Ask Hannah!

I know you love both of your identities, as male and female and highly value both lives. You do seem very happy and alive when discussing your outings as a woman. Do you ever sit and consider what your life would have been like, if you were born female? You appear to thoroughly enjoy female clothes and how you feel wearing them. I love wearing female clothes also, and at times I wish I had been born female.

You know, for someone who overthinks and considers every potential outcome and scenario, this is not something I have ever really thought about.

It kind of brings up the whole nature versus nurture scenario, doesn’t it?

When the doctor checked the little box for “MALE” on my birth certificate it shaped how everyone I would ever meet in my life would talk to me, interact with me, react to me, and see me. A lifetime of norms and expectations were set in stone without any consideration as to who I might be and what I might want.

It’s… not unlike an arranged marriage in a way. Like it didn’t matter if you loved or even liked this person, it was agreed that you were going to marry them in a few years and that was that.

Growing up I wanted to wear dresses and beautiful and interesting clothes. Underwear didn’t have to be ugly, baggy, ill-fitting boxers. Underwear could be cute, colorful, lacy. I was drawn to “girl clothes” and no matter my genitalia I wanted what I wanted. This is nature.

But then nurturing came crashing through. My parents bought me boy clothes. I was given blue things and steered away from anything pink. I had toy trucks. You get the idea.

And to be fair I loved the toys I had. My sisters had dolls but… well, they seemed kind of boring to me.

A closet full of pants couldn’t extinguish the fire that burned in my heart for dresses. But I wasn’t allowed to listen to it. It’s not like I was explicitly told that I couldn’t wear dresses but let’s face it, in a world (especially back then) when gender norms rule I didn’t HAVE to be told.

But of course I wore dresses and skirts and anything I could whenever I could.

My interest, my fascination, my yearning to wear femme clothes was only fueled by these opportunities. It’s like a piece of cake. It looks amazing and the first bite is heaven and it only makes you want a second taste. To continue this metaphor I devoured the entire cake and at this point, probably several bakeries.

As the years went by this part of me grew and I began to understand and accept and eventually embrace who I am and what I wanted to wear.

I got to know the part of me that would eventually become Hannah.

BUT I also grew as the masculine presenting person that most of the world knows me as. He made friends, found a career he (usually) likes, and became who I am today.

And this person, the male side of me is, well, happy. Satisfied. At peace. He has a fulfilling life. I like HIS life.

As I matured both of my gender identities grew and found themselves and found happiness. They are not in conflict with each. They have their contrasts but it’s a wonderful mixture of the two. I am forever charmed by the differences and polarizing opposites they seem to have. This past Saturday I bought a ladder and cleaned the gutters which is a very manly thing to do. This upcoming Saturday I am getting a makeover and wearing a lot of pretty clothes for a photo shoot.

As I look at my life and my lives, I realize that nature, well, it won. How I was raised, how the world thought I should be didn’t stamp out the femme part of who I am.

If the “FEMALE” box was checked then my nurturing would have been very different. My dresser would have been filled with the clothes he wanted to wear. There would have been no effort to prevent me from wearing any dress I would have wanted to.

I really don’t think I would be bi-gender if I was raised as a girl.

Now, please don’t misunderstand. I don’t feel that I was born in the wrong body.

What I mean is that I was always drawn to the femme side of the world. It was, and is, endlessly captivating to me.

But I never had the… pull when it comes to the other side. There wasn’t ever anything masculine that appealed to me. I never was curious about what it would be like to wear a tuxedo but I daydreamed constantly about wedding dresses. I wanted painted nails, not nails with dirt under them from playing football.

However.

Being raised as a boy put me on the path I am on now. Over the decades I’ve grown as a person, created a life, and fell in love. I love my life, I love who I am.

And I don’t want anything to change.

If I was a girl at birth, I can’t help but think I would still be ME. That’s the nature side. But I would have been raised differently and have gone in a different direction. That’s nurture. I think I would still like the same things I like, I can’t imagine not falling in love with my wife, regardless of my gender.

At this point in my life I am both of me, I am all of me. Things would have been different if I was born with a vagina instead of a penis, but honestly? I have no complaints. I am very glad things turned out the way they did.

Everything works out in the end.

Love, Hannah

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

It’s Not the Weather…

I could just pretend that you love me
The night would lose all sense of fear
But why do I need you to love me
When you can’t hold what I hold dear

Oh God could it be the weather
Oh God why am I here
If love isn’t forever
And its not the weather
Hand me my leather

-Tori Amos

Love, Hannah

To be a Girl

I don’t know what it’s like to be a girl.

I mean, that sounds pretty strange considering, you know, who I am.

But let me clarify.

What I mean is that although I may strut through the mall in heels I am potentially having an experience that is different than the one that my wife and sisters may have.

The world interacts with my wife and sisters as femme presenting people and I imagine the world correctly assumes that they are cis gender women.

Any interactions they have with others is potentially influenced by their gender and their cis-ness.

What I mean is that someone may hold the door open for them because it is the chivalrous thing to do, you know, a gentleman holding the door for a lady. Of course, they also will likely experience harassment or wage disparity or discrimination because of their gender as well.

Taylor Swift’s song, “The Man” is a perfect example of how an opinion of someone or their actions can be shaped by their gender.

I would be complex
I would be cool
They’d say I played the field before I found someone to commit to
And that would be ok
For me to do
Every conquest I had made would make me more of a boss to you


I’d be a fearless leader
I’d be an alpha type
When everyone believes ya
What’s that like?


I’m so sick of running as fast as I can
Wondering if I’d get there quicker
If I was a man
And I’m so sick of them coming at me again
‘Cause if I was a man
Then I’d be the man

It’s not uncommon for men to be called powerful or assertive but women tend to be called bitchy or emotional if they act the same way.

