This is the second outfit I wore for a review I am doing for The Breast Form Store. After my first lingerie shoot I wasn’t sure I would do another, but I thought this cute set would be perfect for the review. My first lingerie shoot was filled with mixed emotions but I was happy to realize that this time all those nervous butterflies and negative thoughts were gone.
Pride Festivals are wonderful things, especially when you want to see just how much support, how many allies we have. Of course, it’s not possible to know for sure who is and who isn’t a member of the LGBTQ+ community (at Pride or anywhere) but sometimes an ally is easy to spot. The moms who come to Pride with t-shirts that say “Free Mom Hugs”? Probably an ally (but again, impossible to know for certain that mom isn’t LGBTQ+). Same with those wearing “Free Dad/Free Sister Hugs” shirts, too.
I am…well, fascinated (jealous?) of moms like that. I think almost all of us have complicated relationships with our parents, but perhaps I am just projecting. I wasn’t the favorite child growing up and that dynamic has more or less lived on decades later. I think things are…thawing between my mom and I and for the most part we have a good, healthy relationship, as long as, you know, THIS side of me isn’t brought up. I’ve come out to her, both on purpose and, well, by accident and despite my efforts it’s been made pretty clear Hannah isn’t really someone my mom wants to know.
And that’s… okay. I have made peace with it. Not everyone is going to love you (or your femme self). I wish things were different but again, I’ve made peace with it, although I have to admit I’ve had a couple “Mom Hugs” at Pride.
But I digress.
Like most things I think about, this little post is about clothes. But this time it’s not about bodycon dresses or sky-high stilettos, it’s about a simple shirt. A shirt that reads “I Love My Trans Kid”. It’s not an uncommon shirt to see at Pride and I saw many moms (and dads) wearing it at last week’s Pride Festival. Usually the parent was with a kid who was, well, a kid. Think teenager or younger. The age isn’t a surprise. I’ve known and accepted this side of me at a young age. I absolutely knew I was transgender (although I didn’t know the word) by the time I was in second grade. Probably even earlier. It’s like knowing you’re right-handed. You just know. You just… are.
The world is a different place than it was when I was discovering who I am all those years ago. We didn’t have words in the common vernacular like “non-binary” or “gender fluid”. We had “transvestite” and “crossdresser”. Words that are a little outdated or not quite expansive enough (at least for me). We also had “sissy”. God, if I were to have come out when I was eight I would have been called a sissy or worse. And I probably would have been called that by my dad.
Damn, a lot of baggage here, lol.
Being who we are isn’t easy. I mean, it kind of is, it should be easier, but the world (for the most part) doesn’t make it very easy, does it? It’s disheartening sometimes to be comfortable and to embrace who we are when we see laws being passed against the LGBTQ+ community or hear a co-worker say something nasty about transpeople. But one thing I can’t experience is what it must be like to be a parent of a kid who is non-binary or gender non-conforming. I mean, in principal it might be easy if you just let your kid dress how they feel and let them wear what they want. Of course that’s probably easier said that done. Letting your son wear a dress is one thing, dealing with the toxicity from the rest of the family or the rest of the world is another.
Parents have to be advocates for their kids, no matter what they need. It might be for medical reasons, or getting your child a tutor, or being their biggest defender and ally for their trans kid. I don’t know if a parent can really prepare to, well, be a parent. I suppose you could read every parenting book in the world but when it comes to the real thing, well, it’s the difference between reading a book on how to drive compared to actually being behind the wheel. A parent should accept their kid and their identity. A parent probably can’t prepare for that conversation aside from resolving to accept and love their child if they do come out. You can’t love your kid conditionally, you can’t decide to love your kid on the condition that they are straight and/or cis.
And at Pride you see that unconditional love. It’s written on their face, it’s written on their clothes. “I Love My Trans Kid”. It doesn’t get more supportive than that.
Don’t get me wrong, my mom is a wonderful, kind, supportive person. But she grew up in a different era. Her kids grew up in a different era. I like to think that if I came out to her when I was younger in today’s world that she’d be wearing a shirt like that, too. I am also positive if any of her grandchildren came out she’d be the supportive grandma.
