (intentionally or not) revealed.  Sometimes this acceptance comes with the realization of all the time and opportunities we have lost over the years we have been in denial over who we are and what we want.  

However, as Lou Reed said, magic and loss come with everything.  We know what the loss is.  We fear what the loss could be so we stay in the closet, we stay hidden, we stay a secret.  But there is magic, too.  Sometimes the magic is feeling the weight taken from our shoulders when we come out, even if it is just to ourselves.  The magic can be from wearing that beautiful dress we have seen at the mall.  Waking up in a nightgown.  Shaving our legs.  Getting a makeover.  Being called “ma’am” for the first time.

For myself, the magic was going out en femme.  One of the first times I went out en femme during the day would have been unremarkable in boy mode.  Coffee, shopping, lunch.  But en femme?  It was, well, it was magic.  The click of my heels on the sidewalk was the drumbeat of victory.  The wind blowing through my long black hair was the air of a new life.  Hannah’s world and the real world were merging to create a beautiful new reality of potential.  Now that I have done THIS, anything was possible.

I am reminded of this magic every time I am out.  True, sometimes I forget I am en femme when I am in the real world as this has become normal to me, but every first experience is a testament to how far I’ve come, and how much our community did before me. Yes, there isn’t much magic in going to Target in it of itself, but it’s still so much more fun en femme.
As warmer weather gives up the ghost until next spring our clothes change.  Goodbye summer dresses, hello sweater dresses.  The strappy stilettos aren’t the best for slippery ice, so out come the boots.  Magic and loss, you know.  In Minnesota it’s not smart to not have a winter coat, and Hannah has a couple of them.  And I hate them.  I hate covering up my cute dress, I hate how bulky I look.  I spend too much time at the gym to hide my legs, but what can you do?  It’s not as much fun going out en femme during the winter compared to the rest of the year.

Before I continue, I want to acknowledge that I know this is going to sound shallow and selfish.  I know this is extremely short-sighted.  I know that.

We all must do our part when it comes to stopping COVID-19.  I don’t go out as much as I used (in either gender), the events I plan for the MN T-Girls have changed, and I wear a mask whenever I go out.  Of course in boy mode a mask is nothing.  I can breathe just fine and I rarely am inside someplace for very long.  Hannah wearing a mask is different.  Just as I hate my coat covering up a cute outfit, I hate my mask covering my makeup.  I hate my makeup coming off in the mask.  I hate trying to loop my mask around my earrings and long hair.  I hate the dysphoria that comes with it.  I hate it.  Going out to my favorite thrift store and getting coffee isn’t fun anymore.  

Again, I know this is shallow.  Wearing a mask and smudging my lipstick is nothing compared to people losing family members and their businesses and their jobs.  I don’t pretend or think that my experience is anything compared to the tragedies that countless others have endured and suffered through.  

To me, going out en femme is the magic that comes with the loss of what we have experienced as we came into who we are.  And yes, I know that no matter how much fun a day at the mall en femme is it doesn’t replace a family member that no longer wants to speak to us because of our gender identity.  

The world is hard enough as it is.  It is the small pleasures that keep us going, whether wearing a new skirt, looking forward to a new movie, meeting a friend for dinner, a planned vacation.

There isn’t much of a point to these thoughts, just a hope and a prayer that our lives can move into a world without masks, without this pandemic, without the loss that comes with it.  

Stay safe.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I love being dressed and time knows no limits. I have noticed real girls complaining about heels, hose, and bras, and can’t wait to get them off while I enjoy every minute I spend in them and regret when I finally must disrobe. Are these articles of clothing really that miserable? I have listened to women from grade school to adulthood complaining about all these clothing items as well as makeup and long hair and shaving their legs while I sit there and wish I could be in any of their places. I have been wearing hose and panties every day, as well as a bra and breast forms whenever I can and have yet to find them intolerable and instead prefer to be in them.
So, Hannah, is it just my clothing fetish or do real girls really not appreciate the pleasures of being female?

There’s…there’s a lot to unpack here.

For starters, all girls are real girls.  I’m guessing you are meaning cis-gender girls, though.  

I have a family member who has a really cool job and it requires him to travel.  And he travels EVERYWHERE.  One day in New York, a few days later he’s in Japan.  And when he goes to these places he does cool stuff.  One day I asked him how amazing it must be to have his life.  He said he is grateful to have the life he has, but it’s not as glamorous as it looks.  The travel gets tiring after a while, living in hotels, no stability, no real way to plan the rest of his life from one week to the next and of course he misses his family terribly.  Listening to him gained a new perspective on something I was originally jealous of.  Traveling once in a while is fun, but every week it gets a little tiring.  The thrill wears off.

