This Beautiful Season

0007Every year, as the end of spring begins to flirt with the first breath of summer, you see beauty everywhere.  The blossoming of flowers, the bluest sky imaginable and breathtaking sunsets.

This time of year you see girls getting ready for prom or to be in a wedding.  This season stirs up the desire to be beautiful, the intense pangs of jealousy.  When I was in high school I would see my female friends at a formal dance and couldn’t decide if I wanted to in love with them or if I wanted to look like them.  It was an intense…awakening, a turning point in my life.  Ultimately I would choose both.

This longing to pick out a beautiful gown, to find the perfect heels and to have an amazing makeover doesn’t ever go away.  It’s always there…but it’s never stronger or louder than right now.  I didn’t go to prom when I was a senior, but I wanted to.  I was dating a girl but we broke up a few weeks before the dance.  We had planned to go, and I lived vicariously through her as she recounted her experiences of shopping for the gown she ultimately would not wear.  If I was honest with myself,  I wanted to go to prom as a girl.  I wanted to spend weeks looking for a dress, the shoes and accessories.  I wanted the makeup and hair appointment, I wanted the photos, the going out to dinner at an upscale restaurant, the limo…everything.  I didn’t even want to go with someone, it would have been enough to just go, to be my own date.

When my high school days passed I had hopes of being a bridesmaid.  I wanted to experience going dress shopping with other girls, trying on countless gowns…just thinking about it makes me smile.

I am lucky to have experienced so many moments as Hannah, but it also hits me on occasion knowing that there are so many things that I likely never will.  I’ve had many makeovers, many photographs taken, and I have a beautiful wardrobe.  But being the most beautiful girl at a gala, in the room, the center of a dance floor, or a wedding photograph feels impossible.

I think you all know what I feel.

Love, Hannah

Minneapolis adds ‘all-gender’ restrooms in city buildings

7From the Minneapolis Star Tribune

The city of Minneapolis will add “all-gender” restrooms to its buildings in a nod of support for the transgender community.

The $17,000 project will change signs and make security upgrades, such as new locks, at 62 gender-neutral restrooms at 44 city facilities, including department offices, fire and police stations, Public Works facilities and city-owned parking ramps over the next few weeks. The bathrooms will be available for anyone to use, and separate men’s and women’s restrooms will continue to exist.

“We see this as part of providing better service overall to members of the public as well as to our own city staff,” said Council Member Elizabeth Glidden, who pushed for the establishment of the city’s new Transgender Equity Council. “We want to make sure people are comfortable going into restrooms.”

More here!

Love, Hannah

1400 Miles Later

Nicole Spencer, MN T-Girl and recently featured in T-Girl Spotlight has kindly shared her experience on her recent road trip to Detroit Invasion.  What is Detroit Invasion?  From their website:
Invasion events take place in January, April, July, and November and involve a variety of venues in and around Detroit. These extended weekend gatherings are designed as purely social events open to all crossdressers, transexuals, admirers, and allies. Participants include visitors from NYC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Saint Louis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Indianapolis, Toronto, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo, West Virginia and more, as well as drawing extensively from the large and very active local Detroit and greater Michigan TG community.
We are lucky to have Nicole share her adventures and pictures.
Enjoy.
Love, Hannah
unnamed5I was offered the opportunity to share my most recent travel adventure here.  I accepted. I recently viewed a video of comedian/actor Will Smith talking about fears. He was talking about jumping out of an airplane, not himself specifically, but just “a guy” who agreed with friends to do this fearful act. Why couldn’t this guy sleep the night before the jump?  He was nowhere near an airplane yet.  Why was he afraid when he arrived at the airport to meet his friends.  They weren’t in the airplane yet. Then following the jump, the guy was in a state of euphoria.  I can equate this to my personal history with being a t-girl. I was in the closet. Why was I so scared of “jumping” out the door?  And once I did step out the door…euphoria. The basic message.  Bliss comes on the other side of our biggest fears. So, now, not only do I go out, but I, as Nicole, started traveling.
unnamedMy travels always start with planning.  Since I don’t travel for business, it’s my personal vacation time being used.  I start a couple months ahead of time by notifying a few friends that I am coming their way and hopefully we will have an opportunity to get together. My most recent travels took me to Chicago and Detroit.
I left the Twin Cities on Tuesday, April 18, 2017.  Why a Tuesday, especially the third Tuesday. Well, after my six hour drive to the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights,IL, I checked in to my hotel, notified my friends that I had arrived, and started doing my makeup. We’re going out. There is a woman, Rori, owner of Transformations By Rori, who hosts a t-party on the third Tuesday of every month. It’s at mainstream Big Shot piano bar.  I have attended at least six times, maybe a couple more. During the evening, there can be 15-30 t-girls come and go, or stay for the duration.  There’s dinner available, cocktails, and a wonderful piano player for entertainment.  It’s a wonderful social opportunity for girls to meet and get to know other girls.

unnamed2Wednesday I moved southward.  I had a hotel room in Alsip, IL, an hour from Arlington Heights.  This made my trip to see girlfriends at Club Krave, a small corner bar in Blue Island, IL, a short drive. While the bar may be small, the hearts of the girls who frequent it aren’t.  They welcome me as if I were one of the regulars.  Wednesday night is karaoke night at Krave, so there tend to be 6-12 girls singing any given week. I don’t sing myself, but having met the girls at Club Krave makes me smile.

