Ask Hannah!

I am having a hard time finding people, male or female, that accept my enjoyment of wearing female attire. My roommate is gay and does not accept it, nor have any of my past gay friends. Yes, I would like to explore gay sex but the guys I have met have been too aggressive sexually. I know that I am border line on everything but you must have come across boys like me that want more and can’t find the right folks to learn, explore, and grow with. I am open to all and any advice

Although we don’t need approval to be… anything or anyone we are, acceptance is pretty necessary.  Or, at the very least, we would like to not be shunned or judged based on who we are.  Even though it is almost impossible to predict how someone will respond when we come out to them, typically (and this is being VERY generalizing) the reaction falls into one of there three scenarios:


-Thank you for being honest with me!  I encourage you to be true to yourself and dress how you want

-I may not understand this part of you, but it doesn’t change how I feel or think about you

-This side of you is weird and confusing and feels wrong and strange to me.  My opinion of you has changed significantly 


Again, these are very broad and certainly don’t cover every possible outcome, but I think for the purpose of this question these sum it up rather succinctly.


Part of accepting ourselves as a crossdresser also comes with the understanding that this side of us, this preference and enjoyment of wearing lingerie or heels or countless other beautiful things, can’t REALLY be explained or understood.  And trying to understand it is really unnecessary and impossible.  It can’t be expressed in a satisfactory way.  If we try to, the person we come out to usually just responds with wanting to know more.  Sometimes there ISN’T more to be said.

I like to wear dresses.

–But WHY?

They’re comfortable and make me feel good

–But WHY?

Pretty soon we get to the point where there’s nothing more that can really be said.  The WHYs, for the most part, are really asking “but you’re a BOY, how can you resolve that you are a boy that wears girl clothes?”.  I don’t know, I just wear what I want.  Again, a highly unsatisfactory and not very helpful response.  Lady Gaga nailed it, we are just born this way.  

Of course, I don’t need to explain this to a t-girl or a crossdresser, or anyone non-binary.   What I’m trying to do is explain how someone who is cis gender may process this side of us.

Anyway!  Back to your question.  Yes, it is hard to find others that will accept this side of you.  Most people have the need to understand… ANYTHING before they can accept it.  And, like I said earlier, this side of us can’t REALLY be understood.  I’ve been wearing “girl clothes” for decades and I’ll continue to do so and I will never understand WHY (beyond me just… WANTING to).  I’ve come out to three romantic partners in my life.  One hated it, one loved that I was open and honest with her as well as with myself, and of course, the third married me.  I’ve come out to a few friends and my siblings and each reaction has been varied and has fallen anywhere between “that’s awesome!” and “please never discuss this with me ever again”.  It stings but it is what it is.  You can’t MAKE someone accept who you are.  At the most, you can just hope they come around.  

Although you would (logically) assume that someone in the LGBTQ+ community would accept someone else who is also LGBTQ+, it’s not always so, and truthfully, it’s not really an equivalent.  Gender identity and sexual identity are pretty separate as far as I feel.  Wearing stilettos and makeup doesn’t change who I am attracted to.  My brother is gay and, like my cis gender sisters, doesn’t really get why I have a closet full of dresses, but they still love and accept who I am.  Of course, this doesn’t mean that they want to get a coffee with Hannah, but they know who I am.  

As for being curious about sex with men (or with anyone else), I am afraid I can’t be much help when it comes to that. 

It’s natural and normal for a crossdresser to want to share this side of us.  But what does that mean to you?  I knew what it meant to me when I came out to my wife.  I dreamed of getting dressed and going to the mall with her.  Although that hasn’t happened we’ve had countless girls nights in and it’s been absolutely magical.  You mention wanting to learn.  Are you looking for another crossdresser to teach you how to walk in heels or select the right clothes and sizes?  Are you looking for someone to teach you makeup?  If so, you may need to broaden your search a bit.  I learned how to do makeup thanks to three different teachers:


-My wife.  She showed me the differences between highlighters and bronzers and concealers.  She taught me the basics and broadened my horizons when it comes to makeup beyond just eyeliner and lipstick.  She showed me how to apply foundation and the basics

-Other crossdressers.  I read a lot of websites and forum comments and watched makeup tutorials about having more traditional masculine facial features and how to wear makeup and what products to purchase.  I learned a lot of techniques, such as beard covering, this way

-Finally, a professional makeup artist.  I booked a private makeup lesson and learned how to contour and minimize and enhance different aspects of MY face.  Every face is different and techniques that work for some faces won’t work for others.

You may, of course, also need to alter your expectations.  Many of us want to find an amazing person to have a fulfilling and incredible life with.  BUT you add in crossdressing to that relationship (or really, ANY relationship) it’s going to complicate things.  Coming out to someone you are romantically linked with will FOREVER alter your relationship. 

