It’s Not Okay

I looked good on Saturday.  

And I think it’s okay to say we look good when we do.  For some reason it’s more… ah, acceptable to point out our flaws and shortcomings (especially for a girl like us) but I think if we feel good, if we think we look good, then we should say so.

And I looked good on Saturday.

I had one of my favorite dresses on, paired with one of the cutest pairs of heels I have, and my makeup was fire.  I knew I looked good when my wife said so, and that really made my day.  I was on cloud nine.  

I was meeting up with the MN T-Girls for dinner that evening and I set aside the day for a makeover, shopping, and some quiet time at a coffee shop to read my new book.  It was partial retail therapy, partial self-care.  It was needed.  I had planned a day where I would be very visible to the rest of the world and I knew I’d be interacting with a lot of people from baristas to cashiers to people just going about their day.  As a t-girl I am aware of the possibility that someone will stare (POSSIBLY because I am sitting at a Starbucks in a killer dress and stilettos), that someone will laugh and point, or will harass me.  It, unfortunately, comes with the territory…. and it’s not okay.

One thing I don’t really anticipate is getting hit on.  I do get hit on online through Flickr comments, tweets, and emails (this is not bragging, I wish it would stop), but getting hit on in the real world is, well, it’s uncomfortable and not something I ever feel ready for.

And it’s NOT affirming.  Not to me.  I don’t feel validated, I don’t feel cuter, I don’t feel more feminine, nothing like that.  

But some men of the world don’t care what we feel or think when they hit on us.  They might think we will be flattered or charmed or whatever, but I think most girls just want to be left alone.

And yes, I know, NOT ALL MEN.  

I had arrived at the restaurant about 30 minutes before the reservation time and I checked in with the hostess.  As she stepped away to make sure our table was ready, a man from the bar made his way over to me.  He put his hand on my shoulder (please don’t ever do this) to get my attention.  Instinctively I turned around and before I could react he said I looked beautiful.  Stunned by his boldness (again, don’t touch girls), I turned away after quickly saying thank you, hoping he’d get the message that I didn’t want to speak with him.  He pushed the “conversation” and commented on my heels and other small talk.  I was getting annoyed, like really annoyed.  My lack of interest in continuing the conversation was pretty apparent and he was either not taking the hint or choosing to ignore my body language. 

Thankfully the hostess returned and I approached her, but not before the man sidestepped his way in front of me (again, don’t do this) and asked if he could do anything for me.  I told him that I was just here for my reservations and the hostess spirited me to my table.  

Once there was a little distance between the hostess and I and the man, she asked if he was bothering me.  I said he was and then added “but it’s okay”.  And then I corrected myself and added “no, it’s not okay”.  I meant it was okay in the sense that it was over, but what he did, touching me, stepping in front of me, ignoring my body language, was not. We got to chatting about men like him, and she shared with me the things that have been said to her and like me, she added “but it’s okay”.  I had the feeling that she was used to men behaving in this way and she was, sadly, used to it.  As if it came with the territory.  After a moment she also said “well, it’s not okay” and we just stood there for a moment in our thoughts thinking about our experiences. 

We flashed each other a brave little smile and she told me to enjoy my dinner.  I thanked her for rescuing me and we both went about our evening.

I’d like to add that her, and the entire staff, could not have been more welcoming and pleasant to our group.

The world can be your mirror and sometimes we see other people doing things that we might have done in the past, or might do everyday.  Sometimes this reflection, their behavior causes us to pause and re-examine what we do, or did.  As someone who is bi-gender I experience the world in two very different, distinct ways.  That evening I saw what some men do, and how uncomfortable it made me, and how uncomfortable it made the hostess.  It was a reminder that I must always be a gentleman when I am a boy.  I like to think that I am.  I don’t do the things that he did, nor do I recall ever doing so in my life. 

It’s easy to ignore an email email or scroll past a Twitter comment that is too flirty or sexual for my liking.  But having it happen in real life is harder to deal with.  I don’t want that kind of attention. 

Stay safe, girls.

Love, Hannah

Dining out with the T-Girls!

Last night was the monthly event for the MN T-Girls. Because of the pandemic, we haven’t been out to dinner for quite a while so I felt it was time to return to the Wilde Cafe and Spirits in Minneapolis. It’s been a favorite of ours for years so it was fun to go back.

We caught up with each other and planned out our events for the rest of the year while we enjoyed yummy food.

And we all looked beautiful.

Love, Hannah

Skirting Around

I rarely wear skirts.

