Fighting for your Rights in my Satin Tights

Robert Pattison is going to be Batman in a new movie.  He was asked about playing the character in an interview and he said something that kind of jumped out at me. 
“It’s beautiful, people who seem to live in two states at the same time.”


Of course he was referring to superheroes and their civilian identities, but I couldn’t help but identify with his words.  My gender identities are pretty defined.  I am presenting as one gender or another.  Work boots or stilettos.  Perfect makeup or a five o’clock shadow.  Jeans or a tight skirt.  But even in male mode I am underdressing or wearing leggings or a nightgown at home.  I don’t care (and I expect they do) if people look at Hannah and know she’s trans.  I mean, I am trans.  But I absolutely do not want anyone to see my panties poking out from under the waistline of my jeans in boy mode.


I imagine this is the same for a superhero.  Clark Kent is probably wary of his cape sticking out of his tucked-in shirt.  I don’t want anyone to see my bra straps under my shirt.
Even if I present in one gender or another, I am always who I am.  It’s not like another personality takes over when I am en femme.  I mean, not really.  Hannah is more social (barely) than the boy me.  Hannah is braver and bolder and is used to standing out.  The boy doesn’t want to draw attention.  A cute dress brings out this part of me, pushing me out of my normal everyday comfort zone.  But I am still one person regardless.  


But to put a finer point on it, I am always two people at the same time.  Like Batman, I suppose.  Hannah thinks about an upcoming meeting with his boss, the boy thinks about which dress to wear for her next night out.  Going from one gender presentation to another is not the same as flipping a light switch… it’s more of a dimmer switch that can ease from one appearance to another.  Not exactly a speeding bullet. I wonder if Batman thinks about what he needs at the grocery store when he is stopping a bank robbery.  Probably not, but you know what I mean.


A superhero usually has a secret identity where very few people know that Clark Kent is Superman.  We are not much different.  There are only a handful of people in my life that know Hannah and know the boy.  In fact I can only think of three.  More people than that know about… all of this, but only a few in my boy life have met Hannah.  Hannah having coffee with someone who knows the boy me is a blending of two worlds.  Hannah talks about her boy life, such as his family.  But for the most part, Hannah’s life and the boy life are as separate as they can be.  Hannah has her friends, the boy has his friends.  The boy and Hannah have very, very few mutual friends.  If you know what I mean.  And you do.


I love that Hannah has friends.  I love that Hannah has her own life.  My boy life is equally as wonderful and satisfying.  But sometimes I wish for a little more overlap.  It’s odd and sometimes feels a little deceptive that my best friends of 30 years have no inking that there is another side of me.  I have amazing friends in both of my genders, but sometimes I wish his friends knew her.  If you know what I mean.  And you do.


Every once in a while I think about coming out to a few of his friends.  And perhaps I will, but between the life-changing pandemic and, well, everything else, now is not the time to make any decisions like that.  The genie can’t go back into the bottle, if you know what I mean.  Coming out to someone forever changes our own life but it also will change the life of the person we come out to.  We need to be gentle and considerate of this potential bombshell.  I know that these days it is incredibly easy to feel overwhelmed by everything occurring and I often feel that any new information, any new decision is going to be more than I can handle.  I can’t willingly drop this revelation on my friends who are going through these same experiences.


Having two lives (for all intents and purposes) is a wonderful thing.  Hannah’s life is a refuge from the boy’s stressful (but satisfying) life in the same way it’s nice to kick off my heels after a long (but amazing) day en femme.  I have no desire to choose a gender to live as or present as for the rest of my life.  Transition is not for me. Instead I will continue to live two lives, sometimes at the same time.


And yes, it’s beautiful.  I just wish more people knew that.

Love, Hannah

“The Body Changes…

…the mind does not.”
-Sophia Loren


We don’t change.  We grow, we evolve, we mature, but we don’t change.  Not really.  Not when it comes to this side of us.


When it comes to my gender identity I have been who I am for decades, for my entire life.  We do understand who we are more as time passes, our style grows, we may move beyond underdressing to “real” clothes.  We may identify with different labels, but really, we are the same person that we were when we were kids wanting to wear that pretty dress.


Memory is an interesting thing.  Sometimes I can’t recall how a book ended or a conversation with my boss, but when it comes to significant moments in my (ugh) journey, those memories are as clear as day.  I can recall perfectly the first time I tried on a bra.  The first time in heels, my first wig.  I can remember being in kindergarten and wanting so badly to wear the princess gown in the dress up closet.  I never did wear it, not because I thought it was unusual or wrong to do so, but because I was taught that boys don’t wear dresses.  This is a perfect example of being taught something, but not learning it.  It’s funny and a little sad being five years old and realizing that if I wanted to wear “girl clothes” I needed to do so in secret.


