Back in Yellow

Once I stepped out of the house for the first time and watched the sunrise on a summer morning I felt that I had conquered something impossible. Hannah was real, I was real, we were living in the real world. I felt invincible, I felt powerful, I felt fearless.

I began to think of all the other things I could do. My confidence was through the roof, my potential was endless, nothing could stop me. It was this moment when I started to list all the things she could do. All things I wanted to do.

I felt strong, I felt cute, I felt loved. Well, loved probably isn’t the word, but I was tolerated. What I mean is that I was terrified of being in the real world, I was scared of being harassed, laughed at, or worse. None of these things happened. The city accepted me, tolerated me, ignored me.

As I grew more secure with this side of me, and with how I looked, I fantasized about having professional photos done. An iPhone selfie is fine and my patient wife took countless pictures in those early days. Her love and support did more for me than a color-correcting foundation ever could.

Once the MN T-Girls started to meet, I thought it would be fun to do a professional photo shoot with a photographer. I had no idea how to set something like that up, but my philosophy is that once you commit to something, the universe just kind of gets out of your way and somehow it happens.

And that’s exactly what happened.

Hannah knew someone who knew someone and we got to chatting about my idea and her enthusiasm and support made me feel calm and safe. A few months later a small group of the T-Girls met at a studio in Minneapolis to have our pictures taken by Shannonlee.

This was five years ago and since then the group has had an annual shoot and I have had quite a few shoots with her on my own for modeling gigs and for my own vanity, if I am being honest.

For our first shoot I wore two different dresses. Shannonlee took so many pictures and I had never felt more beautiful. I still love looking at these pictures.

I realized a few months ago that this year marked five years of working with, and five years of friendship with Shannonlee. To mark and celebrate this occasion, I decided to wear one of the dresses I wore at that first photo shoot for our most recent shoot.

Thankfully it still fits. 🙂

Love, Hannah

If You Want To Be a Girl, You Can Be a Girl

“I’m a what?”

I remember the first time I heard the word ‘crossdresser’. I was in grade school, probably 6th grade, when a friend mentioned an episode of a talk show that featured men who liked to wear girl clothes.

I was stunned. At times I felt like I was the only boy in the world who longed to wear beautiful dresses, but to learn that there were so many of us that there was a word for someone like me was astonishing.

In a lot of ways, this was reassuring. This was comforting. It was a relief to know that there were others like me. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me, but knowing that there were others who wore what I wore and that maybe, just maybe it was more normal than I had ever dared to dream.

Of course I am a crossdresser. But I am a crossdresser by my definition of it. A few years ago I started to identify as transgender. But finally I feel that identifying as bi-gender is the most accurate.

There may be too much emphasis on labels and indeed it can be overwhelming and confusing to have so many options, especially to others. Some wives can live with their husbands wearing panties, but are terrified at the idea that their spouse may be transgender. To many, being transgender might mean hormones, surgery, and transitioning.

Of course, being trans does not necessarily mean that these step will be taken. The t-word covers a lot of territory, if you will.

I do think that having different ways to identify can be helpful. For a boy who wants to wear a dress and look pretty they may feel that identifying as trans and transitioning is the only option. It’s not. If you want to be a girl, you can be a girl, but you don’t have to always be a girl.

And this is exactly why I am bi-gender. Sometimes I want to b a girl, sometimes I don’t. I don’t want to live as one gender for the rest of my life. I don’t want to pick just one. I like being both of the genders I identify as.

As I grew up and started to realize that this side of me is never going away (not that I wanted it to), my wish, my curiosity, my need to be beautiful, to wear panties or mascara or a skirt grew. And it grew stronger. The more I denied doing these things, whether it was me holding myself back or because I lived at home and I simply couldn’t wear a dress whenever I wanted, the stronger these feelings became.

Once I moved out and started doing small things, like wearing a nightgown to bed, underdressing, or relaxing in my apartment in a dress, I realized that those feelings subsided a bit. I was content. I was happy. What I was doing was enough.

