Because We Can Can Can

Yesterday was the monthly MN T-Girl s event and it was a very unique outing. The group has had private shopping events and lovely dinners but this month? We had some fun.

Can Can Wonderland is… well, it’s an arcade, a restaurant, and an indoor mini-golf art installation in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

For some reason the girls have asked throughout the years to go mini-golfing and who am I to disagree?

So, about a half-dozen of us spent a rainy Saturday playing pinball and vintage video games. I didn’t get a chance to play any golf but the course looked amazing.

It was a nice break from packing and work stress and I can’t wait to go back!

Love, Hannah

Her Journey

If there’s anything I’ve learned after over ten years of blogging (do they still call it that anymore??) about crossdressing/transfeminity it’s that we all have so much in common. Most of us “got started” very young when we became enamored with anything from pretty dresses to lingerie to makeup. Many of us didn’t feel quite right doing “boy things” or bristled at the idea of BOY clothes or GIRL clothes.

We have shared experiences when it comes to what makes us happy. The joy of wearing panties for the first time. The excitement of finding heels that fit. The exhilaration of our reflections after our first makeover. The feeling of conquering all fears when we step out of the house en femme for the first time… or the thousandth.

We have also felt less desirable emotions. The crushing dysphoria when we don’t look as cute as we would like. Feeling we are “too male” to be pretty. The shame we are told to feel when we do or wear anything that is considered feminine.

Buuuut something we don’t talk about much is the… well, bad things that some of us do.

And I am not innocent by any means.

When I look back at the early years of when my wife and I were both discovering the depth of my gender identity I made a lot of decisions that were selfish and not completely thought through. I may have been lost in the Pink Fog or affected by a different kind of fog but the point is that I wasn’t always making the right choices.

What do I mean? Back then I spoke endlessly about clothes and makeup. All of THIS was overwhelming as it was but I didn’t pick up, or I ignored my wife’s cues when she needed a break from her husband babbling about high heels. I kept suggesting she and I go out dressed despite her telling me that she wasn’t ready for that.

I felt a little powerless when it came to the hold that my femme side had on me. It was overwhelming for my wife but it was also overwhelming for me as well. All of these desires and longings came rushing out, like a dam breaking and I just couldn’t find the balance of how THIS would fit into my life, my marriage.

This side of is complicated and multi-faceted and touches on all aspects of our lives and it’s easy to connect the dots as to how this revelation (not only to our partners but to ourselves as well) impacts EVERYTHING.

Having any sort of non-cisgender identity is hard enough as it is for our partners but we often put them through stress and fears as we try to navigate these strange new waters. My wife wondered (to say the least) if I was going to transition. Despite me telling her otherwise it was hard for her to believe this at the rate I was going. Discovering who you are is a journey but from her perspective this part of my journey wasn’t a slow, steady wandering… it was going a million miles an hour.

Nothing I said or did eased her concerns or fears. It took time. It took conversation. It required me to stop drinking. It took counseling. It took self-reflection. I “calmed down” over time. I made friends with other t-girls and found support, even if it was just a friend to go shoe shopping with. I LISTENED to my wife. And I committed to doing the things that she needed from her partner, her husband… from Hannah.

Accepting your own gender identity isn’t necessarily easy. Marriage takes effort. Both of these things together?? Buckle up.

I am fortunate she stuck by me. After all, THIS wasn’t what she signed up for. I think some people are afraid of what would happen if their partner had an affair… but not many people speculate on what their life would be impacted by their partner coming out as anything other than cis of straight.

Earlier this year I wrote the longest article in the history of the internet (obviously I am exaggerating) and it has generated a lot of emails… mostly from partners of crossdressers.

I mentioned above how much we have in common when it comes to what we wear or how similar our journeys are… but these emails have reminded me how similar the journeys of our partners are.

My journey wasn’t completely easy but it has had so many amazing moments. Photo shoots, finding THE dress, going out en femme…

My wife’s journey? Stress. Fear. Apprehension. Annoyance. Anger. Exhaustion. Confusion. This was, this is HER journey. A journey she did not plan for or expect or want to have.

My journey brought happiness and stilettos. Her journey had few bright spots.

This side of us impacts our spouses and significant others in many of the same ways. Our partners wonder if they themselves aren’t pretty or feminine enough. The same fears of us wanting to transition. The same lack of trust that this revelation came bring.

What has surprised me the most over the years of exchanging emails with partners of crossdressers is that *most* are actually fine with their man wearing panties. They may not understand but they get that this side of us isn’t going away.

But it’s the other things that this side of us brings that causes the most stress… anger… fear… annoyance… among other things.

For example:

My husband only wants to be the girl in the bedroom

My husband keeps asking me to go out en femme with him but I am not ready

My husband lied

My husband spent money on clothes when it was needed to make the car payment

My husband is posting photos of himself online when we agreed on not doing that

And so on.

None of these things are about crossdressing ITSELF. It’s about the other things we are prone to do.

