If there’s anything I’ve learned after over ten years of blogging (do they still call it that anymore??) about crossdressing/transfeminity it’s that we all have so much in common. Most of us “got started” very young when we became enamored with anything from pretty dresses to lingerie to makeup. Many of us didn’t feel quite right doing “boy things” or bristled at the idea of BOY clothes or GIRL clothes.
We have shared experiences when it comes to what makes us happy. The joy of wearing panties for the first time. The excitement of finding heels that fit. The exhilaration of our reflections after our first makeover. The feeling of conquering all fears when we step out of the house en femme for the first time… or the thousandth.
We have also felt less desirable emotions. The crushing dysphoria when we don’t look as cute as we would like. Feeling we are “too male” to be pretty. The shame we are told to feel when we do or wear anything that is considered feminine.
Buuuut something we don’t talk about much is the… well, bad things that some of us do.
And I am not innocent by any means.
When I look back at the early years of when my wife and I were both discovering the depth of my gender identity I made a lot of decisions that were selfish and not completely thought through. I may have been lost in the Pink Fog or affected by a different kind of fog but the point is that I wasn’t always making the right choices.
What do I mean? Back then I spoke endlessly about clothes and makeup. All of THIS was overwhelming as it was but I didn’t pick up, or I ignored my wife’s cues when she needed a break from her husband babbling about high heels. I kept suggesting she and I go out dressed despite her telling me that she wasn’t ready for that.
I felt a little powerless when it came to the hold that my femme side had on me. It was overwhelming for my wife but it was also overwhelming for me as well. All of these desires and longings came rushing out, like a dam breaking and I just couldn’t find the balance of how THIS would fit into my life, my marriage.
This side of is complicated and multi-faceted and touches on all aspects of our lives and it’s easy to connect the dots as to how this revelation (not only to our partners but to ourselves as well) impacts EVERYTHING.
Having any sort of non-cisgender identity is hard enough as it is for our partners but we often put them through stress and fears as we try to navigate these strange new waters. My wife wondered (to say the least) if I was going to transition. Despite me telling her otherwise it was hard for her to believe this at the rate I was going. Discovering who you are is a journey but from her perspective this part of my journey wasn’t a slow, steady wandering… it was going a million miles an hour.
Nothing I said or did eased her concerns or fears. It took time. It took conversation. It required me to stop drinking. It took counseling. It took self-reflection. I “calmed down” over time. I made friends with other t-girls and found support, even if it was just a friend to go shoe shopping with. I LISTENED to my wife. And I committed to doing the things that she needed from her partner, her husband… from Hannah.
Accepting your own gender identity isn’t necessarily easy. Marriage takes effort. Both of these things together?? Buckle up.
I am fortunate she stuck by me. After all, THIS wasn’t what she signed up for. I think some people are afraid of what would happen if their partner had an affair… but not many people speculate on what their life would be impacted by their partner coming out as anything other than cis of straight.
Earlier this year I wrote the longest article in the history of the internet (obviously I am exaggerating) and it has generated a lot of emails… mostly from partners of crossdressers.
I mentioned above how much we have in common when it comes to what we wear or how similar our journeys are… but these emails have reminded me how similar the journeys of our partners are.
My journey wasn’t completely easy but it has had so many amazing moments. Photo shoots, finding THE dress, going out en femme…
My wife’s journey? Stress. Fear. Apprehension. Annoyance. Anger. Exhaustion. Confusion. This was, this is HER journey. A journey she did not plan for or expect or want to have.
My journey brought happiness and stilettos. Her journey had few bright spots.
This side of us impacts our spouses and significant others in many of the same ways. Our partners wonder if they themselves aren’t pretty or feminine enough. The same fears of us wanting to transition. The same lack of trust that this revelation came bring.
What has surprised me the most over the years of exchanging emails with partners of crossdressers is that *most* are actually fine with their man wearing panties. They may not understand but they get that this side of us isn’t going away.
But it’s the other things that this side of us brings that causes the most stress… anger… fear… annoyance… among other things.
