Ask Hannah!

A few questions…
1) How do you parents and siblings react to Hannah?
2) What were your sources and how did you manage being Hannah growing up?
3) Why did you change your last name from Gotta to McKnight?


My mom has only met Hannah once… and it was a little weird for both of us. I had hoped it would have been an opportunity for her to get to know me better, but it wasn’t met to be. I had hope for a long time that things could change, but I think that ship has sailed.

My sisters only met Hannah once or twice. My mom and sisters are wonderful, accepting people, but again, I think it’s a little weird for them. I don’t press it.

I didn’t identify as transgender until I as in my early 30’s. I didn’t see myself as bi-gender until around that same time. Thus, Hannah wasn’t around when I was growing up. If that makes sense… and I bet it does to a lot of you.

My femme last name wasn’t ever really ‘Gotta’. When I started posting online I needed a name of course, and I came up with “Hannah Gotta” as it rhymed with “onnagata” the Japanese word for male actors who play women’s roles in Japanese Kabuki theatre. Onnagata sort of rhymes with Hannah Gotta, so that’s the name I used when I was online. I think I was trying to be clever and I never meant for “gotta” to be a last name. Eventually I decided I needed a proper last name and I decided on McKnight.

Love, Hannah

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

Impossible Things

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” 

Lewis Carroll

When the pandemic hit and the little things and the big things were impacted, I looked at a lot of aspects to my life. I was reminded how important it as to support small, independent businesses that were affected by the shutdown. I realized I took meeting friends for dinner for granted. And of course, I realized just how important Hannah is to me.

I mean, I AM Hannah, and obviously we should be important to ourselves, but without having the option to get a makeover and spending the day en femme I was reminded how crucial it is to be me, to be all of me.

Being alive, being who we are, is a reason to celebrate. If you have accepted and embraced your gender identity you have accomplished something incredibly significant and special.

As restrictions started to lift and it was possible (and just a little safer) to get a makeover, I reevaluated my life. Both of my lives. We only live once, and life is too short not to wear that dress.

Yesterday I had a photo shoot with my friend and photographer of five years Shannonlee. There was no reason for the shoot. It wasn’t to review a dress or a shoe, it wasn’t for En Femme, it was just for fun (not to say shoots for reviews or for En Femme aren’t fun, they are, but you know what I mean). The theme of the shoot, if you will, was to wear a few dresses I have always wanted to wear. The location was the Stone Arch Bridge, one of my favorite places in the world.

I think many of us have at least one thing about their body they wish they could change. For me, I wish I didn’t have such broad and muscular (i.e. masculine) shoulders. But I had a moment of clarity earlier this year and I decided to just wear whatever I wanted, shoulders be damned.

So I did.

Yesterday’s shoot featured several dresses that I never thought I would wear. Two of them had halter straps and one had straps about as thin as dental floss. The point is that my shoulders were as exposed as they could possibly be. A year ago I would have thought this would be impossible.

And I never felt more beautiful, confident, and powerful.

Here’s a bit of a preview of yesterday’s shoot. I hope you like them and I hope you all cast away your doubts and fears about what holds you back, in all aspects of your lives.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I was wondering if you have any advice for clothing selection for very muscular legs? I am an avid cyclist and between genetics and cycling have massive leg muscles, especially my quadriceps. Even by male standards they are very large. What clothing choices would you suggest to minimize their impact on feminine appearance?

In male mode, I have very few criticisms or even opinions about my body. But on a bad day I could list a lot of things I wish I could change.

When it comes to our bodies, we have to think about whether or not it’s something we can change or if we are willing or able to change. I didn’t like my big manly eyebrows, so I thread them. This was something I COULD change, and something I was willing to change. Yes, we can all do whatever we want with our eyebrows, but some of us might be hesitant to do so if we present as male in our lives. Some things about us we are willing to change, but perhaps we can’t.

When it comes to something that we can’t change or don’t want to change, then we have a different set of choices. We can try to minimize it, or we can embrace it.

I can’t do anything about my height, and heels don’t help, but I have accepted that I am taller than most girls, and have also embraced this by wearing the stilettos I wish. I also bike and run (about six miles a day), so I have muscular legs as well, but like my height, I embrace them. Obviously. 😉

But if you don’t want to go this route, then go for all-forgiving and minimizing black. You could rock black stockings.

A longer dress (yes, I do own these too) could also work.

Leggings and black pants would also do the trick.

I hope this helps!

Love, Hannah

Mixed Feelings

I think I am fairly prolific. I mean, God knows I tirelessly promote myself and I have no restraint when it comes to posting on social media. But aside from that, I have been running a website for almost ten years and the MN T-Girls is coming up on seven years. I’ve written for En Femme, Frock, and Xdress, modeled for Glamour Boutique, and have done reviews for The Breast Form Store. This girl works.

I know, I get a little tired of myself as well. 🙂

Over the years I have received a lot of nice emails and messages. I have had my fair share of creepy and gross ones, too. I get asked questions and I do my best to answer them based on my experiences and thoughts. I don’t pretend I know everything. Some days I don’t feel I know anything at all.