Before I came out to my wife (my girlfriend at the time) we had a good relationship.  Skipping ahead all those years later, we still have a good relationship but coming out to her has not always been easy but through communication and patience we adapted.

Before my wife I dated a girl who was 100000% accepting of what I wore, but goodness that relationship was not healthy for either of us.  When we ended it, part of me wondered if I would ever find someone who accepted my crossdressing the way she did, but staying in an unhealthy relationship BECAUSE they accepted my wardrobe choices was not a good idea.

In my opinion, if you want a relationship and you want crossdressing to be a part of it, you need to start with finding the right person, and then coming out to them.  Work on developing that friendship, that trust, that honesty.  Of course, you need to come out to them while you are in the early stages of dating, especially if them accepting your crossdressing is essential when it comes to a committed relationship.   

There are places online one can go to when it comes to finding other crossdressers.  I would recommend joining crossdressers.com or urnotalone.com.  Although I am rarely on these sites anymore, I have made friends through them.  Go to the site, create an account, and look in the forums and discussion posts for others in your area.  

To summarize, you can’t MAKE anyone accept your crossdressing.  I never made my wife accept it, but after some time passed she grew to understand that this side of me was, well, a part of me that wasn’t going to go away.  As two people create a life together they soon learn there are aspects of the other’s life that they may not understand or even like, but through honesty and communication they may come to accept the other person’s habits and personality and even clothing preferences.  

I really hope this rambling and almost aimless response helps, lol.

Love, Hannah

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

Ask Hannah!

With Halloween coming just around the corner my wife and her sister would like to go as Charlie’s Angels.  They bought me this cute green dress to wear. My question is what heels do you think are the most comfortable to wear for longer periods of time? My wife does not know anything about my crossdressing and maybe this is also a good time to hint to her that I really enjoy it.  What do you think?

Every foot is different so I can’t say definitively what heel is right for you.  I choose my heels for the day (or night) based on how much walking I am going to be doing and what outfit I am wearing.  As much as I want to wear my six-inch rose gold stilettos, I know it’s not the best idea if I am walking outside on slippery, icy sidewalks during a Minnesota December.

If I am doing a lot of walking or standing I tend to select a lower heel.  Again, sky-high stilettos are my jam, but let’s face it, your feet (and eventually your legs and back) will start to hurt before too long.  On the other hand, I have tall heels that I can and do wear for hours and hours at a time without any sort of discomfort.  Again, every foot (and heel) is different.  

I recommend picking out the heels you WANT to wear, the heels that work with WHAT you are going to wear and practice wearing and walking in them for a few hours.  Practice going up and down steps.  Think of it as test driving your heels.    

As for using Halloween as a way to come out to your wife, every relationship (like every stiletto) is different.  How one person comes out to their partner isn’t necessarily how someone else should.  What I do know is that coming out to your partner will irreversibly and significantly impact your relationship FOREVER.  Coming out to my wife while we were dating is still up there among the most important and life altering conversations we have ever had.  And that conversation still continues (on some level) to this very day.  Coming out to your partner is something that can only be done once.  Regardless of how well you know your partner (or anyone else you may come out to) you really have no way of knowing how they will react.  They may be angry, hurt, confused, excited, relieved, or emotional. 

It’s important to treat coming out (and any potential reaction) with the appropriate gravitas.   Casually mentioning that you enjoy crossdressing, or hinting at it, might be appropriate for some relationships.  It wouldn’t have been the right method for when I came out to my wife.  Yes, perhaps if I had casually mentioned it to her after only a couple of weeks of dating that would be different.  But by the time I came out to her we had known each other for a long time, we dated passionately and deeply and intensely.  We spoke of getting engaged and moving in with each other.  I should have come out to her before we had conversations about our future.  By the time two people are married they have made serious and important commitments to one another.  Coming out after getting married is waaaay more serious than coming out while dating.  Treat the conversation as serious as it deserves to be.  Again, coming out to anyone will likely bring up a lot of emotions and conversations so please consider the weight that this revelation will likely have.

Love, Hannah

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

Impossible When Beautiful

The world isn’t EVER going to give you permission to wear panties, or paint your nails, or strut in stilettos.  The world isn’t ever going to give you permission to do a goddamn thing.

If you want to do something, you just need to do it and the world will have to (eventually) accept it (or the world won’t).


That’s how progress is made.  


Women didn’t wait for the world to give them permission to wear pants.  They just freaking did it and although it wasn’t easy eventually women were “allowed” to wear pants.  Women fought for the right to vote, to own property.  Gays and lesbians fought for the right to marry whoever they wanted to.  


When I schedule a makeover and wander around town I’m doing it without the permission of ANYONE.  I just do it and to hell with people who wish I wasn’t alive.


The only person who “lets” you be who you are, the only person who “lets” you wear lingerie or makeup is your damn self.


