Still Me But Not Really

In the evening when you see my eyes
Looking back at you, no disguise
I’m not sure who you think you’ll see
I’m just hoping you’ll still know that it’s me

Oh – what if it’s true
Better ask the man inside
Oh, oh – there seem to be two

-Jackson Browne

Whether you identify as a crossdresser, as gender fluid, as transgender, most of us realize early in our lives that there’s something more to us.  As we grow up we see that this side of us isn’t going away and is in fact, growing stronger within us.  We get to know this side us, and we learn that this side of us IS us.  It’s not limited to simply being a part of us, it’s who we are.

Once we acknowledge all of ourselves it becomes part of our everyday lives.  We likely will try on clothes that don’t belong to us, we shop in different stores in the mall than we normally do, we buy clothes that we hide in our drawers and in the back of our closets.  We become accustomed to having more than one side of our gender identity, or understanding the gender the world thinks we are is different than how we really feel.

After we acknowledge who we are, we will (hopefully) embrace our identity.  Even after we make peace with ourselves, it’s still likely a secret.   And usually it’s a secret for a loooong time. Until the day that we fall in love, of course.

When we fall in love, it unlocks a part of us that wants to share our lives with that person  ALL PARTS OF OUR LIVES.  We know that we should tell this beloved person about who we are, about what’s in our closets.  The idea terrifies us but we know we should tell them.  And we (probably) should.  The hesitancy is understandable.  There are few revelations that could instantly end a relationship as quickly as this one.  Sometimes we are in denial and are convinced that we can stop or shut off this side of us.  We cannnnnnnnnn’t.  And we don’t neeeeeeeeeeeed to.  There’s nothing wrong with who we are.  I mean, it’s true that this is a lot to ask of our partners but please know that even if your beloved thinks there is something wrong with who you are, there’s nothing wrong with who you are.  Yes, it’s a little unusual, but it is what it is.

You need to be ready and stable in a few ways before you can (and should) commit to someone.  Emotionally yes, but you need to understand (as much as one can) your gender identity as much as possible.  Who are you?  How do you identify?  What do you want?  These questions are also about making peace with who you are.  It’s a lot to ask of our partners to go through your personal gender identity journey with you.

Of course one’s gender identity can change and grow as you do.  Ten years ago I was a crossdresser.  Today I am bi-gender.

When I met my wife I told her about panties.  Today we talk about eyeliner and fashion.  But the BIG thing I knew was that transitioning was not right for me.I am blessed in quite a few ways, but when it came to my gender identity evolving from lingerie to who I am now, my wife was there at the beginning.  Yes I tried on a few dresses as I grew up, but my first real time was with my wife.  She did some light makeup and after that our lives were never the same.  She was there when I settled on a name, did my eye makeup the first night I went out, and gave me the idea for the MN T-Girls.  Of course this makes it all sound so easy but there have been plenty of difficult conversations as we both learned about gender and (ugh) my journey.

However most partners do not get this perspective.  For most, it’s a bombshell that is dropped on them, whether we come out to them, or we are “caught”.  We try our best to explain who we are, why we are, but we also try to explain that we are still the same person that they knew.  We are still ourselves.And to some extent that is true.  But it’s kind of not, at least not to our partners.  We live with this side of us, we have done so for years.  This side of us IS who we are.  It’s been who we are for decades.  But to our partners, it’s a shock, it’s something about us that they didn’t know about.  They didn’t know we had this side.  They didn’t know this was a part of ourselves.    

Coming out to someone is one of the biggest, scariest things we will ever do.  It’s also risky as we have really no way of knowing how someone will react and we will be changing that relationship FOREVER.  Telling our partners about who we are is essential.  It’s only fair to let them know about this side of us.  Coming out also takes a huge amount of compassion as they will likely react in a very strong way and will likely be confused, hurt, and scared.  I know we feel we are still the same person, but our significant others don’t see it that way, at least not at first.  We grew into, and grew up with this side of us.  Our femme selves are as much of a part of us as our boy lives, but our partners don’t know that.  Yes, we are the same person that we’ve always been but please be kind when you come out to someone.  They will likely have a different perspective than we do.

Love, Hannah

The First Time

I get a lot of emails about going out for the first time en femme and what my experience was.  I’ve written about it here and there but I think it’s time for a full recap of that day.  Buckle up and fasten your garter belt, this is going to be a looooong one.

