Ask Hannah!

Do they have books on transgender, crossdressers rights when we go out on the town?

Before I jump into this, please visit and bookmark these two links that provide answers and information to frequently asked questions regarding the laws and rights of transgender individuals:

ACLU

Human Rights Campaign

I’m sure there are books, however, with how frequently the laws can change, a book will eventually become outdated.  As far as I know, there aren’t any states that says it is illegal to be transgender.  But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a long time to go.  As of today, it is legal to fire someone on the basis for being transgender in over half of the states in the country.  According to the Human Rights Campaign:

Right now in 32 states there is no state law protecting transgender people from being fired for being who they are. Only 18 states (CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, IL, IA, MA, ME, MD — effective Oct. 2014, MN, NJ, NM, NV, OR, RI, VT and WA) and D.C. currently prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

We all have rights, but each day we hear of someone’s basic civil rights being violated.  Discrimination based on gender and race will likely always exist.  You have the right to be treated as a human being, but that doesn’t mean everyone will respect you and interact with you in the way you deserve, unfortunately.

You should also be aware of what the laws in your state are when it comes to using the restroom that align with your gender identity.  According to the ACLU:

There’s no clear answer here because very few courts have considered this question and the results have been mixed. In two recent positive decisions, an administrative agency in Colorado in 2013 and the Maine Supreme Court in 2014 both ruled that under those states’ gender identity discrimination laws, transgender girls had the right to use girls’ restrooms at their public schools. On the other hand, a 2001 Minnesota Supreme Court decision found that even a law prohibiting gender identity discrimination didn’t necessarily protect a transgender woman’s right to use the women’s restroom at work. And a federal appeals court in 2007 upheld the Utah Transit Authority’s decision to fire a transgender bus driver, based on a claim that her employer could be sued for her use of women’s public restrooms along her bus route. In a non-workplace context, a New York appeals court ruled in 2005 that it wasn’t sex discrimination for a building owner to prevent transgender people from using gender identity-appropriate restrooms in a building where several businesses shared restrooms.

Authorities in some jurisdictions (e.g., Colorado, Iowa, Oregon, Washington State, San Francisco, New York City, and the District of Columbia), however, have specifically said that denying transgender people the right to use a gender identity-appropriate restroom violates their nondiscrimination laws. Some jurisdictions (e.g., Iowa, San Francisco, and D.C.) go farther and make clear that transgender people can’t be required to prove their gender to gain access to a public restroom, unless everyone has to show ID to use that restroom. Other jurisdictions (e.g., Chicago) continue to allow businesses to decide whether a transgender patron may access men’s or women’s restrooms based on the gender on their ID, which may or may not reflect accurately the person’s gender identity.

Many businesses, universities, and other public places are installing single stall, gender-neutral restrooms, which alleviate many of the difficulties that transgender people experience when seeking safe restroom access. Some cities (such as Austin, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and West Hollywood) have local laws that require single-stall public restrooms to be labeled as unisex. While this is often a useful step towards addressing the concerns of transgender people and others, the ACLU believes that transgender people should have the right to use restrooms that match their gender identity rather than being restricted to only using gender-neutral ones.

My advice is to use a gender neutral bathroom if possible.  There is also an app and website called Refugee Restroom that, according to their website:

REFUGE is a web application that seeks to provide safe restroom access for transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming individuals. When the Safe2Pee website passed out of functionality it left a hole in our hearts. REFUGE picks up the torch where Safe2Pee left off and makes the valuable resource available to those who find themselves in need of a place to pee safely once again. Users can search for restrooms by proximity to a search location, add new restroom listings, as well as comment and rate existing listings. We seek to create a community focused not only on finding existing safe restroom access but also looking forward and participating in restroom advocacy for transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming folk.

Be aware of your rights.  Be safe.

Love, Hannah

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Ask Hannah!

Over a few years I have manged to separate and trim down my brows.  But as I get down to shaping them to be more femme I am getting nervous.  Any advice on how to create nice brows and not over do it?

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I like to keep my eyebrows well maintained.  It drives me crazy when they look unruly as the stray hairs start to grow back.  There’s really no getting around it that if you do start to shape, thin and/or arch your brows that they will look more feminine.  I get my brows threaded (google or youtube it), but you can also have them waxed.  If you decide to have a professional groom your brows, tell them what you want.  When I get my brows down, I ask the technician to clean them up, but I can also ask them to define them, shape them and thin them…either by a little or by a lot.  I would recommend visiting with a professional and telling them you’d like a little more shape to them, but not to overdo it.  They are professionals and trust me,  you won’t be the first man to ask for a little definition in your brows.

