Stuck Inside on Coming Out

Yesterday was National Coming Out Day.


Like everything else in 2020 this really snuck up on me.  I have been who I am for a long time and my gender identity has evolved over the years and I am, for lack of a better term, used to who I am.  I have a remarkable life but things have happened so gradually and methodically that it feels very… normal.  Yet when I look back I remember that all of *this* started with wanting to wear panties.  I have been going out en femme for years and have done a lot of different things, whether shopping or attending a play or going to a museum or the gas station that I no longer think “OMG I AM OUT IN THE REAL WORLD”.  


Sometimes I forget I am trans when I am out, if that makes sense.  I forget that some people are seeing me as a t-girl whereas I am just… me.


I have become so accustomed to living my life in two different genders and having two separate lives because of that.  There is very little overlap, there are very, very few people in my boy life that know about my girl life.  When something like National Coming Out Day rolls around I am reminded that I have something to come out as.  It doesn’t always occur to me that I could come out to people in my boy life as something other than who they see.  


National Coming Out Day is a reminder of how complicated my life, and I suspect yours as well, is.  I am a little jealous of how simple it was for my brother to come out.  He said he was gay and everyone knew what that meant.  Sure, there were some questions and it took a little time for some family members to adjust but understanding he liked boys instead of girls was, well, simple, for lack of a better word.  When I came out to my mom it was a long conversation with a lot of qualifiers.  Yes, I am happy when I dress, no I am not unhappy when I am in boy mode.  Yes, I identify as a girl sometimes and no, I do not feel I was identified wrongly when I was born.  Yes, she has a name, and no, I don’t want to live my life as her exclusively.  And so on.  


It’s tiring and if I am being honest it’s frustrating.  I don’t blame my mom or others when I come out.  Questions are better than condemnation.  Trying to understand is better than anger.  Gender, in a binary sense has been around forever and will be with us for a very, very long time.  Colors, interests, clothes, cosmetics are all separated into things that are for boys or things that are for girls.  Any sort of variance or overlap isn’t common and many people would think it’s just… weird.  The straightest, toughest cismale in the world could wear a pink shirt and the expected comments and suppressed laughter will still follow.  A man willingly wearing to wear a dress, nail polish, whatever is met with bewilderment.  Why would a guy WANT to wear that?


National Coming Out Day is conflicting for those like us.  We have a hard enough time understanding this side of us, and it’s even harder for those who aren’t us.  Gender identity feels more complicated than sexual identity.  I’m sure it’s not, but I can only speak from my experiences.  In some ways I think it’s… well, not easier, but perhaps less complicated for those who have transitioned,  In some ways, there’s precedence for those who live their life as a different gender than the one they were identified as at birth.  Most people have heard of Laverne Cox, Chaz Bono, and Kaitlyn Jenner.  But there isn’t a lot of “famous people” who go back and forth between gender presentation.  


“I have always felt like a girl, so I decided to transition” is something that some of my friends have told me and have told their families.  To me, that sounds so simple.  I know it’s not and I am not trying to trivialize that conversation, please understand that.  I wish there was a simpler way to explain who I am, but I suppose that every non-cis person wishes that.  I just feel that there are so many facets to who I am.  Two days ago I walked around downtown Saint Paul in a beautiful dress, black stilettos, and a $75 makeover.  That night in “boy mode” I went to sleep in a nightgown and woke up this morning and put on a pair of femme leggings. To anyone that sees me, I am either in full girl mode, full boy mode (underdressing of course) or in boy mode wearing “girl clothes” (meaning femme jeans or going for a run in femme leggings).  Not many people in my life (either lives) sees more than one of these sides of me.  My wife does, but hardly anyone else does.  


I have accepted that I will likely never come out to more people in my boy life.  I would like to, sometimes I feel I am being dishonest with some of my oldest friends.  The thought of Hannah having coffee with people that only knew me exclusively as a boy sounds really nice.  


So, why not come out?  Well, it’s exhausting.  It’s usually worth it, though.  But there’s always a chance that some of the people in my life that I love would reject me.  Since I don’t feel that transitioning is right for me it sort of feels like that risk is too high, were I to come out and be rejected because of who I am.  I have known many people who I thought were supportive of every letter in the LGBTQ+ community only for them to crack a joke about a transperson.  It’s heartbreaking.  