Because of this, my confidence is about zero when it comes to creating an outfit based around one.  In some ways I feel that skirts and a cute top are a little… well, maybe casual isn’t the right word, but I tend to wear dresses that stand out pretty much anywhere.  I am most comfortable in a dress and heels even if I am overdressed for whatever I am doing.  I just like to look my best and I think I do when I am wearing a beautiful dress.  The dresses I wear are a little more formal (if that’s the right word) compared to the casual dresses I see other girls wear out in the real world.  

Please know that when I say I stand out I am not saying I am the prettiest girl in the room, but I am a six foot t-girl in heels.  No matter what I wear I am not going to blend into the crowd.  

The few times I wear a skirt it’s because I saw an outfit on a mannequin and I thought it looked cute, so I simply bought what it was wearing and wore it.  And I am being 10000% serious.  I do wear skirts from En Femme because their separates make it very easier to coordinate a cute outfit.  But if left to my own devices I am pretty insecure about picking a top to go with a skirt.  When I see girls wearing skirts, no matter the outfit, it always looks cute.  But when I try something similar my insecurity hits a new level and I usually end up hating how I look.  For one thing I can never tell if I should be tucking in a top with a skirt.  I mean, I know it depends on the skirt and the top but I still feel pretty lost.  

But every once in a while a skirt jumps out at me and I want to wear it.  It could be a cute pleated skirt or a leather skirt and I suddenly become obsessed with it.  Whenever the weather gets warmer I am drawn to jean skirts.  I see girls matching them with simple t-shirts or cute blouses and they always, always look good, even when they are paid with sneakers.  The cute/casual/comfy look is just not a look I think I can pull off.  Besides, if an outfit doesn’t *need* heels I am zero interest in wearing it, lol.

Out shopping one day I saw a cute top that I thought would look good with a jean skirt.  The top was dressy enough that matching the outfit with heels wouldn’t look out of place.  So I bought it, along with a jean skirt.  It was an outfit that I thought would look cute on any girl, even me.  I tried it on when I got home and my confidence crashed.  BUT!  I expected that.  Trying on an outfit in boy mode almost always makes me look terrible.  It is a completely different outfit when I am wearing my thigh pads, my breast forms, and have my hair and makeup done.  The outfit fit, it worked, and I decided to wear it one my next time out en femme.

My next time out would line up with a photo shoot where I had to review some fishnet stockings.  I met up with Shannonlee and we took some pictures outside at a park in a couple of different outfits.  Since the jean skirt outfit looked very summery it was a perfect location for it.  She took some pictures of this ensemble and before I changed into a dress (yay!) I asked her to take a photo with my phone.  I wasn’t thrilled with how I looked, but I knew there’s a world of difference between an iPhone camera and professional equipment.  I didn’t let the picture crush my self-esteem (that much) and I moved on with the shoot.  

Of all the photos we took that day, I was most curious how this outfit would turn out.  I dissect every photo of myself and I look at what I am wearing, my makeup, and whether I look too boyish before I decide if I want to share the picture on my website.  If it’s a good picture then I want to show it off, obviously.  I clearly like doing that 🙂 but I am also willing to hear feedback on an outfit as to whether or not it works for me.  I am often insecure and I admit compliments do a lot to pull me out of a funk if I don’t think I look pretty in a picture.  I am shallow and honest enough to admit that getting Likes on a photo I post on Twitter does a lot for my self-esteem.  

That being said, here are the photos of the outfit.  I think they turned out okay but I am not sure it’s an outfit I will wear again (unless ya’ll think I should, lol).  

Love, Hannah

The Alluring Power of Fishnets

I was asked to review a pair of stockings from We Love Colors recently. I love doing reviews and it’s a fun reason to arrange for a photo shoot. I spent some time picking out which stockings I wanted to review and of course, I HAD to pick fishnets. 🙂

I don’t wear fishnet stockings that often, they are more for a special occasion or when a dress almost demands it. At first I was skeptical about what on Earth I could say about fishnets beside the fact they are irresistible and sexy. They project an alluring sexiness and confidence that is pretty much unmatched when it comes to stockings. They are not for the timid.

So what makes We Love Colors stockings so different? The pair I chose were the Wide Mesh Fishnets and my first impression was the quality. Most fishnets FEEL cheap because they are cheap. They have a tendency to snag and tear more than any other types of stockings but these felt more durable. I wasn’t afraid of them tearing when I put them on.