I don’t know if this website is read by any parents of trans kids but I want to thank you for being your child’s cheerleader, advocate, ally, and voice. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to have come out to my own mother (at any age) and to have the support and love that I saw at Pride. I don’t think my (ugh) journey would have led me to a different place than I am today if I had come to my mom when I was in my teens. I love both of my gender identities today, and when I was growing up I didn’t hate or felt uncomfortable being a boy. I just wanted to be a girl sometimes. I didn’t grow out of who I was. I couldn’t. I don’t want to.
There’s no replacing a mom, no matter what you’re going through. I mean, who loves you more than your mom? No one. No one is “supposed to”. And yes, I know that not all of us have the support and love we need from our parents, regardless of one’s gender identity. I know I have my mom’s love and support and friendship. I don’t have any grudge against my mom because of her… uncomfortableness with Hannah. I know that coming out changes a relationship, it impacts the dynamic. You may be a fierce advocate of the LGBTQ+ community but, let’s face it, it’s a LITTLE different when your own child comes out. It’s not easy to accept sometimes, it’s not an easy conversation to have. Sometimes you just need to pretend you never came out. I mean, that’s kind of what my mom and I do. Again, don’t misunderstand me, I love my mom and I know as her son I have her love and support.
Life is a journey. I mean, it’s supposed to be, isn’t it? A constant, forward momentum exploration of life and pursuing your heart’s desire. Forever in search of what makes you happy, content, and satisfied. It’s not any surprise that anything we do, anyone we are, can also be described as a journey. We are always learning and intending on advancing in our current careers, whether it is rank or just experience and knowledge about what you do. If you’ve been doing something, anything for any length of time you can look back to see how far you’ve come. Of course you can also look ahead towards what you want to attempt next. We look at achievements and future goals as milestones.
There’s almost always a next step.
It’s not a surprise that our gender identity is also described this way. As much as I cringe at that description, it’s also the most appropriate. Every mile I strut in stilettos is because I took those first wobbly steps in kitten heels all those years ago. Having a steady hand for liquid eyeliner is a result of practice, practice, practice. Our attitudes, our perspectives, our desires are all rooted in those first moments when we were aware there was something more to us. Something different than what we were told we should wear and who we were supposed to be.
Where am I on this journey? I think for many of us the journey can take one through transitioning, living full time, or hormones. Those are all absolutely milestones, significant moments in one’s life. For a lot of us (myself included) those moments, those decisions are not on my path ahead. I don’t feel like I am in a rut or in a standstill or anything like that. I feel I am still constantly moving forward simply by where I am mentally and emotionally. Becoming more and more comfortable and secure in one’s identity are also milestones and accomplishments in one’s life. I used to be hyper-aware that I was transgender whenever I did anything. I’d walk into a store or down the street and would constantly be paranoid, or even convinced that everyone I met was thinking, knowing, and caring that I was transgender. I’d walk into a coffee shop and be worried that I would be treated differently because I was transgender. That everyone would be staring at me. That someone might have a problem with me. These days I forget who I am when I do things. I simply do them when I am en femme. I forget that the world (well, some of the world) sees me as a t-girl and might act or react based on my gender identity and presentation. These days I forget that I am trans when I am out. I am simply me. And I absolutely believe that is, well, progress I suppose, but it’s also a milestone. Long ago I stopped caring what people thought of me, and these days I have stopped wondering what people are thinking when they see me.
I am often anxious and restless in my life, but not as much as I was ten years ago. Life was meant to be conquered and I wanted to be rich. I wanted to do what I wanted whenever I wanted. I didn’t want to be tied to a job. But at one point I realized I don’t *really* want that. Right now I am drinking coffee, wearing leggings in a cozy chair. All the money in the world wouldn’t change this little moment. And besides, I like my job and I find it rewarding and fulfilling. I would get fidgety if I didn’t feel like I was working towards… something. But these days I want to feel content. That’s not to say I have stopped moving forward with my life, my career, my gender identity. It’s more about feeling grateful for the moment and what I have.
And I have a wonderful life. I have a wonderful gender identity. I couldn’t ask for more. Life does a good job (if you are paying attention) when it comes to showing how fortunate you are to have the life you have. I am happy with where I am with who I am. I mean, sure I would like to do more modeling and raise my profile a little bit more, but that’s different than when it comes to common next steps when it comes to gender identity. I don’t blame anyone for thinking that I might want to be more out based on what I write about or about who I am. I mean, yes, I totes love being en femme and living Hannah’s life. It’s natural to think I would want this more often, but if this is all I have, then I have more than I ever thought I would.