When Hannah is out in the real world or online I am never sure what is influencing someone’s interaction with me. She is obviously trans, after all, and I assume that my trans-ness could be a factor in how someone treats her.

And yes a lot of this is overthinking and probably not worth spending any time pondering about, but this is how my brain works. At least the way my brain is working this morning.

Is someone holding the door open for me because that’s a polite thing for a gentleman to do for a lady, whether they are transgender or cis?

Is someone not holding the door open for me because I am transgender and therefor not a woman in their eyes?

Is the cashier being a little distant because they are uncomfortable with me or is the cashier just distracted by something else?

I could go on but I think you get the point.

It is impossible and futile to know why anyone does anything. I realize this, but again, this is how my brain works.

I would never assume I can relate to my wife in many of the situations she has. She is a smart person and knows a lot and gets very frustrated when a mechanic talks downs to her or directs questions towards me when it comes to auto maintenance or other MAN THINGS. As a masculine presenting person in most of my everyday interactions I can’t relate to many of her experiences.

This is just one example of how some men treat some women. And yes, I know, NOT ALL MEN. But it happens often enough. Too often.

What I can relate to are things that are commonly associated with a typical femme presentation.

To be clear, I do not think there are any standards one must adhere to when it comes to a feminine presentation. Wear stilettos or flip-flops. Sweatpants or a bodycon dress. Facial hair or an $80 makeover.

If my wife tells me she loves a pair of her heels but after ten minutes they become unbearable I can relate. If a colleague says the air conditioning in the office is too cold for their sleeveless blouse, I can relate. If my sister gets frustrated because her favorite shade of foundation was discontinued, I can relate.

What I can’t relate to is when woman on average getting paid less than an equally qualified and experienced man doing the same job. I have cis male privilege. And I know this is an uncomfortable thing for many men to admit to having but it’s the truth.

I hope I am being clear with this. What I am trying to say is that although Hannah and my wife are feminine presenting people, we will not always have the same interactions with the same person in the same situation. People may treat ciswomen differently and transwomen and besides asking someone it’s impossible to know anything for certain.

Oh, another thing. Hannah’s life is, for the most part, fun. Hannah goes to the mall, Hannah shops for dresses. My wife does these things too, but she also does the hard stuff, the real life stuff. I also have real life stuff, but it’s the stuff that the male side of me handles. Hannah doesn’t worry about how to afford replacing the furnace or about workplace issues, negotiating a job offer, those details. If a salesclerk is rude to Hannah because Hannah is a t-girl, that’s one thing. If my wife gets a job offer with a salary that is 20% lower because of her gender, that is a completely different and far more consequential thing.

Does this make sense? I hope so because I am moving on, lol.

I know what it’s like to be femme presenting. Again, how Hannah presents is not how all women SHOULD present. Hannah is heels and dresses and makeup. Traits and clothes that are traditionally associated with women. I know what it’s like to have a size 12 dress fit from a store AND I know how it feels to have a size 12 dress NOT fit from a different store.

Again, arguably shallow stuff. I have no illusion that these things are important.

How people interact with each other is no longer limited to the physical world. There’s this thing called The Internet and girl, that thing is a mess.

People do not act online in the same way they would act in the real world. Some people have no hesitation to say the meanest things to someone through a comment or an email but would never say the same thing to their face. The anonymity the internet provides can often embolden someone’s cruelty. Cyberbullying is real, ya’ll.

Hannah gets the occasional instant message about how transwomen are evil or whatever but I am willing to bet that the person who sent that wouldn’t have the courage (if that’s the right word) to say that to her face.

Hannah also gets a lot, and I mean a LOT of flirty messages. And when I say flirty I am using that word in a very general sense. Flirty covers everything from “you look cute!” to “I want to tie you up and __________ and then _______________ and then I will __________.”

Listen.

I am not telling you this because I am, well, bragging.

Compliments are nice but overtly sexual comments are the last thing I want. I don’t look at sexually aggressive “compliments” as validation or affirmation or anything. I really don’t want them. My self-esteem is not inflated by these words. If anything they make me feel, well, a little stupid and exposed. I am not looking for messages like that. They make me second guess having an online presence.

What amazes (if that’s the right word) is the directness and laziness of men. And yes, not all men. Hannah gets a lot of direct messages on Twitter with simply “hey”.

To be clear, I don’t want men to contact me. There’s not a single person on the planet that has the potential to pique my interest.

“hi bb”

When I get this message I wonder how busy you are where you don’t have the time to type “baby”.

“you up?”

No and even if I was I am not responding to you. I KNOW what you want.

“u r beautiful”

Please put in a LITTLE effort and take the extra two seconds to write “you are”

“your pretty”

Poor grammar and spelling is very unattractive. This is probably a bitchy perspective but I stand by it.

What happened to gentlemen?

Again, I am not LOOKING for a gentleman. I don’t WANT a gentleman. Or any man.

I know the dating world has changed a lot since I was in it. I’ve been with my wife for almost twenty years and I’m amazed at how different the world is when it comes to finding someone.

I am not saying I am, or was, more enlightened when it came to, ah, courting my wife, but my goodness I tried hard to be clever and to put in an effort to impress her.

Is this the dating world these days? Maybe putting in effort to wooing someone in 2022 looks very different than I imagine. Maybe saying “hi bb” IS a big deal, maybe it IS a good thing.

My god I am sounding my age, aren’t I?

I understand that times change and I see how the world evolves and I am not so stubborn that I think how I did something or how things used to be was and is the way things SHOULD be done.

