The world is obsessed with classification and labels. We see it in terms of political party affiliation, sexual identities, gender identities, and pretty much anything else. These labels are sometimes vaguely defined and this can be true when it comes to labels about different generations such as baby boomers, generation X, and millennials.

I work for a college and interact with a lot of, well, college aged students. I also work with people older than I am. It’s a little odd to simultaneously interact with two very different generations. We all have different experiences which can shape our perspectives and opinions and our values. My older colleagues have decades of experiences that have impacted who they are as well as their perspectives, for good and for, well, not good. The students that I work with are just getting started and will learn a lot.

But this is normal. I have a different perspective on almost everything compared to when I was 18. My thoughts on relationships and gender and life/career balance and a zillion other things have been influenced by my experiences. And although not everything was easy or enjoyable, I am thankful for what I’ve lived through and the lessons I learned… even when I learned the hard way and had to learn something over and over and over.

As a bi-gender person I understand (as much as one can) the flexibility and fluidness and variety that gender can be. I de-genderize clothes and colors and cosmetics and I feel that a dress is just a piece of clothing and anyone can wear a dress no matter what your body has underneath it.

As someone who works with very two different generations, I also see the different perspectives on gender norms.

This can manifest when a male student has nail polish on and his instructor bitching in the staff room about him. The boy’s classmates and friends probably couldn’t care less about what color his nails are, but his instructor feels it’s the biggest issue the college and the world faces.

I am not trying to generalize any generation here. I am not saying that everyone older than me is narrow-minded and that everyone younger than me is more enlightened when it comes to gender presentation and gender norms.

If I had to define ‘crossdressing’ (oh, wait, I did), I would say that anything that is traditionally associated with one gender that someone from a different gender wears is indeed crossdressing. This could be a man wearing a nightgown, panties, or toenail polish. And yes, crossdressing almost exclusively applies to men wearing “girl things”. That’s just how it goes.

When I see a masculine presenting person from any generation wearing nail polish or eyeliner or even a skirt I think two things:

“That guy is crossdressing”

“That guy is wearing clothes or cosmetics that they want to wear”

As a crossdresser myself I have a very different perspective on clothes and obviously don’t think of crossdressing as taboo.

When I was in high school if a boy had long hair they were bullied mercilessly for “being a girl”. If a guy had their ear (and they could only have ONE pierced) it sure as hell better be pierced on the “correct ear”. I guess one ear was the straight ear and the other was the gay ear?? I don’t know. Gender norms are stupid.

Working on a college campus also means I see and talk to college students all the time. I know they probably think I am completely out of touch with everything (which is fair, I thought the same thing about people my age when I was younger) but they would be surprised if they knew about my non-cisgenderness.

As I wander around my campus I hear conversations between students about their teachers and homework and their jobs and yes, a lot of gossip about their classmates. But one thing I never, ever hear is any sort of criticism or teasing about the boy who wears eyeliner or the boy who would sometimes wear a skirt to class.

It’s like… no one cares.

And yes, I know that this isn’t the universal norm. I’m sure there are a lot of boys around the world that still get bullied if their hair is a LITTLE too long and would be beat up if they wore ANYTHING that is considered “for girls”.

Right now the world feels like it is going backwards in a lot of ways when it comes to gender but this is in contrast to the younger generation who care a lot less about gender norms than my generation.

And yes, I am sure this post is going to generate a lot of “millennials are lazy” comments so ahead and get it out of your system if you really feel that your perspective is a constructive contribution to this.

Every generation has lazy, entitled people. I know mine does.

But most of the students I interact with are working harder than I had to. They’re juggling fulltime college and working almost fulltime as well. 30 hours of class time, homework, and close to 40 hours of work? Burnout is real, bitches.

My first apartment had two bedrooms and cost $600 a month. That same apartment today is over $2000. And yes, inflation and things cost more today than they used to, but my students live and work in a world where minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Just a tiny bit more than what it was when I was that age when it was $5.15 an hour. A two dollar increase in 25 years is pretty pathetic.

