From Makeup Brushes to Paint Brushes!

This weekend was the monthly event for the MN T-Girls and it was something we’ve never done before as a group… we took a painting class!

A small group of us spent a rainy Saturday afternoon with Terri Berg who teaches painting for groups and parties. She was very patient and just super fun to spend time with.

The life of a girl like us is all about stepping out of your comfort zone and this weekend was no different. It was fun trying something new and I reallllly want to do this again soon!

Love, Hannah

Mom’s Lipstick

I usually don’t repost what I put on Twitter but I thought we could all relate to this.

When I was little I watched my mom apply her lipstick. I wanted some too. She told me boys don’t wear makeup. Her views on gender have evolved since then and I always think of her when I put lipstick on. Happy Mother’s Day to her and to every mom who raised a nonbinary child

Love, Hannah

Your Story… by Amy

I am excited to post the first article in the series “Your Story”.

Today we have Amy sharing her thoughts and perspectives and advice for partners of girls like us. I hope you enjoy it.

This is addressed to the wife, partner, girlfriend or other who has just discovered that the man in your life secretly wears feminine lingerie at times. Quite how you discovered this is not important, so much as how you react to it. That in turn will depend on a number of variables including your upbringing, your faith, your education, and your expectations of your relationship.

The revelation is probably a shock and leaves you with a turmoil of feelings and questions. Is he gay? Is he having an affair? Does he not love me?

First, calm down and realize that it is unlikely to be the end of your world or the end of your relationship. Your man cross dresses, expressing a deep seated feminine side of him that you did not know about because he has endeavored to keep

it a secret from you, fearing to damage a relationship he holds as very important to him.
Interestingly, men who cross dress are far more common than one would think. It is not a perversion but an expression of something that is a part of him, something he probably realized as a teen or young man and something that he has likely been ambivalent about ever since, cycling through guilt and grudging acceptance several times over.

There is in fact a wide scale between what our culture has tended to simplify as a binary system of ‘male’ and ‘female’. Your man is a little way along that scale, to all intents and purposes a male and comfortable to be so, but with an added feminine component which our culture provides very little way for him to express. Ironically, women in our modern culture can dress either in frilly feminine clothes or very masculine clothing without comment. The same latitude is not given to men, and should they publicly wear anything that is in the slightest feminine, they are called ‘sissies’, ‘queers’ or other insulting names. Cruelly, our culture has defined ‘men’ in a very narrow and confining way.
Interestingly, our native, indigenous culture has long recognized ‘Two Spirit’ people, further recognizing that such people have value among them as those with an empathy for, respect for and understanding of both primary genders. Such people are respected, not reviled.

Is he having an affair? No, those feminine items are not souvenirs of some sordid affair. He likely bought these things, one by one, on those rare occasions that the opportunity arose. He keeps these things hidden somewhere, fearing your reaction if discovered.

Is he gay? Some cross dressers are, but most are not so inclined. However, cross dressers are often attracted to other men who cross dress, when dressed, though not to men dressed as men. There is a long term for this condition, likely odd to you.

Does he still love you? Yes. Ironically, statistics show that the majority of cross dressers in a steady relationship greatly value their relationship with their partner. This increases their fear of damaging this relationship. Most cross dressers yearn to be better understood by their partners.

The worst thing you can do is to insist your man throw away his stash of feminine clothes and promise never to even think of doing such a thing ever again. He will promise. He values you highly. He will try to keep such a promise. But he will not be able to in the long run. You will simply have driven him further into the depths of the closet.

The better alternative is to accept the situation, recognizing that this is not going to go away and that there is some wisdom in the old adage ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’. The vast majority of cross dressers are ‘sometimes’ dressers, with no wish to live full time as women.

One response could be to accept that your man needs to occasionally express his feminine side, give him specific opportunities to do so, but state that you do not wish to be directly involved. It would likely be a huge relief for him to shed the cloak of secrecy, no longer fearing your unexpected early return home and the trauma of discovery.

Another response is to take an active role. Some partners help their men when shopping for clothes, either in the store or online. Some partners enjoy secretly knowing what their man is wearing under male outer clothes while out visiting with friends or at dinner and a show. Some couples buy matching sets of underwear or nightwear and enjoy wearing them together. Some incorporate cross dressing into their sex life, role playing and enjoying sex while fully or partly dressed. The range of possible responses is wide. Outright rejection is an unwise choice and will inevitably sour or ultimately ruin your relationship.

That your man is less of a man than other men you know is a false supposition. Think of him as more than a man. The current terminology is ill defined and confusing, but think of him as a man who has a female persona beneath the surface, perhaps well hidden but yearning to be expressed.

Yes, there is a risk in opening any door into your relationship. A few cross dressing men ultimately cross a threshold and seek to live full time as women, perhaps entering new relationships with others similarly inclined. A few may even commit to surgical procedures that confirm their new gender identity.

