Ask Hannah!

Hi Hannah, I was wondering if you know of any transgender friendly hair salons that do wig styling in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area?

Hi! There are several places I would look into. All three of these businesses sell wigs.

Creative Hair Design
Merle Norman

Rita Ambourn

Anyone in the Twin Cities know of anywhere else?

Love, Hannah

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

The Complicated Legacy of Crossdressing

It’s amazing how many words are available for girls like us.  But it can be overwhelming when it comes to choosing how to identify.  Some crossdressers may feel that all of THIS is more about clothes, but they may not feel ready to identify as transgender… yet.  What is the difference between non-binary and being gender fluid?  Does any of this matter?  


I am thankful that some words are slowly making their way out of our lexicon.  Words like transvestite and transsexual have been outdated for a while and we are thankfully seeing them less often.  Words and their meanings change and evolve over time and I think the term ‘transgender’ has expanded to become more inclusive than it was perceived twenty years ago.  It used to predominately mean transitioning but identifying as such no longer necessarily means that.  I think many of us have our own personal definition of this word, I mean, I certainly do.  Some of us are scared of the word, some of us might not feel “trans enough”.  I mean, I get that, I was there at one point, too.  


As words such as non-binary and gender non-conforming (and the increase of people using them/they pronouns) become more familiar to those outside of our community, more people are becoming more accustomed to them.  Ten years ago identifying as non-binary would have resulted in confused stares, but today?  Well, probably still confused stares but at least it’s likely someone has at least heard the term before.  

I like non-binary.  I like gender fluid.  I think they are more inclusive and help break down a lot of the barriers and expectations (and limits) of BOY and GIRL.  I think more people would identify as non-binary if they had a better understanding of what the word actually means.  I’m non-binary (of course) but I feel bi-gender is a more accurate way to identify (as I am presenting as boy OR girl). 

 
The very first word I identified with was ‘crossdresser’.  The way my friend in middle school offhandedly described this word to me was a man who wore women’s clothes.  And goodness if that didn’t describe me when I was younger.  I loved the word, mainly because I was comforted by the fact that there were so many others like myself that we had a word to call ourselves.  I carried this word in my heart for years.


When I was in college the internet was a new thing.  On my very first day of my freshman year I went to the library, plugged in the modem and searched the word ‘crossdresser’.  I wanted to see what I could find.  I wanted to get to know (but not meet) other crossdressers and read about their experiences and their lives.  I was… surprised and taken aback by how… well, sexual the results were. 

Most of the search results came back portraying crossdressing as a fetish.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a fetish or a kink, but this is who I was, not something I did to arouse myself.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but the word ‘crossdresser’ became forever linked in my mind to something sexual.


As I got older I realized that the term was associated with fetishism more than I thought.  Crossdressers were often portrayed as deviants and perverts in movies and books.  It was always, always, always about sex.  Of course this would shape how others outside of our community would think of the word ‘crossdresser’.  It was frustrating, to say the least.  What I wore had nothing to do with sex, and eventually I started to wonder if this WAS a fetish since everyone else seemed to think it was.  But I knew in my heart that it wasn’t.  It was intimate, absolutely, but not a kink.  


We are forever cycling through thoughts of who we are and why we are.  Am I a crossdresser?  Am I transgender?  Am I non-binary?  For me, it’s yes to all of it.  I wore and wear “girl clothes” because I am non-binary.  I don’t think clothes are for boys OR girls OR any other gender.  They are just clothes and I love wearing clothes that are “for girls”.  I don’t feel limited to what I can wear, or what I do wear.  There are no men’s or women’s departments in stores.  I shop wherever I need or want to.  It’s true certain clothes make me feel a certain way.  Let’s face it, it’s more fun to wear a dress than it is to wear a shirt and tie, but I’ll wear what I want.  I mean, not really.  I want to wear a dress to the office but I know I won’t, but it would be fun, wouldn’t it?


Our collective thinking in society is evolving (slowly and kicking and screaming along the way) in the way we think about gender.  However the word ‘crossdresser’ still seems to be associated with sex.  Given that there are so many ways to identify these days, is it time to “retire” the word?  I don’t see the stigma of the word going away anytime soon and I think it will be a loooooooong time until people stop thinking of the word as a fetish, so perhaps it’s time to move on.


What do you think?


Love, Hannah

(thanks to my friend Marci for inspiring this post)

New En Femme Blog!

My new blog for En Femme is up!

The latest from blogger, trans-activist and fashionista, Hannah McKnight is now available in our Learning Center! Hannah’s blog discusses more in-depth her life as a self-described T-girl. 

In her newest article, Hannah talks about finding the support we need, especially after coming out to someone in our lives doesn’t go as hoped.  Read it now>>

Love, Hannah

Time, Money, and Patience

If I have a philosophy, it’s “crossdressing takes time, money, and patience”.