I know a lot of t-girls and they are all on their own journeys. Some are more or less where I am today, some are further down the road, some are just getting started. Sometimes I am a little envious of the girls who have met milestones that I wish to meet myself. These milestones have more to do with being out to their friends, being able to have coffee with their sisters en femme, as opposed to anything, ah, permanent, such as transitioning. I talk to my t-girl friends about their journeys and it gives me a moment to ask myself if I want to be in their heels. Is that a milestone that is right for me? Do I want to be where they are?
And the answer is usually no. If we look at a traditional journey for a transperson, I am a few struts away from hormones. But my journey is not taking me there. That’s not for me. I’ve always known that living full time or transitioning is simply not for me. My heart has never been pulled in that direction. When chatting with my friends and listening to their experiences with estrogen or therapy I am able to reflect on whether or not that is something that I want, something that is right for me. And it’s not. I am bi-gender and I am happy with both of my gender identities, with both of my lives. Were I to transition I would miss my boy life I don’t think living full time would make me happier, more content, or more at peace. Simply put, I like having options when it comes to gender presentation.
I got to thinking about all of this over the last few weeks after meeting up with a few of my t-girl friends. It had been a while since I had seen several of them due to the pandemic so there was a lot to catch up on. The pandemic changed a lot of us in different ways. Some changes were small, some were OMG monumental. Some of my friends have started to transition and much of the conversation that evening was about estrogen and electrolysis. I mean, I would love to have my body hair removed but listening to my friends really emphasized that the paths they are taking are not paths that are right for me. I like where I am, and I like the direction my life/lives is going. The point in all of this is that being transgender does not mean transitioning. I know the T Word is a little intimidating for ourselves (and for others) but identifying as transgender does not require you to do anything. You can be like me and identify as trans. You don’t HAVE to do anything such as hormones or changing your gender on your birth certificate to be trans. Those are not steps that I’ll be taking. I resisted the T Word for a while. I didn’t think I was, well, trans enough to identify that way. But I got to a point where who I was was bigger and more complicated than the word ‘crossdresser’. Today the terms bi-gender and non-binary and gender fluid are more… nuanced and specific and descriptive of who I am. But those words, along with many others, all fall under the transgender umbrella (if you will).
Be who you are. Be who you want to be. Don’t be afraid of the T Word. Don’t be afraid of yourself.
Often when I do photo shoots it’s for a review of some kind. I reviewing a new product for The Breast Form Store and it’s expected to go on sale in a few weeks so my review will be posted around then. Until then I wanted to show some photos that I took to accompany the coming review.
This past weekend was the Pride Festival for Minneapolis. Since the MN T-Girls didn’t have a booth this year I was able to spend a lot more time wandering around the park. As I wandered, I let my mind do the same thing.
The world is a harsh place. People can be cruel to one another, there are laws in place that hurt our community, and more being written each day. Friendships and families can be forever shattered when we come out. We walk a tightrope on eggshells as we navigate this side of ourselves, regardless of where you are on the transgender spectrum. You might be getting weekly estrogen shots, you might be a boy who wants to do drag. You might be somewhere between. We just want to live our lives but we are held back by the (justified) fear of living our truths, of being ourselves, of being who we want to be. Of being who we ARE.
When we come out we have to face reality. I think about coming out to more people in my life but then I have to face the reality of that. I don’t think it’s likely but there will always be the possibility that coming out to certain friends of mine might end that relationship. Although I have no plans (nor do I feel the need to do so) to live full time, I know were I to do so I risk discrimination (both legal and otherwise) at work and in healthcare.
It’s not fair. It’s exhausting. It’s demeaning. It’s heartbreaking. Because of the reality we face we deny ourselves what we want, who we are, and what we want our lives to be.
If we only watch the news it’s easy to think that the world hates us. That we are alone. It feels like that over the last few years there has been an increase in violence and hate towards the LGBTQ+ community. It feels like every week there’s a new law that attempts to suppress our rights and to make it legal to deny us healthcare. And there is some truth to this thinking. It’s very… ah, popular in certain circles to hate us. It’s very popular to turn us into the scary monster in the ladies room when all we want to do is, well, use the ladies room.