I wasn’t alone in who I was then, and I am not alone now.  There have been and will always be boys like me.  Boys like who I was when I was five grow up to be adults like who I am.  A boy wanting to wear a dress or makeup or heels isn’t going through a phase.  It’s not something they grow out of.  They are learning who they are.  And some of them are showing the world who they are.  Sadly most of them are being told that who they are is wrong.


I have friends who are parents and I have friends who are teachers.  Every once in a while they mention a boy in their class, or in their child’s class who plays dress up.  They shrug, they don’t think it’s a big deal.  Most of my friends are open-minded and supportive of the LGBTQ+ community, so going outside of the cis/hetero norms isn’t unusual for them.  When I listen to them talk about these kids I wonder if they know that I was the same as them.  They will grow up to me someone like me.  But when does it become “weird”?  Kids are just playing, right?  Nope.  Yes, it’s a little atypical to see a boy running around in a dress, but he’s not just pretending.  The perceived innocence is adorable.  But he is not pretending.  That is who he is.  That is who he will grow up to be.


I was that boy.  And now I am who I am.  I always was.

Love, Hannah

Hannah Asks!

Anything in the news lately?  
Kidding!

It’s fascinating and bewildering and encouraging and depressing all at once to watch these historical days play out, but I don’t want to write about you-know-what at the moment.


I think for many of us our femme lives are a place of comfort, security, and happiness.  As someone who identifies as bi-gender, my life is just as separated as my closet.  The boy does all the hard work such as his job and paying bills, but Hannah gets to (or she used to before the pandemic) go shopping, wander around a museum, have dinner with friends, and a million other things the boy is too busy to do.  Hannah is a bit of a refuge, in a way.  Her world and her life is a place to go to when the boy needs a break from stress and responsibilities.  A world of beauty, relaxation, and comfort.


During these unprecedented times  (my god, how many times have you heard THAT phrase over the last eight months?) all of our lives have been impacted and changed forever.  Earlier this year we would discuss when things would go back to normal, but there is no going back.  There probably never was any going back.  Now that so much has happened and so much time as passed the days prior to COVID seem like a lifetime ago.  Instead we will see what the world will be like when we get to the other side of this virus.  I think one of the things that keeps us going is having something to look forward to.  It could be a concert, a family event, a holiday, a vacation, or a movie coming out but of course everything has been turned inside-out and it’s impossible to plan anything more than a few days in advance.  It’s depressing and unsettling.  The things we turned to for comfort and escape aren’t an option anymore.  


So what to do we do?  We adapt.  We evolve.  Evolution is caused by stress, by change.  We grow, we challenge ourselves.  How will our lives and our world be different when “this is all over”, not only as a world but as individuals?  It’s not unreasonable to say that life changed overnight despite the virus and its impact spreading gradually and consuming the entire world, country by country.  I remember a few months ago when things in the United States were escalating.  The first sporting events being cancelled, schools starting to close, infections rising, new cases popping up in different parts of the country…  We were forced to rethink our lives.  We HAD to adapt.   Many of us started to work remote, kids did school online, business changed how they sell everything from food to hand sanitizer.  It was shocking not to be able to go to the store and pick up toilet paper or cleaning supplies.  The normal everyday things weren’t an option.  


Social media thanked the brave nurses and grocery store clerks and all of the essential workers who were helping the rest of the world get through this even if it meant putting their own health and safety at risk.  Sadly this has changed as we have moved on from thanking the cashier at the grocery store to yelling at the clerks when they ask you to please wear a mask.  


What does this have to do with crossdressing, you may ask?


Many of us have two lives and for those who do, we have two worlds that have been impacted by this changed world.  Vacations aren’t an option at the moment, I don’t travel for my job, and I miss going to restaurants.  And yes I know this is all superficial compared to those who have gotten sick, lost loved ones, or have lost their jobs because of this.  I know that.  I am blessed and fortunate.  Hannah’s life has been impacted as well, and again, in very superficial and comparably unimportant ways.  Both of my lives are adapting and learning to live in this new world.  My boy job adapted and I am working differently than I used to.  The things the boy used to do are different but he is more or less okay.  Dining out at a restaurant has changed to take-out, for example.  Again, I know this is small and irrelevant compared to how others have been affected.  I get that.  I promise I do.  