Is this generation lazy? Absolutely not. They have to work much harder than I had to when I was that age.

Anyway, as we watch much of the world limiting our access to medical care and increasingly vilifying the transcommunity, I am also seeing the next generation (for the most part), not caring about gender norms.

It’s what I wish my generation would do.

I wonder what the younger generation thinks about crossdressing. Is it just not a big deal like it was when I was that age? Is it perceived as sexual as it was when I was in college?

I mean, I KNOW that any sort of non-cisgender wardrobe choices will always be a big deal to some, but it seems that crossdressing is less taboo for this generation and that nail polish is becoming less genderized.

Based on the emails I get and the responses my website generates, it seems that most of my readers are close to my age or older. If you are college-aged and have some thoughts on this I would love to hear them in the comments.

Love, Hannah

“A Dress!”

This is going to sound very silly but for a long time I didn’t really think about where clothes came from.

I mean, they came from a store and I knew that someone sewed them using fabric but as for the PERSON who designed them? Never gave it another thought.

Until the movie ‘Clueless’ came out in 1995.

I’ve always noticed tags on clothes and sometimes they had a name on it but I assumed it was the brand and for the most part I was probably right. Occasionally I would see the name and it was the name of a person but again, I never considered who the person was or why on earth there was someone’s name on the dress I was quickly trying on before my mom returned home.

In the movie the main character has a quick conversation with her dad when he sees her wearing a dress.

Mel: What the hell is that?
Cher: A dress.
Mel: Says who?
Cher: Calvin Klein.

Again, this sounds very silly but it was a lightbulb moment. Of course someone had to design the dress.

I am not much of a brand girl. There’s not many designers that I really care about or seek out, but it’s still something I notice (and avoid if I think the designer is a horrible person).

This little scene from the movie popped into my head when I saw this dress at a thrift boutique. I took it off the rack because it was kind of cute and it wasn’t a color I had a lot of in my closet. It was a Calvin Klein dress and it fit like a dream. I’ve had this dress in my wardrobe for years and I thought it was time to wear it for a photo shoot. So I did!

When I add something new to my constantly overcrowding closet I think about what occasion I could wear it to. This dress would be perfect for a wedding or another formal event that Hannah will likely never ever be invited to, but reality usually doesn’t stop me from buying an outfit.

At any rate, that’s the story behind this dress. I hope you like it!

Love, Hannah

Graduation Day

The first MN T-Girls event was held in November 2013.

I think. I don’t know, I am not a historian.

Since then I have evolved in terms of my presentation, confidence, and identity. I went from nervously going out into the real world and only visiting LGBTQIA+ coffee shops to strutting downtown and through the biggest shopping mall in the state.

My evolution is not unique. This happens to us naturally. The more often we go out the more confident we become. The more we realize that *this* isn’t as big of a deal as we might think it would be. The first few times I went out en femme I was sure I would be yelled at and harassed.

I mean, not everyone that I interact with is happy to see a transperson, but there’s been much less (obvious) hate than I expected there would be.

Part of the reason for forming the T-Girls was remembering how scary it was to go out en femme the first few times. I hoped more of us would be ready to go out into the real world if they could do so in a group. Safety in numbers, after all.

Over the years I have seen girls like me make their first step into the real world. I have held their hand as they shook in fear of being in public for the first time. I have walked to the parking lot of so many shopping malls so a girl wouldn’t have to walk in alone. I have sat next to girls at restaurants who were too terrified to say a word.

I have seen girls cry from happiness of being in the real world and I have felt their joy of being out for coffee en femme. I have seen girls blossom and grow and embrace this side of themselves.

And then, sometimes, I never see them again.

At one point they were there for each and every monthly outing but one day they stopped coming.