 

 

Two nights down.  Still more fun to be had.  Thursday morning, April 20, I applied my makeup, put on a dress and drove four hours from Alsip, to Dearborn, Michigan.  I had registered to participate for a second time in Detroit Invasion(www.tgdetroit.com).  Invasion is a three night social gathering that is held four times a year.  Don’t confuse this with any transgender conference event.  This one is pure social time…ok, it’s a party, lol.  What it really is, is an experience. Ladies from all over attend…Detroit locals, outstate Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Wisconsin,and of course Minnesota(me, lol). And Canada too.
unnamedI had the pleasure of sharing a hotel room with Stephanie, a girl from Cincinnati, OH.  She and I had met twice previously. The first time I met Stephanie was when she visited the Twin Cities for business.  She found me on Facebook, asking if there were places where a girl could go out. Not only did I say yes there are, but she allowed me to join her and show her.  Coincidentally, the first thing we did was enjoy a dinner out with Hannah’s MN T-Girls.

First night in Detroit was a meet and greet at a LGBT bar named Adam’s Apple. It’s the starting point for all three nights. Approximately 20 of us then went to dinner at a lovely restaurant called Big Fish.  Delicious!  We then returned to Adam’s Apple for the remainder of the evening.

unnamed3Friday was a relaxing day. Stephanie and I, along with a third friend, Jamie, went to lunch at a fabulous place called Rosie O’Grady’s.  I love it.  Two trips to Detroit, three meals at Rosie’s, lol. After that, we did a little shopping, including a stop at Janet’s Closet, “a crossdresser’s paradise.”
Friday night’s main event was a pub crawl.  After congregating at the Adam’s Apple, we boarded a bus and made three stops. First was The Whitney, a historical lumber baron mansion turned into a restaurant and bar. A classy place where we were fortunate that they could accommodate a group our size.  We then stopped in an alley.  What?  Yes, basically it was an alley. Cool place though.  Numerous small venues…bars and eateries. We stopped at two bars along there for cocktails.The final stop of the crawl was in Ferndale.  There are multiple clubs/bars in that area within walking distance of the drop point.  I spent my time with numerous friends at Orchid, a dance club. Enjoyed a few cocktails and even danced.
The daytime on Saturday was very low key, casual.  Lingered around the hotel lobby a bit.  Stephanie and I then went to a TGIFriday’s for lunch. A small group of girls went to the Henry Ford Museum compound.  While I didn’t go, I did hear that it is a excellent place to check out.
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Saturday night’s main event was a bus trip to the MGM Grand Casino in Detroit. It’s the grand finale of the weekend.  Once through security, we all make our way, parading towards the lounge in the center of the casino as one large group.  I’ve never seen so many heads turn, especially by people who are gambling.  But a minute later, they are all back to doing their thing and we are doing ours, which is enjoying the live band in the lounge and dancing.
Sunday morning, it was breakfast and goodbyes.  One girl was having difficulties getting a taxi or Uber to the bar, where she had left her vehicle the previous night. I gave her a ride to get the vehicle, then headed back to Chicago, where I spent one more night before returning to Minnesota.
1448 miles later, I was home again, needing a vacation from my vacation.  Seven days, six nights traveling as Nicole, seeing old friends and making new friends. And missing my local friends.  What could be better?  Not much in my view.  This is one trip, one view.  But as you read this, I hope you understand something…I was not alone.  YOU are not alone.  Our community doesn’t exist just here or just there.  There are girls like us, friends to be made, all around the globe.  This was just two cities, yet one community.
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Hugs to all,
Nicole Spencer

Transgender Lobby Day

Lobby day page banner + social image

The National Center for Transgender Equality is promoting next month’s Transgender Lobby Day and needs our support.  It’s taking place on June 8th and 9th in Washington DC, the same weekend they hold their Pride weekend.

If you can go, please go.  If you can’t attend, there are ways to have your voice heard in other ways.  For example, OutFront Minnesota is urging supporters to call their Senators and Representatives.

If you go, drop me a line.  I’d love to hear about your experience.

Love, Hannah

 

T-Girl Spotlight: Nicole Spencer

.7I’ve known Nicole for many years and is probably one of my best t-friends.  I met her on my first night out ever and I am very happy to have gotten to know her so well.  Nicole is probably one of the most famous t-girls in Minnesota; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people ask if I know her or found the MN T-Girls through her.

I am proud to feature her in T-Girl Spotlight.

