Everyday Lives

I am so used to being who I am that sometimes I lose sight of the uniqueness and strangeness that Hannah’s life is. It’s so normal for me to do what I do. I’ve gotten so accustomed to everything that makes up Hannah’s world whether it is reviewing lingerie or organizing MN T-Girl events or scheduling makeovers or setting up a photoshoot.

You know, things that aren’t part of my boy world. Things that aren’t a part of most people’s lives, regardless of their gender.

Sometimes I take a step back and look at, well, everything and I am reminded that although things are normal for me, they are also very different than what most people do or think about.

I was reminded of the contrast this weekend when I had coffee with someone I’ve been looking forward to meeting for a few years.

I woke up early, had coffee while scrolling through Twitter, shaved, put on a stocking, tore it, then put on another and then another. Tucked, cinched my corset, hooked my bra, put my breast forms on, wiggled into a dress, slipped on my wig, zipped up my knee-high boots, clipped my earrings, and strutted out the door.

After my makeover I visited a few stores and then I went to a coffee shop to meet the legendary Sybil, a fetish model based in the Twin Cities. We chatted about, well, all of this. Balancing commitments, professional careers and marriage and things that make up a life… or, in our cases, lives.

Anyone listening to this conversation would have been understandingly baffled and unable to relate to what a normal day was like for Sybil or myself. This unique life of different worlds and different genders is something many of you may be are able to identify with as well. Normality is relative.

After coffee I went home, changed to a boy, took the dog for a walk, and then ran an errand. I returned home, ordered a pizza which my wife picked up after running her own errands, and then spent an evening decompressing on the couch together. I was asleep by 9pm.

There’s little overlap in my two worlds. I like the relatively clear guardrails (in Sybil’s words) between HIM and HER. It requires a mental and emotional balance and discipline to time management that I’ve developed over the last ten years or so.

I like strutting around in a tight leather dress. I like zoning out on the couch eating pizza with my wife. It’s weird to think that I did both of these things in the same afternoon.

Love, Hannah

Crossdressing and Guilt

I don’t think crossdressing is a big deal.

I mean, obviously presenting as a gender that is different than the gender that is stated on my birth certificate is an enormous part of my life and who I am and I am always wearing clothes that are “for girls” but I have absolutely no… negative or uncomfortable thoughts or emotions about this side of me or about this side of my closet.

I mean, yes I get a little paranoid about someone seeing my bra strap in male mode or the lacy edge of my panties peeking over the waistband of my pants but really, that’s about it.

Of course, when I was younger the FEAR was there, of course. The fear of getting caught, the fear of someone finding out. This fear ranged from my mom arriving home earlier than I expected to the fear of a friend spotting me at the lingerie boutique at the mall.

But guilt wasn’t something I felt very often.

I never thought I, as someone that is legally a boy, was doing something wrong by trying on a dress. I’m not breaking any laws after all. It is not immoral to wear panties. I am not hurting anyone by sleeping in a nightgown.

When I did feel guilt it wasn’t because of crossdressing itself. I felt guilt because I was wearing something that I told someone I wouldn’t wear.

Again, I don’t think crossdressing is a big deal. And I think for most of our partners it’s not a big deal. No, it’s what we do that is associated with crossdressing that is an issue.

What I mean is that I often get emails from partners of crossdressers and many of them tell me that, for the most part, they really don’t mind that their husband wears panties. The issue comes from their partners lying about their crossdressing or being, well, reckless about it.

For example, a crossdresser’s wife may have no problem with what their husband wears to sleep, but it’s what their husband wears to bed. Does that make sense? Some people don’t want to be intimate with their partner if their lover ALWAYS wears lingerie for sexy times. It’s typical for someone to feel it’s no longer about lovemaking but more about an opportunity for their partner to wear lingerie.

Some partners will express that they are frustrated when their husband spends more money on clothes than they can really afford. Neglecting a car payment because you purchased a new pair of high heels is, well, not a good situation. It’s not necessarily about the heels, it’s about not being fiscally responsible.

Going outside the agreed upon boundaries is also a cause for concern. If your partner asks you to not post photos online or they ask you to avoid certain stores because you may inadvertently bump into someone your partner knows… but you do these things anyway… it is a complete violation of trust. Again, it’s not exclusively the crossdressing/presenting en femme that is the issue, it’s breaking a promise.

Why do we do these things? The Pink Fog.

But this post isn’t about The Pink Fog. It’s about guilt.

The first time I felt real guilt was when I was in my early twenties. I had come out to someone, a girlfriend, for the very first time and it didn’t go the way I had hoped. And that’s okay. This was about (oh God) twenty-five years ago and we were both young. We weren’t mature or experienced enough to have THIS element in our relationship and I was still working through a few things. Besides, having a non-cisgender partner is a lot for someone to go through.

My hope was for her to suggest hitting the mall to go shopping but she essentially had two requests:

  1. That I stop
  2. That I don’t discuss this again

I mean, good for her..? She was very clear about her boundaries and letting me know that she wasn’t a fan of having a crossdressing partner. It was a very black and white conversation.

Were these fair requests? Maybe not but again, we were both young and in the relatively early days of a relationship. It’s not like this was a revelation thirty years into a marriage and THIS was one more thing for the two of us to handle and communicate about.

Fearing the idea the relationship ending I quickly agreed. I mean, I was naïve. I thought I could stop.


I mean, I knew I wasn’t ever going to stop BEING a crossdresser but I thought I could resist.

Again, lol.

Please understand. Her reaction and her requests don’t make her a bad person. This conversation was, in a way, a product of the times, as they say. The complexities of gender identity weren’t as discussed or as familiar as they are today. I also could have come out in a more… accurate way. Back then I was a CROSSDRESSER and with that word came all the baggage that the word came with. If I were to come out to anyone today I would use different language.


I told her I would stop and that was, more or less, the end of it.

Sort of.

We wouldn’t discuss IT very often or for very long after that initial conversation… but stopping? No. But God help me I tried.

Mind you, I didn’t try to stop because I thought there was anything wrong with crossdressing. I tried to stop because I told her I would.

It didn’t take long for me to explore her side of the closet when she wasn’t home. It wasn’t unusual for me to drive to a boutique to try on dresses.

The siren song was too powerful for me to resist.

This is when, for the first time, I really felt guilt about what I was doing. I was going behind her back, I was unquestionably breaking a promise.

Of course, whether or not this was a fair promise is another story, but regardless I was still doing it.

I was afraid, once again, of being caught. She would forever remember The Talk so it wasn’t about keeping it a secret that I was a crossdresser, it was the fear of being caught after my promise to her.


I don’t think there is ANYTHING wrong with crossdressing.

Or, to be more specific, I don’t think there is anything wrong with crossdressing ITSELF.

I believe in justice and morality. Which isn’t necessarily the same thing as law and religion.

Let me explain.

I don’t think it’s unrealistic to fear that crossdressing will be illegal in some parts of the United States in the future. Now, before you think I am being paranoid or an alarmist, let me clarify. It doesn’t take too long to find stories of people protesting drag shows or banning books with LGBTQ+ characters or stories. The justification for these actions are usually very subtle. In many cases the laws that are being discussed or passed usually don’t explicitly say “this book is banned because it has a part where two boys kiss”. It’s typically something more… broad such as banning the book because it has “adult themes” or whatever. Drag shows aren’t banned because it’s now against the law for a “boy to wear a dress” but it’s because someone thinks a drag show is about SEX.