When I talk about the first time I went out en femme, I am talking about the first time I woke up, dressed in a cute cami, black cardigan, floral skirt, black stockings, black heels, did my makeup and nervously stepped out into the real world.  But that wasn’t the first time I went out.  It was the first time I went out during the day, but even that isn’t exactly true.

The first time I went out en femme I went to The Townhouse (now named The Black Heart).  The Townhouse is/was the oldest LGBTQ+ bar in the Twin Cities and is almost a rite of passage for a girl like me.  It’s usually the first place someone like us goes to.  Although it was the first time I left the house dressed, I don’t really think of it as the first time out as I went from my home to the parking lot to the drag show to back home.  No one batted a false eyelash at a girl like me.  It was about as safe as it gets.  And thank God for that.  When you go out for the first time it’s helpful to go someplace like that.

The first time I went out during the day and went somewhere that wasn’t an LGBTQ+ bar was when I had a dress altered.  My wife gave me a beautiful gown for my birthday one year and I wanted to have it altered so it would fit me better as it was a little large and it needed to be taken in.  I made an appointment at a seamstress, got dolled up, and had a few fittings.  This was also a fairly safe adventure as I only went to one place and interacted with one other person.  

But both of these experiences took away from the “firstness” of going out en femme.  I learned how to walk in heels on the sidewalk, how to use the ladies room, how to drive in stilettos.  Baby steps before my first proper time out.  Getting the dress altered and walking to the seamstress took away some of the fear and nervousness of going out during the day.  Although I only spoke to one other person I didn’t notice anyone staring at me while I drove there or walked to the shop from where I parked.  I told myself if I can do all of that, then perhaps I could do more.  

It took a few more months to work up the courage to take the next baby steps.  But in retrospect they weren’t baby steps, they were huge, huge strides and struts forward.  

Why did I want to go out?  I was tired of being in my living room.  I wanted to experience life en femme.  I wanted to stop for heels while wearing heels.  It was nothing more (or less) than that.  Once I decided to have this experience, I needed a plan.  Where would I go?  Eventually I decided on getting coffee in Uptown. 

Uptown is a neighborhood in Minneapolis where twenty years ago was a lot hipper, a lot cooler, a lot more independent than it is now.  It was, and I suppose it still is, the gay friendliest part of the Twin Cities.  I knew that although I would stand out, I also knew that I wouldn’t be the first t-girl that people in that neighborhood would see.   If you are nervous about going out en femme (and of course you are) it’s helpful to go someplace like this, whether it is a cafe or a bar or a part of the city  Of course, I know that not every city has a place like that, so you may need to someplace that does.

How did I work up the courage?  The bar and the seamstress experiences were good first steps.  I learned the fundamentals (if you will) of going out en femme, such as getting in and out of a car in a skirt.  I knew I would be around other people on this next adventure and I would be paranoid and scared and nervous and I would have enough to worry about so I was glad I didn’t have to learn some of these things while I was dealing with my nerves at the same time.

How did I get over the fear and nervousness of being recognized?  Perhaps its naive of me, but I don’t think I am recognizable when I am en femme (or at least I hope I’m not).  I know some days I look VERY male when I am en femme but that’s okay.  I KNOW I’m transgender and I don’t think anyone thinks I am cis.  I know I’m trans, they know I’m trans, and I know they know I’m trans.  But I didn’t want (and still don’t) to run into anyone I knew.  I also wanted to go to a more liberal, more artsy part of the city.  Cue Uptown. 

I live about twenty miles from Uptown so I felt it was far enough away from most people I knew and the risk of running into anyone was pretty small.  I also was leaving for my adventure early enough that getting coffee was really the only option for that time of the day.  The plan was to park, get my coffee, and go home.  In boy mode this was as boring as it gets.  For Hannah, it was like going to the moon.  In heels.  

I left the house before the sun was up.  Going that early was part of the plan, but I also was too excited and nervous to sleep.  I drove to Uptown and trembled the whole time.  I was worried about being able to drive in heels especially with my foot shaking nervously the whole time but I made it.  I parked in a public ramp and made my way to the coffee shop which was located in a small shopping mall.  Although the stores were closed, you could still access the mall.  It had been a while since I had been to this coffee shop and was surprised that the cafe was no longer in business.  My perfectly planned morning now had a fly in the honey.  