Kind of.


Many of us are married, or have significant others.  Many of us were married.  We all know that crossdressing, being bi-gender, identifying as transgender doesn’t make life any easier.  Relationships aren’t easy either, but when you bring this side into one, well, it creates a whole new series of unique, difficult, and confusing conversations.  I fully believe in being honest with your significant other, although I do understand that it’s not easy, and it’s not always possible.  I know I am oversimplifying and speaking in very broad terms here.   If coming out will 100000% end your relationship, then coming out isn’t that simple.  For some of us we have to make a decision between Who We Are and Staying Married. 

And that’s… well, it’s heartbreaking.  We fall in love and commit to someone because we love them, we want to spend our lives with them.  AND we know how important it is to be true to ourselves.  When these two worlds collide it creates a lot of questions, tension, and stress.  We don’t want to cause our significant others stress in any way, regardless if it has to do with crossdressing or financial issues or anything else.


It’s not easy to come out to someone primarily because we don’t know how they will react.  Once you come out to ANYONE your relationship will change.  Even if you never speak of it again, you’ll always have THIS lingering out there.  They know this about you, you know that they know this about you and you both are always thinking about it.  It’s not uncommon for us to think of the worst-case scenario and that the relationship will end.  Or perhaps it won’t but maybe this revelation will make things so unpleasant between the two of you that you wish the relationship was over.  No one is a crossdresser because they think it will simplify their lives.  


If this revelation doesn’t end a relationship, our partners will process this in different ways.  Of course, we all hope and pray that our spouse, the person we love more than anyone else in existence, will love us anyway.  In our wildest dreams perhaps they will help us shop, show us how to contour our faces, maybe even hit the town as girlfriends.  I have a fulfilling, healthy, and happy relationship with my wife.  Although the first few years of us adapting to this side of myself weren’t always easy, we got through it.  I wasn’t always easy to live with, to understand.  In the early days it seemed like EVERYTHING was about Hannah, about clothes, about makeup, about being beautiful.  Every conversation was about Hannah and it got overwhelming for my wife, and for myself.  The pink fog hit me hard and I was impossible to live with.


But we got through it.  I settled into who I am, and found a balance between my gender identities.  I stopped drinking and became more considerate and aware of how my wife felt.  


Divorce and 100000% acceptance and participation are both extreme responses to coming out.  I think most of our relationships fall somewhere between these two.  Some of us have a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ agreement, some of us have relationships with “rules”, such as not leaving the house en femme or posting pictures online.  Regardless of how our significant others react and adapt to this side of us, it’s not easy on them, especially emotionally.  This side of us brings up a myriad of emotions and thoughts in our own heads and hearts, and it does the same thing with our significant others.  As much as we thrill to see ourselves in a dress, it can break our wives’ hearts to see their husbands in a skirt.


If coming out to our partners doesn’t end a relationship, then we have someone in our lives who does indeed “let” us be who we are, even if there are limits.  Even if it’s not discussed.  Even if your panties are hidden in a drawer.  The point is that if coming out doesn’t end your relationship, you have someone in your life who “lets” you do this.  They may turn the other way, they may not be comfortable in discussing it, they may buy you nightgowns for your birthday.  On some level they understand there is this side of you that is permanent, it’s not going away, and you have to be who you are.  Of course, you may not be able to be completely who you are, such as wanting to get dolled up and go out to dinner, but being allowed to dress at home, or underdress… well, that’s something.  

Marriage and relationships have some give and take, some compromise.  It can be how household chores are divided, how financial matters are resolved, or the limits of how crossdressing is brought into a relationship.  
I know many people who visit this site are girls like me, and I know that the significant others of girls like me visit this site as well.  This little rambling post is, in a way, a thank you to our partners and our spouses and significant others.  I know, WE know that this side of us isn’t easy to live with, to understand, to talk about, to accept.  It’s not easy for us, and we understand the stress and the unlimited emotions that this side of us creates.  Some of us would apologize, even though we love this side of us.  Some of us would lose our voices in thanking you for letting us have this side of us, and letting us have you as well. 


To our significant others, thank you, and we’re sorry.  Not necessarily sorry for who we are, but for the stress, the tension, the heartache, that this side of us can bring.


We love you.  


Love, Hannah

*Please know that this post is not a result of any difficulties in my own marriage.  Everything is lovely.  I was inspired to write this after I ordered some lingerie yesterday and I just reflected on how fortunate I am that I don’t have to hide this side of me.  

Ask Hannah!