Now, you may be thinking that regulating drag queens isn’t going to be impact you. Afterall, you might not think of yourself as doing drag. I certainly am not a drag queen. But for some people these nuances don’t exist. For some people there is not difference between a t-girl wearing a t-shirt and jeans running errands and a drag queen in towering stilettos lip-synching to a Madonna song at a gay bar.

It’s not unrealistic to imagine a law passing that says something along the lines of it being illegal for anyone to wear anything that conflicts with the gender on their birth certificate. If that happens, clothes could be “regulated” and a state could essentially have a dress code.

This is what I mean when I say I am afraid that “crossdressing” will be illegal. If this happens I know I would be “breaking the law” by wearing panties but all the laws in the world will never convince me that I am doing anything “wrong”.

When it comes to religion, I am well aware that there are religious texts in holy books which state, or are interpreted in a perspective that says crossdressing is immoral or is a sin.

Although God may be omnipotent and all-knowing, I really, really, really don’t think any deity cares what I am wearing. “Thou Shalt Not Wear Panties” could be the number one commandment but I still wouldn’t think I was a sinner.

Of course, I would also need to be a Christian to believe that not adhering to what the Bible says making me a sinner. I am not a Christian. If anything, I am agnostic.

But this post isn’t about religion. It’s about….

Um. Hang on, let me reread what I wrote.

Oh yes, it’s about the guilt some of us feel when we wear what we want to.

If crossdressing was clearly a sin or a crime, I still wouldn’t feel I was doing anything immoral. If I speed, sure, I might feel guilty about breaking the law. When I was younger and raised as Catholic I felt guilt if I didn’t attend Sunday service. But I didn’t ever feel guilty about crossdressing itself. Like a lot of aspects to THIS, it’s usually not about wearing a dress, it’s about the… actions that are associated with it.

I write a LOT about relationships and crossdressing. I’ve gotten countless emails from partners of those like you and I. Every crossdresser is different, every relationship is different and it goes without saying that every relationship with a crossdresser is different. But there are a few broad generalities I’ve realized.

I am always pleasantly surprised when I see an email from someone who tells me that their husband crossdresses and, well, they don’t mind at all. They may not understand it but they know that this is who they are and will unlikely ever change. They have gotten used to their man wearing panties or even presenting en femme. It is what it is.

But the… tension and frustration usually comes from aspects that this side of us can bring. Obviously I buy a lot a of clothes but it’s nowhere as much as I used to. The Pink Fog hit me hard and I often spent more money on shoes than I should have. My wife and I keep our finances, more or less, separate but when I couldn’t afford to pay a bill on time because I *had* to have a new pair of stilettos then things became understandably tense. I was being irresponsible.

For some of our partners there are frustrations involving intimacy. Some spouses tell me they don’t mind that their husband wears lingerie… but they have requested that they not wear it during sexy time. Similarly some wives tell me they think that the only reason their husband is intimate with them is so they have an excuse to wear a pretty negligee.

Finances and intimacy are significant parts of any relationship. If anything impacts these things, whether its’s crossdressing, an expensive hobby, or working too much, a home can become very tense.

Bringing crossdressing into a relationship is going to involve a LOT of change. It will forever impact the dynamic between two people. Boundaries, rules, and requests are pretty normal. Some of the more common guidelines include:

  1. No lingerie during sex
  2. Not posting photos online
  3. Avoiding certain parts of a town when out en femme
  4. Discussing things with each other before coming out to anyone new

I think these are all pretty reasonable, to be honest. Again, this is a lot to put onto our partners and I think it’s perfectly acceptable for us to make a few concessions.

bUt it’S mY LifE you might be saying. You might feel you should be able to do whatever you want whenever you want. If you feel that way then why did you get married? A relationship is about compromise and creating a life WITH someone else and committing to making it work. If a person wants to do whatever they want whenever they want then maybe, just maybe, they shouldn’t get married.

But that’s just my perspective.

Just like I get emails from our partners, I also get emails from people like myself. It’s pretty normal for someone to share with me details of their relationship and how they make it work or ask for my take on something. It’s also not uncommon for someone to, well, confess that they are violating some of the agreed upon boundaries.

I promised my wife I wouldn’t post pictures but I have been doing so on a crossdressing website

I promised my wife I wouldn’t go to a certain mall en femme because a lot of her friends shop there but I went there anyway

I think you get the point. It’s the violation of trust that is the problem, not the crossdressing ITSELF. Their partners are fine with this side of them but sometimes this side of us makes us prone to doing things we shouldn’t.

Lying about this side of us is unfortunately not uncommon. We might lie about where we went en femme (such as the mall example), not that we went out en femme. Again, it’s not about BEING en femme that is the issue, it’s about the lie.

Does that make sense? I hope so because I am moving on.

With these confessions comes the guilt. Again, it’s not feeling guilty FOR crossdressing… it’s the guilt that comes from activity and behavior associated with crossdressing.

I am not writing this as a lecture or anything like that. I am no angel and I have made many mistakes. Crossdressing has led to me to making decisions that I regret. Some mistakes were financial, some were within my marriage, especially in the early days when Hannah was emerging. I talked and talked and talked about HER and about clothes and every conversation my wife and I had likely had something to do with Hannah. It overwhelmed my wife and these one-sided discussions left no breathing room for her.

Once my head came above the water I could see how selfish and inconsiderate I was. I felt remorse and a tremendous amount of guilt for being blind to how my wife was feeling.

Again, it wasn’t crossdressing itself (although there are feelings our partners have about that), it was what came with it.

Crossdressing is, for the most part, legal and, in my opinion, not unethical. There is nothing immoral about wearing what you wish. Sure, social norms tell us differently but those are just norms. At one point it wasn’t the norm for women to wear slacks or for women to dine without a male companion. Things change… but it’s best when things evolve.

For those who feel guilt about who you are, think again. Religion, politics, and social norms are very likely the reason you feel this way. Spend a moment and consider if this guilt is because of these intangible reasons. For the life of me I can’t even fathom why it is “immoral” for me to wear a dress. I can’t rationalize why any government spends even a day debating about a law that impacts what someone is permitted to wear.

Hopefully there will be a day when we look back on these days and wonder why we as a society cared about the clothes people wore.

Love, Hannah

A Son and a Daughter

I don’t have many memories of my dad when he wasn’t yelling at me or my siblings or my mom or the television or a neighbor or a piece of mail or the dog or anyone that just happened to cross his path.

Don’t worry, this post isn’t as heavy as the opening sentence is suggesting.

Anyway, he finally left when I was eighteen and I don’t think I’ve seen him since. Growing up in such an abusive environment will absolutely impact you. It was worse than not having a father at all. My mom did, in retrospect and especially under the circumstances, an absolutely remarkable job raising me and my three siblings in the household we all grew up in. She did her best and as time passes I realize just how difficult this likely was. My respect and appreciation for her grows.

Considering the year I was born and when my formative years were, I wasn’t raised in the most… enlightened times. Girls were taught how to cook, boys were taught how to do, well, boy things. My mom taught my sisters the things moms teach girls how to do and well, my dad taught me, by example, how to drink.

Goodness this is getting heavy but I promise things will turn around soon. I haven’t forgotten that this is a website that focuses on panties and makeup.