Over time I started makeup, eventually a wig, and one day I became who I am today. I realized that as much as I loved this side of me, I didn’t want to live full-time as Hannah. I like both of my genders. Being a girl from time to time is enough for me.

Over my life I had tipped my toe into this beautiful world. And I did it in small steps. I wore panties, loved them, and then a bra. Then stockings. More lingerie. Heels. Soon real clothes. Then makeup, a wig, and then stepping out of the house.

Each step, each new piece of a wardrobe, each new level (if you will) was another step into a new gender for me.

By allowing myself to wear what I wanted, to do what felt right, gave me the perspective that transitioning wasn’t for me. I love being a girl, I love being a boy, I love wearing “girl clothes” in boy mode. I love who I am. I love being in-between. I love all of it.

We need to find out who we are in baby steps. When we deny this side of us, we may make the wrong decisions about who we are and what we want. My desire to be a girl was so strong throughout my life (or at least look like a girl) that had I not made these tiny steps it’s possible that I would have felt that transitioning was the only and best option for me.

But it’s not. You don’t have to choose. You might love to wear lingerie but you do you don’t have to transition to do that. If you want to wear a cute pink bra and matching thong, you don’t have to transition. Wanting to wear lingerie (or a skirt or lipstick) doesn’t mean anything beyond wanting to wear lingerie (or a skirt or lipstick).

It’s in this sense that labels (if you will) are comforting. Wanting to wear stilettos doesn’t mean that you are a girl. Perhaps you are a crossdresser, perhaps you are bi-gender. It’s possible that your journey (ugh) may end at living full-time or transitioning, but perhaps not.

We tend to overthink and over-analyze who we are and what this means and why we are who we are. It’s normal to do so. But thinking about who we are only gets one so far. We need to explore this side of us. Buy those heels, try on that corset, get a wig fitting. Discover yourself.

Who are you?

Love, Hannah

New En Femme Blog!

My new article for En Femme has been posted!

The latest article with blogger, trans-activist and fashionista, Hannah McKnight is now available on our Learning Center! Hannah’s blog discusses more in-depth her life as a self-described T-girl.

In past articles for our Learning Center, Hannah has discussed her gender identity evolution and journey towards self-acceptance, coming out to friends and family, and coping during the lockdown.

Now, Hannah begins to focus on the physical side of things! When we start to build a wardrobe, how do we determine our body type so we know which styles will help us to best express ourselves?  Read it now>>

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

Have you ever seriously considered transitioning ? Give some of your pros and cons !

Of course I have. We all have.

To clarify, I have never considered transitioning, but I have considered if I wanted to, or if I needed do. If I felt that I wanted to, then I would consider doing it, but I don’t feel that transitioning is right for me. I am perfectly happy being who I am. I enjoy being bi-gender, I like going back and forth between my two gender identities.

I wish I could be more helpful and insightful with this question, but I am afraid that I have never considered whether or not I should transition, I just know it’s not right for me. I suppose (for me, anyway) it’s like wondering if I would like to move to New York. It’d be a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

If you are considering this step, I would recommend seeking a gender therapist who can help you with the pros and cons with this decision.

Love, Hannah

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

MN T-Girls and T-Grilling

This past weekend the MN T-Girls had our monthly social event. A typical summer always has a patio party but I think it’s safe to say that this summer has been anything but typical.

The group took a few months off earlier this year but we started to meet a few months ago and have been keeping our events outside as much as possible. Luckily a member of our group, the always fashionable and fabulous Marcia invited us over for a potluck barbecue.

It was a lovely way to spend an early autumn evening, filled with friends and the smell of yummy food and the warmth of a bonfire.

It’s sometimes sad to see summer go, but this was a wonderful way to say goodbye to it.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I’m looking for a place to help me turn from a man to a girl makeup wise. A place that would do my makeup for me. I want to look like a girl for Halloween, but don’t know how to use makeup. I live 2 hours west of the twin cities in Minnesota.

There are two ways you can go about this.

You could visit a transformation service, but unless I am mistaken there is only one in the Twin Cities: La Femme MystiqueI visited with Rebecca and had an amazing time.  Rebecca knows what you mean when you say “boy to girl”.