What I am trying to say is that someone’s experience is usually different than how we think it is.  Yes, we might wonder why women don’t wear heels and dresses and stockings all the time since they are “allowed to”, but it’s not as simple as that.

T-Girls have a unique, and often personal and intimate relationship with clothes.  Stilettos, bras, stockings, corsets, are thrilling for us.  Slip on a pair of heels and I am walking on air…  for a while.  Of course, when I am at home and relaxing I can wear a pair of five inch heels all day and there’s nothing quite like it.  But when I am out in the real world, well, it’s not as fun.  At a recent photo shoot Shannonlee and I walked miles… on sidewalk, pavement, brick roads, up and down stairs, on gravel… and it didn’t take long for my feet and legs to hurt. 

My strutting devolved into smaller steps and by the time I got home I was very happy to slip off my heels… and my bra, my gaff, and my stockings.  I was happy to wash my makeup off, my false eyelashes were drooping a little.  My earrings were pinching as well.  It was getting hot and my wig was sticking to my skin.  My foundation was melting a little and my eyeliner and mascara were smudging, despite using a primer and a setting spray.  I probably looked a little silly, and I knew it.  I felt a little silly.  

I’m smiling but my toes are SCREAMING

As much as I loved being en femme, it was a lot more comfortable once I changed.  Yes, I wasn’t cute and boy clothes are soooo boring, but nothing pinched anymore.

I dress to the nines because I heart it.  I underdress because I love lingerie and it helps me stay connected to my femme side.  How I dress is my choice.  

But not everyone has that choice.  Speaking in very broad terms, society has expectations as to how a girl should look, how a girl should dress.  Whether this is a real dress code or not, many people (mostly men if we are being honest) expect women to be in full makeup and wear heels.  Of course, that’s easy for someone to say if they have never worn heels or an underwire bra before.  

And just as a t-girl can have an emotional relationship with clothes, cis-women can as well… but it’s not necessarily as fun as ours is. Women have been objectified for years and expecting to dress a certain way or to smile for is an example of that.  Some women wear nylons or heels because that’s the unofficial dress code, if you will.  Or in some cases, it is the official dress code.  Most people don’t enjoy being forced to do something or wear something.  Everyone should have the choice and the freedom to wear what they want to wear.  I mean, isn’t that what a t-girl/crossdresser is all about?  

I know we would love to wear what we want, when we want.  Guess what!  All women want that.  If a girl wants to wear pants or a leather skirt or a cape, then they should.  But like I said, it’s not always a choice.  As hard to believe, women weren’t allowed to wear pants in the Senate until 1998.  Sleeveless dresses and blouses and open-toed heels weren’t permitted until 2019.  Being forced to wear (or not wear) something takes a lot of joy out of getting dressed.  It’s a reminder that you are not allowed to wear what you wish.  I’m sure many of us can relate to that.

Anatomy can play a big part in whether or not you’re comfortable as well.  Yes, my wife and I both wear bras but my bra supports my breast forms which have hardly any weight at all.  Her bra supports her breasts which is not the same thing as supporting forms.  Same with heels.  She and I can both wear four inch heels but her feet are much tinier than mine.  A four inch heel on her creates a much more vertical arch than a four inch heel on me.  Of course her feet are going to hurt before mine.  Of course she’ll be ready to take them off before I am.  

I love smooth legs, but is it a pain to shave them?  Of course.  Well, maybe pain isn’t the right word, but hair removal is a lot of work.  Whether it is taking time to get my brows threaded, having certain parts of me waxed, or shaving other parts of me, it is a time consuming process.  And yes, I bitch about it once in a while.  

And!  Being who I am is expensive.  I’ll buy a bra to treat myself, my wife buys one because she needs one.  She’ll pick out a cute one, sure, but I don’t really NEED one, despite me thinking I do 🙂

To paraphrase the common saying, the gender is always easier on the other side of the closet. Have you ever had a girl say to you (in male mode) how lucky men are? They don’t have to shave their legs, look a certain way, dress in a certain style, color their gray hair… society has different expectations of someone based on their gender presentation. It looks easier (and in my experience, it is) to present as male.

As for whether this is a fetish or not, only you can answer that.  

But I do know that looking a certain way takes a lot of time and a lot of work.  I don’t think it diminishes the joys of being a girl or as you said, being female.  I think a girl like me dresses for different reasons that some girls.  I dress how I want because I can, but some cis-girls feel they must present a certain way.  I think most people like looking cute or attractive, and for many people how we dress and our physical appearance can be impact our self-esteem and our confidence.  But goodness, how I choose to look takes a lot of time and work.