Fishnets demand attention, they asked to be seen. They are not subtle. The color of the stockings seemed more black, seemed darker than other fishnets I’ve worn. These stockings, like everything else We Love Colors makes, were hand-dyed and I think it makes the black of the fishnets really pop.

We Love Colors is inclusive and transfriendly and make wonderful stockings. I absolutely loved how these fishnets completed this look and I can’t wait to pair them with my new corset dress at my next photo shoot.

Thank you to We Love Colors for these sexy stockings.

Love, Hannah

The Future is Inclusive

These are the words at the top of page for Zhe, a new line of lingerie for transwomen.

Zhe was founded by designer Karyn Elizabeth and, according to their website, is a lingerie brand designed with the fit and function needs of the TGNC community. Our lingerie was designed to address the specific needs of transgender women and femme identifying people.

I was given the privilege of reviewing Zhe’s Wicked panty recently. My first impression of opening the package was saying “cute, cute, CUTE” out loud. The front of the panty is deigned to minimize our feminine flaw, but it’s not the same as a gaff. A gaff helps girls like us TUCK, this amazing panty compresses and minimizes our frontal anatomy thanks to the multi layer mesh lining. I wore them all day and never, ever had to adjust. They were comfortable and effective, if you know what I mean. 😉 The back is super cute with a beautiful and playful lacy pattern. I couldn’t stop checking myself out, lol.

The lingerie was, from their website, designed with a wider gusset and also include a supportive multi layered front panel. Our medical grade power mesh is soft and luxurious, while also having a high spandex content to help with smoothing and support where necessary.

Is this panty a substitute for tucking? Yes, if you find tucking uncomfortable. But since the gusset is wide than most panties I was able to tuck comfortably however I think the mesh is incredibly effective when it come to smooooothing and suppressing. Bottom line is I don’t think I need to tuck when I am wearing this.

This is a cute panty and like the best lingerie, it is sexy and practical and I am excited that Zhe exists, and I am excited to have this pair in my wardrobe.

Thank you to Zhe for being a supportive resource for girls like us, and for providing this cute panty for review.

Love, Hannah

The Complicated Legacy of Crossdressing

It’s amazing how many words are available for girls like us.  But it can be overwhelming when it comes to choosing how to identify.  Some crossdressers may feel that all of THIS is more about clothes, but they may not feel ready to identify as transgender… yet.  What is the difference between non-binary and being gender fluid?  Does any of this matter?  

I am thankful that some words are slowly making their way out of our lexicon.  Words like transvestite and transsexual have been outdated for a while and we are thankfully seeing them less often.  Words and their meanings change and evolve over time and I think the term ‘transgender’ has expanded to become more inclusive than it was perceived twenty years ago.  It used to predominately mean transitioning but identifying as such no longer necessarily means that.  I think many of us have our own personal definition of this word, I mean, I certainly do.  Some of us are scared of the word, some of us might not feel “trans enough”.  I mean, I get that, I was there at one point, too.  

As words such as non-binary and gender non-conforming (and the increase of people using them/they pronouns) become more familiar to those outside of our community, more people are becoming more accustomed to them.  Ten years ago identifying as non-binary would have resulted in confused stares, but today?  Well, probably still confused stares but at least it’s likely someone has at least heard the term before.  

I like non-binary.  I like gender fluid.  I think they are more inclusive and help break down a lot of the barriers and expectations (and limits) of BOY and GIRL.  I think more people would identify as non-binary if they had a better understanding of what the word actually means.  I’m non-binary (of course) but I feel bi-gender is a more accurate way to identify (as I am presenting as boy OR girl). 

The very first word I identified with was ‘crossdresser’.  The way my friend in middle school offhandedly described this word to me was a man who wore women’s clothes.  And goodness if that didn’t describe me when I was younger.  I loved the word, mainly because I was comforted by the fact that there were so many others like myself that we had a word to call ourselves.  I carried this word in my heart for years.

When I was in college the internet was a new thing.  On my very first day of my freshman year I went to the library, plugged in the modem and searched the word ‘crossdresser’.  I wanted to see what I could find.  I wanted to get to know (but not meet) other crossdressers and read about their experiences and their lives.  I was… surprised and taken aback by how… well, sexual the results were. 

Most of the search results came back portraying crossdressing as a fetish.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a fetish or a kink, but this is who I was, not something I did to arouse myself.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but the word ‘crossdresser’ became forever linked in my mind to something sexual.