The most terrifying thing someone can say to me is “I took your advice and I…”. This scares me like nothing else. If the advice is simply a recommendation on where to get a cute pair of heels that’s one thing, but almost anything else puts me on edge.

I get many emails about going out en femme and about relationships. Like I said, I do my best to chat about these things based on my experiences and I have rarely had a negative experience when going out. Based on my adventures and my observations, no one really cares. Yes, I’ve had stares and rude comments but these are rare and few and far between compared to the wonderful and mundane interactions I’ve had.

When I am asked about going out, for the most part I recommend it. Again, this is based on my experiences of no one seemingly caring and my ability to ignore everyone around me. Of course, it’s not as simple as getting dolled out and strutting to the mall. I know there are risks. I know we must be cautious for a number of reasons. Going out the first time or the fiftieth time takes planning and preparation.

That being said, it would crush me if anyone ever stepped out of the house based on my encouragement and had a really really bad and frightening experience. I don’t think I could ever get past that guilt.

This same fear comes along with relationship. In my heart of hearts, I believe we need to be honest with ourselves and with our significant others. I fully believe that coming out is the fair and moral decision.

However.

I know that every relationship is different and unique. I know that this revelation could, and has, ended relationships. Whether it is the crossdressing itself, or a partner feeling they were lied to or deceived, being honest about one’s gender identity will significantly impact things.

I know many of us are on a (ugh) journey. We are all in different places with this compared to where we were three years ago. Even if our wardrobe hasn’t changed, our feelings and perspectives have. At the same time, our journey will lead us to new places in the future. For some of us, it is simply a new and enormous wardrobe. For some, it is stepping out for the first time. For others, it is hormones and living full time.

I have received emails from other girls thanking me or inspiring them to be honest with themselves and/or their partners. Although I am happy that more of us are living life how we wish (or getting closer), I can’t help but feel responsible for any sort of distress, anxiety, or worse when it comes to this revelation on the partners and families of girls like us. I know it is not easy to be in a relationship with someone who is not 100% cis-gender. As confusing as this side of us is for us, it’s even more so for the people in our lives.

I am always happy to listen and to share my perspective, opinion, and experiences with anyone who asks for it, but I am always terrified to do so. Being who we are is a reason to celebrate. I love love love love being bi-gender. I love being a t-girl. I am proud to be trans. But part of my experiences include difficult conversations with my wife and stress and confusion that came with who I am.

We all share victories. No one is more excited when a t-girl buys a new dress or leaves the house for the first time than another girl like us. We also all share your stress, frustrations, heartache, and sadness when it comes to this side of us.

Living our truths and being honest with ourselves and others is not always easy. This revelation will always come with a price. Of course, if you want your life to change you have to accept that the rest of your world will be impacted by the change. Sometimes this change can lead to a fabulous stiletto collection, sometimes it can lead to a significant change in your relationships.

I think what I am trying to say is that if your life or relationships have been made worse because of any advice or inspiration you have taken from me then I am truly sorry. I know what who we are is not easy. I honestly agonize for days when it comes to answering an Ask Hannah question or responding to an email. I try not to give completely direct advice, but instead offer some things to consider or be mindful of when it comes to this side of us.

I do think I am prolific, and I am honored and blessed to be a voice in our community. I take my role seriously and I do not take your trust lightly.

Love, Hannah

Hannah Asks…

Makeup was one of the most intimidating and wonderful skills I’ve ever learned. Over time I learned techniques beyond just simply how to apply foundation, such as using eyeshadow primer to help lipstick stay on longer.

What are some of your favorite makeup secrets you know?


Love, Hannah

Dressed to Kill

I did a lot of shopping under quarantine. I thought a lot about what I was going to do, and what I was going to wear once things returned back to normal. Of course, things haven’t returned back to normal and if they do, it probably won’t be for a long time.

One of the dresses I bought I thought of as my “out of lockdown” dress. Something that screamed dressed to kill and I found it at En Femme.

I didn’t wear this dress the first time I went out once many of the restrictions were lifted, but I did wear it for a photo shoot I did to review a pair of stilettos from The Breast Form Store.

Shannonlee shot some fabulous pictures of the dress and I wanted to show them off (big surprise). I hope you like them!

Love, Hannah

Ice Cream Social Distancing

Yesterday was the monthly outing for The MN T-Girls. During the pandemic our events have been pretty small and low-key, and July’s event was very much in that spirit.

A small group of us met up for some ice cream at Nelson’s Ice Cream in Saint Paul because really, what’s better than ice cream on a hot summer night?

It was a lovely night and I am glad we have been finding small ways to stay connected.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I am a size 16 and would love to get to a 12. What did you do? Weights/cardio/both?

I suffer from a lack of courage when it comes to dressing. Tried to tell my wife and she freaked. Now, as we know, it won’t go away and I feel I have to choose between my marriage and my gender fluidity and I love my wife sooo much. I have been closeted my whole life. You seem to be so courageous to me. Do you have any advice? I am in a predicament.