But, this essay addresses the vast majority of men who seek ‘sometimes’ to express a feminine side of themselves that is suppressed by our western culture. They seek to be better understood, not vilified. Please give them space to be who they fully are.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Do you have a perspective or an experience that you would like to share? Please email me with the subject line “Your Story”.

Love, Hannah

Your Story

After almost ten years of the MN T-Girls and monthly events ranging from meeting for a coffee to yoga to makeup lessons to, well, everything else we’ve done, I’ve realized it’s not so much the activity itself, but the value of the group is giving girls like us a chance to meet girls like us.

I love seeing friendships form in the group. Knowing that the girls meet up with each other outside of our little adventures is a testament that there is value in keeping our little group active.

Also! After over a decade of maintaining a website in one form or another, I’ve learned that the content that gets the most interaction focus on girls like us. For example, the T-Girl spotlight.

We like to know others like us. I mean, we’re cute as heck but we also have similar and relatable experiences. I think these commonalities help each other. We’re different from a lot of the world but maybe there are more like us than we can imagine.

I get a lot of emails from girls like us who share their experiences and perspectives. It’s also clear that many of us have a story that they just need to… release. They’ve been carrying thoughts and emotions for decades and they just need to tell someone.

It’s a shame that so many of us have been silent for so long. We need to share our thoughts and feelings, but we also have so many thoughts and feelings that are absolutely worth hearing.

But many of us don’t have a way to do so.

We might not have a supportive social group. We might not be out. We may not have shared this side of us to a therapist. We might not have a website to publish our perspectives.

But I have a website.

I would like to invite you to share your thoughts. Have you had something amazing happen? Are you carrying an unpleasant memory from a time out en femme? Is there something you need to get off your chest?

If so, send me an email. I’ll likely post it on my site. And yes, this can be anonymous.

Your thoughts, perspectives, hopes, and fears are relatable. They are helpful. They deserve to be shared.

I would love to see a paragraph or two about something you want to share. Good or bad, serious or silly, helpful or venting.

What’s your story?

Love, Hannah

A Hope to Change Things

I think about Bob Dylan’s song, “The Times They Are A-Changing” a lot. The line “don’t criticize what you can’t understand” will always ring true and I think resonates with anyone who isn’t cisgender or heterosexual.

A few years ago a friend of mine, who had recently come out as gay, said they had always been frustrated when they are told that it’s okay to be gay.

They said they KNEW it was okay. They said that most queer people KNEW it was okay to be queer. They said that they want straight people to know this as well.

I could relate. I knew it was okay to be who I was, but one of the reasons for not being out was the fear (and the reality) that many people wouldn’t understand or accept who I was. But even worse than that, I knew there are people who would, ah, disapprove and even oppose who I was.


I don’t need anyone to understand who I am. At he very least, I just need the world to not CARE who I am.

There are people in my family and my career that would instantly cut me out of their life if they knew. If I were out, sure, they would see me in a different light, but I would still be the same person as I was before the revelation but for some people on this planet my gender identity is the deciding factor as to how they choose to treat me.

It does work both my ways, if I am being honest. I have a colleague that called something she didn’t like “gay”. Up until then I was friendly towards her and chatted with her when I bumped into her. I gave her the benefit of the doubt but when she was called out on it she doubled down on her words and it was pretty clear what her perspective was.

Sooooo I don’t talk to her anymore. I really don’t need or want to interact with people who use certain words in certain ways.

My perspective is that MOST of us LOVE who we are. We love that lingerie makes us happy, that spending the day en femme is better than most vacations. I think if there is any part of us that would prefer to NOT be who we are it’s likely fueled by the outright hate and violence that some people have towards people like us.

When people are so committed to sharing their opinion that “transpeople are bad” it’s not unlikely that their “message” impacts us.

I could relate to my friend. I also wished that cisgender people knew it was okay to be trans/non-binary/etc. Or, at the very least, I wish they knew that being transgender doesn’t mean that we deserve to be hurt or abused or harassed. You don’t have to like me, you don’t have to “agree” with my gender identity or lifestyle (whatever that means), but at least stop going out of your way to hurt me.

I think I’ve quoted the poem “Tired” by Leonard Cohen before, but I think it would be appropriate to share some of it here:

We’re going to be voices now
Disembodied voices in the blue sky
Pleasant harmonies in the cavities of your distress
And we’re going to stay this way until you straighten up
Until your suffering makes you calm
And you can believe the word of God
Who has told you so many times
And in so many ways
To love onе another
Or at least not to torture and murdеr
In the name of some stupid vomit-making human idea
That makes God turn away from you
And darken the cosmos with inconceivable sorrow

Based on the emails I receive and the comments posted on my website, I think that over the years my writings have helped others like myself. It could be a practical skill or, even more importantly, someone accepting themselves.

I suppose that is the hill I will die on: that is it okay to be transgender.

You don’t have to understand someone’s gender identity, you don’t even have to understand your own, but please, stop hurting other people because you don’t “get” it, or “agree” with it.