My husband only wants to be the girl in the bedroom
My husband keeps asking me to go out en femme with him but I am not ready
My husband lied
My husband spent money on clothes when it was needed to make the car payment
My husband is posting photos of himself online when we agreed on not doing that
And so on.
None of these things are about crossdressing ITSELF. It’s about the other things we are prone to do.
I am not calling anyone out. Again, I am not innocent and I think it’s important that we acknowledge what our partners experience. It’s easy to be selfish and neglect our partner’s fears and insecurities and thoughts.
I am losing my mind with everything in my life. Between the bigger than typical stress and chaos at my job and selling a house and buying a new house and every little thing that goes along with everything else I am amazed I haven’t had a breakdown yet but I suppose the day is still young.
Just a quick note to let ya’ll know that I am still here (as much as I can be mentally) and I should hopefully have some more time this weekend to post a pending review and something a little more introspective.
But I had a very small moment this morning when I realized that sometimes, sometimes, things work out.
There are the BIG things right now, such as trying to coordinate closing on our current home and closing on the new home and making sure all the bank stuff is taken care of. But then are the small things.
The MN T-Girls are strutting our stuff again next weekend for our monthly outing and I spend time daydreaming about what I will wear and what heels I’ll pair my outfit with. Superficial and shallow I know, but I never said I wasn’t.
With almost every dress and stiletto I own sitting in a storage… thing at the moment I don’t have access to my wardrobe. I have a few dresses and a few pairs of shoes still in my closet that I wore for my most recent photo shoot so I decided to just plan an outfit around what heels I had that weren’t locked up.
I have a cute pair of pink t-strap heels that I don’t know why I don’t wear more often.
Here’s what they look like!
They are pinker than they appear in the photo. 🙂
Anyway, I used my inability to access my wardrobe as an excuse to buy a new dress. I found a cute one online and I wondered if the pink in the dress would match the pink in the heels. I mean, there are fifty shades of pink and I know it’s not important at all but I hoped that the pink in the heels and the pink in the dress more or less matched each other.
The dress arrived and it passed the first test: it fit.
Thankfully (again, it’s not important) it also passed the second test of the pinks complimenting each other.
The big things working out is important, but the small things count, too.
I swing madly back and forth between wanting to never leave my house and wanting to change the entire world.
I go between feeling hopeless to being inspired to start a revolution.
I want to give up and then five minutes later I want to keep fighting.
It’s easy to understand why I feel defeated and hopeless. According to the Human Rights Campaign, more than 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been proposed in 2022.
From my perspective, these laws are pushed by people who hate and/or don’t understand people in the LGBTQ+ community. People supporting these laws are those who have already made up their minds about people like me and people like you. I am not the smartest cookie in the kitchen but I do know that once someone makes up their mind about something it is very unlikely they will change it.
Changes in law and legislation comes from activism. It comes from demonstration. It comes from a place that, at it’s roots, is very small and very patient. It needs to build. It needs a leader.
I would like to be a leader. I would like to be a part of protecting who we are. Sometimes I get so frustrated and angry and hurt by a proposed law that I want to organize a demonstration, a march, a… SOMETHING to show lawmakers and the world that trans people are valid and we are human and we should have the same rights as anyone else, whether it is access to medical care or protection against discrimination.
Buuuut I am not that person.
I don’t think I have the demeanor for that. I don’t think I have the skill set or even the time for what something like that requires and demands. I know this sounds is selfish.
I feel frustrated because something needs to be done. I feel reassured (a little) when I see others taking up these causes. I feel less anxious when I see a peaceful demonstration of people, trans and cis, showing the world support.
I do think that if you can make the world a better place then you should try to. And on some level we ALL can make the world a better place. This could be something small like volunteering for a charity or cleaning up litter at a park.
Trans people are often accidental activists. We kinda HAVE to be. If we want a peaceful and quiet life where we can present how we please and live our lives we also have to do the big, hard things that are necessary to protect that. You may have zero interest in politics but you must be aware of what is at stake when it comes to who is in congress.