However, the truth is that most men do not groom and trim their eyebrows, so it’s quite likely yours will be noticed when in male mode…but its not very likely that anyone will say anything.  How often do you discuss someone’s eyebrows with them?

If you do not want to trim or arch them, you can also cover them up with a really good foundation and use an eyebrow pencil to define them.

Love, Hannah

 

Ask Hannah!

Hi Hannah.  Really have enjoyed reading your advice.  I love to dress, but have to keep it an absolute secret.  How do you approach that?  Try to just ignore feelings, or do things like wearing panties under clothes?  Any thoughts would be appreciated.

If there is one thing that over thirty years of crossdressing has taught me, its that this…desire, need, urge, call it what you will, will never go away.  This is who you are.  You cannot outgrow this, you cannot quit this,  you cannot deny this is who you are and what you want to wear.

I don’t think ignoring this part of us is useful.  Nor do I think it is effective.  I  believe if this is who you are, then you should let yourself be yourself.  I understand that this needs to be kept a secret.  I keep this a secret from almost everyone in my life but I still feel I can be myself.  I know some t-girls who dress up just a few times a year.  Sometimes they take a vacation and spend time as their other selves in a different city.  I know some girls who just check into a hotel for the weekend and dress up and never leave their room.  You just have to find a way to make it work.  It depends on how far you want to go.  For some, wearing a skirt while watching television is all they want.  There are those who just want to underdress.  For some, they want everything from the tips of their false eyelashes to the point of their stiletto.

Of course, you’ll want to consider who you are keeping this a secret from.  If you are married or in a committed relationship, I don’t think you should be deceptive.  I hope you can find a way to tell your significant other about this part of you.  It will, of course, likely come as a shock, but you will inevitably get caught, regardless of how careful you are, or think you are.  I hear stories on a fairly regular basis from crossdressers who were caught by their significant other and not only did they have the discussion about crossdressing itself, there was the additional issue of their partner being lied to.  If you told her you were on a business trip when you really spent the week visiting a different city and trying on heels, she will likely feel betrayed and deceived…because, quite honestly, you lied to her.  It will takes years for a relationship to recover from feeling deceived, if it recovers at all.  I think many partners are hurt more about being deceived than about the dressing itself.  I may have made a lot of mistakes in my life, but one thing I did right was telling my wife about myself after only a few months of dating.  I had to.  This is who I was and she deserved the truth.

I hope this helps!  Be safe and be honest.

Love, Hannah

 

 

 

 

 

Ask Hannah!

Hello I am a 24 year old who crossdresses. I am passable and I have a female friend (We grew up next door to each other and are only children) so she is like a sister to me. She has asked to be maid of honor in her wedding next summer. However she wants me to begin immediately living full time as a female so I am prepared for all the wedding stuff. She has offered a place to live and a job what do I do. Thanks.

I receive a lot of emails and from time to time I get a message along the lines of “…my wife’s best friend moved away and she misses having someone to go shopping with.  Now my wife wants me to live as a woman so she has a girlfriend again.  What should I do?”  My suspicion is that many of those messages are fake.  I think there are some crossdressers who are…intrigued, let’s call it, at the idea of someone else taking charge of their gender identity.  Perhaps there are those who want to dress/transition but taking comfort in the idea that it was the idea of someone else.  I am not sure, I cannot answer that question.  When I was in my teens I read anything I could about crossdressing and for a few of us, this is a fetish, fantasy or a sexual turn on.  There is a lot of fiction written about someone being crossdressed by someone else.  “I don’t want to be a girl but my aunt is making me dress up” or “I lost a bet and now I have to be a cheerleader” are popular themes.

I never was a fan of not being able to make your own decisions about who you are or what you wear.  For some, the above question is the ultimate fantasy.  Someone supportive in our lives, the chance of being a maid of honor and the offer of living full time as a woman.  I’m not one to say what fantasies one is allowed to have.  That’s the point, they are YOUR fantasies.  I am also not questioning the legitimacy of this email, either.