Again, I believe that most of us know that it’s okay to be who we are and that gender identity is very simple and very complex at the same time. We know this because we think about this alllll the time and we have been thinking about this for decades.

But cisgender people don’t think about gender as much as we do. I don’t think it’s inaccurate to say that most cisgender people don’t associate their identity with their gender as much as a non-binary person does.

When I talk with people that (presumably) identity as cisgender, it kind of blows their mind how, again, simple and complex gender can be. It can be a surprise to some when I tell people that not every person who identities as transgender isn’t or hasn’t transitioned. That many crossdressers are straight. I like to think I dispel a lot of myths, fears, and stereotypes.

I like to think that I… ah, humanize who we are. I can talk about how I feel or what I think about in a way that someone else can relate it. Once humans can relate and empathize with other humans, acceptance, or at the very least, tolerance begins.

For example!

If I am chatting with a cisgender girl and she asks why men crossdress I might ask her why she wears leggings. She will likely tell me it’s because they’re comfortable. I tell her that I agree, that they are comfortable. She has legs, I also have legs. With any luck she might start to understand that people wear clothes, and that people CAN wear clothes for the same reason, even if we have different genitalia or different legal genders.

My wife started to understand who I was because she could also relate to wanting to look and feel beautiful.

The comfort of clothes, the feeling of wanting to look a certain way… these are things everyone can relate to. These are relatable things. This is where two people with different gender identities, different experiences can start to see similarities in each other. This is when allyship (or, again, tolerance) can start.

These conversations are typically surprisingly short. I don’t think it usually takes very long to find a commonality between people when it comes to how clothes make one feel, whether it’s clothes that you are comfy in or clothes that make you feel AMAZING.

Sure, a person might not be an ally right away, but I hope that this is when someone might start to see a gender non-conforming person in a different way. That maybe the fear-mongering isn’t quite accurate.

I am encouraged when a cisgender person starts to see transpeople as, well, people. Not as weirdos or perverts or as confused individuals. That we are just normal people… with wardrobes that that either very different than their own OR with one that is VERY similar to theirs.

I think many cisgender people have honest questions about all of this. I think these questions come from wanting to understand why we do what we do.

And why not? We’re fascinating, lol.

Although explaining the whys and hows of who we are take forrrrrrever it usually doesn’t take too long to make a relatable connection with someone who is cisgender.

It’s like, oh you like to wear pretty clothes? Me too! Bam! Relatable connection.

Of course this is an over simplification but I think you know where I am coming from.

I think these relatable connections are pretty effective when it comes to someone that isn’t trans starting to “get” us, or at least beginning to question the harmful stereotypes that they have been told about us.

So yes, transpeople (probably and hopefully) know it’s okay to be transgender. We tell each other this all the time. We know this. I don’t need to tell you again. But I will if you need me to.

But sometimes I want to take on the mainstream world.

Which sounds very arrogant. But let me explain.

What I mean is that over the years I have, through stumbles and luck, become a small voice in our community. I think I write relatable content and share perspectives that many of us can identify with.

I think the hate and fear that some people have towards the transgender community will start to erode once we make meaningful connections and others realize that we are not scary or harmful and that we have a lot in common… if we take the time to try to know others.

This doesn’t necessarily take sitting down with someone for an hour over a coffee. Sometimes all it takes is just a moment to see someone in a different light.

Perhaps that’s ambitious, perhaps that’s naïve. But I really think that’s how it will work. Of course, I don’t expect any change to happen quickly or easily. Accomplishing something, anything, isn’t a straight path without it’s setbacks and mistakes and frustrations.

Over the last year or so I’ve been considering submitting some of my rambling writings to different publications, be it Cosmopolitan or Buzzfeed or something along those lines. Something outside of LGBTQ+ circles. I think an article about crossdressing and marriage on a mainstream website or in a mainstream magazine would be helpful. I mean, I know it would be. Blog posts about relationships and crossdressing are the most read articles on my website.

It’s all about having material that is accessible. I mean, yes, someone can google “crossdressing” in an effort to understand someone like us but I don’t think a lot of of the initial search results are necessarily always helpful. If someone’s wife is afraid that her husband is, well, a pervert because he wears lingerie, search results that portray this side of us as a kinky fetish don’t do anything to quell her fears.

I know that Google didn’t do anything to help my wife when I came out to her.

Buuuuuut I am super hesitant to put this kind of, ah, spotlight on me. What I mean is that there are a lot of insane and unhinged people in this world and the reality that transpeople simply exist is enough for some people to completely lose their shit.

Whether it’s a group on insecure men who bring assault rifles to libraries to “protest” drag queen story time or deranged psychopaths smashing bottles of beer at grocery stores because a transgirl was in a commercial, there are way too many people who resort to destruction and intimidation when “one of us” does, well, anything.

