Five Years of the MN T-Girls!

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Five years ago the MN T-Girls had our very first outing.

It was held at a coffee shop in south Minneapolis that sadly is no longer in business.  I remember waiting, a little nervously, to see if anyone would show up.  But they did.  I think there were a total of four others who made it that day.  I was surprised that this little event was successful and a little proud of myself that the first event had happened.

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My confidence was bolstered by the first outing and by the number of t-girls who were emailing and wanting to join.  I had planned a shopping trip at the Mall of America…which no one had committed to going.  The event didn’t happen.

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My enthusiasm and confidence plummeted and I wondered if this group was going to make it.  I planned a third outing at the same coffee shop and it was attended by about a half dozen of us.  My confidence was restored and each month since then the group has met and had a lot of pretty amazing experiences.

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Running the MN T-Girls has been frustrating, amazing, rewarding and stressful…often all in the same day.  I really never know how an event will go until it starts.  I can plan an event with fifteen girls committing to attend…but only three show up.  That’s not too surprising when the group members are all at varying stages in their lives.  Some girls have been going out in public for years, others make their first visit into the real world at the event itself.

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I have been filled with pride as I watched some of the members make their first high-heeled step into a museum on their first venture into the outside world.  I have met girls in parking lots so they wouldn’t walk into a restaurant for their first time alone.  I have seen members blossom from attending outings in male mode to fully transitioning.  I have seen faces light up as a t-girl looks at themselves in a mirror after their very first makeover at a makeup demonstration event.

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When a t-girl joins, I often ask them what they want to do.  Some girls tell me they dream of going to a play, or going shopping or learning makeup.  So, I plan events where we go to a theater, hit the mall or attend a makeup demonstration.  It’s easy to get frustrated when it takes two months to plan and coordinate an event and have only four girls show up.

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When an event doesn’t go as planned and fewer girls show up than I had planned, I often think about why it wasn’t a successful event.  What was it about the event that wasn’t attractive to the members?  I do my best to plan events throughout the year that appeal to those who have been in public for years as well as events intended for girls who aren’t quite ready to be that visible.  I try to learn from the events so I can plan future events that the members want.

What do t-girls want?

Is it makeup lessons?  Private shopping events?  Dinner at nice restaurants?

After five years and literally hundreds of members later, I think I figured it out.

We want to be understood.

We want to be understood without explaining ourselves.

For those of us who have come out to others, we know it can take a long time to find the right words to answer questions that others have.  Why do we do this?  Why do we want to wear a dress?  Why can’t we change?

It can take years for someone else to somewhat understand why we are who we are.  I am not sure someone can fully understand why we are who we are as I am not sure we do ourselves.

But we are not a math problem that needs to be solved.  We are poetry that simply is.

I believe t-girls want to talk to others without having to explain why and who we are.  We understand each other.  We all have had many of the same experiences and feelings and thoughts.  The same conversations with our loved ones.  We know why another t-girl is who they are because we know why we are who we are.

T-girls fall into easy friendships and conversations because we don’t need to have the conversation about identity with each other.  We know how complex and how simple gender identity can be.  We know how it is fluid and beautiful and personal.

This side of us is yearning to have experiences in the world.  We want to experience things as this side of us.  Those experiences can range from flying pretty to having a cup of coffee with a new friend.

Yes, there will always be events where we learn how to contour, events where we go shopping and events where we go out to dinner.  The events over the past five years have ranged from wildly successful to complete disasters.  That will not change over the next five years.  But the measure of success needs to be gauged by building the community.  It makes me happy when friendships are formed because of the group and members are meeting up with each other outside of the monthly events.  It’s heartwarming to see girls build their confidence and find the courage to come out to others in their life.  I am inspired by the members and I am often bursting with pride.

I am often asked about the future of the group.  Some days I want to walk away from it but ten minutes later I am thinking about future outings.  It’s my dream to see the group someday being able to exist without me.  If I decide to retire as the head of the MN T-Girls I hope there would be someone to take the leadership role and keep the group going.  I would love to see the group become more involved in activism and social issues.  I would love to see the group grow.

This weekend we will celebrate our anniversary and all that we have done as a group and as individuals.  The event planned for tomorrow will be a typical event for me in terms of swinging from frustration to elation, but I’m used to that by now.

I want to thank every member of the MN T-Girls.  Whether you joined and have yet to attend an outing or are there for every event.  You are why I do what I do.  The group exists for you and I will continue to plan events as long as t-girls want to come to them.  I want to thank all our honoring members as well, such as Corrie Dupay and Shannonlee.  Two amazing women who do so much for our group and community.