And I wonder about them. I wonder if something happened to them. I wonder if they went back into the closet. I wonder if they are okay. I hope they are happy and safe.

Sometimes I do hear from them, though. And most of the time they’ve stopped coming for a pretty amazing reason… they don’t need the group anymore.

They joined the group to make friends, to get used to being in public, to learn about who they are, what they wanted. This was a part of their journey. But somewhere along the way they no longer felt that they needed to only do things with other girls like themselves. They felt safe being alone. The saw the world was more accepting of t-girls than they initially thought.

When this happens I think of it as graduation, in a way.

And I can relate. As I stated earlier I myself started going out en femme to t-girl friendly cafes and transgender support groups but now I go everywhere.

They’ve found the confidence to be themselves in a very complicated, bewildering world. Of course I will miss them but I am so happy for them.

Love, Hannah

Kinkiness and Crossdressing

There’s is nothing wrong with most fetishes or kinks provided that they don’t hurt someone else (emotionally or physically) and if they require participation of someone else they have that person’s consent.

If I shut off certain parts of my brain, I can understand the appeal of most kinks and fetishes. They may not be for me, but I can usually see the attraction to it. Of course, there are some (that will be unnamed) that I will never for the life of me understand. And that is okay. I don’t get why some people enjoy watching professional bowling on television either, so there you go.

Many of us are sexually aroused by what we do. This could be someone getting turned on by they themselves wearing lingerie or a person fetishizing a girl like me. Although there’s not a drop of sexual pleasure I derive from dressing up, I mostly get the sexual aspect of allll this.

I am not here to kink shame anyone You do you, promise, but leave me out of it, bestie.

It’s sometimes… fascinating to see the polar opposites that being transgender can have. On one end we have the sexual/kinkiness of dressing up, on the opposite we have the activism side as we fight for our rights. And then there’s everything in-between.

I call myself an accidental activist because I’ve accepted that being transgender is often politicized. As much as the world needs changing I don’t feel that I am the right person to lead that movement. I feel I can create a greater impact on showing the world that transgender people are just people living their lives when I am simply out of the house en femme.

I’ve also accepted that I will forever receive unsolicited photos and emails and direct messages of dudes looking to hook up and to tell me how much they love “trannies”.

It’s ALMOST amusing to check my emails in the morning and see messages that cover both the “u r sexy” variety and the news alerts about potential legislation to hurt our community.

It’s like… much of the world hates us but we turn them on, too.


I have been fortunate to work with a lot of designers and business that support our community who make clothes and products for people like myself. I work for? with? En Femme and I love writing and modeling for them. I choose to partner with them because I think their clothes are super cute and they are simply a joy to work with. I do product reviews for the Breast Form Store and Glamorous Corset and have also written and modeled for Xdress and Glamour Boutique. I love this. It’s not only super fun but I also like to bring attention to businesses that truly support us, not just businesses that change their Twitter logo during Pride month.

However not every business that designs products for the trans community is for me. There are businesses that design panties with wider leg holes or more room in the shoulder area for girls with my body type. There are designers that make lingerie or breast forms for my anatomy. But there are also businesses that specifically focus on the sexual and fetishy aspect of crossdressing. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this and I’m sure that silicone vaginas and lifelike masks (and goodness some of them are VERY lifelike) are a godsend to some of us out there.

I am contacted from time to time from businesses like these who ask about partnerships or advertising on my website. I am happy to promote businesses that I feel align with my perspectives but I don’t see myself adding advertisements to my blog. This is not a criticism of those girls who DO, mind you, it’s just not something that I see happening.

I don’t want to be a bitch and call any business out, mind you. I don’t want to stigmatize “crossdressing as a kink” in any way. Again, someone’s kink should be a private thing that I have noooo business in knowing about. Don’t need to know, don’t WANT to know.