The other option is simply scheduling a makeover.  Don’t look at a makeover as a “boy to girl” transformation.  When you schedule a makeover, think of your goals.  If you simply say “I want to look like a girl”, well, that’s kind of vague.  Every girl looks different from one another, and you and your artist will likely have different ideas about what you want.  

When I get a makeover, I am usually asked these questions:

“What are we thinking today?”  

I let my artist know what kind of look I am going for.  Do I want something dramatic and intense and bold?  If so, I am looking for heavy eyeliner, probably a smokey eye or a cat’s eye look.  I usually want bright red lips and wear false eyelashes.

“What colors are you thinking?”

This question usually refers to what lipstick and eyeshadow shade I want.  Most of the time it will compliment whatever outfit I am wearing.  

“What are you doing today?”

This question is usually in regards to what I am planning on after my makeover.  I am going to the mall?  If so, perhaps something casual or an everyday look.  Do I have a photo shoot?  Some makeup looks better in photos than others.  Am I going to be outside?  If it’s hot out then a setting spray is essential.  

When I get a makeover, I think about what I want in specific terms.  What I ask for includes these things:

-Color correction (an orangey shade that covers my jawline and under my nose to counterbalance the blue-ish tint that facial hair creates) before my foundation).

Contouring -(my facial structure is pretty angular, so I like my facial features to appear a little more round)

-Eyebrow shaping and definition

-Overdrawn lips (a lip liner just outside of my normal lip shape and then filled in with lipstick to create fuller lips)/

There are a lot of places to get makeovers in the Twin Cities.  My go-to places are Rita Ambourne and CaJah Salon.  Of course, places like MAC, Ulta, and Sephora also are an option for girls and girls like us.

Have fun!

Love, Hannah

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

Ask Hannah!

I was just wondering how you figured out your femme style? You always look so good in the clothes you pick out for your shoots. Was it a lot of trial and error or did it just come natural?

Also does your boy style have any influence on Hannah’s style?

We discover our style by trying a lot of different clothes.  Which is super fun (and expensive).  When I moved from simply underdressing to actual real clothes, I was drawn more to formal wear and little black dresses.  To me, there was nothing more beautiful than a gorgeous gown and nothing more classic than a little black dress.  The thought of getting dressed up, and I mean REALLY dressed up was so exciting for me.  A beautiful dress, amazing heels, perfect accessories, flawless makeup… the only thing missing was a place to go.  

The more I dressed and the more I left the house the more I became drawn to other styles.  I would never say I dressed casually, but going to the mall in an evening gown really doesn’t work.  I started to wear less formal dresses but dresses that were still cute and feminine.  A feminine dress might seem redundant but dresses that were cute and stylish.  I think you know what I mean.

Once I lost weight and became more comfortable going out, my wardrobe started to reflect my confidence.  Since I also stopped caring about “passing” and accepted that as a six foot tall t-girl I was never going to blend in, I decided to wear whatever I wanted.  These days I love bright dresses, I love eye-catching patterns, I love floral print dresses, I love clothes that show off the parts of me that I love, such as my legs.  

So yes, it was a bit of trial and error (we learn by doing) and a bit of coming naturally.  I started to look at what girls were wearing a little differently and I thought about WHY something was cute.  Sometimes it was the dress itself sometimes it was what she wore WITH dress.  A casual t-shirt and a jean skirt paired with stilettos is really sexy sometimes.  A tight black blouse with a hounds tooth skirt with knee high black boots is an amazing look.  
For me, it takes more than the clothes.  I have to feel comfortable in them, I have to feel confident in them.  Without comfort and confidence the outfit, no matter how cute, just doesn’t work.  For years I was drawn to dresses that had thin, spaghetti straps but I never felt comfortable showing that much skin, especially my shoulders. 

But earlier this year I stopped caring and I bought a few dresses in this style.  Dresses that I never thought I would a year ago suddenly became empowering to me.  The dresses didn’t change, but what did?  I did.  