In boy mode this would be no problem as there are dozens of places to get a coffee in Uptown but things were different, I was in a new world.  I was determined not to spin on my heels and go back to my car, I was doing this.  I walked two blocks to another coffee shop and nervously walked past the cars in the street and the other people on the sidewalk.  

No one cared.  No one looked at me.  Well, sure, they looked at me similar to how you look up when you notice someone is near you, but it’s not as if people were gawking or staring at me.  Just a girl out for coffee.  

I opened the door to the coffee shop and the cashier greeted me, I ordered my coffee, gave her my name, and a few minutes later the barista called out for a vanilla latte for Hannah.  I thanked her, she wished me a good day, and that was that.  It was a new world, I had accomplished something small and mundane and life-changing.  And it was easy.  It wasn’t a big deal.  I did it.  

The coffee shop was attached to a small grocery store and not knowing what else to do I went inside.  I sipped my coffee, listened to my heels click on the linoleum, and soaked up the day.  Most of the people in the store at that time of the day worked there.  They looked up as I approached but there was no sign of smirking, eye rolling, or staring.   No one cared.  Or if they did, they kept it to themselves.  

After I wandered around for a bit I headed back to my car.  Paid the automatic gate and left Uptown.  It was still early and the sun had just popped up.  The plan was to head home after getting coffee but I was too awake, too alive, too excited to go back.  Since it was still early, there were only a handful of places open and luckily Target was one of them.  I went in, headed to the Starbucks inside, bought another coffee and wandered around the store, beaming the whole while.  Employees and shoppers smiled at me, and I smiled back  I looked at dresses and just lived in the moment.  

A girl can only kill so much time at Target, so it was time to move on.  By this time a nearby mall opened and I spent more time there wandering around.  I drank more coffee.  I smiled, I strutted, I had the door opened for me, I felt the wind in my hair.  

It was time for lunch and I ate out for the first time en femme.  I popped into a Noodles and Company, ate my salad and by then I was tired.  The coffee had worn off, my feet were tired, and the thrill of going out was coming down.  I went to my car, and drove home.

I had a lovely time.  Everyone was so kind to me, or they ignored me completely.  Not a nasty comment was heard.  Usually I’m asked “what did people think?”.  I don’t know.  I didn’t ask them, but I learned that when you act like you belong, when you are dressed to blend in, no one really notices.  They think you belong there.  And I did.  Girls like us belong everywhere.

I learned a lot on my first time out, and when I went out for the second time, I realized how much more I learned than I had originally thought.  The second time I went out was a few months later.  I was encouraged and emboldened by my first adventure and I had naively assumed my second time out would be just as wonderful.  It wasn’t.  I went to the same mall as my first time and I had a lot more stares than I expected.  I couldn’t figure it out but I realized it might have to do something with my outfit.  I wore a tight bodycon dress with knee-high boots.  I looked cute, but perhaps a little… spicy for the mall on a Saturday afternoon.  Or maybe not, perhaps there was a store giving discounts to Rude People Who Stare At Transpeople that day. It’s impossible and pointless to speculate what people are thinking.

Maybe I was nervous this time and people could sense my anxiety. Perhaps the constant looking around and over my shoulders caught people’s attention as I was acting a little off. These days I am much more comfortable and confident and can look around a lot more subtlety.

I learned that you need to dress for the occasion, for what you’re doing, for where you’ll be.  This is not to say you can’t dress cute or wear heels but perhaps I was dressed for a nice dinner out or for cocktails, not for the mall.  I drew less stares the first time out because I looked like a girl on her way to work.   I learn something about, ah, something, almost every time I go out en femme.  Most times I go out are wonderful or at least uneventful.  Rude comments happen but they don’t happen often.  No matter how many times I go out, there’s still apprehension, fear, and excitement.

Love, Hannah  

Beauty and Choices

There are zillions (I MIGHT be exaggerating here) of unknowables when it comes this side of us, when it comes to who we are.  I’ll never know why we are who we are and that’s okay.  I don’t need to know and really, it wouldn’t make a difference one way or the other. 