The countless photos of myself on my website probably suggest otherwise, but I will never claim to be more important than I know I am. I am a raindrop in the transgender ocean. That being said, I don’t think of myself as a spokeswoman or any sort of authority when it comes to crossdressing. There are many parts of identifying as non-cisgender that I have no experience in. I don’t know what it’s like to transition or take hormones. I also don’t have experience in the “crossdressing is a kink” world, either.

For those of you who do indeed associate all of *this* with sexual arousal, what is your take on products that are meant to… ah, enhance the kinkiness of what we do and of who we are? Are you glad to be able to buy masks and things along that line?

Love, Hannah

Stuck in Limbo

The key to life is maintaining balance and to keep moving forward.

We don’t have to constantly strut towards something, however. It’s essential to take a break and pause and rest when we need to. God knows I need to listen to myself.

As we continue our journey we aren’t always aware of where we, or more specifically, where *this* is all going. That can be terrifying or liberating (or both). We are guided by our heart and what feels (and what fits) right. We will consider different paths and in the end choose the destination that is best for us. We will stumble, we will make mistakes, we will rest, we will turn around and venture into a new direction.

Like walking in four inch heels, we rely on forward momentum and balance and confidence, even if we tremble with each stride.

For decades this side of me was mostly about lingerie. I would wear a pretty nightie to bed, I would wear a cute matching bra and panty under my boy clothes. When I made the “official” leap into real clothes, makeup, and femme presentation it was… exhilarating. There was always a new makeup technique to try, a new outfit to add to my wardrobe, and new aspect of my gender identity to unlock.

I felt like the possibilities were endless.

Although I didn’t know where I was going, I’ve known from the start (allll the way back from when I was very young) what didn’t feel right. I knew that transitioning wasn’t right. As much as I loved pretty clothes and amazing makeup and gorgeous stilettos, I don’t, and have never felt uncomfortable in boy mode. My journey would not take me to HRT or living full-time.

I knew where I wasn’t going, but I didn’t know where I would end up.

For a long time I felt like my journey was completed. And in terms of my presentation it is. I don’t think I can look any more femme than I do. I think this is the best I can do with what I have. And I love how I look. Dysphoria or feeling I look too masculine happens less and less often.

But I still want to do NEW things. April’s MN T-Girl yoga class is a good example of that. I still want to fly pretty. I still want to be a bridesmaid, lol. Although discovering WHO I am is settled, there’s still so much to do.

And I feel I can do what feels right. My confidence and feeling at peace allows me to have the courage (and hubris if I am being honest) to do the things I want to do.

I talk to a lot of other t-girls who are on their own journey. There are a lot of similarities in our lives and how we started and how we feel, but our destinations could be very different. A lot of us feel how I feel, that gender identity can be more than one option. A lot of us feel that transitioning is the right path.

Again, I don’t feel that living full time or HRT is right for me. I have never had a conversation with a therapist or a doctor about estrogen or anything like that. I have NO experience in what those talks or steps look like so please understand that when I talk about transitioning my perspective is one that is likely very naïve, very wrong, and very simplistic.

That being said (and pleeeeeeease educate me in the comments) it SEEMS that transitioning has, well, an end point in some regard. There’s the legal aspect of changing your gender, the emotional aspect, the social aspect of coming out to everyone in your world, the medical aspect (if indeed one does HRT or gender-affirming surgery)… the list goes on.

But to me it seems like eventually everything will be crossed off the list as the legal and the medical parts of transitioning will one day be complete. Of course, transitioning is an enormously emotional step and will likely impact one’s feeling and thoughts for a very long, and the social aspect can be difficult as the people in our lives adapt from “him” to “her”.

Please understand I don’t mean to minimize or simplify anyone’s journey.

What I am trying to say is that from my perspective is that sometimes the big parts of someone’s gender identity journey can end. Mine did.

Lately I have been thinking about those who are, well, stuck. Perhaps they aren’t sure what their next step is. They may know what doesn’t feel right but they aren’t sure where to go from here. They know their gender identity isn’t at peace yet, but feel conflicted about what to do, what to wear, and who to talk to.