I am not calling anyone out. Again, I am not innocent and I think it’s important that we acknowledge what our partners experience. It’s easy to be selfish and neglect our partner’s fears and insecurities and thoughts.

God knows I know this.

Love, Hannah

New En Femme Blog!

My new blog for En Femme has been posted!

I hope you like it!

Love, Hannah

The latest from Hannah McKnight, our resident fashionista, is now in the Learning Center! Hannah’s last installment of “Building a Better Wardrobe” is now available where she talks shoes and jewelry. Read the first part of Hannah’s series or read all of Hannah’s advice in the Learning Center.  Read it Now>>

Ask Hannah!

I’m in the Twin Cities and rocking a new wig… I want to make sure it’s well maintained, so I wanted to ask if you know of any trans friendly wig services (specifically for washing) in the area.

I can’t say enough good things about Creative Hair Design! The MN T-Girls visited there a few months ago and it’s where I bought my current ‘do.

They have two locations. One is appointment only, the other accepts walk-ins.

Have fun!

Love, Hannah

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

Ask Hannah!

Hi Hannah I would love advice on how to deal with the guilt that dressing causes discomfort for your partner. I’m married and my wife has known about my dressing the duration of our relationship. We experimented briefly but she didn’t enjoy it so I have always dressed in private. 16 yrs later, I’ve come to realize I need to explore this side of me more (I’m not transitioning, just taking my dressing beyond hiding in our bedroom). She is standing with me and we are in couples therapy. I feel so grateful I am finally getting to explore my feminine side in ways I’ve dreamed about for years … but I feel terrible my exploration is putting her in a difficult position (having to work through the associated feelings etc). Any suggestions on how to work through this?

Crossdressing and guilt seems to go hand in hand. In a lot of different ways.

Some of us feel guilt when we crossdress because we are told it’s wrong and it’s against God or societal norms and that it’s a sin. Growing up Catholic I am very familiar with how easy it is to feel guilt when I am “sinning” although I never thought God cared about what I wore. I think God, and other deity, is beyond comprehension and human imposed societal gender norms aren’t anything that God pays any attention to.

I have felt guilty when it comes to my crossdressing for different reasons at different points in my life. The first girlfriend that I came out to wasn’t that enthusiastic about her boyfriend wearing panties. She asked for assurance that I had outgrown that “phase” and I promised I would stop. I tried to NEVER DO IT AGAIN but of course we all know how quitting crossdressing goes.

I failed spectacularly at quitting crossdressing.

In this case I felt a tremendous amount of guilt when I inevitably would wear panties. I felt I was going behind her back and I was breaking my promise to her. I mean, that’s exactly what was happening. I WAS going behind her back. I DID break my promise to her.

Fast forward to where I am today and I still feel guilt but in a different way. Generally speaking I feel I am a pretty selfless person but there are times when my femme life becomes… inconvenient.

Case in point, this upcoming weekend. I have a photo shoot booked to review a couple of items and, if I am being honest, to be a little self-indulgent. Photo shoots take a lot of coordination and planning. The studio, my photographer, my makeup artist, working with designers to schedule upcoming reviews…

This particular shoot has been in the works for almost a month. Whether it’s a shoot or a MN T-Girls event I always chat with my wife to make sure that the date doesn’t conflict with her plans.

Buuuut sometimes stuff happens. As I mentioned the other day we are in the process of moving and it is looking like we are having an open house on the day of the shoot. On one hand we both need to be out of the house anyway, but while I am getting my makeup done or modeling a dress my wife will be taking care of conversations with our realtor and doing any last minute touches on the house.

I will feel a tremendous amount of guilt that day.

It’s not as simple as canceling my shoot as this would impact a lot of people.

These are two examples of feeling guilty. Some of us feel guilt when we are going behind our partner’s back. In this case guilt comes from being dishonest. So, um, stop doing that. And yes, it’s not as simple as it sounds.

And I’ve been there in previous relationships.

Some of us feel guilt when we spend more money on clothes than we probably should. This is similar to going behind our partner’s back. Our significant others may know that we bought on a new pair of stilettos buuuuut maybe we told them they cost much less than they really were.

Again, don’t do this.

I don’t feel guilty about crossdressing anymore. I don’t think I am sinning and I am certainly not going behind my wife’s back.

But I do feel guilt when this side of me takes me away from my responsibilities as a spouse such as this upcoming photo shoot.

It sounds like you are being upfront and honest with your wife and your femme side. That’s good! From what you’re saying it doesn’t sound like you have a secret life. But this side of us does put our partners through a LOT.

Our partners will likely have a lot of feelings and fears when it comes to our gender identity and our wardrobe preferences. Like anything our significant others experience we need to be patient, caring, empathetic, and good listeners.

We also need to be worth it.

Keep being honest with her, take her feelings and fears seriously, and communicate, not only in therapy but in every room in your house.

Love, Hannah

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

I Dreamed…

When I was in college I took a design class and we studied a lot of older advertisements. It was shocking at how casual some of the ads were when it came to things like smoking and how sexist some of them were, but one series that stood out to me was the Maidenform Bra ads.