Hi Hannah, First of all let me say that I love you and all your advice, it’s been very helpful to my wife & I. I recently went out en femme for the first time & with my wife, she was a little freaked out & worried someone we know might see us, but she was a trooper. My question is, does your wife go out with Hannah or do you go solo? I can go either way & respect that it’s hard for her, I loved being out en femme & can hardly wait to go out again

How wonderful she went out with you!  Her reaction and fears are pretty normal.  I mean, I have the same concerns when I go out en femme.  I am not toooooo worried about seeing someone I know as I tend to avoid many places that people in my boy life frequent, but Hannah looks very different than the boy does and I think that gives me a moment to leave the store (or wherever I am) before someone would grasp who I am.  
But our significant others don’t have that safety.  People may not recognize us at first glance, but people will recognize our partners.  


My adventures are solo unless I am out with the MN T-Girls.  This is not to say that my wife (or anyone’s partner) isn’t supportive because she doesn’t join me.  She shows her support in other ways. We chat about makeup and she buys me pink toothbrushes. My wife is amazing on a million levels and an ally to anyone in the LGBTQ+ community.  Were she to go out with Hannah there’s a better chance of her being recognized than myself.  And of course it wouldn’t take much for people to figure out who that really really really tall girl is that she is with.  


Most people in our lives are supportive of the transcommunity.  The risk is, of course, seeing someone we know that isn’t accepting and the potential fallout from that.  She also shares the same perspective as I do when it comes to coming out: it’s exhausting.  When I come out to others it takes countless conversations for someone else to come close to “getting it”.  This is one of the reasons I don’t come out to many people.  


Hannah’s life and all that comes with it isn’t, and wasn’t always easy for her.  I feel guilty for the added stress this side of me brings her.  I regret the times she was confused or angry or annoyed that this side of me brings or has brought.  It’s a lot for our partners to live with.  It’s a lot for us to ask of them.  I want to make Hannah’s life as stress free as it can be for her.  I try to be the best person I can be, I try to be worth all the stress Hannah creates and has created.


My wife knows that the invitation still stands for anytime she would like to hit the mall with Hannah.  That day may yet come and if it doesn’t, that’s okay.

Related reading

Be Worth It

Love, Hannah

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

Ask Hannah!

I am 52 and have been cross dressing since I was 11. I have been married for a while and have never come out to my wife, do you have any tips or advice on me telling her about my feminine side? I’m tired of sneaking around and would like to finally let her know. Thanks 

I would really think twice about dropping such a bombshell on your wife during a pandemic.  I know you’re tired of concealing this side of you and our partners are never prepared to have this conversation and there truly is never a good time to have this conversation, but we need to read the room, if you follow.  We are all stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted and this conversation might be more than your wife can handle at the moment.


That being said, I have written a lot about coming out and everything that can come with it.  This is not a conversation that you will have once or even fifty times.  There’s going to be a shift in your relationship that will be forever be impacted by this.  


There’s really no right way to have this conversation.  Every relationship is different, every marriage is different.  How I came out to my wife will be different than how you might do it.  

Take some time and read what I have written about this over the years: 

Writings about marriage

Writings about family

Good luck!

Love, Hannah

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

Ask Hannah!

Do you ever worry that you are spending or want to spend too much time en femme?

Honestly?  No.  


I dress about twice a month, at least I have over the last few months.  When I moved from simply underdressing to fully dressing en femme from wig to makeup to heels I was in the early stages of getting to know my gender identity, seeing what I liked, what felt right, and in many ways doing and wearing everything I have wanted to for years.  I was dressing en femme every week.  


This wasn’t a worry for me, but I think it was for my wife.  When we were dating it was a shock to learn her boyfriend wore panties.  When we got married it was an adjustment (to say the least) to watch her husband learn makeup and to help him zip up a dress.  Like many of our partners she wondered and worried where this was going.  I went from panties to a very complete wardrobe in what seemed to be a very short time.  


Despite my best attempts at reassuring her she still worried.  It took years for her to mostly stop wondering if I would want to start living full-time, start hormones, or make a drastic change in my life.  


In the early days I was lost in the pink fog.  When you are lost in the fog you usually don’t worry about spending too much money on clothes or worrying about spending too much time en femme or wanting to be en femme.  I mean, that’s the whole definition of the pink fog.  


Over the years I became more comfortable with my gender identities and felt the most comfortable identifying as bi-gender.  I am happy with both genders I present as.  I don’t need to choose which gender to present as for the rest of my life.  It can change daily and even throughout the day.  The key in life is finding balance in life, whether between work and family, and for girls like us, balancing gender identities.  Denying my femme side isn’t healthy, and spending too much time as Hannah may cause me to neglect my responsibilities and my wife’s feelings.  My wife likes Hannah, she knows that Hannah is part of who I am, but she would miss her husband if Hannah visited too long and too often.

Love, Hannah

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

Identity and Responsibility

I was out for a run the other day and usually a run allows me to lose myself in my thoughts and to let my mind wander.  Being outside, getting exercise, is a great way to gain some perspective.  It helps me work out problems and occasionally have a brilliant, random idea.  On this particular run I thought to myself “we need to take responsibility for our gender identity”.  And I was like yes!  We do!  And then I thought “what in the world does that mean?”