I know I CAN do more. I know I SHOULD. But I am often paralyzed by not knowing WHAT to do.
…but maybe I am doing SOMETHING.
At the last MN T-Girls event, I looked around the table at the different girls there, girls who have known each other from years of outings and girls meeting each other for the first time, chatting about shoes and family and work and everything else.
A little community… even if it’s just for a couple of hours.
I know I come off as conceited and very INTO myself (the zillions of pictures of myself more or less backs this up) but I don’t see myself as doing much GOOD in this world.
But again, maybe I AM doing something.
The world and the trans community needs every one of us. Some of us can lead a revolution, some of us can bring a dozen t-girls together each month for coffee or shopping or any of the other things the MN T-Girls do.
The goal of the group was to bring femme presenting trans people together to help with experiencing the “real world” and by doing that showing everybody that trans people exist and we are just as valid and normal as everyone else. Most of us are just a hell of a lot taller than everyone else, lol.
If I remember these objectives then I think the group IS successful. I think the group has changed lives (for the better). I hope the group has quietly shifted the heart and mind of at least one person out there who now sees that we are not a threat or perverts.
I mean, that’s how change happens, remember? From small, patient starts. I mean, that’s how WE start. From those small, timid steps in kitten heels in the privacy of our living rooms to strutting in stilettos at the mall.
The world needs leaders who can do the big things that create change… but maybe the world also needs leaders who can organize these small, quiet gatherings every few weeks. This is my place in a bigger world.
Interested in being spotlighted? Send an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject line ‘T-Girl Spotlight’!
Hello beautiful ladies, wives/partners, allies, and others! My name is Alicia (pronounced Ah-Lee-See-Ah, not Ah-Lee-SHA), and I’m a proud, semi-full time transwoman who is happily married. I’m honored that Hannah would be interested in featuring me in her T-Girl Spotlight, and I hope that my story can resonate with at least someone out there.
I was trying to think about what to say in this little spot, and I thought I’d start off by briefly touching on what Hannah and her work has meant to me, and how it has impacted my (I know you hate this word Hannah, but I’m going to use it anyway) journey. I’ve been following Hannah since 2012 (yes, ten whole years!!) all the way back when she was doing daily drawings with a few photos mixed in here and there.
When I first found her, I felt like I identified exactly with her: a crossdresser who just loved making space to feel pretty and living life. As time as gone on, my (um) journey has certainly evolved, but I still find so much of what she says as relevant and impactful in my life. With the hopes of not being overbearing, I consider Hannah a role model and hero to me… she has worked so hard to advocate, educate, calm the nerves of many anxious spouses (I think even my wife has asked a question or two), and provide context into the kind of ladies we all are. I’ve loved seeing her arrangement and management of the MN T-Girls (wish I could regularly attend, but I live in California), her activism, sharing of resources, and thoughtful comments.
One area that Hannah has helped me with (and a great transition into who I am) is coming to terms with my transness… If you haven’t read any of her articles about the issue you probably know that Hannah has a very wide and open definition of what being Transgender is. For many years, I avoided using that word because I thought it meant that you wanted to transition (some still hold that view, but I vehemently disagree with them!), but now I see that it can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. And it helped me to come to terms with being trans myself.
While I can remember some signs that I was trans from a very young age (like wanting to buy a MySize Barbie so I could wear the dress), I usually pinpoint the first time I thought of dressing as a woman to August of 1997, when I was twelve years ago. Like many children, I was experiencing puberty and was noticing a lot of the girls… but something was just different about it… I wasn’t thinking of physical attraction, but more of a love of what they were wearing. I loved the cute dresses, vests, jumpers, skirts and jewelry… and I didn’t just like seeing it on them, I wanted to wear it too. Finally, I just realized that it was something I wanted to do, but for some reason, felt like I wasn’t supposed to (I’d hear the jokes about wearing dresses, being a “girly man,” and really only seeing anything trans related relegated to Jerry Springer and a few awful sitcoms). While I never followed through (until I met my first girlfriend), the desire to dress up was always there. Finally, I met my first girlfriend, and she was clearly the more dominant of the two of us… but she also let me wear some of her clothes, which was exhilarating!
