Stuck in Limbo

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

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

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

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

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

I felt like the possibilities were endless.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This can create a lot of anxiety.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love, Hannah

The Yellow Brick Road

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I am blessed for it.

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

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

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

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

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

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

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

Love, Hannah

Related reading

Hi, My Name is…

What’s in a Name?

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


Beauty and Art

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

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

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

Love, Hannah

Love to Jaclyn

Hi girls,

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

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

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

I hope she sees them.

Remember, help is out there.

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

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

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

Love, Hannah

Hi Redditors!

Oh, hello!

Anyway, I keep an eye on the search times that people use to find my website. I can also view what other websites refer visitors to mine. A lot of people find me by searching “crossdresser” and I get a lot of traffic referred from Stana’s Femulate page.

Over the last week or so I have been getting a TON of visitors from Reddit and a somewhat modest increase in subscribers and web traffic. Whenever I see a significant amount of visitors being referred from one website to mine I will take a look at where all these new and beautiful people are coming from.

When I see a spike of visitors that came from a specific website it’s usually because another t-girl linked to something I rambled on and on about. But for the life of me I can’t figure out why so many people found my website from Reddit.

I searched “Hannah McKnight” on Reddit and found only one thread from three years ago that linked to my website. It doesn’t seem likely (but I suppose anything is possible) that this thread is why visitors from Reddit have increased the way they have.

After a week or so of consistent traffic from Reddit my curiosity has gotten the better of me. If you’ve found my site from Reddit I would love to know why. I mean, I am not complaining in the slightest but it just seems a little odd.

Love, Hannah

Review: Lara Underbust Corset

If you’ve spent more than a minute on my website you will likely realize a few things:

-I heart clothes

-I overthink

-I overthink about clothes

I tend to associate a lot of memories, meanings, and emotions with a particular piece of clothes. Well, femme clothes. I have a lot of neckties that I absolutely have no idea where they came from. On the other hand I have an incredibly beautiful floor length ball gown which fit perfectly before I lost weight that I will never ever get rid of because it was one of the first dresses my wife bought for me.

I am enamored with certain items because of their beauty, even if they aren’t, well, practical. My six inch rose gold platform stilettos? I’ve worn them like twice but my goodness they are magnificent and will forever have a permanent spot in my closet.

Lingerie is a perfect example of pragmatism versus beauty. Tights are more practical than thigh high stockings held by a garter belt, but I chose stockings almost every time.

For years a corset was a perfect example of something that was visually stunning but not something I felt could be worn for long periods of time. But that was because I was wearing them wrong and I didn’t have a proper corset. My introduction to proper corsetry started with my Dita Black Satin Corset from Glamorous Corset.

It’s a stunning piece of lingerie and my goodness did I learn quickly that it required proper training as well as commitment. I had never heard of seasoning a corset before but I learned. Corsetry requires an insane amount of dedication and at first it was kind of intimidating but I quickly realized the benefits of following through.

While preparing for a photo shoot over a year ago I decided to wear my corset which I rarely did for long periods of time. This would be the first time I would wear it for more than several hours and it would be the first time I would wear it outside of my home when I would be getting in and out of a car, going up and down stairs, and doing a lot of walking. Again, it was intimidating and there was a learning curve but it didn’t take long to see the benefits of a proper corset and the results of the hours I put in seasoning it.

Since then I have worn my corset every time I present en femme. Yes, it’s a stunning corset but its equaled by the practical benefits of it. A perfect balance.

I was thrilled when I was contacted by Glamorous Corset asking if I would like to review their Lara Black Cotton Corset with Hip Ties corset. Yes please!

A corset takes dedication and it also requires accuracy. Measurements are absolutely key.

I sent in my measurements and within a few days I received a black velvet bag with the Lara corset in it.

Although I’ve been wearing my first corset for a while and I am very much used to it, I was still taken aback by the beauty of it not only in terms of appearance but also in construction and design of it. I love small, subtle attention to clothes, whether it is a small fabric rose on the front of a pair of panties, and in this case of the Lara I was drawn to the side ties of it. This is a steel boned corset which helps create a more defined (curvier) figure and helps with my posture. I couldn’t slouch if I wanted to.

My second impression? Yes this is beautiful but I have a certain affinity for my current corset and I couldn’t imagine wearing the new one in place of it. This thinking would change.