Anyway, we learn what we are taught and I wasn’t REALLY taught how to do BOY things. I can’t throw a football and I can’t throw a punch. Which is fine, these are not skills that negatively impact my life whatsoever.

Essentially I was raised in a very… gendered household. Sort of. My sisters were not taught how to do things boys do buuuuut I wasn’t taught these things either. AND since I wasn’t taught “girl things” such as cooking I entered adulthood not very well prepared to do… well, anything.

I mean, I knew SOME girl things like how to take off my bra without removing my shirt so there’s that, I suppose.

And yes I have a brother and yes in many cases brothers teach their younger brothers “boy things” but remember he was also raised in the same household and he couldn’t teach me skills he himself wasn’t taught either.

And yes some of you may be thinking that I am the “way I am” because of the environment I was raised in. After all, I wasn’t “taught how to be a boy” so I must have learned how to “be a girl” but I assure you that’s not the case at all. I have more early memories of lipstick and high heels than of my dad. I suppose some of that is intentional.

Not knowing how to do “boy things” impacts my life as an adult on occasion. This is especially true in our new home. For almost fifteen years my wife and I lived in a townhouse and the yardwork and snow removal were not our responsibility so there was no need to own machines like a lawnmower or a snowblower. Our new home has a yard and The Longest Driveway In The World, therefore I had to acquire new things to put in my garage next to the boxes of dresses I don’t have room for in my closet.

See? This is a crossdressing blog. I haven’t forgotten.

With these new machines I needed to learn how to use them. I needed to be taught. It’s an interesting and humbling experience to be shown skills that all of my male friends my age already have but I’d like to see them cinch up a corset or walk in five inch stilettos.


I put off obtaining some of the new expensive… things until it was inevitable. It snows in Minnesota and it usually snows a LOT. After shoveling the aforementioned driveway a couple of times I gave in and soon a snowblower was in my garage.

My wife and I put it together and I actually read the instructions and despite all my shortcomings I was able to get it to work, I felt like Doctor Frankenstein as it roared angerly to life. IT’S ALIVE!

My father-in-law called and gave some very needed and appreciated advice about this new machine. I listened closely but at the same time a thought whispered in the far recesses of my mind that this was a conversation that, in a traditional gender role way, men have with their sons.

This conversation, along with the other talks he and I have, are new and strange to me. I have little experience being talked to “as a son” from a father. Please don’t misunderstand. These talks are touching and appreciated. My father-in-law is kind and gentle. It’s about as opposite of an experience as I am used to and I can’t help but contrast the experience to the dynamic I had with my own father.

My mom taught me a lot of “boy things” as best as she could but admittingly there wasn’t many lessons. She was raised in a similar household and despite my dad’s penchant for being constantly inebriated he more or less took care of the Man Things in the house.

I think many kids have a desire and a need to connect with their parents. My mom and sisters had a connection and there were small things my mom and I had in common but early on in my childhood I… kind of went off the tracks a bit.

I wasn’t “a bad kid”. I rarely got into trouble and to do this day I’ve never even had a cigarette. But goodness I fought back when I entered my teenage years. My dad, for whatever reason, singled me out. He ignored my brother and was a little more restrained with his temper with my sisters… but me? Oh, he hated me.

And no, he didn’t know about my crossdressing so I don’t think any of his anger was influenced by having a “sissy” for a son.

And I mean “sissy” in a stereotypical, 1970’s-era sense, not in a fun sense, lol.

He and I clashed ALL THE TIME.

And my poor mother was caught in the middle. Torn between wanting to protect me, her child, and needing to avoid my dad when he was angry or drunk or both.

I survived these years and through therapy I have found peace and come to terms with this part of my life.

The anger was a difficult part to work through. Of course much of one’s anger is rooted in feeling hurt. I suppose part of me was angry at my mom for “letting” my dad do what he did. It wasn’t until I was in an abusive relationship myself that I understood how frightening this situation could be. I understood it wasn’t as simple as leaving. She never “let” my dad do anything. She was scared, too.

It was at this point that my anger started to thaw. My anger faded into understanding. I could relate to my mom. I started to get it. My appreciation for her under those abusive circumstances began to take hold.

But it took about a decade for my mom and I to connect and have a relationship as a parent and a child.

This has become, in a way, a non-gendered relationship and dynamic. What I mean is that I don’t feel she talks to me as a mother to a son. No, it’s parent to child.

Since I am bi-gendered I need to have different connections to different people based on my different gender identities. What HE needs are different than what Hannah needs, if that makes sense. I need my wife for companionship and love and stability and peace. Hannah needs girlfriends to go shopping with and rave about stilettos.

As Hannah’s life began to take form and as she created her world and life and make friends I started to learn what SHE needed in terms of relationships. Hannah needs friends. I mean, we ALL do.

The MN T-Girls is a very diverse group of transwomen. Some of the members are in their twenties, some are grandparents. I have different conversations with the different girls based on not only their age but conversations are also influenced by where they are on their journey. Some girls I feel an almost sisterhood with based on our similar age and experiences.

Many of the members are older than I am. Many of them are my mom’s age.

This is when a very particular emotion begins to stir in my mind and heart. A similar feeling to my father-in-law discussing snowblower maintenance with me.

Parent to child.

Father to son.

Mother to daughter.

Having a maternal figure talk to Hannah about, well, girl things, is… hard to put into words. It feels validating and wonderful. To clarify it’s not always and exclusively a conversation about makeup or anything traditionally femme that I am enjoying, it’s more about Hannah talking with someone a little older and wiser about life, you know? In my male life HE can talk to HIS mom about these things but like with anything, conversations en femme hit a little different.

That being said, I must admit it tugs at my heart when I think that I wish my mom had a relationship with Hannah.

When I came out to my mom I did so with the hope in my soul that she and Hannah would meet up for a coffee or shopping. Of course it didn’t turn out that way and I have come to peace with that. It’s okay. Really. Promise.

My mom loves me, she knows Hannah exists, but she doesn’t want to know her. And that’s okay. Having a non-cisgender child is a lot to take in.

I don’t take it personally. Not anymore. Really. Promise.

Being able to express my gender identity and to present as one of my gender identities is incredibly important and fulfilling. And essential. It wasn’t until Hannah’s world started to form when I learned that relationships are important as well.

I like being my mom’s child. I like being my wife’s dad’s son-in-law.

And Hannah likes feeling like a daughter.

Love, Hannah

Keg and Case and Stilettos

This past Saturday was the first MN T-Girls event of the year! This November we will be celebrating our ten year anniversary and my goal for 2023 is to have as many new events for the group as possible. I mean, we’ll still have many of our normal adventures like attending Pride and our holiday parties but I am hoping to strut around new locations and have new experiences.

For our January event we met up at Keg and Case Market a food hall/indoor market in Saint Paul. It’s a little hard to explain but there are small pop-up retailers and a coffee ship and a brewery and tiny restaurants.

We got together for girl talk and coffees and cocktails and just enjoyed a quiet afternoon after the chaos of the recent holidays.

It was a fun day and we all looked amazing.

Love, Hannah

Jazzin’ it Up

Oh, hi!

I’ve had a lot of wordy posts lately and I think we’re overdue for some pictures to jazz things up.

So, here is a preview of the pictures from the recent photo shoot with the MN T-Girls. The first three outfits are from En Femme and the fourth outfit I found on Amazon. I bought that dress after I wrote a post about, well, living in the moment, I suppose.

