Ask Hannah!

I am hoping for some advice on taking my sister in law shopping for the first time. She recently transitioned and has asked for my help going shopping for more feminine clothing, not that I’m a fashionista by any means. I am so excited to bond with her in this way but I want to be as respectful as possible in what choices I offer as far as clothing and if there are any tips on making the experience as comfortable as possible for her too. If you have any guidance for me on styles that would be the most comfortable or flattering in these early stages of transition I would be forever grateful. She is a super tall, super skinny, gorgeous woman and I want to help her feel that way every day.
Thank you!

Building a wardrobe is one of the most fun, but overwhelming things we will ever do.  I have had to needed to shop for new clothes for male mode when I got a new job for example, but shopping for Hannah is a completely different, but much more fun (and expensive) experience.

When it comes to my wardrobe, I have clothes for every occasion.  Whether it is a sparkly dress for a holiday party or something casual for a day at the mall, I have an outfit (and shoes and accessories) to mach.

What I would recommend is to start by thinking about her goals.  Everyone needs clothes, but what is she looking for?  Professional attire for her job?  Comfy staples for running errands?  Start slow, start small, and then go from there.

Another goal to keep in mind is what style of clothes is she looking for.  Not only from a personal preference perspective (say that three times fast!) but from a physical one as well.  I am not very curvy but I like to create an illusion of hips.  My Jolie Thigh Pads from The Breast Form Store help a lot, but I also love what a cute peplum dress does for my figure.

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I like showing off my legs, so my dresses and skirts tend to be on the short side.  Granted, when you are over six feet tall a dress will usually be on the short side anyway.  I also like to avoid exposing my shoulders.  I have plenty of dresses that are sleeveless, but I usually don’t wear spaghetti straps.  Many of us have features we like to show off as well as features we like to downplay.

Truth be told, I know (and care) very little about fashion.  I wear what I like and what I think is cute.  Putting together a skirt and top combination is something I struggle with, but I find mannequins and Instagram quite helpful, to be honest.  This outfit is cute…

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… but everything I am wearing is exactly what a mannequin at H&M wore.  It looked cute on the mannequin and I thought I could pull it off.  Matching a strip top with a tan skirt was not something I thought would work, but seeing it on display won me over.

I look at the style category on Instagram for inspiration as well.  I saw a lot of girls wearing cute, pleated skirts and I had to have one.  The problem was knowing what top to pair with it.  I saw a lot of girls wearing a sleek black top with the skirt, so I thought a black bodysuit would be perfect.

Black bodysuit and skirt 1

I think I was right.

I don’t try to keep up with trends or what’s in at the moment.  It would be exhausting to try to keep up.  Everyone should wear what they want to wear.

I would also recommend knowing your measurements.  Dress Barn and Forever 21 both have different ideas what a size 12 dress is, but if you know your measurements it will make shopping (especially shopping online) a million times easier.

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Knowing her goals and measurements are important, but the most important thing a t-girl needs, whether it is shopping or anything else, is something you have already given her: support.

You are a gem to help her, encourage her, and shop with her.  I would rather hit the mall with a supportive person than a fashion writer.  It’s obvious you are supportive and enthusiastic about helping her and right now (and always), she will need that more anything.

Have fun!

Love, Hannah

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

 

T-Girls and T-Ghouls!

Yesterday was the very first MN T-Girls Halloween party!

I think for many of us Halloween was one of the first times we dressed up in public.  I grew up wanting to be a princess and I always thought Halloween would be a perfect opportunity to do so.  Even though I no longer need a holiday as an excuse to glam it up, I have always wanted the chance to wear a cute costume and go to a party.

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I had a super time 🙂

Last night was an amazing night as many of us finally had the opportunity so many of us have been dreaming about for years.  Although the MN T-Girls have existed for almost six years, we have never done a Halloween themed event.  But thanks to MN T-Girl Marcia who hosted the party, this finally became a reality.

The party was a big success with almost 30 girls attending.  It was a super fun night and we’re already dreaming about next year’s party.  Thanks to everyone who came and brought food and extra special thanks to our fabulous hostess, Marcia.

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Love, Hannah

Both Sides of Us

As someone who lives and presents as two genders, I think about gender identity a lot.  When en femme, I identify as transgender and bristle when feminine pronouns are not used by others when interacting with me.  I know one should never assume someone else’s pronouns, but when I am dressed to kill in a dress and heels and spent $65 on a makeover, I think it’s pretty safe that I am a her.