I feel comfortable, calm, happy, and like myself  (or more accurately, a part of myself) when I am wearing stockings, heels, and makeup.  Some look forward to taking their bra off, I count the days until I dress and I check the mail obsessively when I am waiting for the new bra and panty set I ordered to arrive.  I LOVE wearing clothes that others can’t wait to take off.  BUT!  I do know that my wife and I wear bras for different reasons.  I do know that women are “expected” to wear heels and dresses.  Being “required” to wear something, whether it’s because of your anatomy or because of arcane and antiquated and unfair social expectations, takes away from the joy, the fun, the CHOICE of wearing anything.  I do understand that, promise.

I also understand that this side of us makes some people uncomfortable.  Some men are uncomfortable around girls like us for a few reasons.  Some men wonder why “another man” would want to associate themselves with anything feminine, whether it’s a skirt or an opinion, or heaven forbid, having FEELINGS.  They may think that women, femininity, equates to weakness and inferiority.  Why would you CHOOSE to be “weak”?  Some men are attracted to girls like us, not because we are trans or have certain anatomy, but because we are beautiful women.  Some men are attracted to women, but as soon as they realize she has the same “parts” as they do, it’s a different story.  They become uncomfortable, or even angry, that a girl like us caught their eye.  

I have no patience for men on Twitter or in my email who “compliment” me by saying things along the lines of “I’m straight but u r pretty”.  These comments bring out my bitchy side quickly and I think to myself “wow, a straight man attracted to a girl?”  I don’t engage in comments like that, more than likely they just get muted/blocked.  

When I came out to my wife when we dated she had a hard time understanding why anyone would choose to wear a bra and stockings.  Why wear panties that weren’t designed for someone with my anatomy?  After we married and I started to wear dresses and makeup, she “got” it.  She understood this side of me, or us, as well as anyone could.  She said that sometimes I wanted to look and feel beautiful.  Who couldn’t relate to wanting that?  She went from having no idea why I wanted, why I wore lingerie to a starting place and her understanding, her experience, grew from there. 

When we come out to people, or when we post on social media, we are opening ourselves up to their opinions, thoughts, and feelings.  Posting a photo on Twitter means I could get likes or nasty comments.  Coming out to someone creates a risk of losing or at least changing that relationship FOREVER.  People might think that we are confused, in denial, perverts, or anything else.  They may never want to talk about this ever again, they may never want to talk to us ever again.  

Of course, they may also think that this side of us is just, well, weird.  Not weird in the sense of “why would a boy want to wear a bra?” but “why would ANYONE want to wear a bra?”.

And on the surface level, yes, I suppose it is a little weird.  Last time I was out en femme I wore a tight corset and a skirt that I was paranoid was too short and showing off my stocking tops.  Was I comfortable?  Yes, of course.  My corset was cinched perfectly, my gaff held everything where it needed to be held, my bra was adjusted for my body, my heels clicked merrily on the pavement.  I was about as comfortable as one could be in wearing such restrictive clothes.  If your corset is seasoned and everything you’re wearing is the right size and you are tucked properly you don’t really FEEL what you’re wearing.  Until you have to get out of a car or or walk up a flight of stairs or something, of course.

Hi I can’t move

Most nights I wear a nightie to sleep in, other times it’s lingerie.  A nightgown is more comfortable than sleeping in a cute cami and matching thong.  If you keep going in this direction you’ll realize that sleeping in nothing is the most comfortable.

Why would anyone choose to wear clothes that require cinching or tucking?  Isn’t it more comfortable to… well, wear boy clothes like ugly, baggy gray sweatpants (a little opinionated here, aren’t I?)  And yes, I will reluctantly admit that presenting as a boy CAN be more physically comfortable than wearing four inch heels and a bodycon dress.  Of course, at the same time wearing a flowy skirt or leggings is also waaaay more comfortable than a suit, but I digress.

But I don’t wear what I wear because it’s more physically comfortable.  If that was my guiding star then I would wear leggings 24/7.  No.  I wear what I wear (at least en femme) because clothes are how I express myself, or more specifically, Hannah.  Hannah has a look, and I love her look.  Usually overdressed in heels and a cute dress and false eyelashes for anything and everything.  I wear what I wear because of how it makes me feel emotionally.  I FEEL beautiful, and I hope I look beautiful.  And yes on one hand this is all very shallow, but it is what it is.  