But it’s important (and essential for our mental health) to switch off the television and stop doom scrolling and get out into the real world. It’s important to stop denying who we are, yes, but it’s also important to see for ourselves what the world thinks of us. Of course, it doesn’t matter what the world thinks of us. And we won’t really know what the world thinks of us, but we can get an idea. Last month I finally got to spend some time at my favorite art museum, something I had been wanting to do for over a year. I was dressed in my favorite pair of black patent heels and one of my favorite dresses. My makeup, as the kids say, was LIT. I wandered around the museum for a couple of hours, had a snack in the cafe, and browsed the gift shop. It was, well, it was lovely.
And the best part was that no one cared. I mean, they might have cared and kept their thoughts to themselves, but smiles were returned when I caught someone’s eye, no one pointed or stared. Everyone just paid attention to the art (which is what one does at an art museum). The world seemed a lot less cruel (and a lot more wonderful) than the news headlines suggested.
And Pride was the same thing. Of course, I understand Pride is a celebration for the LGBTQ+ community and it’s the last place in the world where someone would stare at a t-girl, but Pride is also attended by allies. Of course I saw other t-girls, drag queens, gay couples handing hands, and countless others of the LGBTQ+ world. But I also saw people wearing t-shirts with the world ALLY on them. I saw women walking around with signs that said “Free Mom Hugs”. I saw people who loved us. People who wanted us to know that they supported who we are. It’s overwhelming to know we can get a hug from a mom, something we need, especially if we can’t get one from our own.
I can’t say how many people I saw (or saw me) at Pride in the two hours I was there. But like when I went to the museum, I was just another girl enjoying the day. “Vibing”, as the kids say.
Pride really underscores the importance of having friends like ourselves, of being involved (to any extent) in our community. As a t-girl I want to do, well, non-LGBTQ+ things. And I do. I don’t only go to LGBTQ+ cafes and shops. I go to Starbucks and Target, too. But it’s important to stay involved in events like Pride. To be visible, to add to the number of people who attend Pride. To show the world that there are a LOT of us, and that we still stand (and strut) no matter how many people hate us.
This weekend was the mini-sized Pride Festival in Minneapolis. Due to, well, the whole COVID thing, this year’s Pride’s celebrations were a little smaller than in previous years. Usually the MN T-Girls have a booth but we skipped it this year since the festival was only recently announced and there wasn’t much time to plan.
Although we weren’t there in officially this year our little group had our monthly event at Pride. It was a nice little change from previous years as I normally don’t get a chance to wander around and visit other booths but this year we got to see so much. Like always, the people watching was excellent. 🙂
I am looking forward to next year when we are back with a booth but it was a fun day and we were happy just being there.
Occasionally you mention your love for leggings, praising their sexy look and comfort. I only once purchased leggings to give them a try but was disappointed with the wrong sizing, boring fabric and baggy look. I gave them to my wife without thinking twice. But I STILL want the experience of leggings YOU write about. Could you please give me some guidance on how to locate those stores that carry the brands, style, fabric and fit you love??
Like almost everything we shop for, leggings really require you to know your measurements, especially your waist and hips. I wear leggings in boy mode, never en femme so when I take my measurements for leggings I do so without my hip pads.
I wear a size 12 (or a medium) in skirts so I use that as my guide for leggings. Leggings are pretty stretchy so if I am between sizes on a pair I go for the smaller of the sizes. Length might be an issue for a girl like us, but I care more about the fit around my waist. The leggings I am wearing now go down just below my calf so I think it’s a good length for them.
I do have several pairs that I wear on a regular basis. I have the pair I am wearing now which is a nice, soft cotton blend. I have a pair of femme leggings I run in, but my favorite pair is a faux leather from En Femme.
This is something you may need to do some trial and error shopping with, but thankfully leggings aren’t too expensive. I get most of my leggings from Target which are about ten to twenty dollars a pair.
When you work with artists, whether it is a makeup artist or a photographer, you get different results, different interpretations, and different perspectives. I have two makeup artists I see on a regular basis and both are very, very good. It’s always fun to see what kind of look they will create for me. It’s also exciting to see what two very different artists will do with the same canvas (if you will).