As my run continued, I started to break down this thought.  My core belief is that this is who we are, we can’t change that.  Call it nature, call it being born this way, we are who we are.  We do not have a choice.   The choice lies in how we respond to who we are.  We can deny it (good luck), we can ignore it, we can accept it, we can embrace it.  And we can act on it.  Or not.  


Our choice also lies in how we respond to those around us.  When en femme I get a lot of looks.  That’s not to say people are just fawning over me and they’re like OMG look at the pretty girl.  No.  Most of the looks are people seeing me and processing me.  It’s not common to see a girl as tall as me, so I am given a second look.  Not every girl is wearing heels and a beautiful dress at the store, so I am a little out of place.  And of course, I am trans and there’s really not enough of us (but more than you think) where we are so common that we kind of blend in and are unremarkable.  I am aware of the impact I have on people.  That is not to say that I am enchanting everyone around me and everyone thinks I am beautiful or whatever.  No.  I am fully aware that I am a t-girl, I am wearing a cute outfit, heels, amazing eyeliner, and regardless of if someone thinks I am attractive or not, I am noticed and I am likely causing some sort of reaction.  Reactions can include anything from “cute dress!” to “hey, a transgirl, cool” to “this chick is in my way” to “goddamn tranny”.  


Regardless of the gender I present as, I take responsibility for everything I do.  If I make a mistake at work, I own up to it.  If I am too sarcastic and hurt someone’s feelings, I apologize.  If Hannah makes you feel uncomfortable well, too bad.  I don’t care.  Get over it.  BUT!  I am aware that gender identity can be a complicated discussion and something some parents want to have with their children when it’s the right time and when both parent and child are ready to have the conversation.  In my experience if I see a kid with a parent they will usually stare at me as they are processing what they see.  Someone who is pretty clearly masculine wearing a pretty dress.  I fully accept (and expect) that they may wonder, often out loud, why that man is wearing a dress.  This is probably not a conversation many parents want to have while they are out running errands, even if the parents are extremely accepting and supportive of the trans community.  So, because of this, I become hyperaware when I am out in public and there a lot of kids around.  I don’t feel I am damaging them, but I feel I am presenting a perspective on gender that is likely outside of the experience they have had up until now.


This, I feel, is taking responsibility for my gender identity.


But for grown-ups, I really, really don’t care if I challenge your opinion and perspective and concept of gender.  Grow the hell up.  Let others live their best life.  I don’t care what you think or feel.  Lalalalala I can’t hear you.


BUT!  It’s different for our family.  My racist, homophobic uncles do not know about me, and they never will.  But if they did, they would HATE me.  And I wouldn’t care.  Really, that’s their problem.  I haven’t spoken to most of my extended family in decades anyway, so why would I care what they think?  Especially when it comes to something like gender identity?  Really, if you are transphobic or homophobic, that is 100% on you.  I am not going to change your mind and I am not going to spend any energy trying to do so.  I don’t know how to explain to someone why gender identity or sexual preference are not things to judge someone by.  
BUT!  Extended family is one thing, our siblings, parents, and especially our significant others, are another.  My relationship with my mom has always been complicated and has rarely been easy.  It’s gotten better as we have both gotten older, but i have accepted that she and Hannah will never go out for coffee.  Accepting this is one thing, but I still hope for it.  My mom’s opinion on one’s gender identity impacts me a little more.  I love my mom, and her perspective on me, my gender, my choices, my life hits differently than my racist uncle.  Who I am is important to me, and when people I love and care about have an opinion and perspective that differs from me about something as important as gender identity, well, it hurts, to be honest.  


When I came out to my mom I knew this would have a huge impact on her.  I didn’t know how it would go and I was nervous as to what our relationship would be like going forward.  Let’s be real, most relationships can be divided between Before Coming Out and After Coming Out.  I didn’t think she would disown me or anything, my mom is very liberal, my older brother is gay (not that being trans and gay at the same thing but there is some non-cis/non-hetereo precedent in our family).  I came out to my mom on a Saturday night.  The next day was a family gathering.  The coming out conversation was planned this way on purpose.  I wanted to open up to her in a way I never did before, and I wanted a family gathering the next day, just to re-establish a little more normality in her life and our dynamic and to kind of show her that although I was who I was, I was still who I’ve always been.  


Of course, our talk the night before was all that she could think about.  It was still sinking in.  Even after all this time it’s probably still sinking in.


A few years ago my mom properly met Hannah.  At the mall, of course.  This, however, was not planned.  Having a talk is one thing, seeing your son in a cute (well, I think it’s cute) pink dress, stilettos and makeup is another.  I reopened the conversation completely unintentionally.  Honestly I felt bad about that day.  I knew she didn’t understand or even want to talk about this side of me, and then here I am 10000% en femme at JCPenney (hey they have cute dresses once in a while). 