Unfortunately, I was very immature (and so was she), and that relationship never worked out, but it was my first taste at being girly. The year after she dumped me was my senior year of high school, and a few major seeds were planted that year… the first was my name; I didn’t know of a female name to go by (though I had always jokingly feminized my first or middle name), but that year I met a girl who, while there was no romance there (she was like a sister), she welcomed me into her group of mostly ladies…her name was Alicia (I didn’t actually choose that name until several years later when I was finally coming up with a name, and I decided to look at a list of names of people who most influenced me… it just sounded like the best one).
She invited me to go to prom with her group (three guys, myself included, and 11 ladies… I honestly felt like I fit in very well). This was the first time I felt like “one of the girls” even though I was wearing an icky tuxedo (yuck!) Eventually, we all graduated and went our separate ways (but still kept in touch… when I came out a few years ago, Alicia responded to my coming out post with “I love the name!”).
Just a few months later, I got really involved in an Evangelical church, which is where I met the person who would eventually become my wife. I was head over heels for her from the first time we met. What’s crazy is that, just a few months after meeting her, I told her about wanting to crossdress and asked her what her thoughts were about it… she mentioned that she only knew of one bible verse that spoke out against it (I won’t get into that here… but it’s a verse from a long book of laws, many of which are actively disobeyed by evangelicals to this day), but didn’t seem spooked by it. I believe now that the conversation we had was destiny.
Okay, fast forward a bunch of years, we started dating, got serious, I crossdressed off-and-on that whole time (oftentimes around her), and then I moved away for Graduate School. Within six months of moving away, I knew she was the one I wanted to marry, and so we started working in that direction. Upon finishing my degree (and right around the time I started reading Hannah’s original blog), we got married and moved in together. At first, my response to being married was a desire to be that big manly husband, and that I didn’t have time to dress up or pursue being Alicia… obviously anyone who has any experience with being trans knows how well that works out, haha!
Things finally came to a head when, albiet tipsy after a party I had thrown, I blurted out to my wife that “I want to be Alicia! I’m sorry! But I still love and want to be with you.” Surprisingly, her response wasn’t to run for the door or to blow me up… I can’t say it was necessarily the warmest response (coming out as transgender is traumatic for everyone involved, especially partners), but there was a little crack of light in the door to it. And in the foolishness of the pink fog, I took advantage of that crack, and pushed it way further than I should have (one exciting thing at this stage was getting my first full makeover and finally getting to “meet Alicia”).
Afterwards, we entered a cycle of me moving forward, reaching a point of resistance, and me overreacting. It caused arguments, tears, and lots of pulling away. Those days were hard. The thought of hurting her was heavy, but the thought of pretending that this would magically go away was equally heavy. I realized that I couldn’t lie to her and pretend that I could put it all away and give up being Alicia (if you think it’s that simple, it’s not… I tried for over 20 years!), but I also realized that if were going to have a chance, we needed to walk down this road together, find healthy boundaries, and that I needed to let her lead with what she was comfortable with.
Between that and getting some coaching from an amazing transition coach, we slowly worked on it and found what was comfortable for both of us. As time went on, I started dressing at home more, we started having fun with it together, and she got increasingly more comfortable with it.
Then the pandemic happened, and like many of you, we were trapped at home. What’s crazy is that rather than pull us apart, the pandemic brought us closer together. We regularly checked in on each other, made sure to make space for some fun time at home, and with her encouragement, I made some time for Alicia. When everything started reopening, we were eager to get out, and much to my surprise, my wife communicated a willingness to actually go out with me presenting as Alicia. That date finally came in late June of 2020, and while I didn’t get out of the car (other than to fill up our car), it was a milestone. A week later, we did it again, and about halfway through the drive, my wife suggested that we stop somewhere for dinner… and just like that, I went out to a restaurant en femme for the first time ever… and I’m honored that my wife was with me.