I can’t help but think that this is the world our wives, our sisters, our daughters live in. It’s annoying enough to get these comments and messages online and occasionally in the real world but for me it’s limited to Hannah’s life. In my male life I thankfully am not inundated with unwanted and unasked for sexually charged comments. For many women they are probably bombarded with these words and advances all the time.

Having a femme identity does open up new experiences and perspectives. I know what it’s like to wear a pencil skirt or have a bra dig into my skin after a few hours. These superficial moments lead to being able to relate to others, typically ciswomen, in a few ways. When my wife looks forward to getting home and changing into more comfortable clothes, well, I can relate.

Other experiences, such as how some men communicate their, ah, intentions and fantasies to me, also shape my perspective. I used to naively think that Hannah getting a sexually explicit email would be kind of sort of flattering in a way. But as soon as it happened I realized that this wasn’t affirming or welcome at all. It was just creepy.

As a feminine presenting person I have experiences like this way more often than I expected. I see how some men can be relentless and rude and often a little scary.

As a bi-gender person these experiences are firmly “limited” to my femme life. HE does not have to deal with this kind of crap.

But women don’t have the luxury to have these experiences limited to just part of their life, their world, their day. An unwanted comment or behavior can come at anytime and anywhere.

A new perspective and new experiences can change someone. Because of my femme identity, I have literally walked (and strutted) a mile (and more) in someone else’s heels. Well, they’re MY heels but you know what I mean.

One of the first things I noticed about myself was how Hannah was more vulnerable and emotionally introspective than my male side. This eventually lead to HIM adopting to these characteristics which I feel was beneficial.

There’s a lot of aspects to my gender identity that I love. I mean, there’s the clothes obviously but I also appreciate how Hannah’s experiences help me as a whole become a better, more empathetic person, and arguably, a better person.

Love, Hannah

Overdressed and Overthinking

Okay girls, three outfits left to show you from my most recent photo shoot.

Of the the several that remain, this little number is the… hm, most modest of them but when you see the last two, that’s not saying much.

Whenever I have a shoot I choose a dress to wear to the studio. This dress is the one I will wear to my makeover appointment, getting coffee, or doing a little shopping if I have time. It’s not uncommon to have sexy outfits picked out for the shoot itself, like leather or something more revealing. Sometimes I’ll have an evening gown.

What I mean is that not every outfit I’ve selected is not really appropriate for running errands before the photo shoot.

So, I have to make sure I have a dress picked out for a little running around before the shoot. I don’t try to blend in, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I will try to stand out. I will, by default, stand out.

To clarify, I will stand out because I am a Very Tall Transgirl. Not because I am OMG I AM SO GORGEOUS LIKE WHY WOULDN’T I STAND OUT.

When I am just popping into a few stories I want to make wear something that is appropriate. I am, more than likely overdressed but being overdressed isn’t the same thing as wearing something that is out of place.

After all, Oscar Wilde said you can never be overdressed or overeducated.

Likewise, if I am going out after the shoot, I need to make sure I have an outfit that is appropriate for whatever I am up to next. If I am not going out, then I just drive home (and praying I don’t get pulled over) in whatever leather dress or evening gown that I wore as the final outfit for the shoot.

This recent photo shoot had it’s share of cute dresses but only two would work for errands before the shoot and for meeting the T-Girls after the shoot. I chose a red dress and sparkly heels for after, and below is the dress I wore for running around before I had to be at the studio.

It wasn’t a hard decision. It was kind of by default. My other choices was a tight leather dress, a very pink dress which would look a little out of place at a coffee shop, and a dress that would work but the heels I wanted to pair with it tend to hurt after a little bit and weren’t a good fit for shopping.

This dress is cute and I like it a lot, but what prompted me to buy it was that it was perfect for a pair of heels that I own that I don’t wear as much as I would like.

My only reservation about this outfit is that it MIGHT be a LITTLE too matchy-matchy. I mean, both the dress and heels are black AND white so it may be a little too much. Adding a pink belt might have brought a needed pop of color to this outfit.

But life is short. Wear what you want. Wherever you want.

Love, Hannah

The Opposite of the Pink Fog

Love and hate are both passionately motivated emotions, however they are not the exact opposite of one another. I was told that the counterpoint of love is indifference, apathy.

And do you know? That’s much worse than hate.

If you’re apathetic or indifferent towards something or someone it really means that you don’t give them (or it) a second thought. And if you do, it sparks no emotion. I mean, even hate is fueled by emotion. You mentally shrug as you realize that something or someone has zero impact on you.

It’s… kind of freeing. But it’s also a little odd. Something that perhaps took up a huge part of your soul or heart at one point is now something you are completely indifferent to.

The singer Regina Spektor compared falling out of love to forgetting the words to your favorite song and what a beautiful and sad comparison that is.

With so much that has happened over the last few years it’s not surprising to learn that so many of us are feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. We’re just tired. We have to struggle to find the emotional or mental bandwidth to process an event or even take action.

The feeling of hopelessness creeps in.

We feel powerless to stop something, we feel powerless to reverse something. It’s tempting to cut our losses and just try to survive.

And yes! This is all very depressing and defeatist. Sorry.

I get questions on occasion asking why I post photos but specifically lingerie photos.

Like this one!

This is not to say that people are asking for any nefarious reason. It’s not like they’re saying “you look horrible, why are you posting this?” It’s just more of a curiosity question. Like, damn, those pictures are revealing. Why post something where you show so much skin?

