Happy Pride!

June isn’t only the unofficial start to summer, it’s also Pride month.  So, happy Pride to you!


I have met a lot of t-girls over the years, mostly through the MN T-Girls.  With almost every monthly event there is a new girl attending and most times it’s their VERY first time out in public en femme.  When I find this out, I always like to ask how they’re feeling and what they think.  Most of the time it’s a combination of nervousness and excitement, but also, in a way, anti-climatic.  Almost as if it’s not a big deal they are out of their living room.  To clarify, it’s a big deal to them, but for the rest of the world, it doesn’t seem to be.  I remember the first time I went out (and echoes of those thoughts still linger each time I go out) I was certain everyone would be staring and whispering about the “man in a dress”, but that wasn’t the case, and it still isn’t the case.  The majority of people are too busy in their own world to really think or care or murmur about someone else.  Yes, there will always be nosy and rude people but there are far less of them than we think they are.


And thank goodness for that.


After the initial… well, shock wears off for the new girl and they settle into whatever our group is doing, they begin to come out of their shell a little and relax and get to experience being out en femme, an experience they may have waited decades to have.  It doesn’t take long for happiness to shine through.  They are finally out of the house!  They are talking to other girls like them!  They are having a glass of wine at a restaurant or shopping or whatever the group is doing that month.  It’s a simple thing, but experiencing it en femme makes it literally a brand new world.  Pretty soon their initial shock at being out of their home en femme changes to amazement that they actually did it… and then it’s not uncommon for them to be proud of herself.  How beautiful is that?


I am so proud of every t-girl for so many reasons.  When she acknowledges and accepts and embraces herself, when she shops for her first dress, watches a makeup tutorial online, gets a bra fitting, comes out to someone, or one of the countless other milestones of her life.  Pride is not only about the LGBTQ+ community being proud of who they are as a group, but us being proud of ourselves as individuals.  It’s easy to forget that Pride is something other than a corporation changing their social media profiles to a rainbow or a mannequin wearing a “Love is Love” t-shirt at a department store.  It’s about US, it’s about me, it’s about you, it’s about our accomplishments, no matter how small.


And our accomplishment is not always something the rest of the world sees.  Sometimes it’s that quiet moment when we whisper to ourselves “I am transgender” or that brave moment when we buy a pair of panties.  I have had a lot of adventures en femme, but the one thing that doesn’t change is that every little thing I do when I leave the house is an accomplishment.  I have bought countless cups of coffee en femme and on one hand it’s become so normal it’s hardly noteworthy… but there could come a time when something I’ve done a million times turns out, well, badly.  What if the barista is horrible?  What if the customer behind me says something rude or hateful?  What if so many things?


We are who we are because we have no choice.  Denying our gender identity or what we want to wear doesn’t do anything.  We are still a girl like us even if we don’t want to be.  I am who I am even if I didn’t want to be who I am.  The choice lies in deciding how we react to who we are.  The first step in all of this begins with acknowledgment.  We have to recognize that there is something more to us than we let on.  We need to understand that being curious about trying on a dress is something more than just wondering what it would be like.  Acceptance comes next.  We stop denying who we are, we stop thinking that this is a phase, that this is something we will outgrow.  Embracing who are is the final step in this.  Accepting something doesn’t necessarily mean we are happy about it.  But we are who we are, and this side of us is wonderful and I am so happy I am who I am.  Who you are. 

Who WE are.


I am happy with who I am, and I am proud of who I am.  Everything I do whether it is buying a pair of panties in boy mode or going to the mall en femme are things that at one point I never thought I would do.  Accomplishing these things took a tremendous amount of courage and time and I know whatever you did, whether it was a baby step or a huge strut in stilettos, it wasn’t easy.  I hope whatever you did you were proud of yourself, because I’m proud of you.  

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I have a 45”bust and a 42”waist, what dress size would you suggest?

Every dress is different. Every store, designer, website is different. I am a size 12 with Dress Barn, I am a size L with En Femme.

If you shop online you’ll often see a size chart similar to the one below:

As you can see, knowing your measurements is crucial. Just because I am 12 with one retailer it doesn’t mean I am a 12 with a different store. Based on your measurements you would be an XXL in this chart. Are you always this size? It depends on the designer and the store.