Love, Hannah

 

 

 

 

 

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PFLAG Events for November

PFLAG’s mission is uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies.  PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy.  PFLAG has 400 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

PFLAG was the first support organization I heard of when I was growing up.  I attended their meetings a few years ago and found it was a supportive, and inclusive community.  PFLAG is a wonderful group, especially for our spouses and family members and I am happy to promote the events the Twin Cities chapter has scheduled.

Guest Speaker: Billy Eloy

Billy will be providing information on events and services available to queer, trans and gender nonconforming youth in the Twin Cities.Suggestions for how parents can provide support and advocacy for their queer, trans and

Parents and youth welcome!

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Tuesday, November 20th, 2018 at 6:30 pm
Union Congregational Church
3700 Alabama Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55416
Support groups will be held at 7:30 pm directly following the program.
Love, Hannah

Transgender, Nonbinary Individuals and Allies March Through U of M Campus

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From MPR.org

A group of about 60 people marched through the University of Minnesota campus Thursday in support of transgender and nonbinary individuals’ rights on campus.

The march, dubbed “We Will Not Be Erased,” was largely in response to a statement by the university’s College Republicans student group painted on the Washington Avenue Bridge. The message read, “The proposed pronoun policy mocks real social issues,” which the marchers called “hate speech”.

Continued here!

Love, Hannah

Trans Visibility Event

If you are in the Twin Cities area, I encourage you to participate in a trans visibility even this weekend.  Details below!

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Trans folks & allies, does anyone else just want to stand out in public with each other, in a never ending line and be seen? Not a protest, per se but a trans visibility event.
We could hold signs simply saying something like:
“I’m trans and I exist” 
Allies can hold signs saying something like:
“Someone I love is trans and they/she/he/ze exist”
Let’s do it on Sunday, October 28th at 12:00 noon! Starting at Chicago Ave & Lake Street in Minneapolis, shoulder to shoulder, standing on the curbs, not blocking traffic, with our signs. Let’s see how far we can stretch this line. Can we make it all the way down Lake Street, over the bridge and down Marshall Ave into St. Paul? Let’s try!
Bring your own signs, warm clothes, a chair if you need it and ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY! It’s a time to stand together and be visible. Please invite all your local friends, families, contacts. Please post on your profiles, pages, groups. Let’s do this!
Love, Hannah

Super Model T-Girls!

I love the fall season.  Fall means cute outfits, wonderful weather and the annual MN T-Girls photo shoot with the amazing Shannonlee, superstar photographer!

I have worked with Shannonlee for about a half dozen photo shoots and this was the fourth photo shoot she did for the MN T-Girls.  You can read about the last two shoots here and here.

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We started doing these shoots because for so many of us the only photos we have of our femme side are selfies and let’s face it, nothing beats a professional photo.  Some of us are nervous and have a hard time relaxing and having fun when it comes to professional pictures and it takes a patient person to bring someone out of their shell sometimes.  Not only is Shannonlee a talented photographer, she’s super fun to work with and helps us all feel like supermodels.

I had a lot of fun picking out my outfits for the day and got into the Halloween spirit a little, too.  I can’t wait to share the final pictures with you all!

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Love, Hannah

 

PFLAG Events for October

PFLAG’s mission is uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies.  PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy.  PFLAG has 400 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

PFLAG was the first support organization I heard of when I was growing up.  I attended their meetings a few years ago and found it was a supportive, and inclusive community.  PFLAG is a wonderful group, especially for our spouses and family members and I am happy to promote the events the Twin Cities chapter has scheduled.

Please join them for their October support group meeting.
Tuesday, October 16 at 6:30 pm
Union Congregational Church
3700 Alabama Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55416
Love, Hannah

X for Gender!

From MPR:

New driver’s licenses are giving Minnesotans a third option for gender designation.  Minnesotans can now put an “F” on their ID for female, an “M” for male, or an “X” for what officials are calling non-binary gender.

The agency said in a statement that the third gender option is in line with other self-reported descriptions, such as weight, height and eye color and allows it to better serve all Minnesotans. Federal regulation allows the change.

In an emailed statement Tuesday afternoon, state Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, said the change was “made unilaterally by Democrats in the Dayton administration without legislative approval,” and he asked whether the change would negatively affect law enforcement.

Minnesota joins California, Washington state, Washington, D.C., Maine, Oregon and New York as jurisdictions that already or will soon offer the driver’s license option for residents.

Love, Hannah