I can’t wait to share more pictures and I really hope you like these.

Love, Hannah

Love, Hannah

The Prevailing Eroticism of Who we Are

I didn’t know it was a fetish.


And in retrospect this sounds incredibly naïve but realizing that for some of us wearing lingerie is kinky was pretty earth-shattering.

I suppose that sounds very dramatic.

To clarify, yes, wearing lingerie is often associated with sexy time and sexy time is, well, sexy but just simply wearing lingerie and being sexually stimulated by it wasn’t something that crossed my mind all those years ago.

It’s more than just lingerie, though. Some of us are aroused by stilettos or gloves or a wide array of (or very, very specific) clothing. For others it’s just erotic for them to wear something they are “not supposed to”.

Of course, there are also others who aren’t into wearing certain clothes themselves but rather are stimulated by people with a penis wearing “girl clothes”.

Until that fateful first day of college when I searched the word “crossdresser” on the school’s computer in the library, I didn’t know there was any sort of connection between wearing girl clothes and eroticism.

I mean, as I mentioned earlier I know that lingerie and eroticism goes together like a garter belt and stockings, but I didn’t know that some people think “men wearing girl clothes” was in itself sexually stimulating.

When I was around twelve years old I was, in a way, comforted and validated when I learned that there was a word for someone like myself. I was a crossdresser! Yay! There are so many of us that there is a word for who we are, for who I am.

As far as I was aware, I was the only crossdresser I knew but at least I wasn’t the only crossdresser on the planet. I was curious to know others like myself which led me to hopping online that first day of college.

Annnnnnd I quickly realized that much of the content the search results yielded were absolutely not appropriate for a public setting. Almost every image and website that was returned were very fetishy. People wearing ill-fitted lingerie in bed and the like.

I was shocked.

Again, I was probably naïve but please understand that this was alllll the way back in 1994 and we weren’t as, well enlightened or as familiar with how varied and complex and simple gender identity and gender presentation really is. Simply put, you wore what you wore based on whether or not you had a penis or a vagina and anything other than that was either kinky or perverted or portrayed as humiliating or hilarious.

I quickly realized that the prevailing perspective of someone like myself was that THIS was a fetish and that THIS was completely sexual.

And to be fair it is for some. And I am not kink shaming them. Promise.

But for others like myself there was nothing erotic about having the anatomy that I have and wearing panties.

Learning that there were indeed others like myself opened up the thought that perhaps I don’t need to hide who I am. Sure, it’s probably not common for a BOY to wear GIRL clothes but there’s nothing WRONG or WEIRD about it. Perhaps when I am older I can stop keeping this side of me from others, I thought.

But that thinking all was put on hold when it appeared that a BOY that wore GIRL clothes was predominately perceived as SICK or PERVERTED or KINKY.

I wasn’t those things. I mean, there’s nothing inherently wrong with being kinky (as long as it’s consensual) but crossdressing wasn’t, and isn’t, kinky to me.

Upon realizing that CROSSDRESSING = FETISH I decided that nooooo, I wasn’t going to come out anytime soon. If at all.

It’s not that I thought there was anything wrong with having a kink or fetish. For me I didn’t want this side of me, a part of myself that was very personal, very important to be misunderstood.

And no, I didn’t expect anyone to understand why I am who I am, but at the very least I didn’t want others to think I was someone I wasn’t, especially if there was a good chance that most people would likely think I was perverted. This part of me wasn’t sexual. If someone doesn’t understand who I am, well, that’s okay, but at the very least I wanted to make sure they knew this wasn’t erotic to me.

So, any consideration of coming out was completely off the table.

If people didn’t understand who I was, then at least I could prevent them from completely missing the point. I, along with my beautiful panties, went back to the (both physical and mental) closet.

Please understand. There’s nothing wrong with a crossdressing fetish. But this wasn’t sexual for me. Honestly it would have been easier (and quicker) to explain this side of me if it was, but this is so entwined with who I am that I didn’t want to… ah, simplify this part of me to a kink.

The realization that crossdressing was generally perceived as kinky/shameful (because let’s face it, almost all kinks are considered shameful) came later in my life than it probably should have. Again, I was probably a little naïve. In retrospect I should have put two and two together that “boys wearing girl clothes” was generally not acceptable. I’ve written before how breaking gender norms was often portrayed as comedic in cartoons and entertainment that I watched as a child. The reinforcement, even if unintentional, that a boy wearing panties or a dress was supposed to be humorous was a clue that I needed to keep this side of a secret.

But as I grew older and the movies and television shows I watched, ah, “evolved”, any portrayal of “boys wearing girl clothes” was not only meant to be hilarious it was also now portrayed as perverted.

So, another clue that this side of me was not to be revealed.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with humor and there’s nothing wrong with having a (consensual) kink, but I would have rather have stayed in the proverbial closet than have a part of me that was so special, so… sacred perceived as comedy or as a perversion.

Wearing panties wasn’t funny to me and it wasn’t kinky.

Keeping this side of me a secret has always been exhausting but then again, most survival methods are. Simply shopping and keeping an eye out for someone you might know requires vigilance. Like, shopping for lingerie shouldn’t be a reconnaissance mission, you know?

Keeping secrets has an emotional toll on us as well. We know we should be transparent with our partners but we know how this side of us will likely be misinterpreted. We know the potential ramifications of coming out AND we know the potential ramifications of being “caught”.

It’s a tightrope, girls.

AND! We know it’s not a matter of simply STOPPING. This is who we are. I can’t change who I am or what I wear. I mean, I can always change what I wear but you know what I mean.

I hated that crossdressing = perversion and that crossdressing = hilarity. I hated being viewed like that. I hated that these perceptions were so deeply rooted in society and media. I hated knowing that if I came out to someone I would not only have to try to help them understand who I was (as much as who we are CAN be understood) but I would also have to spend time and energy debunking these stereotypes before I can get into who I really am, not what some television writer says I am.

I would love to change this perception. I would love to change the narrative. But I don’t think that’s realistic, at least not in my lifetime.

These perspectives had a huge impact on my self-esteem. I mean, I didn’t think this was a kink and I didn’t think it was comedy, but knowing that most of the world thought I was a pervert… well, it kind of chips away at you. Why was it kinky to wear beautiful clothes? Who decided that?

Love, Hannah

Our Place in the Alphabet

So many of us want to chat with others like us.

We want FRIENDS. We want someone to talk to, we want someone to understand us, we want someone to hit the mall with. I get it. I mean, that need to connect with others like myself was a huge part of starting the MN T-Girls.

When we come out to others we have to start at the beginning. The Whys and the Whens and the Whats and the Hows. And then of course there is the potential fallout from the conversation or the risk of the relationship going badly. We are confiding in them and we pray they in turn don’t out us to someone else.

Knowing others like ourselves circumvents all of that. Other t-girls get it. Other crossdressers get it. We can relate because we also live outside of the binary.

Our partners want this, too. How many of us have heard our wives tell us that they feel so alone in all of this? They can’t talk about this aspect of their marriage or this side of their husband with anyone in their life. They also know that it’s unlikely that someone in their world will get it or will be able to relate to their husband wanting to dress up.

We need support, we need friends, we need others to confide in.

And that support is out there.

But although there are more transgender specific resources available than ever before, it’s not always easy to find something that fits or a support group that is close to where we live.