We can’t forget that although a girl like us may wear the same things as our wives and sisters, we don’t always have the same experiences that they have.  I know some cis-girls who would love to wear more dresses but they hate how some men (I know, I know, not all men) will comment or look down (or up) their dress.  If I was constantly being leered at or catcalled when wearing a skirt I would want to stop wearing them too.  I am sure we have all heard stories of girls getting sent home from high school because the tank top was distracting the boys.  Christ.  No wonder some girls don’t want to wear certain clothes.  

Walking a mile in heels is not the same thing as walking a mile in every women’s shoes, if you follow me.

Love, Hannah

Have a question for me?  Oh yes you do.  Ask me here!

Ask Hannah!

hello and i would like to know what is the difference between a cross dress and transgender or cis. i am a closet cross dresser for many years and love to dress up as a female and be happy looking pretty and feeling pretty about myself.

Cisgender is when you feel that the gender you were assigned to at birth aligns with the gender you identify as today. you are born, the doctor and nurses see what is between your legs and mark M or F on your birth certificate.

You are likely dressed in blue or pink. You are given trucks or dolls. You are encouraged to be a doctor or a nurse. You are ridiculed for crying or comforted when you are sad.

And so on.

There is no accepted, universal meaning or definition for crossdressing or transgender but of course, I have my own thoughts and perspective.

Love, Hannah

Have a question for me?  Oh yes you do.  Ask me here!

Ask Hannah!

I’m a feminine gay man and wear a lot of women’s clothing to express my femininity (I’ve never met a pair of sandals I didn’t like), but not to “present” myself as a woman. It’s hard finding other feminine gay men even online. Not only do straight men hate us, but so do masculine gay men. They blame us for why the main stream won’t and don’t accept them as also being well, main stream. You were asked recently to supply a list of resources online for someone who wanted to give to a friend. I know you aren’t a feminine gay man, but thought that you may know others that are like me or happen to know if any websites that I should check out.

I have a love/hate relationship with labels.

On one hand, it was a comforting thing to learn the word ‘crossdresser’ when I was younger.  To know that there were others like me and there were so many of us that there was a word for us made me realize that I wasn’t alone and maybe I wasn’t so… weird, I guess.

On the other hand, it gets a little exhausting to qualify who I am and how I identify.  When one hears that someone is transgender, it paints a picture in their head of someone who was identified as one gender but lives/presents as another.  Whether I am presenting as a boy or en femme I am still transgender.  If you showed a picture of Hannah to someone and said “that person is transgender” you might respond “well, obviously.”  If the same person saw me in boy mode and told them that I was also transgender they would be a little, well, challenged.  I look transgender en femme, I look like, well, a man in male mode.

Transgender doesn’t mean hormones or transitioning or surgery  Just like being a man doesn’t mean I like football and beer.  

There are some in the transcommunity that believe that I’m not trans since I have not or will be transitioning.  Their perspective is I am “just” a crossdresser, nothing else.  And yes, I suppose I am a crossdresser but I am a crossdresser in the sense that when I am presenting as a boy I am wearing panties under my boy clothes or wear a nightgown to bed.  When I am en femme, I am not crossdressing.  And yes, that’s a little weird but I think you know what I mean.

People are generally looked at as either cishet (cisgender, heterosexual) or members of the LGBTQ+ community.  To some people, any deviance from the societal perception of BEING A MAN pushes one from being masculine/straight to, well, something else.  Think back to grade school.  If a boy in first grade likes to jump rope he isn’t “one of the boys” anymore, he’s a girl, or gay.  There are very strict (and stupid) rules about who is a man.  It seems to me that the list of rules is very long and very pointless.

Our community is much the same way.  Just as I am not considered trans by others, there are some people who have expectations as to how a gay man should dress or live their lives.  And that sucks.  Unfortunately you are experiencing that first hand and I’m sorry to hear that.  It sounds like some people in our community feel you are impacting how some of the world looks at a gay man.  I’m sorry.  You write how you feel out of place as you don’t fit in with both straight men (booooo straight men) and members of the gay community.  I wish I had something comforting and reassuring to say.  I wish I could change the world for you.  I wish I knew more answers and had more options than I do.  But I don’t. 

All I can ask is that we all stick together in all this.  These days anyone that isn’t white/heterosexual/cisgender is having a tough time.  My Black friends are angry and scared.  My trans friends are terrified about losing their health care.  My gay friends are worried their right to marry who they love will be taken away.  I live my life and present differently than others who identify as trans.  You present and dress differently than some members of the gay community.  I can relate on some levels, though I won’t pretend that I know exactly how you feel or what you experience.  