It would be nice if these tactics weren’t, well, effective, but it’s not unusual for a company to change their marketing if a group of people express their displeasure when a business promotes tolerance, acceptance, and inclusivity, putting it mildly.

I am not sure if it’s, well, safe to branch out. It’s not unrealistic to suppose that someone stumbles across something I wrote that was posted on a non-trans website and decides that I deserve to be harmed. I try to keep my, ah, identity a secret but if someone really wanted to find out where I lived they probably could.

Since I started doing videos for En Femme, I am starting to see a spike in my webtraffic and I think there’s a connection. People are sharing the videos and the like and then visiting my website. I am noticing traffic from websites that link to mine that I am not familiar with. Some of them come from different forums or chatrooms, for example. I can visit the website that linked to mine in some cases buuuut if the original website was a chatroom that requires a password or a membership I am usually not able to see the context of the linking.

What I mean is that someone could be discovering my site from a chatroom talking about trans issues in a positive and supportive way… OR it could be a thread where people are, well, targeting people like us.

I don’t know. In the interest of personal safety it’s not unwise to assume that there are people out there who would love to dox me.

And yes, some people reading this might be rolling their eyes and thinking that I am not “famous” enough to be hated. I assure you that any transperson in real life or online can be a target.

I mean, how many of us are terrified of going out en femme? There are too, too many reports of transpeople being attacked in public.

Buuuut on the other hand, I am a stubborn bitch and I don’t want hate to win. If transaphobes want me to not do something, it makes me want to do it even more.

Hate against a group of people isn’t going to simply die out. Acceptance of people different from oneself begins with a connection, an understanding, a realization that we all are different and we all deserve basic rights, respect, and kindness. We deserve representation.

I’d like to wrap this up (finally, lol) with another thing Dylan said. Shortly after President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 he said “What it means is that they are trying to tell you ‘Don’t even hope to change things’.” I think what he meant was there will always be people who will intimidate others who try to make the world a better place. There will always be people who want to stop inclusivity, diversity, and change. And goodness that’s true. It was true sixty years ago. It was true before 1963 and will likely always be true.

But it doesn’t HAVE to be.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I’ve been a CD privately for a number of years and I think I am ready to come out and express outwardly my feminine self. I am mature (75yo) what would you suggest would be age appropriate in my presentation of my feminine self. Thank you for your response would be appreciated.


Two thoughts come to mind:

  1. Wear whatever you want

This isn’t very helpful.

My second thought is very dependent on what your, ah, goals are.

What I mean is that when I am out en femme I think about what I am doing that day and how I want to, hm, interact with the world. Essentially I dress for the occasion… be it going to the theatre or meeting a friend for coffee.

A common goal for us is to, well, blend in. I try to wear something that is appropriate, or, at the very least, an outfit that is not completely out of place for what I am doing or where I am going. I don’t try to blend in… but that doesn’t mean I will go out of my way to stand out.

What I mean is people are going to notice a t-girl that is over six feet tall. Flats won’t help at all when it comes to blending in. So, I may as well wear heels. If I am going to be tall I may as well be REALLY tall. Many girls wear cute leggings and comfy shoes while they spend the day at the mall. Now, I COULD do the same and I MIGHT blend in a LITTLE but I know that I WON’T. Again, six foot tall t-girl here. I’m not blending in. So, I wear what I want.

But! I still don’t want to look out of place. Most girls at the mall aren’t wearing stilettos and a bodycon dress. But that outfit is not necessarily out of place. A floor length gown? Yes, that is out of place.

If your goal is to blend in a little, then my suggestion is to look at what other women your age are wearing and plan an outfit that is similar to that.

Of course, it should be an outfit you want to wear. Be true to yourself.

Love, Hannah

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

Help Me, Hannah!, Episode Two!


The second episode of “Help Me, Hannah!” was posted yesterday!

Hannah McKnight on our YouTube channel! Hannah’s new series Help Me, Hannah! just launched and she’ll be a regular on our channel spreading joy, help and wisdom as she always does. Watch the second episode and subscribe to our channel! Watch Now>>

This is a webseries that I am doing with En Femme. You can see the first episode here.

This was shot on the same day as the first video so the issues wrought by the uncooperative microphone are still there. We will be shooting the next three videos later this month and we will have the sound stuff resolved by then.

Personally I think this video is a little better than the first and I think you can see that I am a little more comfortable compared to the previous one. I expect my nerves to continue to calm down as we keep making them.

If you have a suggestion for “Help Me, Hannah!” please let En Femme know!

Love, Hannah

Show and Tells

I think Stana has been an icon to our community for a very long time and her influence will live on for even longer. She has been a voice and an inspiration and a friend for many of us.

One of her contributions is her term “femulate”.

Courtesy of her website:

fem·u·late (fem´ya-lat´) v., To imitate, copy, or try to be a female.

I like this word a lot because I don’t believe in passing and I know that for me that blending in isn’t likely or even interesting to me. My interpretation of this word is that I do my best to be as feminine as I possibly can, but I am not trying to deceive anyone.