So, how do you take your measurements? Glad you asked.

Hope this helps!

Love, Hannah

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

The Thrill is Never Gone

As much as I care and write about deconstructing gender roles and fighting (in my own way) for transequality, I still, and will always, want to look as femme as possible.


And this is a really good time to reassert that there are no standards one must meet in order to be a girl, to be cute, or feminine.  A girl wearing stilettos is just as feminine as a girl wearing flats.  A girl with a $70 makeover is just as femme as a girl without makeup.I don’t (and no one does) need to wear a cute dress to identify as a girl.


Okay, now that THAT’S out of the way, I absolutely love and aspire to look as cute and as femme as possible.  Although a girl doesn’t have to have a certain shape, I love the hourglass figure a tightly cinched corset gives me.  I love wearing cute heels that match my outfit perfectly.  I live for the cupid bow on my lips, the seductive look false eyelashes give.  I love sexy lingerie under my dress.  I love it all.  


Although I don’t really know WHY I am wired the way I am, I do know WHY I wanted to wear what I wear all those years ago.  When I was young I was simply fascinated by beautiful lingerie, I imagined it would be (and it is!) so much fun to wear a dress.  I was drawn to this beautiful and in a way, forbidden, world and jumped in as soon as I had the chance.  Trying on my sister’s dress, the first time I wore a bra, the new perspective that stilettos gave me (I was so tall!).  


No matter how many times I go out en femme, no matter how many dresses I own, no matter how many makeovers I have, I still get that thrill, that joy, that happiness that I had the very first time I did, well, any of this.  I’ll never get used to this, I’ll never get bored.  The thrill will never be gone.
And I know you know what I mean.  


A photoshoot takes a lot of time and a lot of planning and a lot of coordination.  The day of the shoot is exhausting and I am spent after a day in front of a camera.  Photoshoots require a lot of moving around from location to location, changing clothes (and finding places to change), hoping no one kicks us out of where we are taking pictures, and trying not to look tired as the day passes.  Once the day is over and I am back home I tell myself that’s the last shoot for a while, but as soon as Shannonlee sends over the first preview shots then my imagination gets reignited and I start fantasizing about another shoot.  MN T-Girl events take a lot of planning and like a photoshoot, I am depleted after the event.  But the next day I am just as excited for the next adventure as I was for the last one.  


I do what I do, and I wear what I wear because, well, I have to.  I can’t ignore, deny, or repress this side of me.  I must acknowledge and accept and embrace who I am.  To do anything less would chip away at my soul (wow, that sounds dramatic but it’s true).  But I do what I do, and wear what I wear because I absolutely love this world, this beautiful world of delicate lingerie, skyscraper stilettos, beautiful gowns, and flawless makeup.  I love who I am and I love who you are too.  

Love, Hannah

Forgetting to Remember

Sometimes I forget I am trans.
And that’s good!


Before I was ready to leave the house en femme I was certain that everyone I would see, and everyone that would see me, would be thinking “OMG that’s a man” or “look, it’s a trans-girl”.  I knew that as someone as tall as I am would turn heads, especially in heels.  I knew that someone who is (obviously) trans would draw attention.  And when I say obviously trans what I mean is that I have a very masculine jawline (especially from the side), large man-ish hands, and other (traditionally) masculine features.  I do need to remind us all (myself included) that there are no standards we must achieve to be femme.  Women, cis and trans, all look different.  Some of us have broad shoulders, some do not.  Some are tall, some are petite.    


That being said, all I could think about before I had my first adventure was that someone would see me, notice my features, and know that I am trans.  Like that’s a bad thing.  I love being trans.  What I mean is that I was afraid that the wrong person would see a transwoman and bad things would happen.  The wrong person could be an acquaintance. but the wrong people I was really worried about were the transphobic jerks who might harass, threaten, ridicule, or hurt a girl like me.  Even a sideways glance or a suppressed smile could kill me, depending on the moment.


