The Minnesota Transgender Alliance

I had the honor of speaking at last night’s meeting of the Minnesota Transgender Alliance in Minneapolis, whose mission is to provide resources and support to all members of the transgender community.  I talked about creating and organizing the MN T-Girls, my experiences as a transgender girl in the Twin Cities, the responsibility of being a positive representative of the transgender community, and the importance of being honest with ourselves about who we are.

I met some amazing people and I was grateful for the experience.  I look forward to partnering with the MNTA more in the future.

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Love, Hannah

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Ask Hannah!

Do they have books on transgender, crossdressers rights when we go out on the town?

Before I jump into this, please visit and bookmark these two links that provide answers and information to frequently asked questions regarding the laws and rights of transgender individuals:

ACLU

Human Rights Campaign

I’m sure there are books, however, with how frequently the laws can change, a book will eventually become outdated.  As far as I know, there aren’t any states that says it is illegal to be transgender.  But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a long time to go.  As of today, it is legal to fire someone on the basis for being transgender in over half of the states in the country.  According to the Human Rights Campaign:

Right now in 32 states there is no state law protecting transgender people from being fired for being who they are. Only 18 states (CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, IL, IA, MA, ME, MD — effective Oct. 2014, MN, NJ, NM, NV, OR, RI, VT and WA) and D.C. currently prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

We all have rights, but each day we hear of someone’s basic civil rights being violated.  Discrimination based on gender and race will likely always exist.  You have the right to be treated as a human being, but that doesn’t mean everyone will respect you and interact with you in the way you deserve, unfortunately.

You should also be aware of what the laws in your state are when it comes to using the restroom that align with your gender identity.  According to the ACLU:

There’s no clear answer here because very few courts have considered this question and the results have been mixed. In two recent positive decisions, an administrative agency in Colorado in 2013 and the Maine Supreme Court in 2014 both ruled that under those states’ gender identity discrimination laws, transgender girls had the right to use girls’ restrooms at their public schools. On the other hand, a 2001 Minnesota Supreme Court decision found that even a law prohibiting gender identity discrimination didn’t necessarily protect a transgender woman’s right to use the women’s restroom at work. And a federal appeals court in 2007 upheld the Utah Transit Authority’s decision to fire a transgender bus driver, based on a claim that her employer could be sued for her use of women’s public restrooms along her bus route. In a non-workplace context, a New York appeals court ruled in 2005 that it wasn’t sex discrimination for a building owner to prevent transgender people from using gender identity-appropriate restrooms in a building where several businesses shared restrooms.

Authorities in some jurisdictions (e.g., Colorado, Iowa, Oregon, Washington State, San Francisco, New York City, and the District of Columbia), however, have specifically said that denying transgender people the right to use a gender identity-appropriate restroom violates their nondiscrimination laws. Some jurisdictions (e.g., Iowa, San Francisco, and D.C.) go farther and make clear that transgender people can’t be required to prove their gender to gain access to a public restroom, unless everyone has to show ID to use that restroom. Other jurisdictions (e.g., Chicago) continue to allow businesses to decide whether a transgender patron may access men’s or women’s restrooms based on the gender on their ID, which may or may not reflect accurately the person’s gender identity.

Many businesses, universities, and other public places are installing single stall, gender-neutral restrooms, which alleviate many of the difficulties that transgender people experience when seeking safe restroom access. Some cities (such as Austin, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and West Hollywood) have local laws that require single-stall public restrooms to be labeled as unisex. While this is often a useful step towards addressing the concerns of transgender people and others, the ACLU believes that transgender people should have the right to use restrooms that match their gender identity rather than being restricted to only using gender-neutral ones.

My advice is to use a gender neutral bathroom if possible.  There is also an app and website called Refugee Restroom that, according to their website:

REFUGE is a web application that seeks to provide safe restroom access for transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming individuals. When the Safe2Pee website passed out of functionality it left a hole in our hearts. REFUGE picks up the torch where Safe2Pee left off and makes the valuable resource available to those who find themselves in need of a place to pee safely once again. Users can search for restrooms by proximity to a search location, add new restroom listings, as well as comment and rate existing listings. We seek to create a community focused not only on finding existing safe restroom access but also looking forward and participating in restroom advocacy for transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming folk.

Be aware of your rights.  Be safe.

Love, Hannah

National Coming Out Day

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Today is National Coming Out Day and I wanted to congratulate everyone who has bravely come out to someone in their life.  Who we are is not easy to explain or understand.  Sometimes I think we have a hard time understanding this ourselves…but we still know who we are.