Hence, I try to present as femme as I possibly can. This encompasses everything from accessories to mannerisms to body language to clothes to shoes to makeup… It’s a zillion little things.

I think I do fairly well. This is of course objective but I am mostly and usually happy with my reflection. And honestly that’s enough.

I have no intention of appearing as cis gender. I don’t think there is a standard that cis gender women are required to meet. Women are tall and have broad shoulders and countless other physical features… many of these are identical to the ones I have and the ones you likely have as well.

I suppose there are things I could wear that would help me blend in a bit. I could skip the stilettos and opt for flats. I could wear more casual clothes instead of floral bodycon dresses. I could have my makeup done a little less bold.

Buuuuuuut I don’t want to, lol. I like stilettos and floral bodycon dresses and dramatic makeup. If I am going to go out en femme why shouldn’t I wear what I please?

Essentially I am trading blending in with dressing for myself.

It’s an easy decision for me.

Years and years and years ago the thought of going out en femme wasn’t realistic. I didn’t think I could ever pass so I stayed in my living room. I still don’t think passing is realistic but I go out all the time. I wish I hadn’t wasted those years. But I try not to be too hard on myself. The mirror wasn’t always kind.

Although I don’t think there are standards one must meet to be femme or masculine, I know that many people attribute certain physical characteristics with gender on a binary perspective. I think this is a result of generations of people being told that THIS is for girls and THAT is for boys. It could be a color or a career or an article of clothing. Height, hand size, body shape, facial structure and the like are all labeled as either masculine or feminine as well.

When I am en femme I know that random people look at me and see a very feminine dress worn by someone with a very masculine frame.

Buuuuuuuut I don’t care what they think, lol.

The fear of not passing was compounded by a lot of small things that I saw in the mirror. You could absolutely consider them “tells”. Physical features that said “SHE’S A MAN” and other toxic things. I would agonize over these things. I would obsessively consider how to minimize my Adam’s Apple or tuck the best way I could. I would only wear certain colors or patterns as I felt they minimized my shoulders.

To an extent I still do these things. But my motivation for doing so is different. I like to emphasize the features that I like (like my legs) but these days it’s less about minimizing my masculine features. I have accepted there’s not a lot I can do about my shoulders or hands or whatever. Instead I lean into it. Yes, I am tall and yes I could wear flats to minimize my height but it’s really not going to help. I am six foot, two inches. That is a LOT taller than the average height for a cis gender woman in the United States (which, according to Google, is five feet, four inches). I am NEVER going to blend in from a height perspective so I may as well fasten the straps of my four inch feels.

I used to worry that I could have a flawless femme presentation but SOMETHING would “give me away”.

And I hate the thinking of that. I am not trying to disguise myself, I am not trying to trick anyone. I am not trying to blend in or pass. I am not trying to appear as a cis gender woman. I am a transgirl and I am damn proud of who I am. If someone thinks I am transgender, great. They are correct.

The SOMETHINGS I used to care about included the aforementioned Adam’s Apple or my, ah feminine flaw.

I know that a penis and an Adam’s Apple are not typically thought of as feminine and yes, these physical attributes can contribute to someone “figuring out” that I am not cis gender. But these things are soooooo out of my scope of caring or being concerned about when it comes to my presentation. I don’t worry or care these body parts are “tells”.

Why not?

Oh I’ll tell you.

For starters I don’t think having a penis or an Adam’s Apple precludes one from being feminine.

Secondly, I have no interest in wearing the clothes (such as a scarf or a turtleneck sweater) that would cover my neck.

Finally, these small “tells” are not what is going to “tip someone off” that I am not cis gender.

What I mean by this last point is that if we look at gender in a binary sense and think that some things (again, clothes and physical features) are feminine OR masculine, there are countless things that “give me away” before someone gets a decent look at my Adam’s Apple. My height, my shoulders, my walk, my voice… these things broadcast to the world that I wasn’t assigned female at birth.

I strive to be as femme as I possibly be. I do the best I can with what I have to work with AND I am true to myself, even if what I do or wear prevents me from blending in or passing.

Love, Hannah

Across the Third Dimension

After I finish writing anything I reread it before I post it to see if, well, if it makes sense. Sometimes I go back and rewrite something for clarity or whatever. Sometimes I realize I come off in a different way than I intended. This post talks a lot about internet fame and the like.

If there’s anything I want to avoid it’s being misunderstood. Which isn’t an easy or attainable goal. I don’t want to appear arrogant or ungrateful in any of my writings.

I’ve been blogging and… everything else I do for a while. When you do something for a while it’s not unusual for other people to notice. A photo gets retweeted, a blog article gets reposted on someone else’s blog, and things just grow from there.

Years and years of this have resulted in me being a little well-known in our beautiful gender non-conforming world. On one hand I’m grateful for people who spend a few minutes of their day reading something I wrote and I am truly touched by someone who takes the time to email me.