While it may be weird that one chooses to wear a tightly laced corset, it’s understandable to choose to wear something, whatever it is, that makes one feel beautiful.  Who couldn’t relate to that?

Love, Hannah

Painful and Beautiful

We call ourselves different things as we live our lives.  Its not uncommon to identify as a crossdresser only to find that transgender is a better fit.  Or bi-gender.  Or genderqueer.  Or agender.  Or… uh, something else.  At first these are the names we say to ourselves.  We think to ourselves “I am a crossdresser” or wonder “perhaps I am transgender”.  But as we accept and embrace who we are we start to feel the pull of coming out.  We come out to different people for different reasons, and one reason is that we are just exhausted from keeping this side of ourselves to ourselves.  

There is a lot of hesitancy to come out as… well, anything, because we are conditioned and taught that thinking, saying, doing, or wearing ANYTHING even REMOTELY “feminine” is BAD.  We are taught words such as “sissy” before we learn the word “transgender”.  The insult, the bullying, takes roots before anything else.  Is it any wonder we think twice (or 100 times) before we come out?

We identify in different ways at different points in our lives and in our (ugh) journey, but once we start to come out (if we choose to do that at all) we are at risk of being called different things.  Words like pervert, freak, and worse.  These words sting, at the very least.  It hurts even more when these words are used to intentionally hurt us.  Perhaps the most hurtful, fatal thing we can be told when we are en femme is “I can’t even look at you right now”.

How painful that phrase is.  

But we continue to be.  We continue to be who we are, wear what we choose.  The world might think of us as one way, but we don’t let that stop us.

How beautiful is that?

Love, Hannah

The Visible T-Girl

I need a break from (gestures all around) all this.

No, not from writing or being on social media.  I need a break from the seemingly unending string of anti-trans legislation.  There are currently over 80 bills being discussed right now across the country ranging from health care to participation in sports to a business’ “right” to discriminate against those in our community.  

It seems to be a popular, and perhaps an easy issue to unite certain fractions of our world.  It’s easy to demonize us, I suppose, despite the realities and the facts.  If you’ve never seen or met a transperson it might be easy to believe that we are all twisted, sick, perverted, confused fetishists.  We’re not, obviously.  But it’s easy to rile some people up into thinking we are.  

The pandemic has been a reality for over a year now which is something I never thought would happen.  It has limited going out and enjoying the small, everyday things I used to take for granted, both en femme and as a male.  Not being able to meet up with the MN T-Girls or spend the day at a museum or the mall has been frustrating and depressing, to say the least.  And yes I know it’s shallow.  I know the pandemic has impacted the world and others in more serious, sadder ways.  

But as we get closer to the end of the pandemic, we are starting to take stock of the damage, both emotional and otherwise, that this global event has caused.  Of course there’s an economic impact, of course there are changes to healthcare, changes to how businesses are run, to how we work, learn.  Our mental and emotional and psychological sides have been affected as well.  When someone goes through something traumatic (and I 100000% believe this is/has been traumatic), our brains don’t really process it until it is safe to do so.  Our brains kick into survival mode and focus on getting us through it.  

And we are getting through it.  And we are starting to see how the last year or so has changed us.
One of the goals of the MN T-Girls is to increase visibility of our community in the world.  If someone sees us at a cafe hopefully that person will see that we are just girls catching up over a coffee.  Hopefully they realize that we are not the twisted, sick, perverted, confused fetishists others say we are.  

When I go out en femme I am aware that I might be the first t-girl a cashier, a server, a barista, another shopper sees or talks to.  Again, I hope that the brief interaction helps someone understand that we are just trying to live our lives.  It’s an ambitious goal, but it’s something that happens in small bits and pieces.  

Basically what I am saying is that we as a community and as individuals haven’t been as visible in the last year as we normally are.  Being visible will (perhaps naively) help others know that we are just… people.  Being visible, buying a coffee, shopping for shoes, doing normal everyday stuff humanizes someone in the eyes of another.  It helps people relate to others.  It’s hard to deny someone kindness when you see them.  When you can relate to them, even on the smallest level.  I wonder if there is a connection between the surge of anti-trans legislation and the lack of visibility and representation of our community in the real world, in the everyday world.