The cishet world has their own ideas as how we should live our lives.  I ignore this.  Let’s not impose any expectations or standards in the LGBTQ+ community.  

As for support and meeting others like you, I have no idea.  I know that’s not helpful.  I would encourage you to look into a PFLAG group to attend a meeting to connect with others in our community.  

Love, Hannah

Have a question for me?  Oh yes you do.  Ask me here!

What a Good Boy, What a Pretty Girl

I have no idea why we are who we are.

No one does.  We’re all the same but we’re all so different.  Not because we are trans, but because we are, you know, HUMAN.  Anyway, I think many people are quick to over-analyze who we are or attribute trauma or familial history as to why we wear what we wear or identify how we do.  “Oh, you like to be a girl?  It’s because you had a bad relationship with your parents”, and the like.  Please.  I do not believe that we are who we are because it is a conscious decision or something born from something that happened in our childhood.  It’s simply the way we are, or as Lady Gaga put it, we are born this way.

From time to time I wonder if I am transgender because I like to wear lipstick, stilettos, pencil skirts, and panties.  I also wonder if I wear lingerie, eyeliner, dresses, and heels because I am transgender.  Which came first?  I don’t know.  But I do think about clothes a lot.  I love love love wearing “girl clothes”, even in boy mode.  Working from home in a pair of leggings and a femme t-shirt?  Amazing.  Sleeping in a nightgown?  Bliss.  It’s times like this that I think that maybe, just maybe that this IS all about clothes.  But then there’s also the side of me that loves being en femme.  I love makeup, the hair, the skirts, everything.  I love seeing HER in the mirror.  She is me and I am she and that is that.

Yes, clothes make the girl, at least this girl.  Wearing a cute dress in boy mode is not the same as wearing the same dress en femme not only visually but also just, well, you know what I mean.  

As pointless as it is to wonder why we are who we are, I still find myself thinking about it, especially when I am drawn to a new outfit.  I bounce the whys of who I am back and forth for a bit and then come to the same conclusion that I have come to for years… that there is no answer.  

At least I didn’t think there was until the other day!  I realized it IS all about clothes.
Sort of.  Kind of.  I mean, yes, but no.  It’s kinda sorta both.

Walk around the baby section of any department store.  You’ll see onesies with phrases on them like “precious little lady” and “cute little man”.  You see pink diaper bags and blue baby blankets.  From the moment we are born (and even before), the arbitrary concept and social construct of gender is assigned to us.  We don’t have a choice what color socks we wear but whether they are pink or they are blue will have a huge impact on how we are seen and treated.  Soon we are being told that boys don’t cry and girls are pretty.  The song “What a Good Boy” by the Barenaked Ladies address this in a brilliant and sad way:

When I was born
They looked at me and said
What a good boy
What a smart boy
What a strong boy

And when you were born
They looked at you and said
What a good girl
What a smart girl
What a pretty girl

We’ve got these chains
Hanging ’round our necks
People want to strangle us with them
Before we take our first breath

As we are raised, we are given toys and books and clothes that match the societal perception of what we should wear and read and play with based on our genitals (which is REALLY messed up when you think about it).  We are being taught that THIS is for boys and THAT is for girls.  But if you don’t want to play with trucks or wear pants but you want to play with dolls and wear dresses then we may start to wonder that maybe,  just maybe, we are not boys after all if that is what boys are “supposed” to like, wear, and play with.  And of course, if we’re not boys, then who are we?

All of a sudden, our perception of gender and identity are thrown into question.  We begin the lifelong (ugh) journey of wondering who we are.  If we look at gender as binary and we don’t want to do the things boys are supposed to do, then are we girls?  I never felt like I was a girl, I just wanted to look like a girl and dress like a girl sometimes.  As our perception of gender evolves and we realize that there are more than two genders we find that we can identify differently than BOY or GIRL.  This can be comforting and this can be overwhelming, but at least there are options.  

We are taught PINK is for girls.  We are taught MAKEUP and NAIL POLISH are for girls.  And yes, we are taught that (deep breath) panties, bras, lingerie, nightgowns, stockings, dresses, gowns, skirts, blouses, bodysuits, stilettos, high heels, mary janes, ballet slides, wedges, heeled boots, jewelry, leggings, lace, mesh, blouses and a zillion other things are for girls.  Therefore, these things are synonymous with girls.  Or put another way, synonymous with not being a boy. 