On the other hand, it feels a little strange to look back over the years and wondering if anyone would identify with the rambling thoughts I posted. It is also somewhat… I don’t even know the right word, when someone thinks of me as famous. Please know that I don’t feel that way about myself.

But I am aware that after years of blogging and everything else I have been fortunate and blessed to have others connect with my feelings and perspectives. Other people relating to what I think about encourages me to, well, keep going.

I guess this italicized text is my… clarification disclaimer. I might come off as “I AM SUPER FAMOUS LOL” in this but please know I don’t feel that way. This post is an honest reflection of what it’s like to have nontertiary doing something that I love, and doing something that I would still be doing even if no one noticed. This is me dancing as if no one is watching, I suppose.

Meeting someone in the real world is a little odd.

For example, I’ve been friends with Sybil for a few years. Within a few moments of a meeting her I learned so much about her. The sound of her voice, her energy, her sincerity… her whole VIBE, you know? Things that are next to impossible to experience through photos and emails.

Unless you are visiting my website for the first time, I probably don’t need to tell you that I post a lot of pictures. I also don’t need to point out that I only post what I feel are the best photos. Pictures that are at an angle or perspective that I think is less than flattering never see the light of the internet. I post pictures that minimize what I feel are my more masculine features. If my head is tilted in a certain way and my jawline is more prominent than what I would like, the picture is condemned into a folder on my desktop never to be opened again.

Sometimes I feel this is a little, well, dishonest? My pictures are not retouched in the sense that Shannonlee tweaks or edits my shoulders or what have you. She might remove a strand of hair or adjust the lighting but otherwise my pictures are of me. The feeling of dishonesty is probably a little misplaced but my thinking is that my body, my face, is a lot more… masculine in reality than a picture suggests.

And for the purpose of this post, “masculine” is meant to be the opposite, the anthesis of feminine.

A picture might show long, shapely legs with a cute strappy stiletto… but pan up a little and bam! Huge, broad, masculine shoulders.

It’s a contrast that I don’t always like.

And I do feel the need to point out that “masculine” and “feminine” are arbitrary at best and there are no rules or standards one must meet to be a boy or girl, but for the purpose of this post, I think you know what I mean.

What I choose to post allows me to have a little… control, so to speak, of what others might think of me. If I only post my most femme pictures, then it’s likely people will think of me as more physically femme than I really am. I mean, yes, I myself know that I have a zillion pictures banished to a file on my laptop that, well, look like me in male mode wearing a wig but if I only post certain pictures than highlight what I feel are feminine features then this shapes what others might think of me.

Does that make sense? I hope so because I am moving on.

All of this control, if you will, goes out the window when I meet people in real life. If I exchange emails for a few weeks (or longer) with someone who is joining the MN T-Girls they only know what I look like based on the pictures I choose to post. When I meet them in real life they see me in a new light. My broad shoulders, my square-ish jaw, my giant hands…

These masculine features which were de-emphasized or discarded or, well, hidden, in posted pictures are now on full display.

Yep, here’s the “real” Hannah McKnight.

In all her feminine flaws.

Despite what this post has suggested so far, I really don’t get tooooo hung up on this, however. In some ways I hope that other t-girls see that many of us have the same features as each other. That passing isn’t real. That we don’t have to be a certain height to present as femme. I mean, other t-girls remind ME of this. Other t-girls inspire me all the time to stop being concerned about how tall I am or whatever.

Anyway, pictures are one thing. Video is another.

Videos capture movement, voice, body language, facial expressions, and essentially one’s physical appearance.

These things are the reasons I’ve resisted video.

Obviously I got over it.

But after seeing the first “Help Me, Hannah!” video I was reminded why I resisted doing video.

Not that I have regrets. Please don’t misunderstand me.

What I mean is that for years my pictures and my writings represented me. They, well, spoke for me. I knew that a ten second video would reshape how people would think of me. Despite years of blogging and pictures, all impressions and thoughts about me could essentially replaced by a short video clip.

Put in a different way.

For years I admired a writer for their books and novels. Loved them. Read every word they wrote, every book they published. And then a few years ago I happened across a video of them being interviewed. They came off as whiny and entitled and cringy. All of a sudden my perspective of them changed. Decades of enjoying their work was put into doubt. Yes they wrote wonderful books but my God the person behind the words was very different than what I had anticipated. I couldn’t reread one of their novels without hearing them complain in that interview how poorly it sold and how he blamed the reception of it on readers not understanding it.

Of course, there is the discussion of art v artist but I don’t want to talk about that right now.

I suppose my point is that a video can quickly, for good or for bad or, well, for neither, can instantly replace someone’s perception of that person.

I try to convey femme presentation. I try to convey poise and well thought out perspectives and such. But I know that all of that will go out the window when I meet someone and they see the real Hannah. The fidgety, the over-sharing, the restless, the twitchy, the distracted Hannah.