I used to obsess over where I would go when I was out en femme and not in a fun way.  As much as I wanted to go to LGBTQ+ friendly places (such as a coffee shop owned by a queer person or a drag show), I wanted to do “normal” things, like go to Starbucks and pick out a new dress at Target.  I wanted to do girl things, not just t-girl things, if you follow me.  I used to believe that a t-girl would be, well, out of place at certain stores, especially when I considered the type of customer that would typically frequent the business.  I know I am being overly generalizing here but if I wanted to buy a Bible Hannah would never go into a Christian bookstore.  A lot of religious groups aren’t the biggest fans of the LGBTQ+ community (even though I feel that’s very hypocritical, but let’s not get into that now).  I also tend to shop or eat at more liberal parts of the city.  Downtown Minneapolis is a lot more accustomed to a t-girl than a Wal-Mart in the most rural county in the state, for example.  And again, I know I am over generalizing.  


Fast-forward to a few days ago.  I had my monthly MN T-Girl event and I had planned on spending the afternoon out en femme.  I scheduled a makeover and between my appointment and when I would meet up with the girls I would do a little shopping and relax in a cafe.  Right before my makeover the fastener on my heels stopped cooperating and after trying to fix them I gave up the ghost and accepted I would need to get a new pair for the day.  Were I in male mode I could visit any shoe store and pick up a new pair of shoes.  But Hannah doesn’t have that luxury.  Sure, most shoe stores carry shoes in her size, but I can normally find flats or sandals in her size at most chain stores.  I wanted/needed heels for the day and the evening.


So!  Where does a girl like me go when she absolutely needs a pair of size 12 heels?  There’s a few places in the Twin Cities I can go where I know they’ll carry heels in my size.  Since I was limited on time I went to Fantasy Gifts, a small chain store that sells lingerie, videos, toys, and yes, heels in my size.  So I went there.  Unfortunately the only heel they had in my size was a pair of five inch stilettos, which, given the type of shop it is, makes perfect sense.  So having little choice, I bought them.  And I love them.  They went with my dress, they fit like a dream, and although I was shopping for something a little more… understated for the day, they are a pair that I am thrilled I have in my shoe closet.  


I still had some time to shop before I met up with the girls so I went to a thrift store where I usually have some luck in finding something cute.  I headed over there (driving in five inch stilettos is a learning experience) and popped into the shop.  I looked through the dresses and skirts but nothing caught my eye.  The store has a giant mirror and I caught myself and looked back at my reflection.  I was surprised (and delighted) that a tall girl like (who was now five inches taller than usual) actually fit in the mirror.  But the reflection captured more than a girl in stilettos.  The mirror showed a girl who wasn’t afraid or overthinking every little thing she did.  Years ago I would have agonized whether a girl like me should go into the store.  What would the other shoppers think?  Would I make others uncomfortable?  Would the cashiers laugh amongst themselves?  All of those variables would have caused me to stay in my car, but these days I forget (in a way) that I am a girl like me. 


When I am in male mode I never, EVER give what others might think of me a second thought.  I just walk into the store, the restaurant, wherever, and I do what I can there to do.  In the early days Hannah didn’t have that confidence, that perspective.  But today she does.  I forget that I am a tall girl in platform stilettos.  I forget that I am a transgirl looking at heels and shoes.  Ten years ago if someone looked at me in a funny or disapproving way, I would agonize that they were looking at me in an unfriendly way because I am a t-girl.  These days if I get that same look I wonder if they are having a bad day.  I forget that they are (likely) scowling at me because I am trans.  


I look at this as an incredible amount of progress on my part.  If only the rest of the world would forget, or at least stop caring, that I am trans.

Love, Hannah

Alluring T-Girls!

Saturday was the monthly MN T-Girls outing and we enjoyed a night at Allure, an upscale lingerie store for a private shopping party.

This was our third event at Allure and like the previous events the girls had an opportunity to get a bra fitting as well as shop for beautiful lingerie in a safe and supportive store.

I heart my new panties and lingerie and I”m sure you’ll find something there that you like, too!

Love, Hannah

Beautiful Secret

Hi!

Just a reminder that just because many of us have to keep this side of us a secret (for various reasons), it does not mean that there’s anything “wrong” with who we are.