So the boy is more or less okay, but what about her?  Hannah’s life has been impacted in a few significant ways.  Events and outings with the MN T-Girls have changed and it’s harder to plan events that are safe.  Hannah isn’t wandering around a mall anymore looking for a cute dress.  These are things that she looked forward to, things that she did when, usually when his life became stressful and hectic.  Hannah would step in (or strut in) and take over for a bit.  Without Hannah’s comforts, how does she, and all of our femme selves, cope with everything?


Well, I don’t know about you, but clothes are a wonderful source of comfort.   Clothes represent my femme side.  My femme side is my connection to a world that is more beautiful, calmer than the other world.


In both of my genders, I need things to look forward to.  Both of my genders look forward to different things but many of these things aren’t an option at the moment.  But I can look forward to a new dress I ordered online.  I can look forward to waking up and wearing a cute pair of panties.   It’s a way to stay connected to her, even if I am not en femme. 

Underdressing has always been a place of refuge, security, and beauty.  It’s not that I feel anxious in boy mode, but Hannah is calmer than he is.  This is also true when I am in boy mode but wearing leggings and a femme shirt.  Taking a shower and shaving my legs and sliding into bed in a new nightgown is just divine.


It’s true that I miss being able to wear a new dress to something other than my own home (for now, anyway), but the point is that we need to take care of our femme selves.  I do this by giving her something to look forward to.  A new outfit, new lingerie… daydreaming about new adventures when things aren’t as scary and dangerous.  It’s important that even in “normal” times (remember those?) we need to acknowledge and care for both sides of us.  We still need to do that, but we are probably doing this in different ways.  


How do you take care of her when you’re not able to do what you used to do?


Love, Hannah

Uncomfortably Numb

I am going to ignore the crushing anxiety I am feeling about tomorrow’s election, but rest assured it is consuming every moment of my life.  Please know that I am thinking about it, I am feeling it, I am terrified about what may happen as I write about other things that I am thinking about.  Okay, well, maybe not ignore, but you know what I mean.  


Being who we are pushes us out of comfort zone and it’s not unlike being pushed out of an airplane with a parachute praying to God everything works out.  When we first step out of the house (whether it is with shy, trepidation or with the confident strut of… a dominatrix, I guess, we are out of our familiar world and entering into a new part of our lives.  It is a enormous change to go from wandering around a mall that we visit in boy mode to the same mall in heels and a skirt.  All of a sudden we are looking over our shoulders, we are scanning the area for anyone who might know us, keeping alert of anyone who may want to harass us.  We have to do this.  We have to be aware of who is near us, who could harm us. 

Acknowledging our gender identities is also necessary for survival.  We can only keep this side of us suppressed for so long.


After a little (or a lot of) time, we become used to this new world.  We are pushing our boundaries, we are expanding our lives and it is wonderful.  There’s no other way to describe conquering the fear we had for too long and enjoying and experiencing life en femme.  It builds confidence and for me, it inspires me to think about what I could do, or where I could go next.  Ten years ago the thought of Hannah going to a coffee shop was akin to walking to the moon.  These days I think about how amazing it would be to do a photo shoot at an art museum or model lingerie.  


I think many of us marvel a little at how different we are when it comes to how we present.  Hannah compared to me in male mode are pretty different.  Hannah is chattier and more open than the boy is.  The boy tends to be a little more introverted.  The boy doesn’t really have comparable goals to Hannah.  We are miles apart in some regards.  Hannah is more ambitious and confident and, well, a little full of herself if I am being honest.  The boy is a little more down to Earth and happily lives in his little world.  


But Hannah needs to be these things, I think, to do the things she does.  It takes a lot of confidence (among other qualities) to model pretty dresses.  It takes a lot of confidence to write posts like these.  It’s bold to lay my heart on the line, along with all of my inner-most secrets and heart’s desires online.  The boy is more private and reserved, but when Hannah is around, he gets out of the way.


I think a girl like us contributes to the world, even if we don’t mean to or don’t want to.  I believe every time a girl like us leaves the house and goes out into the public we are showing the world that we exist, we are alive, and we are doing boring, mundane things.  We are showing that we are not as scary as certain groups would like the world to believe.  Every t-girl out there that blogs has something to contribute.  Being online allows us to open up more compared to opening up to the people we know in the real world.  We all write a lot about the same things (accepting ourselves, the frustration of finding heels that fit, why society has such a hard time with us), and I believe that these relatable experiences allows girls like us to feel less alone.  We can all identify and relate to the anxiety and fear and joy that this side of us brings.