It’s easier to find support if we broaden what we search for. Googling “transgender support” will yield some options but again, they may not be what we need or even in the same state that we live in.

I get many emails from girls like me and emails for partners looking for support, for help, for someone to talk to. Knowing that transgender specific groups aren’t very common, I always recommend seeking out a therapist, counseling, as well as PFLAG and GLAAD.

PFLAG’s name started as an acronym for ‘Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays’ but is simply referred to as PFLAG these days. GLAAD stands for ‘Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’.

Some of us (and some of our partners) bristle a little at these two suggestions. Primarily because there is no T (or CD) in those acronyms.

And it’s true! There’s not. But you can find the T in LGBTQIA+.

And yes! So many acronyms.

On a related note I get emails telling me how frustrated they are with how long the LGBTQIA+ acronym is getting. I mean, I get it, but I think it’s wonderful how inclusive it has become.

The resistance to PLFAG and GLAAD that can come from girls like us (and our partners) is that this side of us has zero to do with their sexuality. It’s about what we wear TO bed, not who we go to bed WITH.

And yes! I can relate. When I am en femme or wearing leggings or a nightgown it doesn’t change who I am attracted to. My gender identity and sexual preference are on completely different planets.

So, why point others to PFLAG and GLAAD? For starters they are both nationwide organizations with resources all throughout the United States. While it’s true there may not be a support group that meets in your small town, it’s likely there is a support group that is relatively close to you.

But these organizations are experienced when it comes to helping those of us (and are our partners) who are, in their heart, soul, and mind, not what most people in the world think they are. Almost everyone in the world looks at me when I present as male and likely would never in a million years even begin to guess what I wore to bed last night or what I am wearing under my boy clothes.

A therapist can be amazing when it comes to leading us through any sort of confusion that we feel in our lives. Whether it’s about our gender identity or trauma or relationship concerns they know what to ask. Their questions and guidance may not be completely laser-focused on gender expression but rather more broad and then they will, more or less, get to the root of who we are.

I mean, I like to think that my wardrobe has nothing to do with anything and that I am who I am. BUT if I dig a little deeper there’s a lot to it. There’s a lot to me. That’s not to say that my gender identity is rooted in any sort of trauma or anything. Not at all. My gender identity is intwined with me wanting to be as happy as I can be.

PFLAG and GLAAD are here for anyone that is something other, something more than cisgender and straight. We all are looking for our place in an acronym and are looking for our place in the world.

Love, Hannah

Taking Care

As many of you know, I am a huge advocate when it comes to seeking help from professionals.

Want to learn makeup? Schedule a lesson with a makeup artist.

Need to know your cup and band size? Get a bra fitting.

Asking for help in ANYTHING isn’t easy as it usually requires us to move out of our comfort zone. Getting professional counseling also is intimidating as we fear it may require us to confront and address parts of us that feel overwhelming or uncomfortable.

But it’s very important. I have been in therapy for much of the last twenty years with different counselors and professionals. Over the years I have received help with BIG issues but over the last decade or so it’s more about helping me maintain my mental health and managing the everyday stuff.

When I talk about… THINGS on my website I try to make it clear that my writing is mostly based on my perspective and experiences. That is to say I have no idea if I am close to the mark regarding, well, anything. When I get an email from someone saying that yes, this is how they feel too, I feel that maybe I am helping someone, somewhere.

I get emails from mental health professionals on occasion letting me know of resources that our community might find helpful. Sometimes I am told that they refer their patients to the MN T-Girls. This makes me happy and helps me think that what I write about or do is constructive.


Based on emails I get from ya’ll it sounds like many of you feel talking to a therapist would be incredibly beneficial. Sometimes a girl wants to get some guidance on whether or not transitioning is right for them, or help when it comes to talking about this side of us to their wives, or just looking for someone to confide in. But the hesitation may come from the fear of being outed or not being able to find someone that can indeed help.

I get it. It’s easy to feel hopeless when it comes to this side of us. When I came out to my first girlfriend and it went… not so well I thought it was hopeless to be able to find someone in my life that would accept this side of me. Thank God I never gave up. At one point (actually, at many points) I thought it would be impossible to feel happy with how I looked en femme. But I never quit and I couldn’t be happier with the girl in my reflection.

Don’t give up. Don’t give up on anything. Especially not yourself.

I am honored to share with you a guest post from Jinger Thomas, an LPC (licensed professional counselor). Licensed professional counselors are licensed to work as mental health professionals. The LPC license allows them to render professional counseling services in private practice, hospitals, mental health clinics, and other counseling or a related mental health field.

I hope you take her words to heart and I hope that this helps those of us who need encouragement.

Love, Hannah


Hannah’s post “It is what it is but not what it seems” regarding mental health and her experience going to therapy really hit home with me. The first reason being that I am bigender. I have worked for years to better understand myself, and find ways to integrate my “two sides” into my life in a healthy way. The second reason being that I am a mental health therapist, technically a licensed professional counselor. I have worked in a community mental health agency, an inpatient hospital setting for over 6 years, and I currently have a private practice. Mental health and how it impacts all parts of our lives is just beginning to be understood. Despite continuing to make strides in societal acceptance of mental health issues, a stigma surrounding receiving mental health care remains. Because of this we often try to ignore our problems, refuse to acknowledge them or we end up mismanaging them which can result in many different self-sabotaging behaviors. It is in our best interest to try to find a way to handle them in a way that does not create further issues for ourselves.

I often tell my clients that while I am not a “one trick pony” as a therapist, I am probably a “six trick pony.” This list contains a few more than six tricks (ideas) but not too many. I wanted to create a condensed version of what are some very important ideas that we as gender non-conforming individuals may need to focus on from time to time. In a lot of ways these ideas are universal, and can be applied to anyone. The concepts on this list sees a significant amount of discussion and application in my practice, and not just with my gender variant clients. You have likely heard some or maybe even all of this previously. I’m not necessarily breaking new ground. Some of it will sound like a reiteration of parts of Hannah’s post. I am of the opinion that a gentle reminder never hurts.