My weight loss was a combination of quitting drinking and cardio. I don’t drink soda or eat fast food, so changing my diet was pretty simple, but quitting drinking (almost four years sober!) was hard. Cardio was the Stairmaster and elliptical machine. These two photos were about five years apart. I was a size 18 an dropped to a 12.

Of course, any change to your diet and/or exercise routine should be discussed with your doctor.

Marriage and crossdressing/identifying as bi-gender/gender fluidity is not easy. Coming out to your spouse will almost always result in shock or a freak-out. That’s normal and expected.

I would really, really, really encourage you to seek out a gender therapist as well as coupl’s counseling. Good luck. 🙂

Love, Hannah

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

This T-Girl’s on Fire

I’m tall. Tall enough where I am asked if I played basketball in high school.

I didn’t.

As advantageous as my height would have been when it came to passing a basketball, I always felt my height was a disadvantage when it came to “passing”.

I’m used to being tall. I mean, it happened so gradually. It’s not like I shot up four inches overnight and had to get accustomed to being a new height. Wearing heels, though, that was an adjustment. I never had difficulty walking in heels. It came very easy for me, probably because I really really really wanted to get good at it so I practiced a lot as soon as I had a pair of heels to call my own.

Wearing stilettos at home is one thing, but there is nothing like the sound of heels clicking on a sidewalk. It’s the beautiful everyday music, the soundtrack of femininity. It’s my favorite song. I had longed for years to leave the house en femme, but I always felt too tall to pass, too tall to be a girl.

And then one day I got tired of being in my own house, I was tired of telling myself what I couldn’t do, so I put on a cute black skirt, black stockings, a brightly colored top, a cardigan… and black heels. I clicked my way down sidewalks and the corridors of shopping malls and I haven’t stopped.

What changed? I mean, I was still tall, I was even taller in heels. But I realized there was no such thing a passing. I was never going to blend in, I was always going to stand out. realized that no matter how tall I was, no girl is too tall to be a girl. Not even you. Not even me. If I am going to be seen, then I may as well embrace it. I am going to wear that bright pink dress, the longest lashes, and yes, the tallest heels.

Because I dress for me. Not for anyone else.

I never feel taller in heels. I mean, I feel shorter when I take them off, but I don’t feel like I just stepped onto a ladder when I put them on. Yes, I have to crouch down a little when I look into certain mirrors, but it’s not like “wow, I’m tall”.

Until I put these heels on.

Ladies, feast your eyes on the Pleaser DELIGHT 6 inch Platform Rose Gold Stilettos with Lace Up Support from The Breast Form Store.

I opened the box like opening Christmas presents. I was entranced by the shoe, it’s beauty, it’s… majesty. This was unlike any heel I have ever worn before. I prayed to God they would fit. And thank God the fit and run true to size.

For the first time in my life, I stood up in a pair of heels and finally said “wow, I am really tall”. Six inch platforms will do that for you.

Of course, if you are looking at the picture you may wonder why in the world would need a heel like that. If you are wondering why anyone would need a heel like this, this heel is not for you.

But there are just as many thinking “OMG I need this”. If you think you need this, then you probably do need it. Well, maybe not need but you know what I mean.

How does the shoe feel? Well, it runs true to size, it’s properly balanced, the platform is smooth and it’s just as comfortable walking in them as it feels to stand in them.

But how does it feel to wear them? Honestly? I felt like a goddess. I felt powerful.

Some heels go with anything. Some inspire an outfit. These heels demand something daring, something provocative, something… sexy. God knows I love my leather (and fake leather) and it just seemed appropriate for thee heels. I almost went with fishnets stockings but I decided that the pattern would in a way complete with the criss-cross laces.

Will I wear these heels all the time? Of course not, they are probably the most impractical thing I own. But how they make me feel is indescribable. It is the truest way to embrace my height. If there is another pair of stilettos that screams confidence and demands heads to be turned better than these heels then I haven’t seen them.

These heels are not for the timid. They are not for the shy. They are not for those who want to blend in. This is for the girl who want to be seen, the girl who has confidence to burn.

Thank you to The Breast Form Store for helping me literally rise to new heights of confidence.

Love, Hannah

TransRefuge

We all need support and friendship, especially when it comes to this part of our lives. Let’s be clear, we need to talk about this side of us with others. It can be overwhelming and lonely to keep this a secret.

Unfortunately talking about this is not as simple as we would like it to be. Before we can talk about it, we have to come out to someone. And when we come out, we have to explain the unexplainable. It’s exhausting to come out to someone. I believe I would be out to more people if I didn’t have to dissect who I am in a million different ways to someone who doesn’t understand and can’t relate to identifying as anything other than cisgender.

T-girls need other t-girls. When I spend time with other girls like myself, we can talk about trans-related feelings and thoughts without having to explain every little nuance or aspect of our identity. We know. We can relate. We don’t have to say a word.

The more support and resources we have the better. I recently became aware of a new forum called TransRefuge. According to their site, TransRefuge is a social and support community for transgender and intersex people, and a resource center for those who support us. We exist to connect transgender people, intersex people, and allies with friends and resources.

The site offers a lot of resources, advice, and friendship for our community. If you are looking for a way to connect with girls like us, please visit TransRefuge.

Love, Hannah