It can be, well, soul crushing at times to go through so much effort to be discreet.  We go to great lengths to make sure all evidence of nail polish is gone, that the heels we wore last night are back in their box and placed in the highest corner of our closet in case someone happens to drop by.  We scan our neighborhood to make sure no one sees us return from a day out shopping en femme.  We use the self-checkout when we are picking up our foundation.  


I keep this side of me to a VERY small number of people.  Not because I am ashamed or because I am worried about what “they” might think (although to an extent there is a little of that).  No, I keep my gender identity private-ish because it takes too long to explain.  There’s too many nuances to discuss and I am exhausted just THINKING about coming out to more people in my life.  It might be easier if I wanted to transition because in some ways that is more straightforward (even though I know it’s not as “simple” as I think it is).  Most people know of a transperson, even if they don’t know someone personally.  Most people know of Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner so they have some context, some familiarity of someone who now has a gender identity and presentation and pronouns different from what they were assigned to when they were born.


But for someone like me (and maybe you)?  We don’t have that context.  There’s little representation for someone for a boy that sometimes is a girl.  


BUT HANNAH!  What about drag queens?

Girl, please. 

What I do is not drag.  But to be fair, I understand what you mean.  Someone who does drag performs, they usually exaggerate feminine presentation, they (typically) don’t keep either of their identities a secret.  Of course, most drag queens are gay so for a lot of people gay and drag are somewhat (perhaps unfairly) lumped together.  


There are so many of us that are happy being a boy and happy being a girl.  We love our wives and we love looking as beautiful as they are.  Our gender identities are complex and are incredibly simple at the same.  It’s the simplicity that is complicated for a lot of people. When we come out people can be confused when a boy sometimes feels like being a girl.  It’s just how we feel, but some people INSIST there’s MORE to that.  We are asked endlessly WHY we are who we are.  Why we want to do, why we want to wear what we wear.  Are we repressing something?  Are we in denial about something?  Is our gender identity a result of unaddressed trauma from our childhood?

  
Girl, please. 

No. But I get it.  I really do.  One of the first descriptions of someone like us that I read in a book explained that some men wear lingerie because they weren’t loved by their parents (or something).  I am glossing over what the writer was saying but that was basically it, how this side of us is connected to some emotional damage.  This view is, of course, wrong, but it’s also harmful.  The more people that believe this the more people will insist that those like us are who we are because of some unaddressed emotional issue.  


And, of course, people might think that we are “broken”.  Although no one gets through life without SOME form of trauma, it doesn’t mean we aren’t healed from it.  I had an abusive father and it forever changed me, but I have come to terms and made peace with how I grew up.  I know that some people would trip over themselves insisting that my gender identity is a result of my childhood.


Girl, please.


I was sneaking dresses and heels long before my father turned into who he became.  


This is a beautiful side of me.  It’s a beautiful side of you.  It’s, well, annoying and frustrating to hear others think and even insist that this side of us is related to something being “wrong” or “broken” about us.  There’s nothing wrong with who we are or with what we do, or what we wear, even if we keep this side of us a secret.


Love, Hannah  

Do It Herself

Transformation salons are wonderful.
For those who don’t know what a transformation salon/studio is, it’s where a girl like us can go to get what is commonly referred to as a “male to female transformation”.  Some studios offer photography services, provide clothes, wigs, and some even offer a night on the town, or at the very least, going out for a drink with you en femme.  Some studios also provide you with a place to just… relax en femme.  These options can get pricey but for some of us you can’t put a price on an experience like this.  


I’ve never really had the full “transformation” experience, mainly because, well, I don’t need to.  Salons like this are usually the option for those who aren’t as out as I am and are perfect for those who don’t have their own wardrobe, wig, or a place to dress.  At one point the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area had two studios like this, but the owner of one moved out of state and the other doesn’t seem to be in business anymore.  I did visit both studios for makeovers and I was delighted by the results.  One studio offered photography and I couldn’t resist having pictures taken of my new look in a very cool building (and roof).  


How does one find a place like this?  Google, bitches.  Search “transformation studio + city name” or “male to female salon + city name” and you should see results (if they exist).  