This side of us takes time because we learn over time.  We get better at makeup the more often we put makeup on.  None of us are born with a steady hand and are able to do a perfect cat-eye every time we wear eyeliner.  Time is also essential when it comes to embracing this side of us.  I fully believe we are born this way, even if this side of us doesn’t “wake up” until later in life.  I was always this way but when I was very young and I saw the mannequins at JC Penney wearing beautiful lingerie… well, something just clicked.  Like a butterfly pushing its way out of a cocoon.  It took time to acknowledge this side of me, to accept it wasn’t a phase, and to embrace who I was.  Each stage took time, it took a long time to get to where I am today.


Crossdressing or presenting en femme isn’t cheap, at least it isn’t for me.  Sure, I can put panties or a nightgown on and I am crossdressing.  It’s about as inexpensive as crossdressing gets.  But being en femme is another story altogether.  Before I even get dressed or put on makeup, I am wearing my breast forms, thigh pads, and corset.  All of these things give me the figure I want when I am en femme and these things are not cheap.  For me, they’re worth the cost as I look at them as an investment and I see the return on my investment every time I am dressed up.  It sounds silly but when I see a curvy figure in my shadow I get a little thrill.  Clothes aren’t cheap, makeup isn’t cheap.  I had a makeup lesson a few years ago which wasn’t free but again, it was an investment.  Photo shoots, which I acknowledge are not something every t-girl does, take a lot of work and money from booking the studio, getting outfits, paying my photographer, and a professional makeover.  We learn a lot when we build our wardrobe and buy makeup.  If we don’t know how to find our measurements we likely will waste a lot of money on clothes that don’t fit.  You (for the most part) get what you pay for when it comes to makeup.  Sure, foundation from Walgreens might be 5-6 dollars, but that won’t work when it comes to what I need foundation to do.  I need my foundation to mix well with color correcting and to cover my facial hair and to act as a good base for more foundation for contouring.  The foundation I need runs about $40.  


And finally, patience.  This is the hardest part for me.  It was very disheartening to see how I looked the first time I did my own makeup.  The first time I wore a wig.  I expected to be totally transformed but I looked like the boy me in bad makeup and a cheap wig.  I mean, that’s not unfair to say.  The wig was cheap (there’s the money part again), and my makeup was rushed (oh, and here’s the time thing again).  I expected to look AMAZING the first time I did my own makeup but I was… well, I didn’t look amazing.  It was a little discouraging and I COULD have given up on all of this (I mean, not really, I can’t quit being trans no more than I can quit being tall or being right-handed) but I tried again the next weekend after my wife showed me a little more technique when it came to my foundation and reading more about color correcting.  I looked a little better, at at least, a little less terrible.  Patience was also key when it came to wearing a proper corset.  Corsets require seasoning (essentially breaking them in) and the first time I wore my current corset I thought I would DIE after a half hour.  It was painful and I couldn’t see how on earth I could get used to it.  But I kept at it followed the instructions and took my training seriously.  These days I can wear my corset for ten hours without even noticing it.  Thank god I invested my time and was patient with it.


I got to thinking about all of this a couple weeks ago when I was getting dressed.  In the early days my wife and I would have a girls night on Saturdays and I would get dolled up.  It took about thirty minutes to get dressed and do my makeup.  These days it takes that same amount of time to just put on my corset, stockings, pads, and forms.  Being en femme takes more prep work and planning than it used to.  For example, for the longest time I wore nylons or tights and I could wear a short dress or skirt without thinking about it.  These days I prefer stockings held up by garters attached to my corset.  A short skirt can show my garters and stocking tops and I don’t want to do that.  I mean, it’s kind of sexy to do that (if that’s the effect I am going for) but it’s not appropriate for a day at the mall.  So my outfit is planned around my corset, in a way but usually my outfits are built around the heels I am wearing that day, and my heels are planned on what I am doing.  If there’s a lot of walking or standing I’ll wear certain heels compared to my six inch platform stilettos.  Once I have my heels chosen then my outfit comes next.  My makeup is usually done to watch my outfit, not only in terms of colors and shades, but also in terms of, well, intensity and drama.  If I am wearing a bright flowery dress than my makeup is more colorful and cute.  Leather or a little black dress?  Vamp me up.


I have come a long way, even in the last five years, and it’s all due to these three things.  I get asked a lot about how does one crossdress and yes, I can be bitchy and tell them to wear panties or lipstick and ta-da, you’re crossdressing.  But that’s not helpful.  Crossdressing requires a wardrobe of course, no matter how big or small it is.  I mean, you can’t crossdress without SOMETHING, but once you start thinking about this other than about clothes, you need to know that this is a side of yourself that you need to invest your time in, spend your money on, and be kind to yourself while you are being patient.