As I got older I realized that the term was associated with fetishism more than I thought.  Crossdressers were often portrayed as deviants and perverts in movies and books.  It was always, always, always about sex.  Of course this would shape how others outside of our community would think of the word ‘crossdresser’.  It was frustrating, to say the least.  What I wore had nothing to do with sex, and eventually I started to wonder if this WAS a fetish since everyone else seemed to think it was.  But I knew in my heart that it wasn’t.  It was intimate, absolutely, but not a kink.  

We are forever cycling through thoughts of who we are and why we are.  Am I a crossdresser?  Am I transgender?  Am I non-binary?  For me, it’s yes to all of it.  I wore and wear “girl clothes” because I am non-binary.  I don’t think clothes are for boys OR girls OR any other gender.  They are just clothes and I love wearing clothes that are “for girls”.  I don’t feel limited to what I can wear, or what I do wear.  There are no men’s or women’s departments in stores.  I shop wherever I need or want to.  It’s true certain clothes make me feel a certain way.  Let’s face it, it’s more fun to wear a dress than it is to wear a shirt and tie, but I’ll wear what I want.  I mean, not really.  I want to wear a dress to the office but I know I won’t, but it would be fun, wouldn’t it?

Our collective thinking in society is evolving (slowly and kicking and screaming along the way) in the way we think about gender.  However the word ‘crossdresser’ still seems to be associated with sex.  Given that there are so many ways to identify these days, is it time to “retire” the word?  I don’t see the stigma of the word going away anytime soon and I think it will be a loooooooong time until people stop thinking of the word as a fetish, so perhaps it’s time to move on.

What do you think?

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

Do you read stories from sites like Fictionmania? I love it! I so admire that you can go out dressed like you do. Have you ever done hormones or thought of doing this?

Fictionmania is a website which features fictional stories focusing on the transgender community.  I don’t read t-girl fiction anymore even though I really love reading.  In my late teens I sought out ANYTHING that had to do with other crossdressers, including magazines and fiction anthologies about the LGBTQ+ community.  Does anyone remember the magazines Transformation or Girl Talk?

I used to like reading stories about girls like me, even though they were fictional.  Most of these stories followed the same premises, usually a young man who started to crossdress at the urging of a family member.  As a t-girl I love reading about clothes and a lot of these fictional stories really went into detail about what the characters were wearing.  I would live a little vicariously through the characters as they went shopping and tried on beautiful dresses.  A lot of the stories, however, would eventually venture into characters having sex and that’s when I stopped reading.  This side of me was never a fetish for me and there was no connection to me wanting to dress like a girl and wanting to have sex.  

Hormones, surgery, t-blockers… none of that feels right for me.  I enjoy both of my genders and have no desire to pick one.  I love having options.

Love, Hannah

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

Stay Positive

This side of us is beautiful.  

This side of us is a refuge from the rest of the world sometimes.  At least it is for me.  When my boy life is getting stressful there’s nothing like scheduling a makeover, wearing a pretty dress, and spending the day wandering around a mall or a museum or siting in a cafe.  Being en femme helps me slow down, reflect on life, and find some peace.  It’s a lovely break from my boy life.  A little staycation, in a way.

When we are en femme we are simply living our best life.  We are experiencing the same world that our boy selves live in but it’s a different experience.  The mundane, the typical, the everyday becomes an adventure.  We have a gender identity that we need to acknowledge, that we need to care for.  It’s a little work sometimes but goodness it’s worth it.  Not to belabor the metaphor, but it’s rather like planning a short vacation.  Yes, it takes some planning and it can be expensive but god it’s worth it.  We need it.  We come back to our boy life refreshed, happy, and have likely gained a new perspective on whatever was causing us stress and anxiety in our boy life.

We want the world to love us when we are en femme.  We love this side of ourselves, we love the clothes, the heels, the makeup, the EVERYTHING.  We want the world to smile back at us as we wander through it, we want the cashiers, the baristas, the salesclerks to be just as happy to see a t-girl in the real world as we are to be in.  BUT!  We know that’s not realistic and we have accepted that.  Most people will be indifferent to us, but we’ll take that. 

We live our lives for ourselves.  We dress for ourselves.  We spend $80 on a makeover for ourselves.  We practiced strutting in stilettos for ourselves.  When we are en femme we are in our own little lives, our own beautiful lives.  We don’t want to be bothered, harassed, pointed at, or anything.  Just… just leave us alone if you can’t be kind.  Don’t burst my little bubble or dull my sparkle.  When someone is cruel they are going out of their way to do so.  And why would anyone spend their energy to be mean?  Why have that hate in your heart?