My point is that your gender identity is YOUR gender identity.  It is your decision and not one that can be maid by anyone else.  It is entirely up to you if you want to transition, dress up for a day, a month, a year or forever.  Please don’t let anyone make this decision for you.  Living full-time is a drastic life change and not a choice one should make at someone’s else request, nor should it be made lightly.

I would encourage you to seek out a gender counselor or therapist, join a support group, talk with your doctor and loved ones to determine if this is truly the direction you wish to go.

Best of luck!

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

If I sent you my pic would you give me your honest opinion if I would be passable to walk out?

I would never tell someone if they did or did not pass. I don’t believe in passing.
I believe in confidence.  I believe in loving how you look.  “Passing” and loving how you look and feel are two completely different things. When I walk through a mall wearing my favorite dress and heels I feel *amazing*.  I don’t care what anyone else thinks. What do I care if someone thinks that I am not beautiful? What do I care if someone knows that I am transgender?  It doesn’t affect me in the slightest.

Who decides if you pass or not? Who has the right to decide if you look feminine enough? What does that even mean? Women, whether trans or cis, all look different. Some cis-women are tall, have broad shoulders, hands of all sizes and have different facial features. Holding ourselves to a certain standard means that we have expectations as to what a cis-woman “should” look like. Here’s the reality: Some cis-women have large hands. Some are taller than men. Some have deep voices. Some have facial hair. Does this mean they don’t “pass”? Of course not. All cis-women are women (if they choose to identify that way, of course), all transwomen are women, no matter how anyone looks.

You are beautiful.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I am a beginner crossdresser.  Please tell me how to chose my dresses.

Creating your wardrobe is one of the most fun and expensive things you’ll ever do.  It will be even more expensive if you don’t purchase clothing that is the right size.  It’s important that you know your measurements and understand that the size on the tag doesn’t mean very much as each designer and store can have a different meaning of what a size is.

So, how do you find your measurements?

Find a measuring tape (not the tool kit kind, the ribbon kind) and take your measurements for different parts of your body:
-Waist measured at your belly button
-Bust measured at nipple height with or without forms/padding
-Chest measurement taken just under pectoral muscle (2 to 3 inches below nipple)

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I have a section on my blog that goes into more detail about shopping and sizing.  Read that section here.

The internet makes it very convenient to purchase and ultimately return clothing if it doesn’t fit.   It’s important you refer to the size charts on the store’s site in order to choose the right items.  I found a really cute dress on Amazon recently, but I know from experience to look at the size chart.

Here’s a typical screenshot from Amazon:

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Under the price, you can choose the size you’d like, as well as view a size chart.  This is a standard Amazon size chart and is rarely relevant.

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I ignore this.  Usually on the left side of the screen, among the alternate views, you’ll see the manufacturer’s size chart and will vary from dress to dress.  This is usually more accurate.

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I also will scroll to the bottom of the page and read the customer questions and reviews to see other shopper’s opinions.  I normally wear a size 12 or a large (unless it’s stretchy, then I go down to a 10), but according to this chart I am a size XL.

Taking a few moments to do you research will save you time and money.

Happy shopping!

Love, Hannah

 

Ask Hannah!

Hey Hannah, 
How accepting is your family?   Are they accepting and you can be Hannah around them?   Or do they not want to see it.
Coming out as transgender can be challenging to our loved ones.  My family is accepting, supportive and are definitely advocates of the LGBTQ community.  However, regardless of how much of an ally you are, it can be difficult when someone you love comes out.
Identifying as transgender can add additional questions to our loved ones.  I’ve written before how being transgender can mean something different from individual to individual.  Some of us have transitioned, or want to transition, and for some of us it’s never crossed our mind.  Accepting a family member as transgender isn’t easy, but there is also the additional question of what it means to them and possibly what’s next for them.
My family knows they can go shopping or have a cup of coffee with Hannah whenever they’d like, but I don’t press anyone with this part of me.  I have also written previously about how I  think it’s important we try to be conscious of who we are to our loved ones and be gentle and considerate when we come out.
Of course, if we waited for everyone we know to be “ready” to meet us, we may never get to be ourselves.  I also am speaking as someone who does not want to live full-time, so it’s easier for me to accommodate my dual genders and the rest of my life.  I realize everyone’s needs and lives our different, and can only speak for myself.
Love, Hannah