  1. First and foremost: You are not broken. Broken implies that something needs to be fixed. Gender is one of the first things that we are taught, and it is how we are divided as small children. The majority of us have grown up with strict gender roles. People who did not behave within what was expected were often not accepted by others, and were told that they were weird, bad or wrong. Being told this, and even just witnessing others that we have found commonality with be mistreated adds to these feelings of being “broken.” Many of us may have been told so directly. Viewing ourselves as broken creates a strong sense of negative self worth. When you are told something repeatedly, or witness it enough in society it starts to seem factual. This then feeds our depression, anxiety and anger, and we can get sucked into an “emotional vortex of doom.” What we have to remember is that when someone says something to us or judges us, that is their opinion, not a fact. “Your opinion of me is none of my business.” is is a quote by clinical social worker and author Judy Ford. This statement is a two way street. We do not need to ask someone’s opinion of us, and they do not need to offer it. 
  1. We need to strive for authenticity. This is often problematic because we can’t always be open about what we are feeling or experiencing. However, attempting to behave in ways that do not feel natural or real creates an internal incongruence. Feelings of being unbalanced and unfulfilled can lead to increased anxiety and depression. When this occurs, the natural response is to try to make the negative feelings go away. Unfortunately this can lead to problematic behaviors in an attempt to “fill the void.” This can be things like eating or drinking too much, excessive shopping , or making poor personal choices that can negatively impact our relationships and our daily lives. Working to accept and incorporate your true self can alleviate a significant amount of the anxiety and depression we want to avoid. There are a number of ways that this can be achieved, but we have to be proactive by practicing some self-acceptance. When we are okay with who we are, it allows us to grow and change in the most authentic and organic way possible. On the wall in my office is a framed quote from Carl Rogers, the father of client-centered therapy. Rogers stated “What I am is already enough, if only I would allow myself to be it openly.” This idea is something that we all can work towards. There are times when we have to wear the mask, but when we are able to put it aside we will likely feel better and more connected to those around us. Authenticity and self acceptance can carry us through a lot of troubling times.
  2. It is absolutely okay if you don’t know exactly what label you want to fall under. It is important to allow yourself to explore where you feel you best fit. Humans are not able to be defined by just one thing, though there are times that we get lumped into categories by others and occasionally by ourselves. When we take stock of who we are and want to be it is unlikely that we are going to fit into a single category. This does not only apply to those of us that fall into  some variety of being transgender, but to people who are trying to find and understand their true self . We choose labels for ourselves because it is an attempt to understand the self and hopefully gain insight into why we operate the way we do. This translates to some labeling being beneficial. However, often when we label ourselves we may feel that we have to conform to the label, or that we have to fit into just one box. On a recent rare night out, I had a conversation with a young woman at the performance I attended. She originally thought that I was Jinger full time, but later in the conversation said “Oh, you’re more like gender fluid.” I told her that I typically use bigender, due to only spending about 5 percent of my time presenting as female. This interaction made me wonder why I feel the need to use any label at all. What I really want is to just be myself, whoever and whatever that is. This was a nice reminder to me that we do not need to put ourselves into any category. We can “just be.” This sounds great on paper, but it takes a significant amount of work to make it our reality. I see this as a life-long project.
  3. Feelings are not facts. They are moments, and moments change. That being said, we should try to listen to our feelings because they indicate what our immediate needs are. When these needs are not met, they will often turn to feelings of sadness and anger. By acknowledging what we feel we can hopefully learn to manage our feelings in a more appropriate manner. A concept that is important to understand and practice within this is distress tolerance. There are times that we have to just accept our situation and figure out how to live within it the best that we can. The other framed quote on my office wall is by Viktor Frankl, who you may know as the author of Man’s Search for Meaning (definitely worth the read). The quote is “When we are no longer able to change our situation we are challenged to change ourselves.” This takes time and it takes perseverance to make it happen. We have all heard sat some point “Just get over it!” From this therapist’s perspective, that advice is not helpful in the slightest. If it were truly that simple we would all hear it once and then do it from that point on, but that is not the way we work. To move past anything we first have to accept that this is our current reality and address how we feel about it. By doing that, we now have a platform from which we can grow and evolve. This helps us by allowing our negative feelings to run their course and eventually go away.
  4. Patience is not as much a virtue as it is an uphill battle. We live in a “right now” society. It can be difficult to be patient once you have opened up to others about your true self. The genie does not want to go back into the bottle once she has been out. We often try to force this side of ourselves into our relationships with our family and friends. When someone learns something new about us, they may need time to process this information. We have to be able to allow them the space they need, which means we need to be patient. Often when we end up in the dreaded “pink fog” we make choices that end up being detrimental for us. We want to go from 0 to 100 with our femme selves, and often expect those around us to be able to do so as well. I use this analogy in sessions quite often: If I sit on you and force feed you brussels sprouts, it is not likely you will ever learn to like brussels sprouts on your own. We need to give those around us time to understand and hopefully accept us when we have decided to disclose this side of ourselves. Work on patience, and allow the people we have confided in to figure out how they feel. Accepting unexpected change can be difficult. Remember that having open and honest communication will make things go easier, but it may not make them truly easy. Give it time.
  1. Learn to let go of guilt and shame. These terms are not interchangeable though we often use them as such. From some perspectives, guilt in the proper amounts and the proper circumstances can be helpful. We can learn what to do or what not to do based on our experiences. Once we have identified the root of our guilt we should address it to the best of our abilities (apologies, changing behaviors, making amends, reaching out to others etc). Doing so creates a space for us to move past the guilt. Shame on the other hand is something we need to try let go of as soon as we are capable. There are not a lot of good things that can be learned from shame. This is not to say that letting go of shame is an easy thing to do. Where guilt is a manifestation of negative feelings about something we did or did not do, shame is something that tells us “I am bad.” Many of us struggle with our self image due to experiencing shame. This is often because we internalize what others say to us and about us (obvious repeating theme here…). Take time to process these feelings and when you are ready, let them leave. 
  2. Self care is real, and it works. Many times people think of self care as going to get a massage or getting your nails done. While these things can definitely fall into the category of self care (I absolutely love getting a mani-pedi with my wife!), they are certainly not the only options. Self care can be anything that you do that you enjoy or provides feelings of fulfillment that does not negatively affect you or anyone else. It can be spending time with friends, exercise, reading, meditation, making sure you get enough sleep, watching a movie or any number of other positive things. I recommend to my clients that they do an internet search for self care and coping skills. There are innumerable things that we can do to practice self care, we just have to find which ones work for us. Much like getting a good night’s sleep prepares us for a challenging day, regularly practicing self care helps us be in a place where we can more easily handle problems or conflicts when they come our way.
  1. Do not be afraid to seek out a mental health professional. Everyone has problems that we need help with at times. I am lucky because I have seen the same therapist for a bit over a decade. We “clicked” immediately, partially because she is wonderful at her job, and partially because I was ready to make some serious personal changes. I allowed myself to be vulnerable enough to be open to being helped, and it definitely changed my life for the better. I have a number of clients who have shared feeling similarly about working with me. It is wonderful when you are able to connect with someone in that first session. Unfortunately the client-therapist relationship does not always go this well. Before I found my current therapist I saw three other therapists that were not a good fit for me. There were multiple reasons I felt this way including that two of them simply did not know much about gender non-conforming people, and did not seem too interested in learning more. This left me with a sour taste for the entire concept of therapy for many years. But it did not have to. I could have tried again, and I likely should have. If you decide to see someone keep in mind that they are not your only choice. If you feel that they are not a good fit for you or even if you just don’t like them, please do not give up on therapy. Find a different therapist. There are tens of thousands of practicing mental health professionals. You may have to kiss a few frogs along the way to find your prince or princess. There is someone out there who will be a good fit for you, but it may take some trial and error to find them. 
  2. There are more resources now than ever before that are focused on our community. If you or someone you know needs mental health help, please take the time to research what is available in your area. If you cannot find something available near you, there are national resources that can point you in the right direction. I have included some that may be a good place to start. 


–This is the national suicide hotline, and can be utilized by anyone in the United States to be connected with a mental health professional. 


– Allows you to search for mental health professionals by area, specialties and insurance. This is a great place to start your search for a therapist.


– crisis intervention and counseling for LGBTQ+ youth.


– GLAAD has a really good list of resources for people somewhere on the transgender spectrum. It is a great place to start when looking for help, for connection to others and for connection to organizations.

These are just a starting point. There are many, many more out there. I truly hope this info will be beneficial for some of you. Times are hard right now. Remember that you genuinely matter!

Please take good care of yourself, and of those around you. 

-Jinger Thomas, LPC

What’s So Funny About Peace, Love, and Underdressing?

