The Man in the Mirror

I’m a girl that loves mirrors.

But I am not always looking at my reflection for vanity reasons. I might be checking my lipstick, making sure my hair isn’t a mess… but sometimes I am looking for him.

We all have days where we look or feel like a man in a dress. A man in a wig. A man wearing lipstick. These days are worse than days when I just feel kind of ugly. And I have those days.

I am not trying to pass (there’s no such thing). I assume that everyone who sees me knows I am transgender and really, that’s okay. I would prefer people interact with me knowing I am trans as opposed to treating me a certain way because they think I am a ciswoman.

When I see a mirror, sometimes I want to see how…masculine I look. Contouring, thigh pads, and lipstick can only go so far. Obviously I know what I look like in male mode, and when I look into my reflection I want to see how much of that guy is there.

There are days where I don’t I look like my male self. Whether it’s because I am naive or my self-esteem is so through the roof that I am being delusional. Other days, well, a man in a dress.

For me, presenting as a girl requires more than just a cute outfit. It’s how I walk, how I move, how I carry myself, how I talk, what I say, pressing my knees together when I stand, how I sit, my mannerisms. It’s a little bit of a lot of things. Sometimes it takes me a little time to… well, get into character, for lack of a better phrase. Some days it takes no time at all. Sometimes I am on my game.

Mirrors are a way to catch yourself in the moment. If you see a mirror you can, in a way, prepare yourself. But last week as I walked to my car I passed unexpectantly by some very tall mirrors on an office building.

I watched myself walk, how my dress danced in the wind, I noticed my stride, if my hair looked natural in the breeze. I watched how I carried myself.

I was watching for him.

I didn’t see him. And that made me happy.

To be clear, I am perfectly happy in both of my gender identities. I am happy being male, but Hannah isn’t.

After the wall of mirrors ended, I pondered the unsolvable question: do I look that good, or am I only seeing what I want to see?

But I suppose it didn’t matter. For that moment I was a girl in a pretty dress, feeling the wind in my hair on a beautiful day, listening to the click of my heels against the pavement.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

What’s the best way to look like a lady?

There isn’t one.

Every person who identifies as a woman looks like a woman.

There’s no standard. There’s no right way, or best way, to look like a woman.

That is an individual choice.

There are ways to walk in heels, wear eyeliner, and wear a skirt, but these things do make someone a lady.

A woman can be dressed to kill in an evening gown and five inch stilettos. A woman can wear a hardhat. A woman can wear pajama pants to the grocery store. Every single one of them looks like a lady, if she identifies that way

If you are wanting to look a certain way, you need to be specific about what you want. Do you to get better at makeup? If so, what do you mean? Do you mean matching your skin tone to find the right foundation? Do you want to learn how to contour? Do you want to get better at applying false eyelashes or applying liquid eyeliner to your waterline? Are you looking to shake up your wardrobe? Do you want to learn how to take your measurements? How to coordinate a blouse with a skirt? How to wear stockings without snagging them? Do you need help with wearing a gaff? Walking in heels? Taking care of a wig?

Whether you identify as a crossdresser, t-girl, a woman, gender queer, if you are someone who wants to learn something, or look a certain way, think about your goals. Think about what you want to achieve.

Love, Hannah

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

The MN T-Girls Return!

Yesterday was the first MN T-Girl outing since February.

It was wonderful.

I look at our group as a social and support group, but between the protests in Minneapolis and COVID-19, yesterday was more therapeutic than anything else.

It was a small group, and we just enjoyed catching up over coffees at Creators Space Coffee in Saint Paul.

Here’s a picture from the day showing our social distancing. 🙂

I look forward to our next outing in July.

Love, Hannah

When this is all over…

In the year 2020, “this” can refer to a lot of different things, but for the most part, “this” is referring to the pandemic. “This” is preventing us from experiencing a lot of (admittedly superficial) things that we enjoy, things we took for granted, whether it is a haircut, dining out, or a pedicure.

I hear a lot of people saying things like “when this is all over, I am taking a vacation”, or “when this is all over, I am throwing a party”. I love that people are planning things to look forward to. It’s very encouraging to hear such optimism.

Eventually the pandemic will… well, maybe not go away, but it will get under control, or a vaccine will be developed. Eventually those vacations will be taken, and those parties will be thrown.

But some things will never pass. The roadblocks that prevent us from living the life we want will never go away. There will never be a vaccine for many things in life.

I’m talking about transphobia.

Which, of course, is a ridiculous word. I don’t think people are really afraid of me. Sure, they may hate me, but I can’t imagine that anyone is scared of me.

People hating each other will never be over. You can write laws ending discrimination until the end of time, but racism, sexism, homophobia, misogyny will always exist.

You can’t wait until this is all over. Hatred will never go away. You can’t wait until “this” passes before you step out of the house en femme.

I know this all sounds very pessimistic, but really it’s a call to action.

Love, Hannah

Reflections

The pandemic has caused a lot of us to be more reflective about our lives. We realize the importance of small things, we look at how much we took a completely stocked grocery for granted, and we realize that seeing friends, and doing our everyday things are really important to us.

For those of us who have two gender identities, we usually have two separate lives. I’ve miss traveling for my job, for example. And for Hannah, I miss the simple pleasure of walking through a mall.

The last few months have made their mark on history, the economy, and our psyche. Of course, we can’t neglect the lives lost from the virus itself.

As life slowly and gradually returns to normal (and I am using this word a bit ironically, I don’t think we will ever go back to “normal”), we are able to resume things like going out to dinner and being reasonably confident that the store isn’t sold out of toilet paper.

Reading the news about businesses impacted by months of closure and countless people hospitalized, I realize that some of my feelings and thoughts are shallow and selfish. I understand that. I don’t mean to minimize or trivialize anyone’s loss.