I spent about a week seasoning it and was quickly reminded that although I am used to A corset it doesn’t mean I am used to ALL corsets. When seasoning one you should wear it for about an hour at first and over time wear it a little longer as you progressively adjust the lacing. A quick reminder if what you’re wearing hurts (be it a gaff or a corset) you’re wearing it wrong. I wear my current corset for up to 14 hours at a time and I naively thought this new one wasn’t going to be as much of a learning curve as it was.

After thirty minutes or so I was very much aware of what I was wearing. It was a relief to take it off however over the next few days as it adjusted to my body it became more and more comfortable and by the end of the week I was wearing it for up to ten hours (in boy mode).

This was one of the items I wore for my most recent photo shoot and although one of my first thoughts was that I would continue to wear my Dita corset I realized that my Lara would now be my go-to corset.

Photo shoots can require a lot of creative movement and posing. This could be reclining or balancing on one stiletto. The Lara moved with me and complimented my figure with every gesture. The seasoning and expert design of it paid off.

I was a LITTLE concerned about stealthing (essentially subtly wearing a corset in public) but this wasn’t an issue as shown in the photo below.

This is a stunning corset. It marries beauty and practicality. It demands commitment. And isn’t that what this side of us is all about?

Love, Hannah

Let’s Talk About Money

Crossdressing takes time, patience, and money.

And Lord knows I have invested a LOT into who I am. It costs a LOT to look like how I look. I like to think (perhaps naively so) that HE and SHE look very different from each other. If Hannah is going out on Saturday morning, HE looks into the mirror on Friday night and wonders just how in the world THIS is going to work.

At the end of the week HE has worked close to fifty hours, has had a lot of meetings, and hasn’t gotten enough rest or enough coffee. His face is tired, he has bags under his eyes, he needs a shave.

And by what is seemingly magic, HE is replaced by HER the next morning.

But there was no fairy godmother involved, just a really good foundation and expensive clothes which made it happen.

When I get asked how to crossdress, or how to present en femme, I try to be realistic about how much time and patience *this* can take. This information is usually easier to process and accept than when we start looking into the financial aspect of it.

A bra costs HOW much?

Lipstick is HOW much?

I spent $18 on stockings and one snagged after only an hour?

This $190 wig looked cute online but I HATE it

These things can be jarring, especially when we aren’t accustomed to shopping for these items.

And for me, there’s a LOT of items. This can consist of a pair of clip-on earrings that I bought on Amazon for $15 or a hundred dollar dress. And then there’s everything in-between. And everything UNDER the dress.

So, let’s break it down.

Well, BEFORE we break it down, I want to stress that none of this is necessary to be feminine. You don’t NEED to do ANY of this to be who you are. You don’t need to get a second job if to afford to be a girl or to crossdress. You are a girl if you identify as one, you don’t need to have a specific figure or body size or body parts or to wear certain clothes. A girl can be tall or wear a size 14 heel. A girl doesn’t have to wear a dress to be feminine. You are crossdressing with a pair of panties that cost a couple of dollars.

This breakdown is what I have invested (financially and over time) in how I look, how I dress, how I present.

Here we go!

I am not an accountant so my math is probably a little off but this outfit, this look, this… EVERYTHING cost about ten thousand dollars.

Well, not really.

What’s not reflected in this is the amount I have invested in clothes that didn’t fit, the hours on the Stairmaster to tone my legs, wigs I purchased but weren’t right for me, the makeup lessons I’ve paid for, and other things over the last ten years.

If you were to see me on Friday night compared to Hannah on a Saturday morning, I don’t feel you would think that HE has the potential to look like HER. HE is not gifted with a feminine frame, clear skin, or a (somewhat) hourglass figure. He is in his mid-forties, he is tired. It’s true that HE is the foundation that Hannah is built on, but what he has and what he is, well, it’s not enough. My corset gets tightly cinched, my face gets an expensive makeover, silicone breast forms are tucked into a bra, pads on my hips, the right wig on my head, and clothes that are (hopefully) flattering.

HE is not pretty. But HE invested a LOT of money into looking how Hannah looks.

And my God, I know I invest a lot of money into all of this, but to see it… ah, itemized like this is a little eye-opening.

But this is reality. I mean, it doesn’t HAVE to be. None of this is really necessary for someone to be a girl or to a crossdress. The point of this post is to address a question I am often asked: “How do I look like you?”

Again the answer is time, patience, and money.

Listen.