Photography is like that. I have been working with my friend and photographer Shannonlee for almost six years now and I am always excited to watch her work. She finds fun locations to shoot in, fun angles, and always captures the best light and background. Because of this, I had been curious to see what she would do with this dress.
When I plan a photo shoot, it’s often because I have outfits or products to review. I pack the clothes I am modeling and I usually wear a dress that I am not necessarily reviewing, but something I would like some photos in. I wore this dress to my most recent shoot and I was excited to see how Shannonlee’s photos would turn out.
Our shoot was in south Minneapolis so as long as I was in the area I decided to spend a little time at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts beforehand. Wandering around an art museum en femme was something I had missed during COVID. After my visit I met Shannonlee and we took a few photos on the steps of the museum. We only took a few pictures and what we took turned out amazing.
I love this dress and I love how both sets of photos turned out. I hope you like them too!
What’s your advice on hair removal? I love being smooth, although I can’t be completely smooth due to circumstance. I usually shave, then sometimes exfoliate, but I have used hair removal cream, which gave a really smooth feel, but I felt didn’t remove 100% of the hair (it was a cheap version from a thrift shop!). Also, not sure where it’s safe to use!
It depends on what you can afford. Laser is the most effective and it’s permanent but I certainly can’t afford that, so I have a pretty lengthy shaving process.
I start with Nair but I used to use Veet. I think Nair is more effective but Veet is a little more gentle on my skin. Like any product you should absolutely read and adhere to the instructions. There are parts of your body that you really shouldn’t use creams like this, and you should always test the product on a small area of your body before covering your skin with it. If the instructions say to leave it on your skin for a maximum of ten minutes, believe them. There’s a reason for that. I do hair removal once a week because it’s easier to maintain as opposed to completely starting over. I also like being smooth and hair regrowth can be itchy.
Once I have covered my skin with Nair, I wait ten minutes before showering it off. I don’t let water simply rinse it off, I use a loofah to gently scrub off the hair, too. This process removes most of my body hair. I then use shaving cream and a razor over my legs, chest, arms, and well, everywhere. Nair is effective (for me) but it isn’t perfect. It’s not uncommon for me to find a strip of arm hair that I missed when I applied Nair, so shaving is essential.
All in all it takes about 45 minutes if I want to be completely smooth (and who doesn’t want to be completely smooth??). Exfoliating is important as it helps keep your skin clean and clear, especially your face. Like most things in the world of en femme, you get what you pay for. I wouldn’t trust a cheap version of anything when it comes to something I put on my skin.
If we are all on a journey (and that word annoys me less than it used to for some reason) then our journeys are marked by milestones.
I think we all have pretty common milestones, significant moments and small accomplishments that show our progress. Some of the standout moments in my life include the first time I wore a bra, the first time I tried on stilettos at a store, the first time I left the house en femme, my first makeover… the list continues.
Of course, no one HAS to have these moments but I think (depending on where you are on your journey) many of us can recall similar first times. Do you remember the first time you woke up in a nightgown? I absolutely do.
Since so much of my gender identity is tied to clothes I mark much of my journey by what I wear. I used to wonder if I was transgender because I wore “girl clothes” or if I wore “girl clothes” because I was trans but I’ve decided that I was born this way and I just simply and absolutely love clothes. I love how a dress can boost my self-esteem, my confidence, and shape my whole day.
Many of these milestones are tied to what I want to, and what I want to wear. I had always wanted to go to dinner or see a play en femme and I’ve done those things. Crossed them off my girly “to-do” list. Clothes are not any different in that sense to me. When I was a kid I looked longingly, almost achingly, at the beautiful lingerie that the models in catalogs were wearing. I dreamt about how amazing it would be to wear stockings and a garter belt, along with matching bra and panties. There was (and still is) something so sensual, beautiful, feminine, and almost innocent in that elaborate lingerie.
I am at a point where I feel I have worn almost everything that I want to. If there’s something I want to wear, whether it is an evening gown or a corset, I shop for what I am looking for and usually end up wearing it for a photo shoot. As the list shrinks I find it to be a little… bittersweet. On one hand, I am beyond fortunate and blessed to have worn so many things on my wish list. On the other hand, clothes make me insanely happy and I love wearing something that I have always wanted to wear. It’s getting harder to think of new and fun outfits to wear for photo shoots. The list isn’t finished yet, but goodness it’s getting close.