Most of us discover this part of ourselves early in our lives. Like, EARLY in our lives, usually in childhood. I think most of who we are as adults is formed in that time. I mean, they are called our formative years for a reason, right?

When I was a child I didn’t think I was doing anything *wrong* by trying on every dress I could find. I never thought I was *bad* for wanting to wear the beautiful lingerie I saw on department store mannequins. Despite this, I knew, and I am not sure why, I had to keep this side of myself a secret.

It’s possible I felt that it needed to be a secret because I was borrowing my sisters’ clothes without permission and that in itself was wrong, not because I was a BOY that wanted to wear a dress, if you follow.

I was blissfully unaware that there was anything taboo about who I was or what I wore. I mean, of course I didn’t tell my friends that I wanted to wear what the girls in our class were wearing, but I think that had a lot to do with assimilation. It’s not uncommon for kids wanting to fit in and to do and say and be interested in the things that the “cool kids” were into. The popular boys in school weren’t talking about pretty clothes, so I didn’t either.

As my childhood progressed (and I am talking about being around 7 and 8 years old) I started to connect the dots about this side of me in terms of how the world thought of someone like myself. These revelations further reinforced the need, almost a survival method, of keeping this side of myself a closely guarded secret.

When I was in my late teens I learned that “crossdressing is a fetish” was seemingly the prevailing perspective. But until then, I was taught that a boy who wore girl clothes was HILARIOUS.

I mean, I was also taught that it was shameful and in a way a punishment but those are things for another day. Instead, let’s chat about how HILARIOUS crossdressing is and was portrayed.

Why is this funny?

I mean, it’s not. It never was. A lot has changed since I was six years old. I wouldn’t say we are more enlightened these days when it comes to gender not being a binary but we’re slooooowly getting there. It’s like walking to the sun.

If someone saw a boy wearing a dress forty years ago they would have been mocked and punished. A boy wearing a dress today, well, there is a very good chance they will still be mocked and punished but there will be those who understand the complexities and simplicity of gender identity.

It wasn’t uncommon for cartoons and movies to have “comedic” moments showing a man wearing a dress or lingerie. It was and still is a cheap joke and the writers probably weren’t too interested in gender identity awareness. I mean, look at how racist and sexist cartoons used to be. Cartoons with characters in blackface or mocking women drivers were pretty normal for a long time.

I don’t really remember exactly the first time I saw a someone even remotely similar to me when I was growing up but I know for certain we weren’t represented in a way that I was, well, proud to be associated with. If a character was shown in their underwear it was probably meant to be funny. Most kids watching a cartoon would probably think it was.

But if the character was wearing pink panties instead of, oh, I don’t know, polka-dot boxers? Peak comedy right there.

We were told that a boy wearing pink panties was meant to be funny. So, we learned that a boy wearing pink panties WAS funny.

Again, these years are called our formative years for a reason. But not everything we learn or are taught is right.

A boy wearing pink panties is funny for the sole reason we were taught that it’s funny.

Was this done maliciously? I don’t know. It’s impossible to say. Like a lot of things in entertainment, certain elements are duplicated if they are successful. If one type of movie makes a billion dollars it won’t take long for similar films to be made. If a joke about a boy wearing pink panties gets a laugh… you get where I’m going with this.

How did this start? Oh, I have no idea. But my guess is that this is rooted in the thinking that anything feminine is shameful and embarrassing.

The cartoons I watched when I was very young showed women as bossy or unintelligent or lazy or emotional or bimbos or lazy. Women were fodder for comedy. The entertainment industry was (and still is) predominately white, cisgender men and how women were written is and was influenced by that.

I mentioned early cartoons mocking women drivers but this type of humor was the rule, the norm. Wilma Flintstone was a gossipy housewife who yelled at her husband. Jane Jetson spent all of her husband’s money on clothes.

Mocking women was “funny”. It probably didn’t take too long for some writer to think it was hilarious to attribute feminine traits to male characters with the intention of mocking them. A female character cooking was “normal”. A male character cooking was shameful and an easy way to ridicule him.. and he was probably wearing a frilly pink apron.

Thus began the dangerous and harmful perception that feminine = shame and humor.

Well, not really. The “tradition” of male actors and male characters playing women for laughs goes back centuries all around the world. Essentially this humor has been around for a very long time. Is it any wonder that reversing the perception that crossdressing ISN’T funny/kinky is unlikely going to happen? We’ve got centuries against us.

As I said earlier I didn’t think what I was wearing was shameful but it needed to be a secret. But I never thought that it was HILARIOUS. I knew if I was “caught” I would be ostracized from my friend group. The reason for this was not because of the clothes per se, but because at certain points in your life if you wanted to fit in, if you wanted friends, you had to like the same things, you had to think the same way, you had to enjoy the same music and movies as everyone else. And that extended to what you wore.

But I never thought (and perhaps I was naïve) that there was anything comedic about wearing what I wore and what I daydreamed about wearing. Sure, I knew it wasn’t normal for a boy to wear a dress but the way I perceived my fashion choices was similar to that one kid you knew in third grade that liked jazz when everyone else liked Van Halen.

If that makes sense.

It was… I don’t know, it was weird when I realized that male cartoon characters wearing girl clothes was supposed to be funny.

I didn’t know why at the time this was funny or meant to be funny. I realize now that this was probably related to anything feminine was meant to be hilarious or embarrassing. Essentially anything that wasn’t traditionally masculine was intended to insult or ridicule.

How did this impact us?

It was yet another nail in the “keep this side of us a secret” coffin. As if we needed another reason.

It’s a shame this side of us was ever played for laughs. How different of a world would this be if femininity was never ridiculed?

Love, Hannah


The process of transforming this tired and overwhelmed middle-aged body into Hannah is, well, a process. After shaving (everywhere), I more or less start with a blank canvas. It’s like my appearance could go in any number of directions. I might be getting ready to spend the day en femme, I might be putting on his suit for a job interview, or anything in between.

The slate is clean.

When it’s a Hannah day, I start with my stockings. I rarely wear tights or pantyhose. I prefer stockings because:

a) they are sexy

b) accesibility

c) cost

There’s more practicality to this side of me than I would like to admit. If I spend $12 on a pair of pantyhose and they get a snag, well, that’s $12 lost. If I spend $12 on a pair of stockings and one gets a run, I can toss it and replace it from my overflowing basket of hosiery.

On a bad day I tear a stocking even before I put it on. If I can manage to delicately put my stockings on without incident I say a little prayer that I avoid any snags for the day. From there, on goes my gaff, my heels, my corset, bra, and forms.

Makeup comes next. Then my hair and jewelry. Finally I get dressed.

If I notice a snag in my stocking then I almost always have to go back a few steps and slip into a new one. This might be a process depending on what I am wearing. Obviously I have to either slip off my pumps OR unfasten my stiletto AND depending on my outfit putting on a new stocking might require undressing, replacing the torn stocking, and then getting dressed again.

In some cases, the snag might be TINY and not noticeable and I can spritz on a little hairspray to strengthen the fibers in it and hope the run doesn’t get worse.

BUT I never learn as the snag will probably get worse. I usually will spend the day dreading the likely disaster.

And YES this is all VERY dramatic and YES this is such a small and insignificant thing to dread AND it’s a silly thing to even bother writing or thinking about BUT I am doing it anyway.

