Ask Hannah!

Hi Hannah, I’ve been cross dressing for almost 2 years now. Was it hard to go out in public for the first time, and what was your friends and family’s response?

It was hard to go out the first time, but each time I’ve gone out it has gotten easier.  The first time you go out, I would recommend going to a PFLAG meeting or another LGBTQ support group.  Knowing you are going to meet a supportive group of people will make our first time out a little easier.

Before you go out, please make sure you are ready.  Before I go out, I always make sure my purse has:

-Eyeliner

-Lipstick

-Finishing powder

-Mascara

That’s the fun stuff.  The reality is that I have a lot more in my purse than makeup.  I recommend every t-girl have the following in their purse:

-Cash.  This is pretty obvious but I use cash for everything when I go out.  If I want to get a coffee or need to pay for parking, I use cash.  I like cash because I don’t run the risk of turning over my credit card (with my male name) to a cashier.  I also bring my debit and credit card just in case.

-Proof of car insurance.  If you get into an accident or get pulled over, you’ll need to provide proof of insurance.  Simple enough but plan for the worst.

-Fully charged cell phone.  Pretty self-explanatory.  You’ll need it in case of emergency.  Any emergency.

-Roadside assistance information.  You need to know who to contact if you get a flat tire.  Sure, I can change a tire myself, but no way I am doing that in a dress or heels.

-Driver’s license.  Again, if you get pulled over…

-Spare car key.  If you’re not used to carrying a purse, you might forget to place your keys in it.  A spare key tucked in your purse saves a call to a locksmith.

-Medical insurance card.  Again, plan for the worst.

-A friend.  I don’t mean bring a friend with you, though shopping is a lot more fun if you do, but if you’re out to anyone in your life, drop them a message to let them know you’re stepping out.  It’s good to let someone know you’re out on the town in case you need help.

-I would also recommend downloading the Uber or Lyft app.  If you run into car troubles and need help, having this on your phone can be a lifesaver.  I have an app on my phone and I have multiple accounts associated with it.  One for my male life, one for Hannah.  I’ve used Uber as both genders and I’ve never had an issue.

Where should you go?

Anywhere you want, but plan ahead.  Is there a GLBT friendly coffee shop in town?  Maybe start there.  Or a GLBT bar?  That’s another option.  For your first time out, some of us go someplace where they’re used to seeing girls like us.  It’s important to get used to being out in public and it’s easier if you know you’re not the first t-girl, or the only t-girl there.  If there’s not a place like that in your area, I bet there’s a PFLAG or a Tri-Ess chapter that meets near you.

Being comfortable out will take time but you will get there.  I never thought I’d go to a restaurant or a mall or a gas station in heels, but I do it all the time.

Not comfortable yet in your area?  Drive to a bigger city.  Get a hotel room there, have an adventure!  Bigger cities tend to be more liberal and open minded than smaller towns.  When I go to downtown Minneapolis, I walk down the street confident in knowing I am not the first or last transgirl to strut that street that day.  Bigger cities have seen girls like us before.

Will people see you?  Of course they will.  You’re out in public.  Will they point?  Will they laugh?  Will they whisper behind your back?  Maybe.  But really, so what?  I go out all the time and very, very rarely does anything like that happen.  And the more often I go out, the less I notice it.  Will people recognize you?  Maybe.  If you’re afraid of that happening, again, go to a different town.

I know I was nervous people would point and snicker while I was out in the real world, but that hasn’t really happened to me.  I’ve interacted with everyone from baristas to shop clerks to gas station employees to waiters and I’ve never had a bad experience.  No one has been rude or laughed or anything.  The world is a wonderful place sometimes.

Safety is the number one concern, of course.  I know what parts of my city are safer and I’m sure you do too so don’t go there.  Go somewhere where you can park in a well lit area as well.  Going out for the first time is nerve wracking enough but going someplace a little iffy is just adding more stress that you don’t need.

Looking back, I have only come out to my friends who are LGBTQ, and it’s all gone very well.  Now that I think about it, I have only come out to maybe five friends.