These ads showed very happy women doing random things from shopping to putting out fires all while wearing the above mentioned bra.

You can see more of these bizarre ads here.

I can only speculate what the purpose of these ads were. My guess is that the Maidenform Bra fit perfectly and you could wear one all day long and never feel uncomfortable in it.

Of course, as a crossdresser, the ads took on a different meaning for me.

I also had dreams of wearing a bra while I went about my day. Of course, I would be underdressing but still, I could wear a gorgeous bra while I did mundane, everyday things.

My daydreaming went beyond a bra, however. In time I dreamed of going to the mall en femme. I dreamed of sleeping in a nightgown. I dreamed of makeovers. I dreamed of skyscraper stilettos.

If I had known that later in my life I would have the wardrobe that I have now or would have the adventures that I do, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Some dreams come true.

Love, Hannah

We Should Totally Be In The Pink Zone

Oh hi!

It’s Pride week here in Minneapolis/Saint Paul and the sparkly pink glitter really hits the fan with this weekend’s festival.

The MN T-Girls will be there on Saturday and we look forward to seeing you. We will be in space 078 (in the Orange Zone) and you can find us on the map:

We should totally be in the Pink Zone though.

Come by and see us unless you’re a creep.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I would love to get your expert opinion on something. I’m wondering if I should go to a crossdressing service for a makeover. My wife has known about my interests from early in our relationship. It has been a contentious topic at times (it’s something she doesn’t understand and doesn’t want to engage in) but we have settled with an understanding that I can dress whenever no one else is home.

I met my wife early after school and while she was ok with me doing it alone, she doesn’t want to be around it. As a result, I have some outfits but never do my make up or paint my nails or wear a wig because I’m too afraid I won’t take it all off before my family gets home. In therapy, I’ve come to the understanding that I want to be dressed like a girl with someone else (non sexual) but I am terrified of exposing that side of me to someone else. I am trying to work through this as I think about dressing pretty constantly and I know it’s not healthy (something needs to change). I live in an area with a service that offers crossdressing make overs … they do outfits, make up, nails, wig, everything. I feel like that would help fulfill my inner desire of both truly dressing head to toe like a girl and doing so with someone who would accept me. I brought it up with my wife and she is uneasy that it could leave me at risk for public exposure. She tries to be understanding of my desires but also wishes I could “just stop.” Would love your thoughts? Do you see a reason why going for a makeover would be a problem? Could it be helpful / beneficial? Thank you so much!

There’s really nothing like girl talk and being en femme from wig to heels is truly magical.

If you are fortunate enough to have a transformation salon in your area then I would absolutely encourage you to go…

IF (you knew there would be an if) your wife is onboard. Many of us have partners that we would, in your words, “just stop” but we all know that’s not going to happen. It sounds like your wife, although she doesn’t understand this side of you, understands that this is a part of you. So, you have that much. You have more than most of us.

As for any potential problems, there are some issues to consider. If you do this, do not go behind her back. Keep in mind that this side of us is not going away and can often lead to the Pink Fog. The Pink Fog can influence our decisions and can cause us to do things we PROBABLY shouldn’t. For me, I can’t resist a photo shoot for very long. If you go, I think you will have one of the best days of your life… and it won’t be long until you want to go again. BUT these services are expensive. Multiple visits may cause tension between you and your wife, but they may also impact your financially as well.

Listen to her. Listen to her what she says while you discuss this. Listen to what she doesn’t say. Notice her nonverbal communication, her body language. If you think this would be a very contentious decision, it may not be the wisest choice.

The biggest commitment we make in our lives is the one we make to our partners. We must respect them and their feelings.

I don’t want to be a wet blanket and I applaud your communication with her. Keep doing that. Keep living within any boundaries she’s requested. Keep going to therapy. Keep being honest.

Love, Hannah

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

Dragged Up Memories: A History of Twin Cities Drag

Minnesota Monthly has an article about the history of drag in the Twin Cities. I suppose the title of this blog entry kind of gave away what today’s post is about.

Although I am not a drag queen I am fascinated by how amazing some queens look. The makeup skill, the heels, and the clothes.

Fun fact! The queen in the picture is Julia Starr. Julia used to do makeovers for MAC when there was a store/salon in Uptown (a neighborhood in Minneapolis). I had my makeup done by Julia several times and my goodness I looked AMAZING. My cheekbones and contouring have never looked better.

Love, Hannah

New En Femme Blog!

My new blog for En Femme has been posted!

I hope you like it!

Love, Hannah

The Learning Center: Building a Better Wardrobe Part 2!

New in the Learning Center is Hannah McKnight’s latest article on Building a Better Wardrobe – Part 2. Hannah knows a thing or two about clothing and what she looks for to create a look for herself. But when just starting out, it’s nice to have some advice. Or you may be wanting to go beyond that first item you purchased and now you’d like to go a little further.  Hannah is here to help.

As always, Hannah imparts her wisdom in this first part of building a better wardrobe for yourself such as tops, skirts & dresses. Read it now>>