When we are ready to come out, we open up to different people in different ways.  Sometimes it goes wrong,  sometimes it’s anti-climatic, sometimes they already knew, and sometimes we just have a hard time explaining ourselves to others.  Sometimes this is a conversation that takes months, sometimes the person we come out to never wants to discuss this ever again.

If you’ve come out to someone, what has worked?  What did you say that describes who you are so perfectly that the other person understands exactly who you are?

Love, Hannah

 

 

Little Black Dress

This is the final set of pictures from my most recent photoshoot with the fabulous Shannonlee.

About seven years ago, when I made the shift from under-dressing to actual clothes, I was drawn to evening wear and beautiful gowns.  I was, and still in love with flowing evening gowns…but dresses like that are rather expensive so when I started building my wardrobe I started with little black dresses.  I was insecure and timid when I started to wear dresses and black is a pretty forgiving (and slimming) color.  It was a few years before I felt confident to wear bold colors and patterns.

At one point I owned about a half dozen LBDs but when I lost weight I dropped a few dress sizes and they didn’t fit anymore.  I think this is the only black dress I have in my wardrobe these days.

I hope you like these photos.  Shannonlee did an amazing job of capturing a side of me I always wanted to see.  Thank you for indulging me over the past few weeks as I showed what may have seemed like an endless stream of photos.  🙂

Love, Hannah

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It’s Been a Busy Week for Hate

It’s been a hard week.  Most of our attention these past few days has been focused on the horrific events that occurred in Las Vegas on Sunday.  As the shock fades, our country returns once again to gun control laws and the never ending discussion of our rights and the government’s obligation to protect its citizens.

This is not an invitation to discuss gun laws, so please be mindful of that in the comments.

A country’s obligation and role in protecting its people extends in many different ways.  Whether it is protecting our personal rights, having access to proper medical and mental care, as well as ensuring our civil rights are maintained.

This week we saw the Trump administration roll back the mandate that employers provide insurance coverage for contraception based on religious freedom.  This, of course, will open the door to other discriminating changes that are also based on religious freedom, potentially rights that protect the LGBTQ community.

What does this have to do with the transcommunity?  Well, everything.

I think most of us here believe that transwomen are women.  Issues that affect cis-women are also issues that transwomen should be concerned about as well.  While it is true that reproductive issues may not affect a transwoman personally, we should be outraged when any right of any woman is denied, especially when it comes to one’s healthcare.  If we want to be viewed and accepted as women when we visit the mall in a cute dress and heels, then we must also champion for the rights of ALL women.

If the GOP wants to deny healthcare to cis-women, whether directly or indirectly, then they will not hesitate to take away the protection of transwomen.  Which brings me to my next point.

If you had any doubt that the Republicans hated us, this week also saw the Trump administration end workplace protection for the transgender community.  Unless it’s in an effort to be needlessly cruel, I do not see any point in going out of your way to take away a civil right from us.  This week was a busy week for this administration as they somehow also found time to request a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military.  One would think that escalating tensions with North Korea, hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico and mass shooting in Las Vegas would take more precedent than stripping away the rights of women and the LGBTQ community.

Things were going, well perhaps not well, but things were less terrible for us not too long ago.  What happened?

Love, Hannah

 

 

Ask Hannah!

Over a few years I have manged to separate and trim down my brows.  But as I get down to shaping them to be more femme I am getting nervous.  Any advice on how to create nice brows and not over do it?

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I like to keep my eyebrows well maintained.  It drives me crazy when they look unruly as the stray hairs start to grow back.  There’s really no getting around it that if you do start to shape, thin and/or arch your brows that they will look more feminine.  I get my brows threaded (google or youtube it), but you can also have them waxed.  If you decide to have a professional groom your brows, tell them what you want.  When I get my brows down, I ask the technician to clean them up, but I can also ask them to define them, shape them and thin them…either by a little or by a lot.  I would recommend visiting with a professional and telling them you’d like a little more shape to them, but not to overdo it.  They are professionals and trust me,  you won’t be the first man to ask for a little definition in your brows.

However, the truth is that most men do not groom and trim their eyebrows, so it’s quite likely yours will be noticed when in male mode…but its not very likely that anyone will say anything.  How often do you discuss someone’s eyebrows with them?

If you do not want to trim or arch them, you can also cover them up with a really good foundation and use an eyebrow pencil to define them.

Love, Hannah