It makes me incredibly happy to hear that some random thought or experience I write about helps someone.  I’m so glad to hear that, especially because I know how happy I am to find something that I can relate that another t-girl wrote.  I feel I am contributing to our “cause”, so to speak.  You know, our big cause of just wanting to live our lives.  But of all I’ve done, I am most proud of the MN T-Girls.  This month we celebrate our anniversary.  I THINK it’s 8 years (and I am too lazy to look it up) and over the years we have done some pretty amazing things.  Photo shoots, private shopping nights, makeup lessons, going out to dinner, attending plays… it’s been so fun and incredibly rewarding to hear from the girls about how much fun they had or how nervous but excited they were.  It reminds me that although organizing events takes a lot of energy and planning, it is absolutely worth it.  To be honest I enjoy planning events, I like figuring out the logistics and organizing and everything that comes with it.  


There are close to 300 members of the T-Girls these days.  That’s not to say that all members attend every event, but they are all out there and welcome to anything that is planned.  I have met so many t-girls over the years and we are all so different but all relatable.  I have met girls who do all sorts of traditionally masculine jobs in their boy life, people who you would never suspect are likely wearing pink panties under their work jeans or expensive suit.  I love getting to know others.  But these events push me out of my comfort zone, too.  Even though Hannan is less introverted than the boy, Hannah holds her cards pretty close to her breast forms.  She tends to be…. well, maybe not vague, but sometimes won’t answer directly to a question.  I am not trying to be rude, please understand.  If someone asks Hannah where she lives, she will usually answer ‘Saint Paul’ as opposed to something a little more specific.  If you ask Hannah where “he” works, she’ll say in her male life they work in education as opposed to something a little less vague.  


In both of my genders, I tend to be the first to arrive to something and the first to leave.  Of course Hannah needs to be the first to an event that she planned, but once the event is underway she’ll leave after a bit.  Despite almost one hundred MN T-Girls events over the years social situations can easily give me a little anxiety and really drain my energy.  Hannah has a lot more energy, it’s like she is powered by pink and eyeliner, but that energy starts to deplete once an event has started and the planning stages are finished.  I am trying to get used to being a hostess and become more comfortable in this part of my life but it’s not going tooooo well.  It’s an anxious world, to be sure.  Between the pandemic and the election and everything a girl like us experiences, I am exhausted… in both of my genders.  


I am trying to just through EVERYTHING day by day.  Many of the things that would bring my joy and comfort are gone.  When the boy life become too stressful I could get dolled up and spend the day at the mall.  And yes, I could still do that, but wearing a mask and not being able to try on dresses makes this a lot less fun.  Hannah going to dinner used to be a lot of fun, but that’s not a good idea right now.  Seeing friends is so different, too.  It’s depressing knowing that the small creature comforts aren’t really an option these days.  I am doing what I can to avoid plummeting into despair.  And yes, I know that is SO dramatic, but it’s the truth.  My medication helps, but goodness, it’s doing some heavy lifting.  


I want to be more comfortable with social situations than I am.  I want to be as confident and relaxed as I appear to be.  Being en femme IS a comfort zone, chatting with someone at a party (in either gender) takes a lot out of me and I get to a point where I need to leave.  I wish I wasn’t this way, but I am.  I try to ignore the thoughts of needing to leave a party after it’s started but it’s not easy.  Sometimes it is, but I can only ignore that anxiety for so long.  Please know I am enjoying myself and I truly love meeting girls and catching up with her friends, so to the MN T-Girls out there, please don’t take offense to this.  Ask my wife how I am at parties in male more and you’ll see that both of my gender identities are the same in this regard.


I have been trying to maintain my life/lives that I knew before the pandemic.  But that’s not possible.  I can’t pretend that everything isn’t… weird.  What both Hannah and the boy need to do is adapt.  Learn to live in this stupid reality.  This world is not going to go back to normal.  I miss 2015.  Whatever reality this world moves into this week is unknown.  Not knowing what tomorrow, what next month, what the next four years will be like is incredibly nerve-wracking.  I need having things to look forward to, but you can’t plan anything anymore.  What will be open?  Will we be in another lockdown?  Will I get COVID?  Will girls like us become more of a target than we are now?  You think I am being dramatic, but ask the women in your life if they feel they have the same rights and freedom as they used to.  
The awkwardness I feel in social parties has taken over my entire life. 

Every news notification I get on my phone automatically makes me wonder what happened now.  Staying up to date on current events is terrifying.  It’s hard to be optimistic.  


I want all of (gestures around) this to be over.  I want to feel comfortable in this world, at a party.  I want to plan things, to have things to look forward to, and enjoy them.


On a related note, please for the love of God vote Biden.
Love, Hannah

A Different Kind of Fog

Life is all about balance.