I am proud of everyone who has come out, whether to their co-workers, their families, to their spouses, and to themselves.  It’s not easy to be who we are, believe me.  It creates an insane amount of overthinking and insecurity and fear.  I live with the anxiety that being who we are causes, even if I don’t feel it at every moment.  Although on a surface level my life en femme may look different than yours, please understand that we all live with the same feelings, the same conflicting emotions, the same challenges, the same yearning to be able to be who we are whenever we want and for as long as we want.  I would have loved to have met up with my mom for dinner after my photo shoot on Saturday, but I knew that were that to happen I would need to go home, wash off my makeup, and change back to boy mode before I could see her.  I like being bi-gender, I like who I am, I just wish the lines in my life weren’t as divided as the different sides of my closet.


Love, Hannah

En Femme Fall Photo Shoot!

Yesterday was probably the last warm autumn day In Minnesota for the year. I was SO happy the weather cooperated because I had a photo shoot for En Femme‘s fall line.

Shannonlee and I shot pictures in downtown Saint Paul and it was such a fun shoot. My favorite location was when we snuck into a newly renovated hotel that used to be a girl’s school a million years ago that they say is now haunted. Spoooooky.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I am making a contact sheet of resources for a friend of mine that cross dresses. Is there any resources you would highly recommend? Mental health, books to read, people to watch on YouTube or to follow on social media. He’s not looking for forums or dating sites, and that’s all I really come up with from search engines. Thank you!

Aren’t you sweet?

There are a ton of resources out there and so much depends on what your friend is looking for.


Some of us are really conflicted and confused and scared of who we are and what they want, or want to wear.  Some of us are wondering what this all means.  It kind of throws everything we know, or think we know about our whole sense of identity (gender and sexual among others) into question.  We may feel alone when it comes to this side of us.  If your friend is looking for support and friendship I would recommend looking for a local PFLAG group as well as reading and posting on crossdressers.com and transgenderheaven.com.  


Your friend will likely see that gender identity is different from one person to the next.  And even if your friend “just” crossdresses, there is a shift in gender identity from cis to transgender.  Your friend may not consider themselves transgender, and every transperson is different.  My identifying as transgender is different than Laverne Cox or many of my friends identifying as transgender.  Transgender doesn’t mean hormones, surgery or anything else.  It simply means (in my opinion) wearing or doing something that is outside the norms of societal gender behavior.  A boy wearing nail polish?  Trans.  Me wearing a nightgown?  Trans.  A drag queen?  Trans.  

Sorry, getting off topic.


If your friend is looking for help when it comes to mental help, please encourage them to speak with a gender therapist.


If your friend is looking for resources when it comes to finding clothes, there are many options out there.  En Femme, The Breast Form Store, Glamour Boutique, HommeMystere and Xdress are some of my favorites.  Make sure they know their measurements.  Of course, one does not need to limit their shopping options to designers who make beautiful, feminine clothes for the typical male body.  I have just as many dresses from DressBarn and Target as I do from the businesses I listed.


When it comes to books, I loved ‘The Lazy Crossdresser’ by Charlie Jane Anders.  This is a practical and light guide to wearing “girl clothes” and had a huge impact on me when I read it for the first time.  This might be out of print but you can usually find almost anything online.


In terms of social media, your friend will find that there are a lot of people like us who wear what we wear for a lot of reasons.  My Twitter followers, and who I follow on Twitter range from fetishists (I don’t follow people that are… aroused by this) to activists to gross horny dudes looking to hook up (I don’t follow them either) drag queens, makeup artists, to people like me who simply love to wear pretty clothes.  Some of the girls I follow online can be found in T-Girl Spotlight.

Well girls? Anything you think might help? Please comment!


Love, Hannah

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

Silver and Bold

I used to think the only way I would be able to leave my home en femme was if I passed. Knowing I would never pass (not that there is such a thing) I thought if I blended in I would be ready to brave the world.

I see blending as a… hm, survival method, and it was in this perspective that gave me the courage to enter the real world.

My sense of fashion, however, does not lend well to blending and I have just embraced it. Certain colors, patterns, and prints just scream LOOK AT ME. Of course, being as tall as I am AND being trans I am going to be noticed so I may as well wear what I want.

Sparkly, silver dresses do not help a girl blend in. It requires an insane amount of confidence and hubris and the ability to shut out the stares to wear a dress like that in public. And that’s what I did at last month’s photo shoot.