Over the next few months, outings became more and more common, and then before I knew it, I had a full day out as Alicia planned (my wife had something else going on that day, so I planned a makeover/shopping trip/dinner/drinks at my favorite brewery all lined up)… but then something I noticed that night was that it was incredibly difficult to “de-Alicia.” I was almost in tears having to take off my wig/makeup/dress, and I just felt very depressed… in fact, I had been noticing that for a while… it was becoming harder going back into guy mode.
About a week later, after a Halloween party we had gone to (I was a mess with my makeup that night, but still felt cute), I broke down at home and just said “I want to transition.” My wife’s response: “I know… I still love you and still want to be with you. We’ll work through it together.” Wow! I was blown away by her love and encouragement. We decided to take it slow and figure out what this all meant.
One of the hardest realities was that it meant having to come out to everyone in our lives. We decided to be safe and have me come out in phases (first only to people who I knew wouldn’t have a problem with it, or who would actively support it… then to those who I knew might struggle with it, but would stick with us, then to those who we thought would likely have a problem with it, and then finally, I came out fully in June of 2021).
While I understand the many reasons for not coming out (for some it’s a safety concern, for others it’s being dependent on someone you’re not out to, and to others, it’s not feeling like you need to be out to a particular person… regardless of which reason you have, it’s totally valid!), I have to say that it’s been the biggest weight off my shoulders to finally be fully out and free!
But it’s also come with some consequences: My oldest brother wants nothing to do with me anymore (and until he can respect me as Alicia, the feeling is mutual), we can’t go to our old church anymore (gender is a “closed handed issue” there), we’ve lost many friends (three of my five groomsmen are no longer in my lives because I had to withdraw from them over this), and I experienced the scary situation of being doxed (basically having someone find out and post all of my personal information) by an anti-trans hate group.
But I’ve also experienced so much joy… when I came out at work, I was quickly given opportunities to serve and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community… I’ve been able to use my identity to serve and encourage the many students (I’m a college professor) I work with. What a joy! I also got to push hard for an improved “preferred name” process at my college.
Finally, with the gentle push of a few major supporters, I finally got to hear my heels click down the hallway as I walked into a classroom for the first time as my true self! Now, I’m pretty much full time (there’s very little I still do in guy mode, and usually only because I don’t want to spend so much time getting ready… though that’s changing too!). I hope to begin medically transitioning at some point in the next couple of years, but want to continue taking it at a pace that my wife is comfortable with.
I’m not big on advice, but there are several suggestions I could make based on my journey:
Don’t regret the past: I’ve honestly known I was trans for almost 25 years now, but I resisted for many valid reasons. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t lived the life I’ve lived, so I’m thankful for it more than sad about it. I also don’t “hate him…” to be honest, I’m so thankful for my male self. He gave me a great life, an amazing partner, some awesome experiences, and a great head start… but he’s tired… all I’m doing now is taking his torch and running with it!
Slowly build up a support system: NONE OF THIS would be possible if I didn’t have the many friends, co-workers, students, heroes (Hannah’s one of them, but I also consider my transition coach Aejaie Franciscus of Carla’s Social Club in California to be another, and a few others like Faith DaBrooke, Suddenly Samantha, Mika Tosca, just to name a few), and my amazing wife in my corner. I owe them everything for helping me embrace my true self!
Watch out for the Pink Fog. It’s so easy to jump in head first, but if you have anyone in your life who will be significantly impacted (such as a spouse, child, parent, etc.), remember to go at a pace that is at least doable for them, and remember to check in.
As Hannah often says, make it worth it! I’m not sure my wife would say I make it worth it or not, but she continues to squeeze my hand, embrace me, kiss me, and often communicates that she still feels protected and cared for by me… so I guess that counts as something.