Marriage is all about balance.

Identifying as bi-gender is all about balance.


It’s important to have a work-life balance.  If you work too much, even if you enjoy the work, you’ll not be able to live the life you’re working so hard for.  But you also can’t neglect your responsibilities, your bills. your family obligations.  I work too much, I take on too much, and it’ll catch up with me someday.  But today is not that day.


When two people commit to each other, their lives become one.  They are both striving to live a life together, pay the same bills, take care of the same children, and work towards something.  Your partner is your everything, but you can’t lose yourself in a relationship.  It took me too many relationships to learn that, and when the relationship ended I had to get to know who I was all over again.  


And of course, I don’t need to tell you why balance is crucial in being bi-gender.  I need Hannah to come out, I need to make sure she is being looked after, in a way.  I can’t ignore this side of me, and on the opposite side of the coin, I can’t let her dominate my time, my money, my life.  Again, this is something I had to learn and you learn by doing, you learn by making mistakes.


Oh!  And walking in five-inch stilettos is all about balance but we all know that.


The Pink Fog can cause a girl like us to lose sight of that balance.  We get so enraptured in this side of us that our lives can negatively be impacted by how absorbed we are in the world of femininity.  We spend more money than we should, we spend too much time in her world, our partners get a little tired of us talking about makeup, our partners can get a little tired of us en femme.  This part of us is overwhelming for anyone in our lives, and it’s easy for our partners to get even more overwhelmed by who we are.  Of course, this is true with many parts of who we are.  If I spent every weekend fishing or talking about fishing my wife would get real tired of that real fast.  Or is that reel fast?  Sorry.  


Being in the fog can cloud our judgement.  Of course we don’ think we are spending too much money on clothes.  Of course we don’t think we are spending too much time en femme.  Of course we don’t feel like we’re talking about shoes too much.  But we probably are and goodness can that drive our partners crazy.  When I was first coming into who I am, when I moved from underdressing to HANNAH, I talked about clothes and makeup and everything else ALL THE TIME.  It drove my wife crazy.  She felt like she was losing her husband and wondered where all of this was going.  Looking back, I can absolutely see her point.  
I wasn’t keeping things in balance in terms of my gender identities and in my marriage.  I learned.  I listened.  I found the balance. 


I also stopped drinking.  


A few years ago there was nothing I looked more forward to than Saturday nights.  I would get dolled up, usually wearing a new dress, my wife and I would pour some wine, put on some music, and have a girls night in.  It sounds wonderful and it was.  She and I both got to know Hannah.  I talked about things that I never talked about before, I learned so much about myself.  I also would get really drunk.  It wasn’t long until I was drinking every night.  And not just a glass of wine, most nights it was almost an entire bottle.  Being hungover the next day soon became normal.  I got used to it.  


We all act differently when we are drunk.  Some of us get loud, belligerent, rude, aggressive, silly, or… well, the list goes on,  I lived in the moment and made bad choices.  I never would call my exe’s or anything like that, but it was easy to forget about tomorrow and purchase that dress online instead of making the car payment that was due.  It was easier to post a slightly risque photo on crossdressers.com.  Being hungover wasn’t much different.  I felt like I was always in a fog, but this was a different fog than the pink kind.  My thoughts were clouded, I was distracted and it was hard to focus.  And yes, there were mornings when I woke up still drunk.  This fog wasn’t something that stuck with me just for a few hours, it impacted my entire day.  I heard that drinking a lot kind of rewires your brain a little and I absolutely believe that.


I am not proud of any of this.  It saddens me to remember these days.  Everything I regret doing I did when I was drunk or hungover.  


The pink fog can be dangerous.  The fog I was in from drinking was dangerous.  Combine the two?  My god.


I had wanted to quit drinking ever since I began.  I admired recovering alcoholics.  I wish I had that courage and strength and discipline.  As time went by, my desire to quit grew stronger.  I knew I needed to.  But I was so afraid to try quitting.  I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to.  I was afraid I would stop for a few days and go back to the bottle and that cycle would repeat (like purging our wardrobes, for example).  I was afraid that if I couldn’t quit on my own that I would need to seek treatment.  I was terrified of being that much of an alcoholic that I needed to go that route.  