This was for a project a friend of mine is putting together and I’ll share more details as they become available. For now, I hope you enjoy the photos!

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

You say you dress en femme around twice a month! How long ( length of time ) at one period have you spent totally en femme? A week? 10 days? I am sure you want at times to remain en femme longer; I know since being en femme invigorates and encourages me to work better as a person and to feel my wonderful feminine side.

When I am en femme, it’s usually for the day, at a minimum about eight hours or so.  
And honestly that’s a perfect period of time for me.  I tend to be a bit of a homebody so being out and about drains my social battery and drains my bank account lol.

Love, Hannah

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

Ask Hannah!

Do you ever worry that you are spending or want to spend too much time en femme?

Honestly?  No.  


I dress about twice a month, at least I have over the last few months.  When I moved from simply underdressing to fully dressing en femme from wig to makeup to heels I was in the early stages of getting to know my gender identity, seeing what I liked, what felt right, and in many ways doing and wearing everything I have wanted to for years.  I was dressing en femme every week.  


This wasn’t a worry for me, but I think it was for my wife.  When we were dating it was a shock to learn her boyfriend wore panties.  When we got married it was an adjustment (to say the least) to watch her husband learn makeup and to help him zip up a dress.  Like many of our partners she wondered and worried where this was going.  I went from panties to a very complete wardrobe in what seemed to be a very short time.  


Despite my best attempts at reassuring her she still worried.  It took years for her to mostly stop wondering if I would want to start living full-time, start hormones, or make a drastic change in my life.  


In the early days I was lost in the pink fog.  When you are lost in the fog you usually don’t worry about spending too much money on clothes or worrying about spending too much time en femme or wanting to be en femme.  I mean, that’s the whole definition of the pink fog.  


Over the years I became more comfortable with my gender identities and felt the most comfortable identifying as bi-gender.  I am happy with both genders I present as.  I don’t need to choose which gender to present as for the rest of my life.  It can change daily and even throughout the day.  The key in life is finding balance in life, whether between work and family, and for girls like us, balancing gender identities.  Denying my femme side isn’t healthy, and spending too much time as Hannah may cause me to neglect my responsibilities and my wife’s feelings.  My wife likes Hannah, she knows that Hannah is part of who I am, but she would miss her husband if Hannah visited too long and too often.

Love, Hannah

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

Something in the Way She Moves

I totally heart Natassia Crystal.  Her wardrobe, especially her heels (OMG her heels), are always glamorous, she is super sweet and kind.  She posts a lot of videos of her simply walking around and showing off her beautiful outfits.  She is so graceful and feminine and if she wasn’t as lovely and as she is I would totes hate her, lol.  Regardless of how tall her stilettos are she walks, struts, and almost floats as if she was born with high-heeled shape feet.  Like a Barbie doll, I suppose.


From time to time I get questions about how to talk and walk en femme.  I don’t do much with my voice.  I suppose I speak a little lighter and I choose my words differently depending on what gender I am presenting.  If my wife asks her husband if he wants pizza for dinner he’d respond with “yeah, that sounds good”.  If you ask Hannah if she would like room for cream in her coffee she’d reply “oh yes please, thank you!”.  


When it comes to walking I suppose I don’t think that much about it.  When you move from tennis shoes to stilettos your whole body moves differently.  I mean, it HAS to.  You’re supporting your entire fabulous body on two tall, tiny stems as you strut your way around the mall or your house.  I drop my hips, I stand tall, and go go go.


At the last photo shoot I did I was asked to provide a few videos of me walking in the dresses I was reviewing.  I had never done video before so this would be a new adventure.  The first outfit I wore for the shoot was to feature a cute pencil skirt.  Shannonlee took a few pictures to test the lighting and then shot the first video.  It was nothing remarkable, just ten seconds or so of me walking from one end of a path to another.  I watched what she shot and I was almost horrified.  I didn’t look graceful, I didn’t move how I thought I moved, I looked like Frankenstein’s monster clomping around.  It was super cringy.


Have you ever come home after a day out en femme and looked in the mirror and saw your lipstick was smudged or your foundation was smeared and you realized that all day long you walked around looking like that?  This moment was like that.  I wondered if this is what people see when Hannah is out and about.  I know I sometimes look like a man in a dress, but my god, now I realized I walked like a man in a dress.  