So, what’s a girl to do when she needs a place like this but there isn’t a transformation salon in their area?  Improvise. Do it yourself.  There are independent salons, or at the very least, Ultas, MACs, and Sephora (all very trans friendly in my experience) in every city.  True, they don’t offer wardrobe or wigs, but it’s where we can at least get our makeup done.  When it comes to scheduling a makeover, one thing to avoid is requesting a “transformation”.  This is, in a word, a weird thing to request.  A girl like us knows what that means, but it’s not a common word, at least in what we mean by it, outside of our community.  Instead, just schedule a makeover/makeup application.


When you get to your appointment you’ll chat with your artist about what you want.  I have two artists I see on a regular basis and they always ask what I am doing that day.  If it’s for a photoshoot they ask what I am wearing (to match colors, etc), or what kind of look I am going for.  If it’s for, well, anything else, they ask what I am doing that day.  Makeup for a day out shopping can be different than makeup for a night out at a nice restaurant.  From there we’ll discuss what I want.  It’s usually the same things, such as contouring to help give my face a less… square-ish shape to a more (traditionally feminine) heart or oval shape appearance.  I ask for a cupid’s bow for my lips, and eyelash application.  I ask for my lips to be slightly overdrawn to give my lips a fuller appearance.  I ask for color correction along my jaw/beard line.  After an hour or so I look beautiful.


It’s helpful (for the artist) to be specific.  Asking for a vague “transformation” isn’t useful.   You want a transformation?  Okay, a transformation into what?   Every girl looks different, and there’s no right or wrong way to be femme. 


Oh!  And for god’s sake brush your teeth before you have your appointment.  Your artist will get VERY close to you and bad breath isn’t just gross it’s also rude.  I tend to have a mint in my mouth while I have my appointment.


Okay, so that’s makeup.  Now what?  You need clothes.  Ulta is not going to have a wardrobe to choose from so you’ll have to bring your own clothes.  Is it ideal to change in your car or in a restroom?  No.  Are there other options?  Not really.  Sorry.  Same with wigs.  I understand that not all of us can have dresses and wigs at home.  I get it, I really do.  It’s intimidating to say the least to shop and purchase clothes and wigs and heels.  Keeping them in our own home isn’t always an option.  As much as I discourage hiding this side of you from your significant other, I also understand that not all of us can come out.  I mean, you probably SHOULD, but I get why some of us don’t.  Renting a hotel room to get dressed in is also an option.  


If you need to provide your own clothes and aren’t able to shop in-person, then the internet is going to be your bestie.  Have things sent to a p.o. box.  Amazon offers temporary mailboxes (in malls, stores, etc) where you can have items sent.  You may end up purging these items afterwards, of course.  As painful as it is to do that.


After your makeup, clothes, and hair, what’s next?  Well, what do you want to do?  If you rented a hotel room you can spend time there.  You can drive around, go shopping, visit a museum, go out to the mall or whatever you’re comfortable with.  However!  You may be feeling bold and beautiful after your makeover (which is a good thing) but this can easily lead to us getting lost in the pink fog.  When a girl like us is in the fog we tend to do things that aren’t always well-thought out.  As much fun as it is to hit the mall, is it really a mall you should visit?  I go shopping en femme a lot, but the mall that is five minutes from my home is not a place Hannah visits.


I have nothing but sympathy and empathy for girls like us.  I know how hard it is.  I know we have a side of us that demands to be acknowledged.  We are not easily understood.  What we want and need to fully express our femme side takes a lot of time, money, and planning.  It can often require a skilled and open-minded makeup artist.  Having all of these stars align is not easy.  But we are also resilient, beautiful, strong bitches.  We practice walking in stilettos, fastening a bra behind us, lacing that waist cincher, taking our measurements.  We know how to remove every fleck of mascara, every evidence of nail polish, every trace of lipstick.  We can get dressed in our car, a gas station bathroom, and take flawless selfies.  We adapt, we overcome.