This can create a lot of anxiety.

There are also others that don’t have the freedom to continue their journey at the moment. This can be a few different things. When I was a teenager I couldn’t wear what I wanted to whenever I felt like it. I couldn’t wear panties all the time because of the fear of my family looking through my dresser drawers. I didn’t always feel like I could look through my sisters’ closets lest they return home sooner than I had hoped.

But I knew that as soon as I moved out I would be off and running when it came to what I wore and what was in my closet. I just had to bide my time.

I felt something similar in a previous relationship. Long story short I came out to her, she wasn’t accepting (and I hold no ill will towards her), but as the end of our relationship loomed I looked forward to moving out and once again being able to wear what I wanted. It was a small comfort during a very difficult time.

But that’s how this side of my life has always worked. Crossdressing would always be there for me.

My life today is… unbelievable compared to the life I thought I would have. I have a job that I (mostly) enjoy, I have a few close friends, family I like, a comfortable home, and the perfect spouse for me.

On a superficial level I also have more dresses and heels than I thought I would ever have.

Not a day goes by where I take anything in my world for granted. I have been lonely, frustrated, broke, angry, depressed, heartbroken, and aimless at many points in my life. I remember those days, those years. To not feel them is a blessing.

I am reminded every day of how fortunate I am. These reminders can come from listening to friends who are going through relationship changes, family members suffering financial hardships, and people I don’t know struggling through major challenges.

I am reminded when I get emails from girls like myself who feel lonely, lost, and confused about who they are. The frustration they feel because they can’t continue their journey for a number of reasons.

They are, for lack of a better word, stuck in limbo.

They may not know the next step, or perhaps they do but are unable to move in that direction at the moment.

I cannot imagine the frustration and sadness and the hopelessness that feeling stuck, for whatever reason, that some of us might be feeling.

Just remember that you are not alone. I understand this may be of small comfort but if I could offer more I would.

If this is where you are, how do you cope? What advice would you give to others in your heels?

Love, Hannah

The Yellow Brick Road

Someone commented not toooo long ago in reference to the term ‘journey’ to describe the process we experience when it comes to gender identity as something that is sometimes misunderstood. In her words we are not “off to see the wizard” on a magical adventure. Our journeys are sometimes lonely, frustrating, stressful, and confusing.

And goodness if she didn’t hit the nail on the head.

I begrudgingly use the word when I write about this side of us and how we can change over time based on our experiences and the people we encounter along the way. I use the word because honesty it’s probably the best way to describe how our gender identity can evolve. But there’s something about ‘journey’ that just doesn’t quite fit, if you know what I mean.

This comment really clicked for me. Our journeys are not always filled with wonder and magic and joy. Although there’s no magic wizard at the end of our paths giving us what we want, maybe our journeys have more in common with Dorothy than we might think.

In ‘The Wizard of Oz’, a tornado picks up Dorothy’s home and crashes it down far from where it was originally. She hits her head and then wakes up to find herself in a strange land that is confusing to her, but bright and colorful. I mean, LITERALLY bright and colorful. She left a mundane gray world and is now blinded by pink and yellow and the other colors of the rainbow. She sees a beautiful woman in a pink gown that changes her destiny. I know my destiny has been influenced by beautiful pink dresses.

She skips (I mean she literally does this) down the yellow brick road, scuffing up her new heels along the way, and soon meets friends and traveling companions.

But I am being toooo harsh. Let’s face it, a beautiful pair of heels can make you dance with joy.

Not to belabor the metaphor, but isn’t that we did? We leave the drab boy world of khaki slacks and gray neckties and black wingtip shoes to a bright world of pink dresses and red lipstick and yes, super sparkly heels.

Dorothy is prepared to go alone on her adventure, and we must prepare for this as well.