If more people see t-girls and t-boys in the world, perhaps support for these bills will diminish.  
Going out en femme is a necessary part of my life and my gender identity.  AND! it’s also activism.  Activism isn’t always protests and demonstrations.  Sometimes it’s quietly shopping for a skirt at the department store.  

Love, Hannah

The Return of the MN T-Girls Again

Yesterday was the first MN T-Girls meeting since November. We took a pause due to COVID but now that the weather is warmer (for Minnesota in April, anyway) I felt it was safe(r) to resume our monthly adventures This was our second return as we took our first COVID pause last March and returned (for the first time) in May of last year.

This month wasn’t tooooo elaborate, just coffee and girl talk with the girls but it was good to see my friends again.

It was chilly, but at least I looked cute. Well, I thought I looked cute.

Love, Hannah

Secrets of MtF Cross-Dressing

My friend Sybil is hosting a crossdressing workshop at Bondesque in Minneapolis on Tuesday, April 20th!

 Sybil Minnelli is a long time cross-dresser, balancing her kink lifestyle with a vanilla family and work life. She’ll teach you her secrets of cross-dressing, how she balances dual lives, and how she switches her presentation between casual, passable, and fetish themes. Ms. Sybil will share her advice on makeup, hair, clothes, shoes and how to get the look you desire. However, she does lead an interactive class and will encourage others to share their secrets as well. Attend as dressed up as you like and enjoy a very safe, friendly and comfortable environment. Be prepared for a lot of fun discussion about reaching your fem side!

Tickets available here!

Love, Hannah

New En Femme Blog!

My new blog for En Femme is live!

The latest article with blogger, trans-activist and fashionista, Hannah McKnight is now available in our Learning Center! Hannah’s blog discusses more in-depth her life as a self-described T-girl. 

Hannah’s newest article is the third part in a series about starting out crossdressing and exploring gender, identity and labels: “Crossdressing 101.” In this installment, Hannah talks about where crossdressing falls on the transgender spectrum and about identifying as a bi-gender person.  Read it now>>

Love, Hannah

They’re Not Real, and They’re Spectacular


Okay, this is my last post about my most recent photo shoot (just in time because I have another one in a few weeks).  

This was an emotional shoot and I dipped my stiletto into new waters which was nerve-wracking and empowering and humbling all at the same time.  I was all over the map when it came to these photos but the thing that the photos, the outfits all had in common was my new shape. 
No, not that shape, but my new breast forms.  

For the past few years I wore a small pair of forms that weren’t REALLY breast forms, but more along the lines of faux-silicone pads that did a sufficient job of giving me a little shape.  I was satisfied with them, but I also felt they weren’t the right size and shape for my body. 

I felt a little un-proportionate, as if my breasts weren’t quite large enough.  And this is not to say I wanted ENORMOUS breasts or anything, I just wanted something that would give me a more realistic shape for my body.  I also wanted something that felt, looked, and moved a little more realistically.  

Thanks to the generosity of The Breast Form Store, I finally have a pair of real breast forms that are, in a word, amazing.  I have done a few reviews for The Breast Form Store and I buy almost all of my heels and some of my lingerie from them, and I am fortunate to be on friendly terms with them. 

When I was sent some lingerie to review, I was also gifted with a new pair of breast forms.  These forms were selected based on my body type, weight, height, and measurements which was good because I wanted something that was more proportioned to my body.

When I opened the box I was struck by how large they were.  They are a 40B and are much more realistic and larger than I was used to.  When I tried them on I understood exactly why I was sent this size.  They were perfect.  There’s really no other word for them.  I loved how I looked in lingerie…

And I loved how I looked in a tight dress. 

I think my figure here looks pretty amazing but this figure is thanks to a corset, thigh pads, and my new forms.  This isn’t my body.  Not really.  But the right shape wear FEELS like my body.  My thigh pads move with me, my new forms move with me.  They move when I am going up and down stairs, they push up and give me cleavage, and they just feel like a part of me.  

Are they cheap?  No.  But creating your look is a combination of time, patience, and money.  Of course, this is not to say that you need forms, or anything else, to crossdress, to be femme.  But if you are looking for forms, then I absolutely recommend the Platinum Seal Classic.

Very special thanks to all the girls at The Breast Form Store for my new girls.  I heart them.

Love, Hannah