This had an impact on her in a different, more intense way than the chat we had at her dining room table a few years prior.  Although my gender identity is mine and personal and is really no one’s business but my own, I was, and will always be, aware of how who I am can affect the people I love.  I can’t, and won’t change who I am, but I certainly know how this side of me makes someone feel.


The most serious and sacred relationship one can have in their lives is the one they have with their spouse or significant other.  You dedicated yourself to each other, you made a commitment.  You invested your time, money, and energy to your relationship.  Perhaps you have children, or own a home, or a business.  You go through life’s challenges and successes and failures with each other.  Everything either one of you does has an impact on the other.  You owe it to them to consult with them on most of the decisions you will make in life.  As your life goes on, individually as well as together, things change.  Your children grow up, you change careers… and it’s possible your gender identity evolves as well.  When things change you have an obligation to have honest and productive conversations with your partner.  
They may not understand, they may not accept, they may not like this part of you, but your gender identity will have a significant impact on your relationship and on your partner.  It’s hard to come out.  It’s so scary but I believe if this side of you affects you significantly then you probably should have the talk with them.  And yes, it’s hard to go into a conversation where you don’t know the outcome will be.  I get it, I promise I do.  


As we keep our gender identity bottled up, the desire, our feelings only grow stronger.  They may get to the point where we don’t care about anyone’s opinion about who we are.  And that isn’t a bad thing.  When I stopped caring about complete strangers might think about me it gave me the freedom to dress to the nines and go everywhere from the gas station to the theater to Pride.  But we can’t think that way about our spouse.  You may be at the point where you are willing to risk it all because you need to acknowledge who you are, you may be at the point where you don’t care what anyone thinks.  You may be at a point where you feel if others have a problem with this, well, that’s their problem.


And yes, you are not wrong….


But you can’t think that this is only your partner’s problem.  You don’t have the luxury to not care what your wife, your significant other, thinks about your gender identity.  


When you start to acknowledge your gender identity has changed since you have gotten married or made a commitment to someone this isn’t “their problem”.  You HAVE to care.  This is now something the two of you need to work through and work out.  


Who we are is sacred.  It is important we are honest with ourselves.  It’s important we are honest with our partners.  We made a commitment to them and yes, relationships change and sometimes they get to a point where two people are no longer happy, or in love, or the relationship has run its course.  Our marriages require a lot of communication and mutual respect.  Our actions impact them, and we must take responsibility for what we do, how we feel, or how we identify.  


Love, Hannah

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning

Our heart’s desires come out after midnight.


When my wife and I were learning more about my gender identity, we would have these amazing, vulnerable conversations late at night (and often early into the morning) about how I felt, how she felt, and, well, about clothes and makeup.  These talks were often accompanied by a bottle or two of wine.  My wife was the first person who I really opened up to.  I came out to others previously but my wife and I really dug deep into how I felt and what I wanted.  Her questions and patience and honesty really helped me to feel safe when it came to discussing what it is simple and complicated at the same time.  


But that’s my wife.  She makes everyone feel safe and important.  After a lifetime of living with my feelings and desires I was tired of keeping this inside.  I was tired of keeping secrets.  It was a relief, and still is, to talk with her.  Wine can help, but I think what really allowed me to open up to her and challenge myself was having these conversations after a long day.  As my day progresses, I lose my filter and tend to say what I am thinking or feeling.  I don’t have the bandwidth (if you will) to blow off a difficult question.  I lose my defenses and i just become really honest with myself and ultimately, became honest with her.  


No, I never lied about this side of me.  I came out to her while we were dating and talked about I loved lingerie, and told her that was where it ended.  Of course, looking at who I am now it’s hard to believe that all of THIS was just about panties, but that is how I understood it.  Besides those rare occasions I bought a dress (that would ultimately end up quickly getting purged) I never really wore anything beyond bras and panties and heels at that point.  


Of course, these talks were not just about me.  She had feelings and thoughts about this side of me as well.  These late conversations were just as necessary for her as they were significant for me.  We were honest with ourselves and with each other after midnight in a different way.  I think we reveal what we want, how we feel, and who we are at the end of a long day.  Again, the wine helped.


But these days I don’t drink and can barely stay awake after 10pm, but I digress.


I get a lot of emails at night.  My website traffic is surprisingly high after I fall asleep.  I get more comments on my Flickr page and DMs on Twitter than I expected.  Whenever I read an email that was sent at three in the morning I am always surprised that anyone is still awake at that time.  Again, I am not as young as I used to be and forget that I used to be able to stay up that late.  A lot of the emails that I get at this time of night tend to be very very honest.  They can be very long and it’s not uncommon for the spelling to get a little careless as the email goes on.  I suspect the writer is probably having a drink which is fueling their courage to be honest about themselves or to help them send an email to someone they can relate to.  The sender will talk about how they’ve always wanted to wear panties but never were brave enough.  How they want to be honest with their wife but just are afraid of her reaction.  I imagine these messages are being sent long after their partners are asleep and they are going online and looking at sites they normally wouldn’t during the day.  