I tried to answer why I post pictures a few days ago. It was, like many of my posts, a long and rambling and likely unsatisfying answer. But based on the emails I received in response to this was that a lot of t-girls “get” it. I said the short answer was vanity and it’s true, but other t-girls told me that it’s also about affirmation (and I totally agree) but it’s also because life is pretty short (although it doesn’t always feel that way).

So, I post lingerie photos because I love lingerie, I am (for the most part) confident in my body, and because one day I won’t be able to.

These all sound like very positive and inspiring reasons. BUT I could also take on a very different attitude in thinking that nothing really matters and I may as well do whatever I want because everything is going to hell and I really don’t have the energy or motivation to care.

And there’s the opposite of love. The apathy and indifference.

Not caring about what someone thinks can be a constant back and forth of “your opinion has no impact on me” and “nothing matters and who cares”. Swinging back and forth between inspiring and depressing.

When exhaustion and apathy and feeling overwhelmed cloud our heart and mind, it’s not uncommon to make choices that don’t align with our character or principles or weighing the potential fallout of an action.

This is not unlike the Pink Fog.

When we are lost in the fog we are so giddy with THIS that we make decisions that aren’t always the best or could have a consequential impact in the future.

Apathy does something similar. Like we KNOW we should complete that work assignment or pay that bill or schedule that doctor appointment… but we are feeling overwhelmed, we are spent, we are tired. We put it off, we ignore it, we hope it goes away. But it doesn’t and soon things are worse.

My wife and I moved back in August. The first weekend here we unpacked and organized and hung pictures and alllll that stuff. It was exhausting and overwhelming.

I had one box that needed to be sorted and it sat in my office for weeks. WEEKS. Everything else was organized except that one box. It sat in a corner for a very long time. I saw it several times throughout the day and instead of tackling it I just felt tired. And yes, this is a little silly.

And then one day I sorted it and finished the task. It took less than ten minutes and like many things I wondered why in the world I didn’t do this sooner considering how little time it took.

So, what does this feeling of hopeless and exhaustion has to do with this side of us?

When we are in the fog we are finally unshackled from the part of our soul that held this side of us back. We are more alive than ever before. We are happy, we are free, we are confident, we are excited. This can easily lead to spending money that we shouldn’t or coming out to someone without really considering the implications.

Although the days of being enveloped and influenced by the fog are mostly behind me, it’s not uncommon for me to feel apathetic about this side of myself when it comes to protecting my gender identity.

Simply put, I don’t want to have THE TALK with anyone else in my life anymore. Although it’d be nice for some of my friends to know Hannah, I am exhausted at the idea of coming out. Maybe I should do a Powerpoint and tell people I am not taking any further questions.

It’d be easy to have the attitude or perspective of just doing what I want (and presenting how I want) at any given time and to hell with the consequences or what someone else thinks.

I mean, that sounds inspiring but that wouldn’t be the motivation of wearing whatever I please.

As I write this I am wearing faux leather leggings and a femme top. I am, in my opinion, crossdressing. What I mean is that I am masculine presenting (no wig or makeup and with a few days worth of facial hair) but I am wearing “girl clothes”.

It’d be nice to leave the house wearing this outfit to run errands. I like these clothes, they’re comfortable, and well, I just like wearing “girl clothes”.

These days it’s a lot more… hm, tempting to just do that. Or rather it’s not as easy to come up with reasons why I shouldn’t.

And it’s not because this side of me is growing stronger. It’s not because I WANT to present as non-binary or gender non-conforming. It’s not because my gender identity is evolving or shifting.

It’s because I just don’t care.

I am exhausted and don’t have the energy to care.

See? Apathy. Indifference.

So, what’s holding me back? It’s recognizing that this feeling is not much different than the Pink Fog. I might not see anyone I know at the store while I am wearing faux leather leggings and a femme top buuuuut a lot of people know my wife. I may not care about what others think of me, especially someone I’ve never met or will ever see again.

But I do care how others see my wife.

Specifically I don’t want people to think my wife is naïve or foolish. My wife understand me as much as someone can. She accepts me and is at peace with my identity. She gets it.

And! We both understand that it would take a lot of time and energy for someone other than ourselves to have that same level of clarity.

Time and energy we just don’t have.

It’s like being asked to run a dozen errands after a very, very long day at work and you just want to get home and sit on your couch. I don’t want to stop at Target, I don’t want to go to the store, I don’t want to clean the house. I just want to take a break from everything.

Many of you have had the same talks that I have had.

“I’m transgender but I don’t want to transition.”

“I wear lingerie but this isn’t a fetish.”

“I wear femme clothes but I am not into men.”

And so on.

It’s not uncommon for these statements to be met with a HUGE amount of skepticism. No matter how much we tell someone else about the delicate balance of who we are and who we are not, some people just think we are in denial and that time will tell.

The passing of time with either prove we are right or we are wrong or we are in denial. I’ve always told my wife that I have no desire to transition and so far (not that I expect it to change) this has been consistent. Of course, I have also known a lot of t-girls who said the same thing and fast forward a few years later and, well, things have changed.

My wife has always made it clear that she doesn’t want to be taken for a fool. Like, “oh your husband wears dresses but he doesn’t want to transition? Sure, whatever you say. But we’ll see”.

I mean, that’s understandable and relatable and completely fair. She’s not a fool and I don’t want THIS side of me to add any more stress than it already has. I mean, a transgender spouse is not something she signed up for.

Keep in mind I am not talking about outing myself as a t-girl. I am referring to outing myself as a crossdresser. I think less people would recognize me when I am presenting as Hannah compared to being recognized as my wife’s husband wearing femme clothes. In a sense, it’s… “safer” for Hannah to at the mall than my male side in leggings.