Love, Hannah

Secrets of MtF Crossdressing

Sybil Minnelli is a long time crossdresser, balancing her kink lifestyle with a vanilla family and work life. She’ll teach you her secrets of crossdressing, how she balances dual lives, and how she switches her presentation between casual, passable, and fetish themes. Ms. Sybil will share her advice on makeup, hair, clothes, shoes and how to get the look you desire. However, she does lead an interactive class and will encourage others to share their secrets as well. Attend as dressed up as you like and enjoy a very safe, friendly and comfortable environment. Be prepared for a lot of fun discussion about reaching your femme side!

This class is held at the Bondesque store at 707 West Lake Street Minneapolis, MN 55408

T-Girl Survival Guide

Hi!

The most read part of this website is “A Beginner’s Guide to Crossdressing” and to be honest that makes me so happy.  The point of this site is to provide resources and help to girls like us.  I try to be helpful and offer advice when and where I can.  I think one of my strengths is offering a perspective on identifying as anything but cisgender when it comes to how we see ourselves and how we move through our lives and through the world.  For example, I can’t do anything about how tall some of us are, but I can remind us that no one is too tall to be femme.  


When it comes to stepping out en femme, I am only too happy to share my experiences in regards to facing the world.  I started to think the other day that most of my adventures have been, for the most part, either positive or at least uneventful.  And honestly, anyone can have a good experience en femme when the rest of the world (or the mall) doesn’t really care or notice a girl like us.  Most of the time things go right and we all move on with our lives.


For many of us this side of us is a secret.  We not only are scared that someone will recognize us, we are also terrified someone will see the panties hidden in our dresser drawer or our browser history.  We protect ourselves, or more accurately, we protect her at any cost.  


We are paranoid and terrified when it comes to the beautiful side of who we are. 


Again, almost all of my outings have been uneventful, but what happens when we are en femme and things don’t go smoothly?  What happens if someone accidentally sees our femme Facebook account?  What about getting a flat tire when we are out?  When I am in boy mode and things go wrong I just handle it.  If I have car problems I call a tow truck.  If I saw a friend of mine while dining out I would say hello.  But if these things happen when I am en femme then it’s completely different.  Things will go wrong and I feel mostly prepared for problems that likely won’t happen, but I am terrified about car problems when I am en femme.  The last thing I want to do is watch some tow truck driver hoist my car onto his truck and offer me a ride back to the shop.  I mean, I know it’s not much different than interacting with a barista or a salesclerk, but when I am en femme I choose how I spend my day and who I interact with, no one really plans on chatting up mechanics as they tell you that your alignment or whatever is messed up.


But these things happen, and they will happen.  Sure I can change a tire but I am not doing it in stilettos and a LBD.  Yes, I’ve gone to the emergency room but never after a makeover.  If these things happen to me you can be certain I will write about it, but they (knock on wood) haven’t. 

Really, the scariest thing that happened to me was at Pride a few years ago when the wind caused a tent to flip over which hit me on the head and I was treated by the EMTs.  I still have the scar, but thankfully it’s the only scar (physical, emotional, and mental) I have related to being out en femme.
But I’m sure things have happened to others.


I would like your help in putting together somewhat of a survival guide.  And I know that sounds a little extreme but it’s the best way I can describe it.  If you have had a negative (or frustrating or terrifying or even a funny) experience out en femme, how did you handle it?  How did others respond?  If you had something happen, something other than pleasant or uneventful, I would love to read (and post) your experience on this site.


Some of the things I have in mind:


-Car problems (or getting pulled over)

-Being recognized en femme

-Your social media page being discovered-Someone seeing your bra strap when you are in boy mode

-Flying pretty

-“Getting caught”

-Trying on heels at the mall in boy mode

-Anything else that you might helpful


Please send me an email (hannahgotta@gmail.com) with the subject line “T-Girl Survival Guide” and I’ll be happy to share it with others.


Thanks!

Love, Hannah

The Return of the MN T-Girls Again

Yesterday was the first MN T-Girls meeting since November. We took a pause due to COVID but now that the weather is warmer (for Minnesota in April, anyway) I felt it was safe(r) to resume our monthly adventures This was our second return as we took our first COVID pause last March and returned (for the first time) in May of last year.

This month wasn’t tooooo elaborate, just coffee and girl talk with the girls but it was good to see my friends again.

It was chilly, but at least I looked cute. Well, I thought I looked cute.

Love, Hannah

Secrets of MtF Cross-Dressing

My friend Sybil is hosting a crossdressing workshop at Bondesque in Minneapolis on Tuesday, April 20th!

 Sybil Minnelli is a long time cross-dresser, balancing her kink lifestyle with a vanilla family and work life. She’ll teach you her secrets of cross-dressing, how she balances dual lives, and how she switches her presentation between casual, passable, and fetish themes. Ms. Sybil will share her advice on makeup, hair, clothes, shoes and how to get the look you desire. However, she does lead an interactive class and will encourage others to share their secrets as well. Attend as dressed up as you like and enjoy a very safe, friendly and comfortable environment. Be prepared for a lot of fun discussion about reaching your fem side!

Tickets available here!

Love, Hannah