No matter how much money I invest and how patient I am as time passes, I will never look like the beautiful t-girls that I admire. I look like ME. You won’t look like me, either. You will look like YOU. And you are beautiful.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I read your article on corsets and was wondering how to go about purchasing one. Not sure if I want a corset or a waist cincher.

Like a lot of clothes and heels that we shop for, we need to purchase what FITS, not what we WANT to fit. I would love to be a size 8 stiletto but no matter what it’s 11.5 for me.

Corsets are very much the same. Of all the items you can add to your closet, corsets are the trickiest. This is where measurements are key. I might be a size 12 in a dress and a size 8 in a skirt, but this means absolutely nothing when it comes to a corset or a waist cincher. Yes, I might WANT a 24 inch waist and a corset will help with reducing my waist size, but I don’t think there’s a corset on the planet that could do reduce my waist that much without damaging my organs. Corsets are not to be be messed with.

Get your measuring tape out and order accordingly. Glamorous Corset has a very helpful guide when it comes to how and what to measure for with different body types.

I have two corsets from Glamorous Corset and before I ordered each one I took my measurements and then contacted them with my sizes and asked for a recommendation. I disclosed I was a transgirl and had a “boy” body. They suggested a style and a size after seasoning them both corsets are a perfect fit and I can’t imagine presenting en femme without them.

It does take a little work to find the right size and style, but remember, *this* side of us takes time, patience, and money. Spending twenty dollars on a skirt that may or may not fit is one thing. A quality corset is a little more of an investment. You can likely return a dress that doesn’t fit, but probably not a corset.

Have fun!

Love, Hannah

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


Let’s Talk About Catfishing

Like many terms in our little world, such as “passing”, “being read” and “clocking”, catfishing means something other than what you’d think it would.

‘Catfishing’, or ‘fishing’, is used a lot more broadly than it used to. According to Urban Dictionary, it’s defined as the phenomenon of internet predators that fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into emotional/romantic relationships (over a long period of time).

But for a while it was used to describe a t-girl who really, ah, enjoyed “tricking” cisgender heterosexual men into them thinking they were a cisgender girl. Usually the reveal occurred during an intimate moment, if you know what I mean.

I’ve always hated this. And here’s why!

First of all, there’s no such thing as what a girl should look like, whether she is transgender or cisgender. Girls can be tall or have a penis or need to shave their face. Catfishing typically involves a t-girl looking SO FEMININE that men are duped into thinking that she is a cisgender girl. Look, I understand and can relate to wanting to dress and present as feminine as someone possibly can. I attempt this with every outfit I wear and with every makeover I get. But I do what I do and wear what I wear because this is how I want to look and how I want to dress. I don’t think any of us needs to meet certain standards to be feminine, to be a girl, to be pretty.

Secondly, intentionally deceiving people is not a good look for the trans community. Some haters like to think that transwomen are trying to deceive men into thinking they are cisgender. And to be fair, that’s kind of what catfishing is. But I don’t think most transwomen are trying to deceive anyone.

This is also potentially very dangerous for someone to do. When we come out to someone we never really know how they will react. Someone learning that the cute girl they are in bed with has a penis could turn violent. There are too many stories of men getting angry when they learn that they are talking with a transwoman when they believed they were speaking with a cisgender girl. In situations like this it’s not uncommon for someone to use the “gay panic defense”. Citing Wikipedia, this is when a defendant claims to have acted in a state of violent, temporary insanity, committing assault or murder, because of unwanted same-sex sexual advances, typically from men. A defendant may allege to have found the same-sex sexual advances so offensive or frightening that they were provoked into reacting, were acting in self-defense, were of diminished capacity, or were temporarily insane, and that this circumstance is exculpatory or mitigating.

Again, I absolutely understand and can relate to wanting to look as femme as possible. But how I present is 1000000% about ME. I don’t dress for anyone else. I don’t dress to pass or to blend in. I don’t care if anyone “knows” I am transgender and it’s not a compliment if someone thinks that I am cisgender.

Finally, catfishing has an element of competition to it as well. Some t-girls and crossdressers who catfish sometimes gloat about how successful they are in tricking men and can criticize others for not looking “fishy” enough. Can we stop doing this? Can we stop competing with each other? Can we stop bringing others down?

We’re all in this together. We always have been, and we will always need to be, now more than ever.

Stay safe, stay pretty, support each other.

Love, Hannah