Nicole’s Story

Hi.  I am Nicole Spencer. I identify as transgender. I have known Hannah for a number of years and have attended many of her MN T-Girls activities/events going back to the first one in late 2013.  I thank her for asking me to be part of her T-girl Spotlight series.
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I am divorced and have two adult children, 24 and 27, both of whom know about Nicole. Both kids prefer not to see me as Nicole, but accept that I am who I am.  As far as I know, my ex-wife still knows nothing about Nicole.
I started crossdressing at approximately age 10, although I do remember ‘playing house’ earlier than that and occasionally was a female then too. I have always loved high heels. They are my weakness.  Heels are where I started, then worked my way upward as i dressed more adding nylons, then a dress or top/skirt, then the lingerie under the dress, as time moved forward. Finally as I aged even more, I added a wig and makeup. To this day, I most often buy shoes first, then find an outfit to match.
I was in “the closet” for way too long. I didn’t go out in public until Spring, 2009, and that was just to another t-girl’s house for some makeup lessons.  I finally went to a public venue, the Town House Bar in St. Paul, MN, for the first time in July, 2009, at age 46. Since my kids didn’t yet know, going out was both rare and at random times. Things have changed since talking to my kids about my Nicole side. I now go out at least once a week, sometimes two or three times a week. I have Hannah to thank in part for that. Having participated in numerous MN T-Girls gatherings, it’s been a group that has helped me gain confidence and be comfortable with who I am.  It’s helped me “own it.”  I gain more and more confidence and become more comfortable each and every time I go out.  I have also gained friends and supporters from this group.
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Online social media has also helped me spread my wings. I have gained a number of friends by socializing online.  I am on Facebook. Thanks to the available communication tools and thanks to people who travel for whatever reason, I have had the chance to meet a number of people in person, starting with a business traveler who happens to be a t-girl. After meeting her locally a few times, I decided that it was time to take to the road. Yes, Nicole travels. Locally, I have been all over the Twin Cities and it’s suburbs.  Getting out of Minnesota, I have taken girl trips to Chicago and Detroit. I have met some fantastic people in both of those cities whom I can now say are friends. I am comfortable in both cities.
One last thing.  Whether you’re new to this lifestyle or have been living it for years, if we happen to cross paths, please say hello.  And if you live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area or happen to be here as a visitor, please check to see if Hannah is hosting an event.  They are terrific opportunities to get out and be yourself.
Hugs,
Nicole Spencer

Ask Hannah!

Dear Hannah,

I came out to my wonderful, selfless near saintly wife of 18 years. She knows what transgender is just not who it is. What I know is that she loves me and that will not change :):):)
It can be delicate for a while. Both of us just letting it digest. This can take overnight or it could take years (this would be a mutual denial) This is my greatest fear. The girl wants out and she wants to be acknowledged. To just go into a holding pattern would be worse then internalizing it.
Support groups? Books? Therapist? ( OK, I have one)
Any advice?

-Valerie

Coming out to anyone, especially your significant other is probably one of the hardest things we will ever do.  I’m sure it wasn’t easy and I’m glad you did it.  It’s always better for us to come out as opposed to being caught.  I get at least one email a week from a significant other of a crossdresser or t-girl who pour their hearts out because they caught their boyfriend, fiance or husband or discovered their wardrobe.  Many times it’s not about the clothes, it’s about the lying and not being honest with them.

I know it’s not easy, but I urge you all to please, please tell your significant other about this side of you before get married or live with each other.  I know it’ll be hard, but you owe it to them.

But I digress.

When you come out to someone, especially a significant other, it’s easy to let things get out of hand.  For many of us we have kept this part of ourselves secret for so long that it’s a relief to talk to someone about it.  It’s possible we’ve never talked about this to anyone else and soon our experiences, desires and secrets just pour out.  This can be very overwhelming.  The person you came out to is still processing this information and when you add more to it, it can be a lot to take in.  Take it slow.

When it comes to what’s next, well, that’s up to you.  What do you want to do?  What do you currently do?  Do you dress at all?  With my wife I did not go from coming out to dressing completely in a couple days.  It took time for both of us to adjust.  It started with her seeing panties in my dresser and her getting used to that.  Then sleeping in a nightgown and so on.  It was about four years after I came out before I was in a dress, makeup and a wig.  I didn’t always make the right decisions during this time and I got lost in the pink fog a lot, but my wife is an incredible person and she was always honest and direct with me with what she was thinking, feeling as well as what she was and wasn’t comfortable with.

Don’t be surprised if this is two steps forward and one step back for a while.  Don’t fight her if she asks you to not dress up for a few days…or weeks or around her.  If she sets limits or boundaries, respect and honor them.  You mention you have a therapist, perhaps you may consider a couples session where the two of you attend to discuss this part of you.  She may also need someone to talk to independent of you and I would recommend PFLAG, a wonderful organization that provides, among other things, support groups for our friends and families.

Good luck!

Love, Hannah

Flying Pretty

One of my goals is to “fly pretty”,  a term that refers to going on a flight dressed.  I have no fear of doing it, but I have no travel plans on the horizon.  Flying pretty does take a lot of planning and really, there’s no going back once you get to the airport.

If you’re thinking about doing this, please watch this video by the TSA, and if you’ve ever flown pretty share your experiences in the comments.

Love, Hannah