Needless to say this was a humbling and crushing experience.  I always felt like I glided when I was in en femme.  At least it felt that way.


I was super self-conscience the rest of the day.  Whether we were shooting a video or just walking from one location to another I couldn’t help thinking about how I looked when I moved.  As the day and videos progressed I slowed my walk down a little, I stood a little taller, shoulders back, head higher.  The videos looked a little better but soon I got to the point where I didn’t watch them at all.  


As devastating (I know I am being dramatic here) as the videos were, I got over it and moved (see what I did there?) on.  Walking was just another thing to learn.  Of course this is not to say that there is a certain way girls should move or walk, mind you.  The shock and cringe came from me realizing that how Hannah moved was sooooo different than how I felt when I moved.  


There really isn’t a point to this post except to say that I think we have a lot of expectations and hope as to how we look, move, sound, and feel as we present as a gender that is different than a gender we normally present as.  We hope our eyeliner looks as amazing as it makes us feel, we hope a dress makes us look like a supermodel because that’s how it makes us feel.  We hope we move like angels because we feel like we are cloud 9.  I love mirrors but sometimes they reflect something we hope we don’t see or expecting.  Reality can be a bitch. 

 
So, what do we do?  It depends on what it is.  If I look in a mirror and see my lipstick looks smudgy and I hate how it looks, then it’s time to practice my lip liner and technique.  But it’s important to know what can be changed and what we need to accept.  I can always get better with my makeup so I can practice, take lessons, and watch videos.  But there are things I can’t change.  I can’t change my height, my facial structure, the size of my hands.  These are things I need to live with.  It’s not easy because this requires a change in our attitude and thinking.  What helps me is remembering that girls can be tall and they are tall.  My wife and sisters and many of my friends and coworkers are girls and guess what!  They all look different.  My wife is petite and barely five feet tall, and one of my colleagues is taller than I am.  No one ever thinks that these two women aren’t women.  I don’t think my wife looks at her friends and think of them as whether or not they “pass as females”.  There’s no standards that a girl, cis or trans, needs to meet.


Some girls glide like Natassia, some girls stomp around like me, but we are both beautiful, and we are both girls (when we want to be).


Of course this is all easier said than done, but that’s how I want to think.  It’s how I need to think.  If I continue to hold myself to standards that simply cannot be achieved then I will spiral into a pit of despair and never leave my house.  Or my bed.  


I promise you that no matter what the mirror says, what the camera shows, or what the rest of the world thinks, you are a beautiful girl.


Love, Hannah

Not So Picture Perfect

I don’t believe that passing is something we should consider a realistic goal.  I mean, my core belief is that there is no such thing and every girl, cis or trans, is beautiful and looks different and unique from everyone else.  There are no standards that we must meet in order to be a girl.  Passing is a myth and it’s something that too many girls wait to do before they start living their best life.  I can totes relate, though.  I thought I was too tall, too male, too… a million other things to leave my house.  I will always be able to identify with a girl that wishes to be beautiful because I thought that way for decades and I still hope that every time I dress.  


Being as public as I am (at least online), I get a ton of comments that range from nice to simply gross.  It’s a lot of fun to wake up and read a DM from some idiot asking to send them a picture.  An intimate picture, if you know what I mean.  Still, it’s better than them sending me a photo along those same lines.  I post a lot of pictures because I like to write about what I am doing, whether it is a photo shoot or meeting up with the MN T-Girls.  Photos generate a lot of comments and most of them are nice and I enjoy reading them.  Honestly the comments are very affirming and it makes me smile when someone thinks I am pretty.  Why?  Because I am trying to be pretty.  I hope I am pretty.  


I write a lot about dealing with the voices inside of us (and sometimes even the voices of others) and our doubts and desires and the expectations we have of ourselves and the expectations we think the rest of the world has of us.  These are not easy to live with and they are not easy to ignore.  Learning how to crossdress is one thing.  I mean, it’s almost a practical skill.  Learn your sizes, learn how to apply makeup, how to walk in heels… these things can be easy.  What makes it hard is looking in the mirror and being happy with what we see.  What makes it hard is looking at other girls and spiraling into despair because we don’t look as beautiful as they do.


Being en femme is the most humbling and amazing thing in the world.  When you are dressed to kill and you are strutting (or floating) out of your makeover appointment, my god, you feel like a million.  But sometimes you catch your reflection and it all comes tumbling down.  I get it.  I can relate.  