It took me almost a year to quit.  I stopped drinking during the week at first.  The first morning I woke up without a hangover was… amazing.  I felt amazing.  I didn’t have a headache, I slept hard, I felt rested.  I had forgotten what not being hungover felt like.  The weekdays were incredible.  I was so productive, so focused.  My workouts became more efficient and I started to lose weight.  I went from 240 pounds to 165 in about six months.  And it was all from not drinking during the week and exercising more.  I felt empowered, I felt like maybe, just maybe I could stop drinking altogether.  Drinking on Saturday nights was still a thing, but after the weight loss I would get drunk after one or two drinks.  And the hangovers and the clouded thoughts that came the next day were worse than ever.
Four years ago I stopped.  I just decided to stop.  My wife and I were settling in for our normal Saturday night and I just.didn’t pour myself a drink.  I’ve been sober since I woke up on November 20th, 2016.  


Of course, this all sounds so easy.  It wasn’t and it still isn’t.  Making the decision to stop drinking isn’t a choice I made one four years ago.  It’s a choice I make every single day.  Some days are easier than others.  Some days are hard.  Sometimes I find myself eyeing the glass of wine my wife poured for herself and I often have to push it away from my reach.  Sometimes it doesn’t bother me at all.  One day at a time.  One moment at a time.


I’m glad I quit drinking, and I am glad I quit drinking before the pandemic.  As much and as often as I drank four years ago, I know I would be drinking a lot more now.  


As much as I admire recovering alcoholics, I also admire those who can have a drink at dinner a few times a month and be fine with that.  Again, that balance….But that’s not me.  I know one drink would turn into three, I know one night of drinking would turn into another lifetime of it.  


I’ve made a lot of mistakes in life due to one fog or another.  I’m also lucky to have learned from those mistakes.  I am not perfect and I never will be and I don’t want to be.  But I am getting better.


It’s hard to be who we are.  It’s easy to drink to escape whatever we need to escape from.  Some of us drink to forget about this side of us.  Some of us drink to let this side of us out.  I get it.  I can relate.  But if you think you need help, then please seek it.


Love, Hannah  

New En Femme Blog!

My new article for En Femme is live!

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 past articles for our Learning Center, Hannah has discussed her gender identity evolution and journey towards self-acceptance, coming out to friends and family, and coping during the lockdown.

Now, Hannah begins to focus on the physical side of things! When we start to build a wardrobe, how do we determine our body type?  In her newest article, Hannah talks about which types of clothing are best-suited to certain body types, so we know which styles will help us to best express ourselves.  Read it now>>

Love, Hannah

Magic and Loss

When you pass through the fire
You pass through humble
You pass through a maze of self doubt
When you pass through humble
The lights can blind you
Some people never figure that out
You pass through arrogance, you pass through hurt
You pass through an ever-present past
And it’s best not to wait for luck to save you
Pass through the fire to the light
As you pass through the fire
Your right hand waving
There are things you have to throw out
That caustic dread inside your head
Will never help you out
You have to be very strong
‘Cause you’ll start from zero
Over and over again
And as the smoke clears
There’s an all-consuming fire
Lying straight ahead
They say no one person can do it all
But you want to in your head
But you can’t be Joyce
So what is left instead?
You’re stuck with yourself
And a rage that can hurt you
You have to start at the beginning again
And just this moment
This wonderful fire started up again
When you pass through humble
When you pass through sickly
When you pass through
I’m better than you all
When you pass through
Anger and self deprecation
And have the strength to acknowledge it all
When the past makes you laugh
And you can savor the magic
That let you survive your own war
You find that that fire is passion
And there’s a door up ahead; not a wall
As you pass through fire, as you pass through fire
Trying to remember its name
When you pass through fire, licking at your lips
You cannot remain the same
And if the building’s burning
Move towards that door
But don’t put the flames out
There’s a bit of magic in everything
And then some loss to even things out 
-Lou Reed 

Many of us agonize (to say the least) about accepting, understanding, and embracing who we are.  We go through decades of denial and therapy sessions and internal (and external) conflict about our gender identity.  It’s not easy, to say the least.  Accepting who we are can often come with a great loss.  Many of us have lost friends and family members once our gender identity has been (intentionally or not) revealed.  Sometimes this acceptance comes with the realization of all the time and opportunities we have lost over the years we have been in denial over who we are and what we want.  


However, as Lou Reed said, magic and loss come with everything.  We know what the loss is.  We fear what the loss could be so we stay in the closet, we stay hidden, we stay a secret.  But there is magic, too.  Sometimes the magic is feeling the weight taken from our shoulders when we come out, even if it is just to ourselves.  The magic can be from wearing that beautiful dress we have seen at the mall.  Waking up in a nightgown.  Shaving our legs.  Getting a makeover.  Being called “ma’am” for the first time.