A lot of us have partners who accept us but have requested some boundaries such as refraining from posting photos or dressing outside of the home. My marriage also has boundaries when it comes to who I am and one of them is not intentionally being careless. Another is not letting my guard down. Essentially doing what I can to avoid outing myself. Not making the choices that the Pink Fog is notorious for.

I don’t think these requests are unreasonable. I want to respect my wife in every aspect, especially when it comes to my identity. I think a rule for relationships is to do what you can to make your partner’s life easier… or at the very least, avoid doing things that would make their lives harder.

And this side of us is not a walk in the park.

Although I feel overwhelmed and apathetic about much of the world, my wife has always tethered me to reality, to the positive aspects of life. Reminding me that there’s still good out there and reason to be optimistic. To not throw everything away.

She is the voice of reason and the smartest thing I do is listen to her.

If you’re feeling alone, tired, hopeless, please know there is hope. There is help. There is support. There is light.

Trans Lifeline is a national trans-led 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving the quality of trans lives by responding to the critical needs of our community with direct service, material support, advocacy, and education. Our vision is to fight the epidemic of trans suicide and improve overall life-outcomes of trans people by facilitating justice-oriented, collective community aid. 

Need to talk? Call! Our peer support hotline is run by and for trans people. We’re available 7am-1am PST / 9am-3am CST / 10am-4am EST. Volunteers may be available during off hours.

Love, Hannah

Let’s Talk About the Internet

I’ve written before how the very first word I ever searched online was “crossdresser”.

And like Pandora opening that box, this unleashed a combination of horror and hope.

Although technology has evolved at an alarming pace since 1994, people themselves haven’t changed much.

My first real introduction to the seemingly predominate nature of crossdressing suggested that THIS is very much a sexual thing. A fetish. Fast forward to 2022 this still seems to be the case. Googling “crossdresser” mostly provides one with options to date or hookup with someone who crossdresses.

Is it any wonder that the prevailing public perspective and interpretation of a masculine presenting person who wears femme clothes is that this is a kink? A turn on?

The internet is, not to sound too cliched, is a blessing and a curse.

Trying to explain who we are and why we are is hard enough. Google results usually requires us to also explain who we are not. It’s like… unlearning something before we learn how to the same thing the correct way.

When we come out to someone, it’s normal if that person turns to the internet to get some clarification, some perspective, some answers, and some information about this side of us. We might cringe a little at this, we may even dread the person we’ve come out to jumping online for resources or support.

Because we KNOW what they will find. And we know because we’ve likely searched the same terms that they themselves will type into a search engine.

Now, I want to make it clear that if THIS is indeed a fetish for you, you go girl. I am not here to kink shame. I promise. If this is a sexual thing for you then you are probably delighted with what someone can find online.

If this isn’t a kink for you, then I can relate. Combing through Google results to find resources and support is not unlike looking desperately for a size 13 stiletto. You know it’s PROBABLY somewhere out there but goodness the search is taking FOREVER.

This is one of the reasons the web could be perceived as a curse.

Of course, “curse” is probably too strong of a word, but I digress.

And! It’s not REALLY the internet’s fault. Search results are based on algorithms which are, presumably, determined by human behavior. I don’t know, I am not a computer person. I suppose one could argue it’s not the internet itself that provides an uneven portrayal of a crossdresser but instead it’s the people using the internet. If the prevailing opinion, regardless of it’s accuracy or inaccuracy, is that crossdressing equals a fetish then it’s people’s opinions and perceptions of us that might need to change.

Anyway.

As the story goes, Pandora opens the box and after all the horrors have left and have spread across the world, there remains a glimmer of hope.

The hope for someone like us, the comfort for someone like us, is the realization that we are not alone. We never were. It’s the reassurance that we are not the only masculine presenting people that woke up in a nightie or wear panties under our work clothes.

How wonderful is that?? I can vividly recall the feeling I had when I first heard the word “crossdresser”. To know that there others like myself. To learn that there were so many of us that there was a word for people like me.

Few things in this world are purely good. Like yin and yang, there’s a little bad in every good thing. And the opposite is (sometimes) true, too. We take the good and the bad. Some things, for lack of a better phrase, come with the territory. On one hand it’s nice being able to listen to music and stay in contact with friends and look up information and shop for a new dress all from the convenience of a smart phone… BUT it also increases the expectations that our angry, unstable boss can reach us 24/7.

I hate my boss at the moment in case you couldn’t tell, lol.

You could call technology a necessary evil and it wouldn’t be hard to disagree. Technology has an impact on everything.

And yes! Even crossdressing.

If you are of a certain age then you probably remember building up courage, likely for years, before you braved walking through the lingerie section of a store. The insane, insurmountable amount of sheer will it took to quickly and discreetly slip on a high heel and praying it fit without having a salesclerk walk by and notice what this dude was up to.

And of course all the times we trembled and shook with fear when we actually brought a dress, a pair of panties, to the cashier to actually buy them.

(There’s also the crushing disappointment we usually felt when we take our treasures home to realize that something doesn’t fit and how we have to weigh returning it for a refund or just accepting that we essentially just wasted our hard-earned money.)

Technology has changed how we crossdress. The idea that I can just go online anywhere and order a dress is nothing short of mind-blowing to 18 year old me. I’ve shopped for panties while waiting to board a plane. I’ve picked out stilettos from my couch. A few days later… ta-da! They arrive! And! If they don’t fit, it’s back to Amazon they go. No awkward small talk with a cashier, no fear of a friend seeing us in the dress department of Target.

It’s WONDERFUL.

But it’s not all shopping. There are makeup tutorials, information about the overwhelming world of different types of wigs…

Of course, there are also a lot of resources that offer support and can connect us with others like ourselves… and I am not referring to “date a crossdresser” websites. No, there are some wonderful forums out there and a lot of amazing t-girls with personal websites that remind us that we are not alone.