When Hannah is out, she is going to do normal, boring things.  A couple of weeks ago I went to the Dollar Store and a coffee shop.  It’s about as mundane as it gets.  It used to be I was only comfortable going to places where girls like us frequented and a girl like me wasn’t out of place.  But there aren’t a lot of girls like us spending their afternoon running errands in heels and a cute dress at the discount store.  My point is that I am really noticed when I am out because I am usually overdressed and well, I am a six foot tall t-girl.  I am noticed because I am a six foot tall t-girl.  I know I am trans (I hope I know this by now) and so does everyone else.  Trust me, everyone knows.


How do I know?  Sometimes the puzzled stares, the look on someone’s face as they process what they see, and sadly, sometimes the mean looks.  How else do I know?  My jawline, my shoulders, my height….  again, there are no standards to be a girl.  But let’s be honest, not a lot of cis-girls have a square jaw like I do.  I am read all the time and that’s fine.  If I couldn’t accept that then I would never leave the house.  


I do read comments about how I do pass, how I look “like a real girl”, and the like.  Thank you.  I am not trying to pass (and I don’t think I do), I am just trying to be pretty and enjoy my day.  No one who sees me in the real world thinks I pass, but photos tell a different story.  When I am doing a photo shoot, either for my own hubris and ego or for modeling, hundreds of photos are taken.  Shannonlee goes through them, adjusts the lighting and cropping and sends over her favorites.  I go through what she sends me and I either post the ones I like or I send over the best pictures to whoever the shoot is for.  


If we take 100 pictures and five turn out good, well, that’s fantastic.  


There’s a lot of factors that contribute to a good picture.  The lighting, the color, the background, how my dress looks (sometimes a wonderful picture can be ruined by a wrinkle or a funny fold), my facial expression, and my pose can all make or break a picture.  Everything has to line up for a good picture, but it only takes one thing to go wrong to spoil it.
Like an artist who only displays their favorite paintings, I only post the pictures I like.  Of the countless pictures of myself on my website or on my Flickr page please know these are my favorites meaning they are the ones that make me look the most feminine.  I don’t post the pictures that, in my opinion, make me look like a man in a dress.  Trust me, there are more photos like this than good ones.  I don’t post pictures at an angle that make me look too boyish.  Most of the photos we take capture me looking very, very male.  I don’t like these pictures (it can really add to my dysphoria) and I don’t post them.  But trust me, if you saw them you would never think I “passed”.  You would see what every cashier and every barista sees when I am out in the real world.


Why am I writing about this?  Because I don’t want to add to your dysphoria.  I know how… defeating it can be to look at a pretty t-girl and just want to give up.  I am not saying that I am pretty but I think I can take a decent photo from time to time.  What you see when I post pictures isn’t reality.  It’s not how I look at all times when I am en femme, it’s just a quick picture where I was lucky to not look tooooo masculine.  Sometimes I see myself in a mirror or my reflection in a window or in a selfie and it’s like….ugh.  I have to keep taking photos or looking at my reflection at different angles until I think I look cute enough to move on or until I give up.


I want to be clear that I am not being too hard on myself or fishing for compliments or looking for reassurance.  I know a lot of my photos are cute, but I have ten pictures for every cute one that looks like a man in a dress.  If I was brave, or masochistic enough I would post one but I just can’t do it.  


Dysphoria kicks in when I see some of the t-girls I admire.  If you feel that way when you see my pictures, please know that I got lucky in the photo and I can and do look like a troll many times.  It’s all about the angle, the dress, the lighting, and a zillion other things.  


Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I recently came across your site and am glad I did! I’m wondering where you have gone locally for makeovers, or do you do all of your own makeup/dressing? I’ve tried to separate places in Las Vegas with mixed results. One was really expensive, and didn’t deliver all that they claimed, but the showgirl outfit was fun! The other was less expensive but not very organized.

Wondering if you know of anywhere local or even in the surrounding states.

Thank you so much for your blog!

I can do my own makeup and I have a zillion dresses, but I usually will have my makeup done when I go out, especially if it’s for a photo shoot.

There are a lot of places to get makeovers in the Twin Cities.  My go-to places are Rita Ambourne and CaJah Salon

Cajah Salon

Rita Ambourne

Of course, places like MAC, Ulta, and Sephora also are an option for girls and girls like us.

Love, Hannah

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