It’s easy to forget that Dorothy’s journey was also fraught with danger. Just as we get insulting comments towards us at the mall, she had trees throwing apples at her. I may not have winged monkeys after me but I do have transphobic jerks calling me ‘sir’. I am not locked in the witch’s tower but I’ve often felt alone.

To the outside world, our journey looks like it’s alllll about pretty clothes and blissfully wandering around a lingerie store but in our heart we know what it took to get there, what we’re feeling and dreading. Everything we do is a lot more difficult than it looks.

Same with Dorothy. Sure, she’s singing her heart out as she skips down her path and to the citizens of Oz it looks like she’s having the time of her life but let’s not forget that a few miles back a witch was throwing fireballs at her and she’s in fear of potential lions, tigers, and bears.

At the end of the yellow brick road, all Dorothy asked for was to go home. She could have stayed where she was, in a new magical world, but like all of us, we just wants to be where she belongs.

I may daydream about being a princess but my ambitions are more humble than that. I want to be home. I want my wife, my life, I want to spend Saturdays en femme. I want what I have.

And I am blessed for it.

We don’t want a giant castle, we want a quiet life to do what we want and to wear what we please… especially if we can wear red glittery heels.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

How important to you is it to have a femme surname? I have always felt that there was something missing when I am dressed to the 9s. You are Hannah McKnight and I can only assume that this so far removed from your real name. I went back through our family history and found a really lovely lady, again her name is far removed from my male name I feel safe to use it. Since then I feel so much more of a real woman when dressed????

My femme name, like my presentation, came more or less organically. It also came out of necessity. When I started to interact on social media, particularly on forums like, I needed to register under a name and also have an email address tied to my account.

For obvious reasons I didn’t want to have ANYTHING related to my girl life associated with my boy life, not even an email address. So, I created a separate email address for my pink side of my world which I used for social media stuff. In what I felt was a very clever moment of inspiration, I choose the name Hannah Gotta.

My femme last name wasn’t ever really ‘Gotta’. I liked the name Hannah but I needed to have SOMETHING to put in the “last name” field when I created an email account. I chose “Hannah Gotta” as it (sort of) rhymed with “onnagata” the Japanese word for male actors who play women’s roles in Japanese Kabuki theatre. Eventually I felt I needed a proper last name and I decided on McKnight.

Having a femme first and last name does make me feel… hm, a little more real, if you know what I mean. I like getting emails addressing me as Ms. McKnight. I am bi-gender so I have two very distinct worlds in terms of clothes, friends, and everything else. It just makes sense for this duality to extend to a name.

Love, Hannah

Related reading

Hi, My Name is…

What’s in a Name?

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

Beauty and Art

This past weekend the MN T-Girls visited the Minneapolis Institute of Art for a lovely afternoon of coffee, girl talk, and of course, art!

I love art and as much fun as it is to get lost in a mall, there’s something so peaceful about wandering around a giant, beautiful building and stopping and admiring whatever catches your eye. I love doing this alone and I love doing this with friends.

It was a lovely, quiet afternoon… a nice little reprieve from the stresses of the world.

Love, Hannah

Love to Jaclyn

Hi girls,

We know this can be a lonely life and the world often seems like a harsh place. But you are not alone.

I came across a blog for one of our sisters named Jaclyn who posted a very sad and very upsetting message.

If you have a moment, please visit her blog and post a supportive and encouraging comment.

I hope she sees them.

Remember, help is out there.

Trans Lifeline is a national trans-led 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving the quality of trans lives by responding to the critical needs of our community with direct service, material support, advocacy, and education. Our vision is to fight the epidemic of trans suicide and improve overall life-outcomes of trans people by facilitating justice-oriented, collective community aid. 

Need to talk? Call! Our peer support hotline is run by and for trans people. We’re available 7am-1am PST / 9am-3am CST / 10am-4am EST. Volunteers may be available during off hours.

If you or someone you know needs to talk, please call.

Love, Hannah