Although in many ways the internet removes the risk of shopping for lingerie without the fear of, well, shopping for lingerie brings, it can also out us in new and creative and terrifying ways.

Recently some very strong gusts of wind blew over a tree in our backyard. I was telling a friend about it and showed her a picture of it. While she was looking at my phone I just prayed to God I didn’t get a Twitter notification that “Luv2Crossdress69” liked my photo.

Disclaimer, I have no idea if Luv2Crossdress69 is a real account or not.

In simpler times I only had to worry if someone saw my bra strap under my dress shirt. How things have changed. Now I have to think about my stupid phone outing me.

There’s also the risk that having a femme social media account brings. Hannah used to have an Instagram page. My wife still has one. Although my wife never looked at Hannah’s page, and Hannah never looked at my wife’s page, one day Instagram suggested we follow each other.

And of course, that led to the fear that this suggestion might spread to others in my wife’s orbit who might discover me.

So, I deleted Hannah’s Instagram account. I feel I am very cautious (to the extent one can be) of who has an account on different platforms. My wife is on Facebook but not Twitter. Hannah has a Twitter account but not Facebook.

Is this completely foolproof? Probably not. I am not a paranoid conspiracy theorist but I don’t put much faith or trust in privacy when it comes to being online. Same with technology. When I purchased my iPhone I also had to accept that Apple was going to know where I was 24/7 and was going to know everything about me and everything about Hannah.

If we’ve learned anything over the last thirty years is that things might change but mostly they stay the same. Although I don’t have to shop for an outfit in public if I want the (thinly veiled) anonymity that the internet provides, the internet also creates new and different risks that this side of us can brings.

Love, Hannah

Polka Dots and Shallow Thoughts

My goodness I am running behind on posting pictures from my most recent photo shoot.

I am going to arbitrarily choose an outfit to post today. Should I select the leather dress? Lingerie? Something that is more modest?

Oh, let’s go with polka dots.

When Shannonlee sends over photos, I sort them by outfit into separate folders. I usually don’t look at them tooooo closely until I am ready to post them here or on Flickr and then eventually on Twitter.

I know pink is considered to be very girly and I don’t think you can get more feminine than lingerie, but I don’t feel there is a pattern (maybe besides houndstooth?) that is more femme than polka dots.

Now that I am looking at these pictures a little more closely I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever felt more feminine than these photos make me feel.

Next week I become another year older and with each passing day I get closer to fifty. In our youth-obsessed culture it’s not unusual to feel that once you leave your twenties that the days of looking and feeling beautiful are behind you. If I am being honest (and maybe shallow) I feel… well, I feel I look really beautiful here. I think I look better than I did ten years ago.

Listen.

There is no standard for femininity. I’ve received countless emails from t-girls who tell me they have never felt more femme than when they are in modest makeup and leggings. I am a dress and stiletto girl but I have worn more casual clothes en femme for photo shoots and although I was in pants I was very surprised by how feminine I felt. It’s all about how your outfit makes you feel.

I hope you have a beautiful day.

Love, Hannah

The Short Answer is Vanity

The other day (disclaimer, my concept of time is garbage and when I say “the other day” I might be referring to yesterday or four years ago) someone innocuously asked why I post pictures of my photo shoots. I didn’t take the question as anything other than innocent curiosity.

I said the short answer was vanity and the longer answer would probably need it’s own post.

And here it is!

Like a lot of questions I am asked (in both of my gender identities) there may be a lot of different reasons I do or say or feel anything. I hate my brain sometimes and I don’t always feel I can provide a short, clear answer to something. It infuriates my already furious boss (seriously he needs to calm down) and having a lot of different perspectives on something can often paralyze my thinking or providing a simple reason why I do anything.

That being said, let’s talk about why I post pictures.

I do want to make it clear that I will probably come off as bitchy here. I don’t mean to. That’s not my intention at all. I don’t feel bitchy. I also want to make it clear that I may come off as conceited. I am not. I know that I post a LOT of pictures and I really like what I post and it’s understandable if someone might feel that I think of myself as cute or whatever. I like how I look AND it doesn’t take much for me to be completely humbled and destroyed by a selfie or my reflection. My ego is kept firmly in check. I might feel amazing as I strut through a mall but an unexpected mirror can easily bring me crashing down to earth.

Anyway.

My website is my website and I post what I feel like posting. If what I post isn’t for you then there are a lot of other options out there.

See, right here is what I mean when I might come off as bitchy. Those previous two sentences are not me being sassy or anything. If I come across a blog or a Twitter account that isn’t for me, then I move on and don’t frequent the site or I mute the account.

Anyway.

Part of having a visible website or a public social media account is the opportunity (or risk) to interact with others and to, well, share one’s thoughts or photos. Sometimes this is an effort to, I don’t know, get compliments? You post a photo you like and hope others like it too. I mean, it feels good to hear nice things about yourself. Sometimes we post to find others like ourselves and to find support. Sometimes we are trying to bring attention to something happening in the world.

Of course, the internet is also a way to share memes and cat pictures so there is that.

I blog and post stuff partly because writing helps me sort out my thoughts. If I didn’t want to interact with others and my social media activity was only about getting my stupid brain activity organized then I would simply make my account private.

Buuuut obviously I don’t do that.

I like to post my writings and thoughts and feelings to see if they resonate with others. To see if others relate. To see if I am not alone in what is going on in my heart or brain. To see if I am waaaay off the mark on something because sometimes another’s perspective or experience can modify my own thinking.