For myself, the magic was going out en femme.  One of the first times I went out en femme during the day would have been unremarkable in boy mode.  Coffee, shopping, lunch.  But en femme?  It was, well, it was magic.  The click of my heels on the sidewalk was the drumbeat of victory.  The wind blowing through my long black hair was the air of a new life.  Hannah’s world and the real world were merging to create a beautiful new reality of potential.  Now that I have done THIS, anything was possible.


I am reminded of this magic every time I am out.  True, sometimes I forget I am en femme when I am in the real world as this has become normal to me, but every first experience is a testament to how far I’ve come, and how much our community did before me. Yes, there isn’t much magic in going to Target in it of itself, but it’s still so much more fun en femme.
As warmer weather gives up the ghost until next spring our clothes change.  Goodbye summer dresses, hello sweater dresses.  The strappy stilettos aren’t the best for slippery ice, so out come the boots.  Magic and loss, you know.  In Minnesota it’s not smart to not have a winter coat, and Hannah has a couple of them.  And I hate them.  I hate covering up my cute dress, I hate how bulky I look.  I spend too much time at the gym to hide my legs, but what can you do?  It’s not as much fun going out en femme during the winter compared to the rest of the year.


Before I continue, I want to acknowledge that I know this is going to sound shallow and selfish.  I know this is extremely short-sighted.  I know that.


We all must do our part when it comes to stopping COVID-19.  I don’t go out as much as I used (in either gender), the events I plan for the MN T-Girls have changed, and I wear a mask whenever I go out.  Of course in boy mode a mask is nothing.  I can breathe just fine and I rarely am inside someplace for very long.  Hannah wearing a mask is different.  Just as I hate my coat covering up a cute outfit, I hate my mask covering my makeup.  I hate my makeup coming off in the mask.  I hate trying to loop my mask around my earrings and long hair.  I hate the dysphoria that comes with it.  I hate it.  Going out to my favorite thrift store and getting coffee isn’t fun anymore.  


Again, I know this is shallow.  Wearing a mask and smudging my lipstick is nothing compared to people losing family members and their businesses and their jobs.  I don’t pretend or think that my experience is anything compared to the tragedies that countless others have endured and suffered through.  


To me, going out en femme is the magic that comes with the loss of what we have experienced as we came into who we are.  And yes, I know that no matter how much fun a day at the mall en femme is it doesn’t replace a family member that no longer wants to speak to us because of our gender identity.  


The world is hard enough as it is.  It is the small pleasures that keep us going, whether wearing a new skirt, looking forward to a new movie, meeting a friend for dinner, a planned vacation.


There isn’t much of a point to these thoughts, just a hope and a prayer that our lives can move into a world without masks, without this pandemic, without the loss that comes with it.  

Stay safe.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I love being dressed and time knows no limits. I have noticed real girls complaining about heels, hose, and bras, and can’t wait to get them off while I enjoy every minute I spend in them and regret when I finally must disrobe. Are these articles of clothing really that miserable? I have listened to women from grade school to adulthood complaining about all these clothing items as well as makeup and long hair and shaving their legs while I sit there and wish I could be in any of their places. I have been wearing hose and panties every day, as well as a bra and breast forms whenever I can and have yet to find them intolerable and instead prefer to be in them.
So, Hannah, is it just my clothing fetish or do real girls really not appreciate the pleasures of being female?

There’s…there’s a lot to unpack here.


For starters, all girls are real girls.  I’m guessing you are meaning cis-gender girls, though.  


I have a family member who has a really cool job and it requires him to travel.  And he travels EVERYWHERE.  One day in New York, a few days later he’s in Japan.  And when he goes to these places he does cool stuff.  One day I asked him how amazing it must be to have his life.  He said he is grateful to have the life he has, but it’s not as glamorous as it looks.  The travel gets tiring after a while, living in hotels, no stability, no real way to plan the rest of his life from one week to the next and of course he misses his family terribly.  Listening to him gained a new perspective on something I was originally jealous of.  Traveling once in a while is fun, but every week it gets a little tiring.  The thrill wears off.


What I am trying to say is that someone’s experience is usually different than how we think it is.  Yes, we might wonder why women don’t wear heels and dresses and stockings all the time since they are “allowed to”, but it’s not as simple as that.


T-Girls have a unique, and often personal and intimate relationship with clothes.  Stilettos, bras, stockings, corsets, are thrilling for us.  Slip on a pair of heels and I am walking on air…  for a while.  Of course, when I am at home and relaxing I can wear a pair of five inch heels all day and there’s nothing quite like it.  But when I am out in the real world, well, it’s not as fun.  At a recent photo shoot Shannonlee and I walked miles… on sidewalk, pavement, brick roads, up and down stairs, on gravel… and it didn’t take long for my feet and legs to hurt. 