As a boy I would never say (and no one would say this either) that I have any sense of style.  Most of the time it’s a t-shirt and a pair of jeans.  I work from home (even when we’re not in a global pandemic) so I rarely have to dress nicer than that.  But men’s fashion isn’t that exciting to me.  It never really changes.  There’s really never anything that men wear that I am drawn to.  Men’s fashion is boring and overly practical.  Hannah’s style is in many ways the opposite of what boy me wears.  When I do go into the office, it’s khakis and a dress shirt which is about as boring as you can get.  If Hannah went to the office it would be, well, something like this.  

After a week of boring clothes, it is liberating and exciting to wear something bright, something pink, something fun, something sexy.  I don’t think too much about it, but you bring up a good point.  Hannah’s style might be a reaction or response to days and days and days of boring boy clothes.  When I did go into an office everyday it was always the same shirts and the same three pairs of dress pants.  The options as to what Hannah could wear to work, or anywhere, is endless.

Dress from En Femme

Perhaps Hannah dresses the way she does is because wearing a dress and heels doesn’t happen every day.  If I lived full-time or transitioned would I still wear super cute dresses and heels each day?  Honestly?  Probably not.  I imagine I would have more casual dresses and skirts and more leggings in my wardrobe than I currently do.  As much as I love love love looking super cute it’s a lot of work.  🙂

Love, Hannah

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

Spoonbridge and Cherry Dress

When I tell people I live in Minnesota, I am asked one of three things:

Have you ever met Prince? (no)

Isn’t it cold there? (during winter yes)

Isn’t that where they have that cherry sculpture? (yes)

There are few things in my state that are more iconic than ‘Spoonbridge and Cherry’ by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. This and the Mall of America, I suppose. I think everyone in Minnesota will have at least one photo of themselves taken in front of this amazing work of art.

Last month’s photo shoot finally gave me a chance to have my picture with the sculpture. And of course I had the perfect dress for it.

What do you think?

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

Hi, Hannah. I just read your post about your thigh pads. Congratulations on your weight loss!
Can you share how you lost the weight? I imagine I’m a 16/18 (I don’t really have a wardrobe – I’m very much in the closet and DADT after my wife found a matching bra/panty set). I’m currently around 225# and would love to get to at least 200. TBH, I’d like to get back to like 172, but that was nearly 40 years ago!

I lost weight by a few small things, but the biggest change was that I stopped drinking.  I am almost four years sober and I am so happy I stopped.  It wasn’t easy and it’s still not easy but my quality of life is better than ever.  Once I stopped drinking I started to lose weight simply by not drinking wine every night.  I started to sleep better and I had more energy during the day, which made my workouts more effective.  I did (and still do) a lot of cardio so I was burning fat as opposed to building muscle.  

Once COVID hit, I wasn’t able to go to the gym, so I started to run outside.  I hated the idea but after a few days I really started to like it.  I run about five miles almost every day and I even did two half marathons this summer. 

Losing weight is one thing, keeping it off is another.  

Of course, everyone’s body is different and reacts to diet and exercise change differently.  Before you make any decisions please seek out guidance from your doctor.

Love, Hannah

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

On Wednesdays We Wear Pink

I don’t pay much attention to fashion. I mean, I look at every dress I see and if I think it’s cute, I add it to my wardrobe. But I don’t wear something because it’s in style or trendy. I might wear something that IS in style or trendy, but not BECAUSE it is.

If that makes sense.

I wear what I wear because I think it’s cute and because I think it will look good on me..

Fashion usually encapsulates an era. Bell bottoms will forever represent the 60’s to me. Poodle skirts represent the 50’s, and so on. But there can be an outfit or a style that simply says retro and I totally heart this look.

I fell in love with this dress and I thought it looked flirty, cute, and feminine. It is also a rather bold style. I don’t care about blending in and I usually am overdressed wherever I go, but this dress really, really stands out.

I wore it for a shoot I did with Shannonlee in July, but when we got to this dress her camera stopped cooperating. I had a chance to wear it again for a shoot we did last month and I am so happy to have some high quality photos of this dress.

What do you think?

Love, Hannah