If my website has a mission statement, it’s that we are all beautiful, there’s no right or wrong way to be a girl, none of us are too tall or too male to be femme.  If my website has a goal, it’s to be honest and real.  And sometimes that can be hard to swallow.  I wish I could say you could strut into a Sephora and they will turn you into a supermodel.  That there’s a transformation salon in every town.  That the world will celebrate and love HER as much as you do.  We put up with a lot when it comes to living our lives.  If we want to be “transformed” then sometimes we have to do it ourselves.  I mean, in a way.  There’s not always a makeup artist that will provide us with everything we want or need to become HER, so we may need to get creative and move out of our comfort zones.  It’s up to us to make this happen if we want it to happen.  

Love, Hannah

Two Souls

Aristotle said that a friend is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.

What would he say about someone who is bi-gender?  I refer to my other gender almost as a separate person.  When I am in boy mode I will talk to my wife as if Hannah is her own human.  “Hannah has her MN T-Girl event next week” and so on.  I suppose it wouldn’t be too far off the mark to say that we have two souls in one body.

Of course, this makes it sound like I have multiple personalities annnnnnnnnnnnnd to an extent that is not untrue.  But this is not a clinical example of that, not at all.  People who have multiple personalities typically don’t know what the other personality is doing and has little control over them.  But for me that’s not the case.  I am always ME, regardless of the outfit I am wearing and the pronouns I want to be addressed as.  Hannah is a her, the boy is a he.

Hannah, obviously, is transgender.  She is a transgirl, a t-girl, a transgender person.  In appropriate and relevant conversations, she has no issue with acknowledging and disclosing her transness.  If Hannah were to fill out a medical questionnaire she would check the box for ‘transgender’ or at the very least ‘non-binary’ or ‘other’.  But the boy?  No.  Were he to fill out the same form he would choose ‘male’.  And that’s… well, it’s kind of hypocritical, I suppose.  If the boy and Hannah are, essentially, the same person (albeit two souls in one body) why would “we” choose different options?  If Hannah is transgender, then isn’t the boy?  Well, yes… he is transgender, or at the very least, non-binary.  But in 99% of his interactions, the non-binary identical is completely irrelevant.  If I were to break my leg in boy mode and rushed to the hospital, then my gender identity isn’t relevant.  

BUT if Hannah were to twist her ankle because her stilettos are too tall (lol they are never too tall) then yes, disclosing my gender identity would be important.  Why, though?  Well, in going to the emergency room I would speak with a receptionist, an intake nurse, a doctor, other nurses, and likely a few other professionals.  I would want to make sure the medical staff would be prepared for seeing someone who isn’t a cis-girl.  Insurance forms and prescriptions would need to be filled out and it would be easier to get the conversation out of the way regarding why my insurance card has a boy name but I refer to myself as her.

So why am I not non-binary on my boy life?  Wouldn’t it just be easier?  Even if my friends and family didn’t know about Hannah, I COULD still identify as something other than cis.  Honestly I don’t see the point in coming out as non-binary.  I really don’t mind being people using him/he pronouns when I am in male mode.  I mean, those are the pronouns I use when I am in boy mode, after all.  I present as boy when I am not presenting as Hannah.  Essentially what I mean is that I am not dressing in a non-binary way (when I am out of the house).  When I am home I wear leggings and cardigans, but in boy mode.  If I felt like I needed to dress in a non-binary way in boy mode outside of the house, then yes, identifying that way would be considered.  But I am bi-gender, I am happy with both of my gender identities and happy to keep my two souls separate to the outside world.

Love, Hannah

hannahmcknight.org

Ask Hannah!

I’ve only just started to crossdress and was wondering what to use to hide my bulge in my pants. Also, is there an easy alternative option to using glue for false lashes? I want to venture outside and I know I will have to go to somewhere where I’m not known but I’m nervous. How can I solve that?

Hi!

You’ll want to wear a gaff to hide our feminine flaw.

There’s really nothing better or more effective than glue. Yes, there are magnetic false eyelashes but the reviews are pretty mixed. Makeup artist superstar Corrie Dubay has some amazing advice and instructions when it comes to applying false eyelashes.

And yes, small town t-girls may need to go elsewhere if they are nervous bout being recognized. Going out en femme, especially the first time, can be overwhelming. I hope this helps!

Love, Hannah

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