If boys are not supposed to wear panties, then I don’t want to be a boy.  That’s not to say that I want to be a girl, I just want to be me.  Panties, dresses, makeup represent my gender identity.  When I see a cute skirt I am reminded (not that I need to be reminded) of who I am, or at least who half of me is.  Pretty clothes, cute heels symbolize one of my genders.  A side of me that makes me happy.  I like who I am.  I like my gender identities.  I like being reminded of who I am and femme clothes do that.  Clothes are a connection to what we love, what we want.

I will never know why I like what I like to wear.  I mean, nightgowns and leggings are comfy so there is that.  But let’s face it, a gaff can be uncomfortable sometimes, strutting in 4 inch stilettos will likely get painful after a couple hours.  I don’t wear heels because they are comfortable.  I mean, the heels I wear (well most of them) are worn because they fit well and don’t kill my calves right away, but I wear heels (and everything else) because of how it makes me feel.  I feel powerful, beautiful, strong, brave, pretty, happy, calm and, well, feminine.  I like feeling these things. 

I don’t know why a dress makes me feel that way.  Probably because wearing a dress (and being en femme) in public represents that I am accepted and embraced my gender identity.  I am who I am and I am confident in my identity.  Being outside en femme means I have gotten past the doubts and fears that held me back.  It represents I no longer think about passing or blending in.  I have conquered so many things that held me back.  

A dress can be a souvenir.  There’s a dress in my closet that I purchased to celebrate the first time I went to the Mall of America.  When I see that dress I am reminded of what I overcame that day.  I have a matching bra and panty set that I bought when I had a bra fitting.  I think about that night every time I wear it.  I remember the time my mom met Hannah and the pink heels I was wearing that day.  Clothes and memories and experiences forever entwined.  Clothes and identity are forever linked.  It is about clothes.  It is about makeup.  It is about heels.  And hair, and necklaces, and nail polish and so many things.


Until a piece of clothing represents something, be it gender identity or a memory, it is just fabric.  But when we give that fabric the power of symbolism, the power of identity, then it becomes sacred.  Things without meaning, without association are unimportant and are just things. A wedding ring is just jewelry if it doesn’t represent love and commitment.  My male friends do look at a dress the same way I do.  To them, it’s just fabric.  To me, it is everything because of what it represents, what it reminds me, what it means to me.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

Hi Hannah. I am pretty new to all this and am finding your website and blog super helpful and inspiring. Thank you! My question is a pretty simple one. I am right at the start of my journey and kicked off by getting myself a pair of breastforms and a bra. I’ve been in my bra for a couple of weeks now as I am working from home, only not wearing it when I’m asleep or either the bra or I are getting washed. I feel more ‘put together’ when I’m in my bra but I’m nowhere near used to it yet – the straps on the shoulder, the clasp on the back, the wires on my chest etc. And the way you are always, always aware of it. Does that start to diminish over time? I just feel that if I wore other stuff like pantyhose or heels, I’d be totally overwhelmed. Hoping someone with some experience can tell me when a bra just becomes part of you. Thanks!

Like strutting across a parking lot in four inch stilettos, crossdressing usually is all about baby steps.  

And yes, most of us ease our way into this.  It took me about thirty years to be completely en femme, from wig to heels and everything in-between.  You can dress as little or as much as you’d like.  Many of us stop at lingerie, some of us don’t.  

It sounds like you wear a bra a lot and you’ll probably always be aware, at least on a small level, that you are wearing a bra (hope you have matching panties!).  And to be honest, I kind of like being aware of wearing something so feminine and pretty.  But if it is uncomfortable in any way, then you may be wearing the wrong bra size.  Most girls (t and cis) wear a bra that is too small and the band is not the proper length.  I would love to wear a 30 inch band but I don’t and there’s no reason to be uncomfortable (or worse) just to wear a size that I would LIKE to be, instead of the size that I am.

When you feel ready, you may want to get a bra fitting.  I had one last year and it was really eye-opening.  If you decide to go this route, call ahead to the lingerie shop (probably avoid the mall stores) to make sure they do bra fittings (especially in the current COVID scenario).  If they do, simply say you are a transwoman and you would like a fitting.  Of course, you may not identify as transgender, but it’s a lot less awkward than asking if they do bra fitting for men. That’s not to say you have to visit completely en femme. Stores that help the transcommunity know that we can present in many different ways and sometimes we present more masculine than feminine.

If you’re looking for new bras (and undies!) to add to your lingerie collection, I recommend:

Lingerie for Girls Like Us

The Breast Form Store

En Femme

Homme Mystere

Glamour Boutique



Allure Lingerie

Glamorous Corset

Third Love

Love, Hannah

Have a question for me?  Oh yes you do.  Ask me here!