Again, wine helps.  Well, maybe not help, but it can cause someone to act without thinking, without restraint, but that is not always a good thing.


I usually respond to these emails and offer resources if they ask, or answer questions, or send links that I think would be helpful, whether it is for a gender therapist or where to find size 14 stilettos.  Sometimes I get a reply but if I do, it’s not uncommon for them to tell me to never contact them again and they have purged and they are no longer a crossdresser.  Good luck with that.  My guess is that they immediately regretted sending the email and want to pretend it never happened.  


And that’s fine.  You do you.


If you are reading this post on your phone while your wife is sleeping soundly next to you, I want you to know that there is nothing wrong with you.  This is who you are, this is who we are.  You can’t change what you want, this will not go away.  That might help you feel better, it might not.  You can choose to listen to this side of you, and what you decide to do is your choice.  But whether you accept this side of you, or pretend it doesn’t exist, please know that it is okay to be who you are.  It is a complicated life, your gender identity may or may not make anything easier, it is what it is.  


On a similar but possibly lighter note, I am surprised at how many DMs I get on Twitter with a photo of a dude’s penis asking “u up?”.


I’m probably not awake, but even if I was, my god, go away.  


Love, Hannah

Acceptance and Embracing

We know that “society” will never “accept” us. 


We can’t wait for “them” to let us know that crossdressing or wanting to wear a dress or lipstick or whatever we have tucked away in our dresser drawers or hidden in our closets is okay.  


Acceptance of who we are comes from ourselves.  Some of us accept who we are with giddy excitement. They embrace this side of themselves.  They have denied this side of themselves for too long until finally, finally they accept that they are who they are, that they love to wear lingerie or nail polish or the countless, wonderful things that they have dreamed of wearing.  For others, this acceptance comes with resigned reluctance.  They have fought this side of themselves for their entire lifetimes, thinking, hoping, and perhaps praying it would go away.  But it didn’t, and it won’t.  Some of us just stop fighting ourselves, they stop denying that this is a phase and this is who they are.  


We want this acceptance of ourselves.  Conflict, tension, denial can be very exhausting.  Thinking that there is something wrong with us is very depressing but this is who we are.  This is how we are wired, this is how we were born.  I cannot change my gender identity no more than I can change my age.  


We know that accepting this side of us is essential for survival.  Denying any part of ourselves can wear on us, it exhausts us, it consumes us.  Acceptance of oneself usually feels *AMAZING*.  A weight has been lifted, the missing piece of our identity falls into place, and a serene peace envelops us.  Hopefully we are happier.  I think most of us are.


Of course, not everyone wants to accept this side of themselves.  They are terrified that this is who they are, that this is not a phase.  The fear is that if they accept that there is something to their gender identity other than BEING A MAN, it may mean other things.  Does it mean we were born in the wrong body?  Does it mean you are gay?  Does it mean we are going to transition?  Well, maybe, but not necessarily.  It’s normal to jump to the conclusion that because there is a side of you that is typically seen as feminine that perhaps you do not fit the societal view of heterosexuality.  But really…?  Wanting to wear a nightgown does not mean that you are unknowingly attracted to men.


I do understand the need, the hope that society accepts us.  For many of us, there was a stigma with being anything that wasn’t masculine.  It’s quite silly.  There was a boy in my first grade who was really good at jumping rope.  It didn’t take long for some boys to decide that jumping rope was for girls and he was mocked all throughout grade school for being a sissy, for being a girl.  This, of course, is silly and harmful, the kid was just really good at jumping.  As I watched that kid get tormented for years, I learned that this side of me needs to stay a secret.  I never thought there was something wrong with me, but my life was hard enough as it was and I didn’t need to be ostracized because of what I wanted to wear.  It would be nice to live in a world where a boy could jump rope or wear nail polish without getting beat up.  
At some point we understand that society doesn’t, and never will accept us.  Sure, they many tolerate or even love drag queens or take sensitivity training at work about gender identity, but for those of us who simply like to wear lingerie that level of acceptance is never coming.  And it doesn’t need to.  What I wear to bed and under my clothes is no one’s business.  No one needs to know what kind of underwear I am wearing, whether it is boxers or panties.  Spoiler alert: it’s panties.