Coming out to my mom and sisters were both very different experiences.  I think if I were to do it all over again, I definitely would do things differently.   I’ve written a little about this previously.  But, the short version is that my family loves me, they understand me as best they can and I love them.

Love, Hannah

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Ask Hannah!

Hey I’m a boy 19 years old.  I want spent some time as a Sexy girl but due to my surrounding people and my image I can’t able to complete my desire. Please suggest something that helps me to full fill my desire to become a girl without knowing anyone.

As someone who has been dressing, to various degrees, for decades, I understand needing to be discreet.  For myself, freedom to dress came with age.  You stated you are 19 so it’s not unreasonable to assume you still live at home.  When I had my first apartment I was able to buy heels for the first time and to start building a wardrobe without having to purge it every few days out of fear someone would find the new skirt I bought.

I also understand the need to keep both gender identities secret.  I don’t want to be seen at the mall looking at dresses in male mode, so thank goodness I can shop online.  I wish I had that option when I was your age.

If you want to keep your dressing a secret, you really have only two choices.

-You can get your own apartment.  I understand that is easier said than done, but that’s the reality.  I suppose you could just hide your clothes somewhere in your room where they are unlikely to be found and only dress when no one else is home, but there is still a chance someone will find out.

-Get a hotel room and dress in private.  This is expensive and not exactly feasible, but it is a choice.

I wish I had more helpful advice.  I will say that it gets better, and easier, once you have a place to call your own.

Love, Hannah

 

 

Ask Hannah!

Hi Hannah love reading your articles would you know a group in U.K. or person like yourself xxx

Thank you!  There are many transgender support groups all over the planet and a quick Google search provides a few resources.

 

Mermaids

Mermaids is passionate about supporting children, young people, and their families to achieve a happier life in the face of great adversity. We work to raise awareness about gender nonconformity in children and young people amongst professionals and the general public. We campaign for the recognition of gender dysphoria in young people and lobby for improvements in professional services.

The Beaumont Society 

The Beaumont Society was founded in 1966 as a self-help and social organisation for transgender people. We are still here, over fifty years later, in a very different social climate, with a broader membership but with the same aims. We became a charity in 2010 to enable us to meet those aims more effectively.

Transfigurations

Transfigurations is a transgender support group based in the South West of the UK.  It was set up to help all trans people (transsexual, transvestite, intersex, genderqueer, trans youth etc.) come to terms with their gender identity and provide a safe meeting place whilst they explore their feelings. 

Stonewall

We’re here to let all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, here and abroad, know they’re not alone.  We believe we’re stronger united, so we partner with organisations that help us create real change for the better. We have laid deep foundations across Britain – in some of our greatest institutions – so our communities can continue to find ways to flourish, and individuals can reach their full potential. We’re here to support those who can’t yet be themselves.

I am certain there are thousands of trans people in the U.K., but I don’t know anyone personally.  🙂  You may want to create a profile on The Gender Society, a UK based transgender forum and start there.

If you are looking to meet others like us, or if the above groups aren’t quite what you’re looking for, you may want to consider starting your own group.  That was the reason I started the MN T-Girls.   There are many transgender support groups in Minnesota, however I wanted to find a group that emphasized the social aspect of who we are.  I wanted to make friends and go shopping and out to dinner but I didn’t know of a group like that…so I started one.

I wanted to make some friends to go shopping with and to have a coffee with once in a while.   As Hannah, I am very social.  I like to do things with other people, I like to talk and socialize so I decided to make some friends.

I had started attending a local crossdresser support group and I met a lot of really wonderful people but I didn’t really identify with them.  Most of the group were those who had transitioned or who were about to.  It was a terrific support group for those who needed that support more than anything else.  Me, I just wanted to make a friend to hit the mall with.

Creating, organizing and maintaining a group like this is a challenge and can be frustrating at times.  But it is also very rewarding and fun.  it takes a lot of patience and professionalism and dedication.  It takes commitment.  It is a lot of hard work.  It takes a lot of my time.  However, through the group I’ve been able to do many amazing things and I am constantly looking for new adventures for us.

Love, Hannah

 

 

 

 

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

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?

cropped-23.jpg

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