Being called male pronouns when en femme can also sting in a way that can ruin my entire day.  Sometimes I can shake it off, but other times, especially if I am having an ugly day, it can linger in my head for longer than it should.

Sometimes someone can mistakenly use pronouns when speaking with me, but they will quickly correct themselves.  But when it appears they are using male pronouns on purpose in an effort to be vindictive, then it becomes an issue of common courtesy.  To intentionally call someone by the wrong pronouns is simply cruel.  When someone uses the wrong pronouns, I will always correct them.  Well, unless it’s clearly pointless.  T-girls are pretty adept at knowing when someone is mis-gendering them intentionally.

Identifying as transgender covers a lot of gender identities.  Not that labels matter, but I feel that bi-gender is a more specific term when it comes to my identity.  I have two gender identities, and besides underdressing or something subtle, such as wearing “girl” jeans, my wardrobes do not crossover with each other.  Like my closet, my gender identities are very separate from each other.

Gender identity, pronouns, specific labels are very significant and important when en femme, but in male mode these things do not come up very often.   When I present as male, no one ever calls me by pronouns that do not match my gender presentation.  This is cis-privledge.

Last week was International Pronoun Day.  According to their website, referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people’s multiple, intersecting identities.

Users on social media were commenting on their own pronouns regardless if they were cis, trans, or non-binary.

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Although providing pronouns on a social media profile is pretty common for our community, I am also seeing it more often for cisgender people.  The more cisgender people state their pronouns, the more normal it becomes when someone who is transgender states theirs, especially when it changes.  I also see this happen as a show of solidarity and support for the trans community.  Why should only transgender people have to state their pronouns?  Why doesn’t everyone?

I appreciate anyone showing their support for the transgender community.  Even a small and subtle thing such as this makes me happy.  It’s reassuring to know we have allies out there.

Through my blogging, the MN T-Girls, and just simply being visible in the real world, I feel I am a positive voice and representative in the transgender community.  But I wonder if I am doing enough for our community in my male life.

I vote for candidates that support the same social issues I support.  I use the correct pronouns for my non-binary coworkers and friends.  I defend our community when someone attacks it.

But could I do more?  I write a lot about activism and awareness here, but I rarely bring up the same things on the social media that I use in my male life.  Hannah goes to Pride celebrations, but perhaps I should go presenting as male.

In the few people I have come out to, identifying as transgender or bi-gender or as a crossdresser is the last thing they would have guessed about me.  I wonder if that means me being an ally for our community is also just as much of a surprise.  Maybe I should do more to show my support and solidarity in my male life.

As a straight white male, I have never had to fight for my rights.  I have never had to fight for the right to vote, to own property, or to marry who I wanted.  This is another example of cis/hetero/white privilege, to be perfectly honest.  When marriage equality was passed, it took the entire LGBTQ+ community fighting for it, but it also needed the support of the non-LGBTQ+ community as well.  Similarly the transgender community is waiting for the Supreme Court to decide on whether or not sex can be a determining factor in cases of employment discrimination in regards to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Of course, the transgender community is involved with making sure that we are protected, but the cisgender community needs to be involved, too.  Like many issues, this decision should not be based on gender identity, but it should be a basic human rights issue and it’s a little insane this is even being argued.

In order for the transgender community to have all the rights and protection and respect that we deserve, it’s going to take everyone, regardless of gender identity, fighting for it.

It’s going to take both sides of me fighting for it.

Love, Hannah

 

 

 

Ask Hannah!

I’m wondering if you can share with me where girls like us hang out in the Twin Cities? Back in the day the Town House was good on Thursday nites & The Camp Bar on Sunday nights.

Many of us look for places where a member of our community can feel welcome and bars and nightclubs are a pretty common place to find that.  I think it’s important to support businesses that are inclusive and supportive for our community and to avoid businesses where we are not welcome.

For me personally I tend to frequent malls and museums and have never been much for the bar scene, but perhaps you’ll find something fun to do in Minneapolis/Saint Paul here.

I have gone to The Townhouse a few times, and it was the first place I went en femme.  Located in Saint Paul, The Townhouse was the Twin Cities’ oldest LGBTQ+ bar, but it was purchased in 2018 and has been renamed The Black Hart.  I have not been there since they have changed owners but they still feature drag shows and other events that The Townhouse was known for.  Despite the name and owner change, members of the MN T-Girls tell me they still frequent there.

Camp Bar is also in Saint Paul and has a theater which features cabaret style shows, music, and other types of performers.  From what I understand, Camp Bar used to be known as a LGBTQ+ bar, but their website doesn’t specifically indicate that.