I mean, it’s one of the reasons I started a website all those years ago. When I began I was curious to see if there were others like me. People who loved femme clothes but wasn’t dressing as a sexual fetish or wanting to transition. And guess what! There are A LOT of others like me, a LOT of others like you.

And I like knowing that.

I am not sure if other bloggers (hate that word, lol) feel this way but I feel a…. hm, small obligation to post content that people seem to enjoy or connect with.

That’s not to say I won’t or don’t post whatever I damn well please… but I know certain topics aren’t popular and can be… decisive. It would be easy to write a thousand words every single day about how trans people are treated and write about my frustrations BUT I know that would get really old really fast and would likely drive a lot of readers away.

There are a lot of websites like that out there that communicate this information better than I ever could. If you want to read about that then there a lot of fantastic options.

Over time I’ve learned who my audience (God, that sounds arrogant) is, for the most part. People tend to connect with writings that celebrate who we are, posts that talk about the love and joy of femme clothes and femme presentations. Posts that acknowledge and don’t sugarcoat the complications and realities that THIS side of us can bring.

I think posts like those aren’t toooo common outside of my website so I enjoy creating content that brings comfort to others and being a voice to others who feel alone.

Again, this sounds conceited but it’s not meant to.

I see the activity a post generates, whether it’s emails or comments or likes. This gives me an idea as to what ya’ll like to see and what you ignore.

I don’t think it’s wrong to say that many people with a social media presence try to create content that others enjoy or creates a reaction.

I also look at statistics on my website which gives me an idea as to what visitors look at when they are here. The top three sections of my website that gets the most traffic are the homepage, this post, and photos. Based on this, my assumption is that people WANT to see my photos.

So, I post them.

Of course, this sounds altruistic and I wouldn’t post pictures if I didn’t want to, so there’s the vanity side again.

Alternatively if photo posts had very little activity or views I would likely, well, NOT post them.

Wounded pride and all.

There are a few other reasons? Thoughts? I have when I post pictures.

One reason is that, well, life is short and sometimes it feels that our time is dwindling. This is not to say that a giant asteroid is going to end all life on earth soon (although it might). Rather the day is coming when I CAN’T do the things I love to do. I could have a deliberating stroke and no longer be able to be independent. The time I can’t wake up and get a makeover and spend the day with my friend taking pictures with cute dresses is getting closer. I really, really don’t want to look back and regret not doing something. I have one life and I want to do what I want. I want to do what I can.

And what I can afford, lol.

I write a LOT about the myth of passing and that no one is too ANYTHING to be beautiful or feminine. I can tell YOU that, but telling OURSELVES that isn’t always easy. I will tell every t-girl on the planet that their bodies, their faces, their EVERYTHING is beautiful and femme. BUT sometimes my reflection asks who do I think I am fooling and do I REALLY think I can wear THAT dress with THOSE shoulders?

I can wear a corset to create an illusion of a different body shape, I can wear forms and pads to create shapes, I can contour my makeup to suggest a rounder, softer face. But I can only do so much. My shoulders are always there. My height is always there, more so in heels. If I am practicing what I preach then I have to believe and embrace my skin and body and feel confident and beautiful and wear what I want.

So I put, for lack of a better phrase, my money wear my mouth is.

I’ll wear the dress with the thin straps no matter what my shoulders look like. I’ll wear the five inch stilettos even if I have to duck through doorways. I want to show that no matter how “male” my body is that I can, and I will wear whatever I want. And you can too. And you should, too.

I post pictures to show, hm, evolution? I believe practice makes progress. I believe that a femme presentation takes time, practice, and money. I invest in myself, in my clothes. I invest my time and my energy when I am at the gym and staying in shape. Looking the way I do did not happen quickly or without effort. Again, this sounds conceited but what I mean is it took a long time for me to be happy with how I looked en femme. I saw the hard work pay off. I realized the benefit of quality makeup, the effects that quality breast forms have. The time between these two pictures did not happen overnight. They were taken YEARS apart.

When I tell you to be patient, I mean it.

When I tell you that this will take time, I mean it.

When I tell you that this takes money, I mean it.

Of course I want to be VERY clear that NO ONE needs a pair of $500 breast forms or an expensive makeover to be femme. What I mean is that I absolutely believe that if you aren’t happy with your appearance that investing money or time into your look will likely pay off.

And it’s not ALWAYS about how we LOOK. We HAVE to work on the part of our brain that tells us that we AREN’T pretty. The part of our brain that says we DON’T “pass”. Yes, it’s not easy to create a femme presentation but it’s even harder to deal with the mental hurdles that try to discourage us.

I post pictures to emphasize that there are no standards in looking femme. I mean, look at these shoulders.

I look like a linebacker.

AND I look as pretty as I can.

I can be both.

It would be hypocritical to say that no one is too ________ to be femme BUT tell you all that I myself am too… whatever to wear THAT dress.

And yes, this all sounds very… NOBLE. I don’t feel I am on some giant crusade when it comes to femme presentation and body image. I don’t think of what I do like that. I wouldn’t post pictures if I didn’t WANT to.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy getting a compliment on my look, on a photo. I LIKE being told I am pretty. Shallow? Sure.

Anyway.

I have no idea if this long and rambling post makes anything any clearer or provides a satisfying answer but it is what it is. 🙂

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I’m a child counsellor and I’m working with a 15 year boy who is a ‘cross dresser’. He is desperate to find support, or support groups but when he goes online he ends up down rabbit holes and can often feel persecuted. I’ve tried to research this for him but end up on transgender pages. He says quite clearly he is a straight man who likes to dress as a woman when he can. He does not identify as transgender.