My strutting devolved into smaller steps and by the time I got home I was very happy to slip off my heels… and my bra, my gaff, and my stockings.  I was happy to wash my makeup off, my false eyelashes were drooping a little.  My earrings were pinching as well.  It was getting hot and my wig was sticking to my skin.  My foundation was melting a little and my eyeliner and mascara were smudging, despite using a primer and a setting spray.  I probably looked a little silly, and I knew it.  I felt a little silly.  

I’m smiling but my toes are SCREAMING


As much as I loved being en femme, it was a lot more comfortable once I changed.  Yes, I wasn’t cute and boy clothes are soooo boring, but nothing pinched anymore.

  
I dress to the nines because I heart it.  I underdress because I love lingerie and it helps me stay connected to my femme side.  How I dress is my choice.  


But not everyone has that choice.  Speaking in very broad terms, society has expectations as to how a girl should look, how a girl should dress.  Whether this is a real dress code or not, many people (mostly men if we are being honest) expect women to be in full makeup and wear heels.  Of course, that’s easy for someone to say if they have never worn heels or an underwire bra before.  


And just as a t-girl can have an emotional relationship with clothes, cis-women can as well… but it’s not necessarily as fun as ours is. Women have been objectified for years and expecting to dress a certain way or to smile for is an example of that.  Some women wear nylons or heels because that’s the unofficial dress code, if you will.  Or in some cases, it is the official dress code.  Most people don’t enjoy being forced to do something or wear something.  Everyone should have the choice and the freedom to wear what they want to wear.  I mean, isn’t that what a t-girl/crossdresser is all about?  


I know we would love to wear what we want, when we want.  Guess what!  All women want that.  If a girl wants to wear pants or a leather skirt or a cape, then they should.  But like I said, it’s not always a choice.  As hard to believe, women weren’t allowed to wear pants in the Senate until 1998.  Sleeveless dresses and blouses and open-toed heels weren’t permitted until 2019.  Being forced to wear (or not wear) something takes a lot of joy out of getting dressed.  It’s a reminder that you are not allowed to wear what you wish.  I’m sure many of us can relate to that.


Anatomy can play a big part in whether or not you’re comfortable as well.  Yes, my wife and I both wear bras but my bra supports my breast forms which have hardly any weight at all.  Her bra supports her breasts which is not the same thing as supporting forms.  Same with heels.  She and I can both wear four inch heels but her feet are much tinier than mine.  A four inch heel on her creates a much more vertical arch than a four inch heel on me.  Of course her feet are going to hurt before mine.  Of course she’ll be ready to take them off before I am.  


I love smooth legs, but is it a pain to shave them?  Of course.  Well, maybe pain isn’t the right word, but hair removal is a lot of work.  Whether it is taking time to get my brows threaded, having certain parts of me waxed, or shaving other parts of me, it is a time consuming process.  And yes, I bitch about it once in a while.  


And!  Being who I am is expensive.  I’ll buy a bra to treat myself, my wife buys one because she needs one.  She’ll pick out a cute one, sure, but I don’t really NEED one, despite me thinking I do 🙂

To paraphrase the common saying, the gender is always easier on the other side of the closet. Have you ever had a girl say to you (in male mode) how lucky men are? They don’t have to shave their legs, look a certain way, dress in a certain style, color their gray hair… society has different expectations of someone based on their gender presentation. It looks easier (and in my experience, it is) to present as male.


As for whether this is a fetish or not, only you can answer that.  


But I do know that looking a certain way takes a lot of time and a lot of work.  I don’t think it diminishes the joys of being a girl or as you said, being female.  I think a girl like me dresses for different reasons that some girls.  I dress how I want because I can, but some cis-girls feel they must present a certain way.  I think most people like looking cute or attractive, and for many people how we dress and our physical appearance can be impact our self-esteem and our confidence.  But goodness, how I choose to look takes a lot of time and work.


We can’t forget that although a girl like us may wear the same things as our wives and sisters, we don’t always have the same experiences that they have.  I know some cis-girls who would love to wear more dresses but they hate how some men (I know, I know, not all men) will comment or look down (or up) their dress.  If I was constantly being leered at or catcalled when wearing a skirt I would want to stop wearing them too.  I am sure we have all heard stories of girls getting sent home from high school because the tank top was distracting the boys.  Christ.  No wonder some girls don’t want to wear certain clothes.  


Walking a mile in heels is not the same thing as walking a mile in every women’s shoes, if you follow me.

Love, Hannah

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