Whether you identify as a crossdresser, t-girl, gender non-conforming, non-binary, or something else, there is a part of your journey where we can go from accepting (yes, THIS is who I am) this side of us to EMBRACING (yes, THIS is who I am and I LOVE it) this side of us. In my opinion the real fun begins once we make this step. Once I embraced who I was (and this was at twenty years old) then I let my imagination run wild. I let my inhibitions go. I started to buy and wear what I wanted. I mean, this was all done discreetly and in secret, but it was thrilling to shop for stockings after wanting to wear them all my life.
It’s not uncommon for there to be a link between this side of us (and what we want to wear) with eroticism. I am not talking about crossdressing as a fetish, that’s another subject altogether, I’m referring to wearing clothes that are, well, SEXY.
Of course there is a difference between a sexy dress and a dress that you would wear to Sunday brunch. I mean, that’s one of the reasons I am so enamored by clothes. There’s SO much to wear for literally any occasion. Yes, lingerie is SEXY but I don’t wear lingerie because I am turned on by it. I wear sexy dresses because they make me feel confident and attractive, but they don’t, ah, arouse me.
Am I making sense? I mean, I know what I mean and I hope you do too. 🙂
I want to wear (and I do) what I think is beautiful, cute, and sexy. Little black dresses look amazing on anyone and I love wearing them. I think a cute skirt and boots look very cute so I wear them.
Corsets are sexy so I wear them (I mean, aside from how functional and practical they are). This thinking can also cover what I think is, and would be fun to wear. Whenever the calendar is flipped to October I start to think (and dream) about what Hannah will be for Halloween. There is a seemingly endless list of options and each year I dream about what I am going to dress as. I admit that some of the costumes are almost, well, cliches. Television shows and movies that have costume parties almost always have a girl wearing a schoolgirl outfit. Or a girl wearing lingerie and cat ears. You get the idea. French maids are also pretty common. I had always wanted to wear a French maid outfit. Like lingerie they always seemed so… elaborate. The skirt floofed out with a white petticoat, fishnet stockings, a cute little apron, patent leather stilettos…
Wearing a French maid outfit was on my wish list and I finally accomplished this milestone at my most recent photo shoot. I love looking at these photos and I think I nailed the look I was going for.
But as I mentioned before, my wish list is dwindling and it’s bittersweet crossing things off of the list. Like finishing your reading list. It’s like, well, what do I read (or wear) next? I like setting goals and trying to accomplish them. It all sounds so silly (and probably a little shallow) to think like this. But like my gender identity, this is how I am wired. I was born this way.
It’s a little funny to see clothes in such two completely, almost contradictory, ways. One one hand clothes are pieces of fabric sewn together to cover our skin. On the other hand, clothes are EVERYTHING. Wearing leggings keeps someone warm, but wearing leggings are OMG, comfortable and a way to connect to my femme side, my other gender identity. Panties are not JUST underwear, they are a small and beautiful way for me to stay in touch with my femme self when I am in boy mode. I think society gets waaaaay too worked up when it comes to who wears what. The world (for the most part) loses its mind when a boy wears nail polish. When the world’s collective mind has a meltdown about a boy wearing a skirt I think it’s a huge overreaction to someone wearing a piece of fabric. But at the same time, clothes are MORE than a simple piece of fabric. Clothes can, and do, shape our confidence and our perspective. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was something in your closet or drawers that makes you feel cute, beautiful, or sexy.
A French maid costume (or a skirt or a LBD or whatever) is sewn together with pieces of fabric and is nothing more than that. But on the other side of the coin the clothes can be a milestone. Wearing something you have dreamed about for years is, in a way, an accomplishment. It’s crossing something off your wish list. It’s kind of… well, funny that such a sexy costume can make me feel such a myriad of emotions. I felt cute but also a little… well, bittersweet (goodness I am using this word a lot here but if the stiletto fits…). In some ways the costume, like my lingerie shoot, signified getting near the end of my”to-wear” list.
I’m not quite done yet with my list but if you have some ideas, I would LOVE to hear them, lol.