For some of us, the approaching holidays are like this teeny tiny snag. We see the calendar ticking down to the holidays, we see the tear widening.

How’s THAT for a segueway?

I try so hard to use the holidays to recuperate and I try to do the bare minimum when it comes to leaving the house as the year winds down. It’s not always easy as family and friends return home and invitations to meeting up for a coffee or gatherings or requests to pop over to see the new house will inevitably start to trickle in.

On one hand I really DO want to see (some) people. On the other hand, well, I don’t. I mean, no one should take it personally. Well, some people should, lol, but I just want to slip away from the world for a few days.

As the years pass the holidays have become a LITTLE less stressful. Just a little, though. I have gotten better at declining invitations and setting boundaries. And my god that sounds bitchy but it’s not meant to.

One contributing factor to holiday stress was, well, my gender identity.

My immediate family, my mom and siblings, know of Hannah and most of have met her.

Well, in a way.

This might sound a little odd but when Hannah first made the scene I identified as a crossdresser and I wasn’t quite who I am, or who Hannah is, as WE are today. This side of me has evolved into an actual identity as opposed to just looking at this side of me as just about clothes and makeup.

Like many of us I started to identify as transgender. My family hasn’t met Hannah since I came out to them as a crossdresser. If I had waited a little longer then THE TALK would have gone differently.

A little over a dozen years ago I started to really open up when it came to who I was. I started to make the transition from lingerie and underdressing to everything I am, and everything Hannah is, today.

This was an exciting and overwhelming time. It’s not uncommon to question who one really is when our identity begins to shift. You wonder who you are and where you belong and wonder how someone might react to your identity.

This can cause some tension and anxiety.

There are people in my life who are very kind to me. The male me. But sometimes I can’t help but think how they might treat me if they only knew.

I can’t stand hypocrites and I prefer to know who people really are. If you treat HIM with respect and kindness but this behavior would change because of HER, well, you’ve kind of revealed the type of person you are.

It can be a little jarring, to be honest. I work for a college and from time to time a student, or more than likely a parent of a student, ask if we have any of “those transgenders” at the school. This always takes me aback. In some situations I will have been communicating with this person for weeks and everything seemed, well, normal, but this question comes out of the blue and just… shifts everything.

It’s like, oh you seemed kind but you’re really a bigot.

And then I wonder how quickly their opinion of me would change if they only knew.

Family can be like that. You hope that your family will love and support you regardless of your sexual identity or gender identity but we all know those things can impact our relationship with them. My uncle might be kind and chatty with me but I have to admit it annoys me that if he only knew he would likely ridicule me. That’s what I mean about being a hypocrite.

While it’s true the people in our lives will likely have different.. opinions of who we are and these opinions can usually have an impact on our self-esteem, the primary, and really, the only opinion of who we are that matters is our own opinion.

Many people in my life would likely never accept, let alone embrace, Hannah. Which stings a little. BUT acceptance of who you are MUST come from yourself. Once you have accepted and have embraced who you are it becomes easier to ignore the opinions (or the likely opinions) of others.

Of course I need to acknowledge that it’s not ALWAYS easy and moments of sadness will always creep in when you think how some members of your family, you know, the people who are supposed to love you, might shun you if they only knew.

For decades I was a crossdresser and that was that. I wore panties and a nightgown to bed but dresses and stilettos were very rarely in my wardrobe. A wig and a femme name weren’t really on my radar. But things change. When I realized that THIS was more than THAT I couldn’t help but rethink my gender and my identity. Not only who I was but also how others might think of me.

And yes, other opinions of us shouldn’t impact us but I think it’s normal when they do.

Who am I? Where do I belong? Who are my people? My allies? My friends? My family? My enemies?

The typical standards and expectations and social gender norms begin to shift. There are cracks in the wall separating BOY and GIRL in our hearts and in our worlds and in our closets.

This rebirth, this new reality of what gender IS and what people THINK it is can really be manifested during the holidays.

A typical family gathering for me these days is overwhelmingly women. My wife, my sisters, and their daughters. When it come to masculine presenting people it’s usually my brother-in-law and maybe my brother who lives out of state.

And then there’s me.

And when I say ME I mean HIM.

Sure, they know of Hannah but they don’t know her, if you follow.

All of us mingle between the kitchen grabbing coffee or a snack and the living room chatting and eating.

But growing up the holidays were a lot different. MEN in the living room drinking BEER and watching FOOTBALL. Women in the kitchen CLEANING and COOKING and drinking WINE.

The dining room was the treaty zone, if you will, in what seemed to be a war between the sexes. Not that there were conflicts (I mean, there were conflicts as most families are wont to have) but nothing out of the ordinary “discussions” of politics and family gossip.

Once Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas breakfast was finished, both sides returned to their respective rooms and roles.

The dress code was also pretty set in stone. The men wore “a nice shirt” and women wore… oh, the things they wore. Cocktail dresses, black stockings, glitter, sparkles, sequins… the women shined as they usually did but their outfits glowed with them.

Everything about these family gatherings reinforced gender roles and gender presentations to me as I grew up. They also made me feel more out of place than ever. Where did I belong? Neither room nor role felt right OR wrong.

My gender… oh, let’s call it an awakening, caused these nomadic feelings to return in my early thirties. While it’s true that the homes I visited during the holidays were not as divided as the houses I was in growing up, there were still some elements, whether out of habit or otherwise, of men in one room, women in another. Cross pollination, if you will, happened, too.

But even subtle, unspoken “rules” vibrated loudly in the house and in my mind.

Once again I was back to wandering between rooms, never staying in one place for very long.

The holidays, already creating stress, brought back that old, familiar, and unwelcome feeling of anxiousness.

But things, as they tend to do, change.

When our gender identities evolve, our hearts and brains and soul grow and change as well. It can be uncomfortable adjusting and learning who we are and navigating this next phase of our lives. It’s not unusual to wonder who we are and where we belong and where all this is going.

And again, this can lead to wondering literally which room we belong in.

In some ways we see gender as more binary than ever, even though the lines between GIRL and BOY are blurring. We see how other react to anything that someone wears or feels that isn’t in synch with the gender that they thought we were. “Why can’t I wear THIS, even if it’s for girls?” we may think. It’s an article of clothing. It’s fabric. It’s magical. But soon we are reminded that for most people that every single article of clothing or color is for a girl OR a boy.

So we swing back and forth between genders internally and that feeling of out of place returns or it’s something we notice for the first time. Soon EVERYTHING is about gender and gender roles. We feel shackled by one gender, and drawn to another. This pull is representing perfectly by feeling that we SHOULD watch football with the guys but feel a need to connect with other feminine people.

So! How does one feel peace and contentment in what feels like a tug-of-war? How do we lessen the tension and anxiety that we feel from others knowing how less than enthusiastic they would be when it comes to our identity?

Well, the world isn’t going to change anytime soon. And most of us don’t have family members that will become enlightened by the next time everyone gets together.

The only thing that we have any control or influence over is ourselves. We can’t make or expect the world or our judgmental aunt to change… like, ever. We can accept ourselves. We can find peace within ourselves. We can love and accept and embrace who we are.

The barriers between genders collapse. Walls come down.

When we do this it becomes easier to be… well, anywhere. We stop seeking any acceptance from others, we care less about which room we SHOULD be in. Like my gender identities, I happily float between the room with the football in it and the room with the girl talk in it.

Love, Hannah