We all could share our experiences from the last few months and it’s not unlikely we all have been affected by this in different ways. But if you are reading this, it’s likely you fall under the transgender identity in some way. Being trans means we have different perspectives and experiences than those who aren’t transgender, but at the same time, it’s likely we all have similar thoughts as each other.

Over the last few months many parts of Hannah’s life were put on pause. MN T-Girls activities stopped (they resume this week!), my modeling shoots were delayed, and simply being able to go out en femme was just a memory. Aside from the social aspect, there were some physical changes as well. I watched my hair grow and grow and grow. My eyebrows looked ghastly. It was harder to see “her” when I looked into a mirror.

Through social distancing and protective equipment, I was able to finally get a haircut and get my eyebrows threaded last week. Again, I know this sounds shallow. I have nothing but sympathy and empathy for essential workers who don’t have the ability to work from home and put their own health at risk to make a living. I wore a mask and washed my hands. I also tipped well.

Last week I also had my first makeover since February. Over the course of the appointment, I watched my artist contour my face, turn my lips into a metallic red hue, and slowly I could see Hannah for the first time in months.

I’ve missed seeing her face. I’ve missed seeing my face.

I savored every moment of that day. Every click of my heels on the ground, every passing reflection.

The last few months have taught me to never take anything from granted. Last Saturday was no different.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

Hello Hannah, I love your blog and posts. For me, your words comfort, inspire and provide hope of fearless living.

I’m a 55 y/o straight married man. I adore women’s clothing and wear many accessories daily at home. This is a practice I’d love for many years. I just love combining women’s attire as my expression and fashion, particularly skirts, nail polish & shirts.

My wife does not have any issues in my choice of clothing and often encourages me to dress as I please. I struggle with the notion of going in public in my favorite skirt although it would be so fulfilling. Will you please provide me with advice on overcoming the fear of being stares at and judged for just being me? I do wear nail polish without a care in the world.

It sounds like you have a wonderful wife. 🙂

The truth is that you can’t stop someone staring at you.

You can’t stop someone from judging you.

Almost anyone who falls in the transgender spectrum (which includes you), is going to be stared at. Most of us stand out. I stand out for two reasons. Number one, I am obviously trans. I am tall, I have very masculine features, and my voice doesn’t help. People will stare or at least do a double-take when they see me. Seeing a trans person in public is becoming more common, but many people at the mall haven’t seen a transgender person in real life (as far as they know).

Secondly I stand out because of what I wear. Not many girls at the mall are wearing heels and a dress, but I am. So, I stand out because of that, too.

I can’t stop someone from staring. So why worry about it?

You also can’t stop someone from judging you. No matter what you do, people will judge you. It’s not fair, it’s not right, but it is what it is.

You are powerless to stop what others think of you. But you will also likely never know what people think. Sure, they might be staring at me, but are they staring at me because I’m transgender or because they love my dress? Or they giving me an evil eye because I’m transgender or because I can strut in heels better than they can?

I don’t know. I haven’t asked anyone what they think of me.

Whether you are in male mode rocking a skirt or glammed up head to toe, who we are will never be okay. Let ’em stare. You can’t stop them.

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

Love, Hannah

Hello Again, Minneapolis

Yesterday was the first day I was out of the housesince February.

It was wonderful. It was like getting a piece of me back.

I had a makeover and then met my friend and photographer, Shannonlee, for a photo shoot for En Femme‘s spring and summer line. My friend Jennifer also came to visit. It was wonderful seeing friends again.

We did a total of six outfits in downtown Minneapolis. After the traumatic events in our city last week, it was almost… healing to be there. There were so many beautiful tributes to George Floyd. Everyone was kind. I think everyone was happy and relieved that the rioting had stopped.

Here are a few photos from the day, and I’ll share more behind the scenes pictures soon.

Love, Hannah

P.S. Can you believe I actually wore pants?

Coming Back to Life

It seems like forever since I’ve been en femme.

I mean, I underdress, I wear nighties, I wear leggings… but head to heels? It’s been ages. I have tried on my new dresses and stilettos of course, but we all know there’s nothing like the whole presentation.

But that changes tomorrow. I am doing a photo shoot for En Femme’s new summer line. I have my first makeover in months scheduled, I have a lot of new outfits to wear, and I should be excited.

I mean, I am. Don’t get me wrong.

But given everything that happened here over the last ten days, I am exhausted. I am emotionally spent. I am tired all the time. What happened in Minneapolis is awful. What happened to George Floyd was wrong and heartbreaking. What happened to our city is beyond belief.

Right now parts of my life seem a little more shallow than usual, and I am feeling guilty for booking a makeover and modeling. I think I am a good ambassador and voice for our community, but I am wanting to do more for more people.

But I suppose I don’t need to save the world. I don’t have to help everyone. No one can. I think we need to find how we can make a positive impact on others in the world, we need to find our strengths, our causes, our passions. I don’t know how to help rebuild a business or dismantle systematic racism. I can’t stop my neighbor from being racist.

But I can maybe help someone feel less alone when it comes to their gender identity. Maybe I can make someone look at our community in a more positive light. Maybe what I do is enough, especially if it makes me happy and I am sincere in what I am doing.

I am still processing everything from the last ten days. We are still living through a pandemic. This year is draining me.

But tomorrow I am getting a part of my life back, a part of me back. My other half. And in some ways, it’s a start.

Take care of each other.

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 recent articles for our Learning Center, Hannah has shared her advice for coping with the difficulties many of us have been experiencing as we practice social distancing and about the need to protect ourselves online, especially in this moment. In her latest article, “Strutting Away From Shame,” Hannah talks about overcoming our fears and feeling empowered as we accept and embrace ourselves for who we are.  Read it now>>

Love, Hannah