But our partners need to know.  Our partners need to know who we are.  All of who we are.  But this is not about that.  I have written a lot of the importance of being honest with our significant others in the past, but this is about why we crave that acceptance.
We want someone other than ourselves to tell us that it’s okay.  Even after we accept this side of us we will still go back and forth about it.  We may go from loving this side of us to wishing it would go away.  We have accepted this is who we are, but some of us may still wish that this side of us would vanish.  Spoiler alert: it won’t.


Our partners accepting this side of us… and liking this side of us are two different things.  Like us, our partners may come to the point where they have accepted that this is who we are.  “My husband likes to wear panties and he’s not going to change” is not an easy thing for our wives to say.  We want our partners to like this side of because most of us like who we are.  We know it’s a lot to ask, we know it’s a lot to take in.  We know that their man wearing panties (or whatever) is a big change.  We know how hard it is to be who we are, to accept who we are, and we must remember our partners are going to go through that agony, that confusion as well.  Putting someone we love through the same thing we put ourselves through is going to cause a lot of guilt.  It’s a lot to ask.  Even now I want to constantly tell my wife thank you for all she puts up with.  


We can accept ourselves, but liking, embracing this side of ourselves are not the same thing.  The same goes with our partners.  We want our partners to LIKE this side of us because it makes it easier.  We feel less guilt when we wear a nightie because our wives like it when we do.  Does my wife like this side of me?  She has long accepted that this is who I am.  It doesn’t phase her the way it did when I came out to her before we got married.  I think she is used to it which is not the same as resigning herself to it.  I think she likes we talk about makeup or styles or cute clothes.  I think she likes that I can give my thoughts on an outfit she’s wearing and knowing my perspective and opinion is coming from somewhere a little different because of my gender identity.  


But does she ever think “oh boy, I’m so glad my husband crossdresses and wears panties!”  No, I don’t think so.  I think she likes that this side of me makes me happy, and really, that’s enough.  It’s not much different than a wife being happy that her husband likes to play video games, watch football or something.  I don’t think there’s a lot of wives who are thrilled because their husband likes to fish.  They may be happy that their spouse has something, and does something, that makes them happy, though.


Some of us have partners that will dress to the nines with them and hit the town.  Some of us have partners who see our femme selves as their BFFs and go shopping with.  But for most of us, our partners accepting this side of us is the most we can ask for, and the most we can hope for.  I understand we want our partners to like this side of us, to be happy with this side of us.  I understand, believe me.  Accepting their partners as we are is not easy, and even if they do, it doesn’t mean that it won’t be difficult sometimes.


Love, Hannah  

Ask Hannah!

I have been married since 1988 and am 69 years old. I have been trans since I first started paying with makeup and clothes around the age of 5. When I met my wife, I suppressed all of my desires and my inner-self for fear of rejection and loss of the love of my life. For 32 years I’ve suffered migraines and back pain due to the suppression. During the quarantine, I couldn’t take it anymore and came out to my wife. Surprisingly, the migraines and back pain went away immediately. Much more to my surprise is my wife’s complete acceptance. She helps me pick out makeup, earrings for my newly pierced ears, dresses, blouses, and heels and hose. She even has me going to a salon every 2 weeks for a pedicure and a manicure complete with Gel-X coffin nails. She gave me my t-girl name “Marli”. She totally accepts me as a woman except for those few times I need to be a man, such as with yard work and household repairs. In your experience and travels is this kind of total acceptance usual? It’s more than welcome, but also kind of scary. She says she just wants me to be totally happy.

The stress of withholding this side of us can cause an unhealthy amount of stress and tension.  Not being honest with our significant others can create tension and distance as well as guilt.  When my wife and I were dating I had a lot of guilt about who I am and I felt I was being dishonest.  Our partners need to know who we are, especially when this is who we are.
So, in a way, I am not surprised your pain went away.  I can imagine you were carrying that stress and tension for decades.  


And congratulations on being honest with yourself and for being honest with her.  I am very happy that your wife has accepted, and from what it sounds like, has embraced this side of you.  It doesn’t matter if she understands this part of us (because honestly, I don’t understand this part of myself) but it sounds like she knows how important your gender identity is.
Is the usual?  What relationship is?  The dynamics between two people in a committed relationship can be very different from couple to couple.  There is always a secret side of a relationship between people that most of the world doesn’t see.  I can imagine the surprise my friends would have if they knew about Hannah and the conversations my wife and I have about eyeliner and foundation and fashion. 

Don’t worry about how common your relationship is compared to others.  It sounds wonderful.  


But something to keep in mind that you revealed something very big and significant about yourself.  You have introduced a new dynamic into your lives and it can be easy to overwhelm your wife.  It is possible she may have conflicting feelings from time to time.  She may feel that Marli is around too much and that she misses her husband.  Listen to her.  Especially about this.  If she would like Marli to take some time off, it doesn’t mean that she is less supportive or she doesn’t love you (or her).  This is a new thing for you and for her.


Love, Hannah

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