It’s no unlike a certain musician that I really like. Wonderful voice, wonderful music, confident performances. But when interviewed they stutter, they stammer, they get flustered. And that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. Obviously they are more comfortable performing and letting their work and their art represent them.

I really don’t know what people think of me when they meet me. And I really don’t want to. I might disappoint them, I suppose. Since I try to present myself on my website as confident, as femme, I worry anything less than that will not live up to someone’s expectations, if that makes sense.

Not that I think I am a perfect princess or a celebrity. Please understand that.

If it helps I have the same misgivings in my male life, too.

But I imagine that when others meet me they likely think that I am a little aloof, a little quiet, a little arrogant, a little… who knows what.

Thankfully people are generally too polite to let me know what they think of me to my face.

The internet is a different story.

If I post a picture it’s fair game. I’ve seen horrible and nasty comments which are humbling and upsetting and can really get to me. These comments are a reminder why I only post what I feel are my best pictures.

Again, there’s that element of control.

But video?

A video has voice. A video isn’t always going to limit showing me in what I feel is my best angle. A video shows movement and if that movement isn’t as femme as I would like it to be then I cringe a little. My face might look femme, but if I turn my head then that appearance changes. My head looks a lot more masculine in profile.

Essentially it’s as close as to seeing me in real life as can be. I am, in a way, a little more three-dimensional compared to just a picture of myself.

I saw a preview of the first “Help Me, Hannah!” video shortly before it went live. Annnnd I immediately noticed a few things.

Some of these things were what many viewers pointed out, such as the sound (we’re fixing that) and my constant hand movement. My hands were all over the place because I was nervous and jumpy as a cat. But I tend to gesture with my hands when I am en femme. Hannah is more animated than he is, I guess. Some said my hands were distracting, some said they helped my femme presentation as many women tend to speak and gesture with their hands and voice.

What I noticed is when I tilt my head up my head looked more squarish. My wig tends to frame my face in a more femme way and minimizes some of masculine features. My adam’s apple and jawline are more prominent as well.

I also noticed my biceps. There’s nothing wrong and nothing un-feminine about a nicely toned arm but I suppose I wasn’t used to seeing how… defined my upper arms are when I am en femme.

I also ramble a bit which was something I was prepared for. When I write for my website I can take as much time as I like (for example, I started writing this post two days ago) to get my point across (if I have a point). I can even edit a post for clarification after it goes live. Since I am not working with a teleprompter I am freewheeling a bit. Rambling, ums, ahs, are a given. I am likely not coming off as poised and as thought out as my writings might suggest.

And then there’s my shoulders…

The list goes on.

I do think that my overall femme presentation is good. I’m happy with how I look. How I carry myself and my body language and, well, my clothes and makeup, I feel helps me, ah, overcome my more masculine characteristics and attributes.

I think many of us are used to putting ourselves under the microscope, so to speak. We scrutinize small things, we beam when we look better than we expected to. If we take that step to post a picture we open ourselves up to what others might think of us. For good or for ill.

These videos are doing that but in different ways. People might (and have) commented on my voice, my movement, my body language, and so on. Things that a simple photo doesn’t have. These videos also have a wider reach than my website. Since En Femme is promoting and marketing these videos they are doing their thing to show them to a wider audience. They have a financial interest in getting these videos to people.

Which, of course, opens oneself up to a larger audience and any anonymous comments they might decide to make. Again, for good or for ill.

If I am being honest I am terrified of looking at the comments on YouTube. Tweets, emails, and comments on my own website have all been, for the most part, very nice and positive. But some rando watching these videos are likely a different story. I read the first dozen or so comments when the video first went up and they were all very nice and I decided that was enough. I didn’t want to stumble across a comment that was just flat out mean. I can take constructive criticism, I really can, but I think someone saying something just cruel would, well, I can’t really think of a reason I need to see that.

Besides, the video is there, it exists, it can’t be changed, it is what it is. I don’t own it, I can’t take it down. Overall I’m happy with it and I learned a lot.

And En Femme is happy with it too. That’s really important to me. I am representing their brand, their company. I want them to be happy. It’s an enormous honor and responsibility to be associated with them. I had a meeting with them a few days after the video was posted and the views and statistics and the like were very much inline with what they had hoped for.

Last night I wondered if this is what I want. For the last decade or so I’ve more or less controlled any notoriety I had. I watched web traffic slowly grow, I branched out into some social media, did some modeling… Although I was more “out there” it was all very much in my control. I could pull back on social media, I could quit blogging. If I ever got overwhelmed by my “celebrity status” I knew I could, well, disappear. That was comforting, if I am being honest. I could pull the plug, I could walk away.

I’ve decided to, well, ignore anything that scares me when it comes to these video statistics. If En Femme is happy and if you like them, that’s enough for me.