Be patient! You’ll be surprised by how fast transitioning happens (I’ve seen people go from stepping out in a dress for the very first time to being full time, on HRT, and planning surgeries in less than a year). If someone had told me when I first stepped out en femme two years ago that I’d be almost full time now, I would have laughed. If someone told me a year ago that I’d be out at work and teaching en femme full time, I would have really laughed! Yet, one thing led to another, led to another, and before you knew it, it was happening. But this took years to get to, and likely still has many years to go before I “complete my transition” to a woman or possibly land somewhere else on the gender spectrum. Don’t force anything before you are ready, and take your time. If something transition related is meant to happen, it will happen.
Finally, be safe! I carry both a taser and pepper spray with me when I go out, and I almost never go out alone unless someone knows where I’m at, and what I’m doing. There are still places I wouldn’t go to en femme, and maybe others I’ll have to give up entirely. That’s okay. Also, I mentioned being doxed… there is a LOT of hate for us out there, but much of it comes from losers who sit behind a screen (possibly from their parent’s basements), and while I wouldn’t suggest going down that rabbit hole, be vigilant as to what you post online, privacy settings, and what you may need to do should a cyberbullying group comes after you. Hopefully, you’ll never need to have a contingency plan in place, but it’s good if its there just in case. If you all got to this point in my post, congrats! I normally tell my students to “put your initials on top of the paper for extra credit,” but unfortunately there’s no grade for reading this, haha! But I still hope you found something meaningful or useful in this. If you ever want to say hi to me, you can message me on Instagram at always.alicia.t (please message me before sending a friend request… I always verify before I add someone). Just remember that your (sorry, Hannah) journey is going to be unique, but remember that it is valid and meaningful… just like you! Hugs! -Alicia
I had a very, very fun photo shoot this past weekend. Shannonlee is always on the lookout for new studios to book and this space did not disappoint. I love old warehousey buildings and I the juxtaposition of old, exposed brick next to pretty clothes so this studio was pretty much perfect.
Here are four of the six outfits I wore for the shoot. Absolutely cannot wait to show you the finished pictures!
Saturday night was the monthly MN T-Girls outing and we celebrated the end of a long week with a lovely evening of food, girl talk, and drinks on the patio at Aster Cafe!
I had written a few days ago about how much I was looking forward to Saturday but it wasn’t until I sat down and could just… rest for a little while when I realized how much I needed a break from the real world.
It’s always wonderful to see the girls and make new friends and joining us for dinner was my friend Alicia from California who was in Minneapolis for work. Rarely do the stars align so perfectly when I have friends in from out of town so I was very happy it worked out.
Special thanks to everyone at Aster who treated us like ladies and served us yummy food!
Tomorrow I have a photo shoot and then meeting up with the always fabulous MN T-Girls.
And I know this sounds a little shallow (and likely relatable) but I reallllllllly need tomorrow. I need a day to get dolled up, to wear pretty clothes, to really, really fall heels first into Hannah’s world.
The past three weeks have been consumed by work (which has been just horrible lately) and cleaning and preparing for our house to go on the market and the inevitable move. I have been overwhelmed with boy life responsibilities and it’s wearing on me.
It’s a reminder that we have to acknowledge and nurture and care for our femme selves. We can’t neglect HER. For those of you like myself who are bi-gender you understand how we often bounce back and forth between gender presentations and, more than likely, different worlds.
Life is about balance. Being bi-gender is about balance. We have a lot of aspects in our life/lives that need our attention and I cannot wait to physically spend time in Hannah’s world tomorrow.
The latest from Hannah McKnight, our resident fashionista, is now in the Learning Center! Hannah’s last installment of “Building a Better Wardrobe” is now available where she talks shoes and jewelry. Read the first part of Hannah’s series or read all of Hannah’s advice in the Learning Center. Read it Now>>
Yesterday I posted my 1,000th post on this website.
My website host gives me little updates from time to time about hitting subscriber milestones or things along those lines, but I had no idea how many posts I’ve made since I started this site in August 2016.
Part of me was like only 1000?? as I feel I write A LOT but the numbers don’t lie.
So, thank you to everyone who reads this little site. I’ve been touched by many of you and your comments. You make me feel less alone. It’s wonderful to know how similar we all are. With each other, we don’t even have to try to explain this side of us. We just get it.