Not only do we want the other mall goers to leave us alone, we want the WORLD to leave us alone.  It’s disheartening to see our community as a political topic.  As an “issue” that divides people.  To be controversial.  We just want to use the ladies room in peace, not to be a hot button political issue about who can use which restroom.  But here we are. 

T-girls have always existed.  We have always been living our lives and doing what we have been doing for years and years and years.  I don’t recall seeing stories on the news when I was growing up about girls like us and the controversies that we see today.  But we existed then just like we will always exist, it’s just very… popular to use us as a political weapon.

And, well, it sucks.  It’s frustrating to have this beautiful side of us, this essential side of us to cause so much hate and fear.  It’s really not fair or right.  We just want to live our lives in peace, we do not want this.  Maybe it’s because our expectations are low (or perhaps we are cynical) but we know we can’t ask the world to love us, but it’s not toooooo much to ask to be left alone.  Keep laws that hurt us off the ballot, stop letting medical professionals discriminate us, stop preventing transgender kids from playing a silly sport.  Stop making us a controversy.  

Again, perhaps I am being cynical but I know that we won’t be left alone in my lifetime.  And I have accepted that.  Perhaps I shouldn’t accept that, though.  Maybe I need to do more for our community beyond just wandering around a mall in a dress.  But… that’s kind of what I think we want.  To be able to wander around a mall in peace, without controversy.  To be able to live our lives in peace, to spend the day in a beautiful gender without anyone caring.  To use the ladies room without worrying we’ll end up on the news or in jail.  

It’s a shame, really, that a beautiful part of us is used as a weapon.  We never set out to be a controversy, we just want to get a coffee or dine out or shop for a skirt IN a skirt.  Life is rarely easy, sometimes it’s a fight, but this side of us shouldn’t be a war with anyone.  

Stay positive girls.  

Love, Hannah

Glitter and Doom

I feel as if my anxiety is really high lately.  Work has been stressful, a family member is in the hospital, and, well, the whole pandemic.

Please know that I am not trivializing anything.  

It’s hard to cope and get through life (and through the day) when it feels like everywhere you turn there’s something happening.  Life has a way of backing you into a corner sometimes.  And then life pins your arms back and takes a few more shots at you.  It gets a little traumatic and it gets a little old.

Also!  Please know that I’m fine, and everything is fine.  I mean, it’s NOT (you know, the pandemic, work, family) but this isn’t a cry for help or anything.  I am not on the verge of doing something or anything drastic.  Life just feels overwhelming at the moment.

I am not the type of person who can’t get out of bed in the morning and I just thank God that I quit drinking because otherwise…. well, it’d be bad I think.  I don’t use drugs or have the common bad habits that others use to cope.  And I am not here to shame anyone for doing what they need to deal with… everything.  I do think there’s a lot of unaddressed trauma many of us are living with because of the pandemic, and you can’t really come to terms with trauma until what’s causing the trauma passes.  But what I’m curious about is how does one know what’s really going on?

What I mean is that things impact people in different ways.  Anxiety causes me to pretty much shut down.  I am twitchy and jumping and pretty much a nervous wreck.  I appear (and I am, so there’s that) distracted and lost (and REALLY lost) in thought.  The pandemic is getting bad (again) and is echoing what happened last year (which I’m probably still dealing with).  

Our brains (thankfully) have a survival mode.  We luckily switch over to dealing with the immediate threat in order to survive it and once the danger passes, we can then process it and heal from it if we need to.  

Sometimes I feel normal and I feel good.  Despite what is happening in the world or at work I can sometimes shake it off and be positive and upbeat.  These days it is feeling impossible to do so.  I know I’m being overly dramatic but it feels like there’s a dark cloud over everything.  

But as I said before, I’m curious about what is really happening.  Is it just a bad couple of weeks/months?  Is my depression/anxiety getting worse and I need to have my meds tweaked?  Is there anything unaddressed trauma that needs to be addressed?  

I remind myself (and this does help) that my life is really, really good.  I told myself the other evening that if I can slide into bed wearing a nightgown and fall asleep reading a good book, well, how bad was the day, really?  One of my, well, I suppose it’s a coping mechanism is giving myself a reward.  I’ll tell myself that if I can get through SOMETHING (such as a stressful work project) then I will treat myself to a new dress or something.  And it works!  It gives me something to look forward to, something to fight for.  My last “reward” was a red latex dress that I can’t wait to wear.  😉

I wonder how common this is for girls like us.  I think treating ourselves is pretty common, but for girls like us we can treat our femme selves.  Is there anything you do for her that helps you get through a difficult time?

Love, Hannah