My question is, where can we find support that just focuses on the cross dressing element of him, without presuming there is a desire to transform any further than that?

Hope you can help guide us.

I hope I can help, too!

Before I dive into your question, I want to share my own personal thoughts and perspective on how I define “crossdressing” and “transgender“.

This is a HUGE oversimplification and I absolutely acknowledge that not everyone will relate or agree with me.

When I am in male mode and I am wearing panties, a nightgown, leggings, femme jeans, etc. then I am crossdressing (because I am masculine presenting and using male pronouns while wearing clothes that society tends to view as “for women”).

When I am in full makeup, a dress, my wig, wearing breast forms… then I am no longer crossdressing. I am presenting as feminine. I am a transgender girl. A gender that is not the same gender that most of the world sees me as (since I present as male to most of the people in my life). I am presenting as one of my gender identities.

My OPINION is that your client is transgender IF they are, in your words, dressing as a woman… as opposed to JUST wearing femme clothes. I think once we include a wig or using femme pronouns we have stepped over the boundary of “crossdressing”. Again, this is my OPINION.

BUT transgender does NOT mean they ARE, or WILL, or WANT to transition. I am 1000000% transgender but I have ZERO plans or desire to take hormones or legally change my gender.

I had a very hard time making the transition (no pun intended) from only identifying as a crossdresser to identifying as trans. What held me back from this was thinking that transgender ALWAYS meant, and HAD to mean transitioning. It doesn’t. It might for some, but it doesn’t for everyone.

It’s my opinion that if your client is wearing a wig, makeup, and wanting to present feminine than it MIGHT be more than crossdressing. If their interest was ONLY about the clothes as opposed to wanting to present as a girl, then it MIGHT be JUST crossdressing.

Does that make sense?

Over ten years ago I started a website where I wrote about my experiences and my perspective on my gender identity. I wanted to make it clear that who I am had absolutely nothing to do with wanting to transition. I wanted to see if there were others like me… people who loved femme clothes, people who loved makeup and had a femme name (even just on occasion) BUT didn’t feel that transitioning was the right decision for them.

Turns out there are a LOT of others like me.

When I meet others like myself, either in real life or online I sometimes need to clarify that YES, I am indeed trans but no, I’ve no plans or desire to be full time or transition. It might get a little repetitive but it goes with the territory. And YES there are people who don’t think that I am transgender because I am not, will not, and have not transitioned but I ignore them. What do I care what they think of me? They don’t make the rules about who is and who is not trans.

You can absolutely be trans but not make any physical or legal changes.

Resources and support SPECIFICALLY for crossdressers MIGHT be a challenge. Googling ‘crossdressers’ will likely return a lot of sexually explicit material which is both not helpful and not appropriate for a minor.

Could I suggest your client start their own website? There are quite a few options out there (such as WordPress, the site I use) that offer free blogging sites. This might be worth considering if they feel alone.

I mean, it’s what I did. It took a while to gain followers and to be noticed but by consistently writing and posting it eventually happened.

By writing about my own experiences and perspectives I am able to connect with countless others like me. I think your client will likely find that there are many others like themself. I mean, I relate to your client. I present en femme AND I have no desire to transition.

And gender identity has nothing to do with sexual identity. What we wear has nothing to do with who we are attracted to. Your client being straight doesn’t necessarily mean they are not transgender, does that make sense? I mean, I am married to a cis woman, I have no experience or desire to be physical with a man AND I have more panties than a typical Victoria’s Secret. My sexual identity has nothing to do with what clothes are in my closet.

I really hope this helps. I am not recommending THIS website or THAT website, but rather I want to offer a perspective that maybe your client can relate to.

Love, Hannah

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

Love is a Red Dress

Do you remember during your teenage years when music and lyrics meant more to you than ever before?

When I was younger my mom was always listening to music, whether in the car while running errands or at home while she was doing household stuff.

But at one point a lyric jumps out at you and you… well, identify with it. You realize that music and songs are more than just trite bubblegum cliches.

Music tends to imprint itself on us at this age and stays with us for the rest of our lives. It’s a never ending moment of wonder that I can recall the lyrics to a song that I related to when I was fifteen despite not hearing it in decades but I can’t recall half of the things I did yesterday.

At any rate, I remember seeing the song title “Love is a Red Dress” by Maria McKee when I was in my late teens. Aaaand of course the word “dress” resonated with me.

Whenever I wear a red dress I think of that song but I don’t know if I ever listened to it.

As I am starting to post the pictures from my recent photo shoot I am also thinking about what I will title each set. I try to be, well, not boring. If I ever post a photoset and the title is something really dull like “Black Dress!” then you know I stared at the screen for probably an hour trying to think of something kinda sorta clever but gave up.

I decided to post photos of a cute red dress I found on Amazon today. I thought I would title this post (and I did) after the previously mentioned song title.

Out of curiosity I looked up the lyrics and goodness they’re depressing.

My heart is empty
Your eyes are dull
Once we were hungry
Now we are full

These ties that bind us
Can’t beat these chains
If love is shelter
I’m gonna walk in the rain

You were my angel
Now, you are real
So like a stranger
Colder than steel

The morning after
Know what you’ll bring
If love is a red dress
Well, hang me in rags

Away there goes the fairy tale
Lord, ain’t it a shame?
In all this comfort
I can’t take the strain

If we played even
I’d be your Queen
But someone was cheatin’
And it wasn’t me

I’ve laid on the table
You held something back
If love is Aces
Give me the Jack

Although they are sad, the words are beautiful. It’s not uncommon for sad and beautiful to hold hands with each other.

I love this dress, I love these photos, I love these heels and I hope you do too.

Love, Hannah