I have gone to Lush a few times and I have always had fun there.  The MN T-Girls have gone here as a group several times for drag queen bingo and other events.  The food is good, too.

The Gay 90’s is also a popular place to go, but I haven’t been there in a very long time.

Love, Hannah

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

Ask Hannah!

The other day I spotted a very stylish looking trans girl in my suburb (well, I’d be damn surprised if I’d mis”read” her). Tall, lovely mini dress, flatter heels than I’d have chosen (but, hey, nobody’s perfect!) and spot-on makeup.

I was so tempted to say hi, compliment them on their look, but decided not to, in part remembering what you’d written.

But I’m thinking about what I do if/when I see someone en femme, while I’m in guy mode? Do I say something, or (at most) smile in as friendly a way as possible (trying not to be at all creepy)?

I know when I’m out and dressed, my situational awareness radar goes through the roof, and I’m checking out everyone who may be checking me out. Sure, I do love to get compliments from girls, and even a smile is lovely.

I’m not so sure it it were from a guy, just because I’m so NOT interested. Even if it were just a “hi, you look great” or similar, would I be flattered, or pissed?

If they were obviously gay (I spend some time in a very trans/gay friendly area of my city occasionally, just because it feels safer)? Maybe that’s OK (just cos I’d see them as more non-threatening, not from any interest).

Smile from anyone? Yeah, I’d like that.

From my point of view, I think when we are out and about, we are grateful for all allies. On balance, if someone took the trouble to say something nice and supportive, I’d take it with very good grace. But also make it clear I wasn’t interested.

I think all t-girls will have a different perspective on this situation, but for me I do not believe you should ever clock a transperson.

“Clocking” is essentially acknowledging and addressing that someone is transgender.  Yes, I know I am trans, you know I am trans, and I know that you know that I am trans.  You don’t need to clock me.  I don’t want someone approaching me and using my gender identity or presentation as a conversation starter.

Let me expand on that.  It would make me incredibly uncomfortable if a man were to approach me and tell me I’m beautiful.  It’s happened before and it makes me feel very awkward.  I say thank you and I walk away, but there’s the feeling that they may follow me or continue to watch me.  I understand the comment may be sincere, I understand that they may be an ally, and who knows, perhaps they are also living a life between genders, but like you said my situational awareness is at its peak when I am en femme.  I know I stand out, but knowing someone is… noticing me, I guess, makes me feel very uncomfortable.  My uneasiness is also heightened knowing that there are men out there who fetishize a girl like us.

Again, yes, I know not all men, but I would prefer to go about my day and not know how anyone feels about me.  When I am in male mode and I see a girl like me, unless I am required to interact with her such as saying ‘excuse me’ as I pass by or something similar, I see no reason to acknowledge them solely based on their gender presentation.  A kind smile if eye contact is made is one thing, but I don’t think gender identity is an appropriate conversation starter, even if it is to compliment her heels.

Another woman, whether they are cis or trans, is a little different.  Women can relate to how much effort one can make when it comes to walking in heels, applying makeup, and picking out an outfit.  A girl telling me that she loves my dress or says that I’m beautiful means more.  I also think most girls know what it’s like to be a girl in the real world.  We are at the mall to shop, we dress for ourselves, and for most of us we would prefer not to have some guy approach us for any reason.

When I am out en femme and I see a girl like me, it’s a little different, but not much.  Again, I know I’m trans and so does everyone else, but I see little need to discuss my gender identity with a stranger.  A t-girl is generally hyper-aware of their surroundings and when we see another t-girl, an acknowledging smile that says “I see you” is all that is really needed.

And yes, I understand that each of us has a different perspective on this.  Some of us would love to have others come up to them at the mall with compliments and messages of support.  Personally I just want to go about my day.  If you see a t-girl and whether you are in male mode or en femme and you are not sure if you should say anything to her, it’s best to keep your thoughts, regardless of what they are, to yourself.

Love, Hannah

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

 

Ask Hannah!

You are very beautiful, dressed en femme. Have you ever run into anyone you knew, and if so, did they recognize you? My guess is that they would not…but I am curious! I feel like even those who know me wouldn’t connect the dots. Have you had this happen to you at all?

Just once.

But I kind of let it happen.  I could have stepped away but I chose not to.

Being recognized was one of the biggest fears I had and it held me back from going out into the real world for too long.  But after years of stepping out, I realized no one really pays much attention to each other anyway.

Love, Hannah

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