Love, Hannah

Never Ending Circles

Unless you intentionally resist it, you can’t help but learn things. This happens by accident and it happens by DOING. You learn to walk in heels BY walking in heels. You learn how to do makeup BY doing makeup. And so on.

One minute on a bicycle will teach you more about cycling than years of reading about it.

Crossdressing and femme presentation has taught me sooooo much about so many things. These skills can be practical such as taking off your bra without first removing your top. They can also be introspective such as learning how this side of us can make us feel more vulnerable and, well, happy.

Somewhere along the way we will probably learn that this side of us isn’t going away. Even if we don’t quite understand why we do what we do (and we likely never will so it’s not worth wrestling with this question), at one point we will resign ourselves to knowing this isn’t a phase and it’s not something we will grow out of.

And for me, I didn’t WANT to grow out of it. I loved this side of me. I know for many of us we wish we could, well, stop or wake up one day and all thoughts of femme presentation would be gone. I get it. I really do.

But as much as I loved this side of me, I really did, well, try to stop. I mean, isn’t that the reason we purge? If I throw away my lingerie and just not buy more lingerie than I won’t wear lingerie even though I want to wear lingerie. That was my thinking.

It was… not unlike when I tried to stop drinking in the past. But I always found my way back to the liquor store and Victoria’s Secret.

And to be clear I didn’t want to stop because of guilt or any anxiety I felt. I knew from experience that this part of me doesn’t make relationships easier and brought a lot of stress into my partners’ lives. So, I wanted to… hm, remove this element of myself because I didn’t want to burden my partner with who I was and who I am.

Buuuuut through therapy I learned that I am not, by default, a burden and that who I am is worthy of love. My childhood was difficult and I thought I had to be perfect to be loved. Through therapy I accepted that it’s okay and normal and expected to be flawed.

Wow. Um. Anyway.

At one point I realized the futility of purging. This was in my mid-twenties. There were times I would throw away a box of stilettos and panties in the trash as I left my apartment to go to work but then stop at the mall on my way home to buy stilettos and panties.

What a waste.

But I stopped this cycle, this never ending circle. No longer purging, I saw my wardrobe grew, unsurprisingly.

At the time purging wasn’t only meant for me to, well, stop wearing what I wanted, but it was also motivated by the fear of someone finding me out.

I mean, I couldn’t think of a single reason my roommate would look in a shoebox that was waaaay in the back of my closet but I was still terrified and paranoid they would. And guess what was in that shoebox? Good guess.

I didn’t hide this side of me because I was ashamed of it. I couldn’t think of a reason why anyone would care what someone else wore. I mean, I knew this wasn’t common but I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. No, I kept this to myself because even at a young age I knew how easily this side of me could be misunderstood.

I didn’t want my mom or roommate or whomever to find my clothes and think the wrong thing. I wasn’t a fetishist, this wasn’t a kink, I wasn’t feeling confused. This side of me just always brought great joy and happiness and was, well, pure.

At the time I didn’t have the right words to explain who I was or why I was who I am. So, my clothes remained a secret. Little has changed. I’ll likely never find the right words to adequately explain all of this.

But goodness that doesn’t mean I didn’t try.

It sounds so… funny now that I am approaching fifty but in my mid-twenties I started to realize I wouldn’t live forever. I was healthy and I still am, but I was beginning to worry and accept that an accident could happen and, well, I could die.

I am going out on a limb here but I think many of us have considered what would happen to that shoebox (or storage locker) after we have breathed our last.

Speaking for myself, I was concerned about what this revelation would do to my mom. I didn’t want her, or anyone, to misunderstand who I was, who I am. The last thing I wanted anyone to think was that their kid, their sibling, their friend was a fetishist. I mean, not there’s anything wrong with that. But for me, this side of me brought happiness and I didn’t want that joy to be misunderstood as something that aroused me.

So, I wrote a note.

I knew it was inadequate. I knew I had to break down something so… simply and so complex at the same time into relatable and clear explanations. I just wanted to be understood. I even included a few resources, such as websites, books, and support groups that I thought my family could turn to if this discovery really upset them.

The note went into one of the large boxes in my closet and there it sat.

I remember feeling a sigh of relief that I did what I could to help someone understand who I was or who I wasn’t. But I also had a feeling of… acceptance. This is who I was and the never ending circle was, well, ended. I could purge every single day but I would always replace what I lost.

Why should I deny myself something that makes me happy? Something that is so personal. Something that didn’t have to impact anyone else?

Today there is no note. I suppose if there is anything that someone would turn to it’s this website. This is my autobiography, if you will. Long, rambling, contradictory, boring, shallow, overthought, and maybe, occasionally insightful and reflective. When I leave this world and my secret gets out and a friend wants to know who I was, who Hannah was, they could come here. It would take a looooong time to read it all but if anyone was going to “get” this side of me, as best as one could, it’s in these words and pictures.

I just regret that a friend will likely see their buddy in lingerie. Um, sorry.

Love, Hannah