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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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

 

T-Girls and T-Grilling!

Minnesota’s summer is winding down beautifully in an almost elegant, graceful way.  The days are increasingly cooler and shorter and although fall isn’t here yet, can see it getting closer with each moment.

The backyard barbecue is one of the season’s biggest tradition.  To be able to eat outside with friends and get to know new people is one of life’s smallest but greatest pleasures.  Most people attend them in flip-flops, but leave it to the MN T-Girls to pair brats with stilettos.

Last night was our monthly event and one of the girls graciously welcomed our group into her home and backyard for one last night of grilling, conversation and fun.  It was a perfect night and provided an opportunity for some new members to get to know the group in a very low-key way.

Very special thanks to Marcia for hosting us and for grilling as well as to all the t-girls who brought something to share.

Love, Hannah

 

T-Girls at TC Pride!

It’s Pride weekend in Minnesota and the MN T-Girls were there celebrating with about a zillion others.  It was a beautiful day and we had so much fun meeting people, talking about the group and being part of the community.

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The day started early with Mari and I setting up the tent, the table, the Wheel of Fabulosity and decorating our booth.  And yes, I did this all in three-inch heels.

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It was amazing to see so many resources and allies of the transcommunity.

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Minnesota Transgender Alliance
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PFLAG
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Outfront
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Transforming Families

As the day got started, Liz and Nikki joined us.

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Liz and I both wore dresses with a rose pattern and I promise that wasn’t planned and we both looked amazing.

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One of my favorite things about Pride is seeing so many people in our community.  There were so many people happy to find others like them.

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Tygra Trinity Slarii, Miss Saloon 2018

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So, this is the one 😉

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Pride weekend goes all weekend long, unfortunately the MN T-Girls won’t be there on Sunday.  We all had an amazing time and we are so grateful to be part of our community.  Thank you to everyone who stopped by and to the MN T-Girls for making this happen.  See you all next year!

Love, Hannah

 

MN T-Girls at TC Pride!

booth2June is Pride month and I am excited to confirm that the MN T-Girls will have a booth (G37,  in the Green Zone) at this year’s Pride Festival in Minneapolis the weekend of June 23rd and 24th.  Although the festival runs both Saturday and Sunday, please note that we will be there SATURDAY only.  Come meet the t-girls and find out how to join our fabulous group.  This will be the MN T-Girls second year at Pride.  I hope it’s less eventful than the first year we were there when a sudden gust of wind uprooted a tent and smacked me in the face.  I still have the scar but thankfully it’s covered easily with foundation.

Watch out for tents!  🙂

Love, Hannah

 

Ask Hannah!

I would like to start a group similar to the MN T-girls but I am having trouble finding other CD’s that might join the group. Could you share some of the steps you took when starting the MN T-girls? Particularly how did you contact a community of people that is typically in the “closet”.

 

Congratulations on starting your group!  It will be one of the most rewarding and occasionally frustrating things that you’ll ever do.  I knew it would be difficult to meet others like me, especially those who were brave and confident and ready enough to go out.  Luckily I had a blog and had a lot of people who visited it each day.  I blogged about the group and invited t-girls in the area to email me.  Being a little web savvy, I knew the most searched term people used to find my blog was “crossdressing in Minnesota”.  I knew people were looking for others like me in Minnesota so I started to tag Minnesota on my blog so Google would start directing people to my site.  So, setting up a blog that is updated frequently is a good start.  Of course, starting a blog is a challenge in it of itself, but WordPress is very user friendly option.  You might want to start blogging about LGBTQIA issues in your home state, share your thoughts and experiences and write about resources for our community in your area like I have here.  A blog is a great way for people to get to know you so others feel comfortable reaching out to you.

The next thing I did was posting a thread on crossdressers.com.  There is a section there titled ‘Places to Go, Places to Meet’.  Crossdressers.com is probably the biggest social group for girls like us.  T-girls constantly discover my group through this forum.   You may also want to visit a local PFLAG meeting and invite members to your group.

Creating, organizing and, maintaining a group like this is a challenge and can be frustrating at times.  But it is also very rewarding and fun.  It takes a lot of patience and professionalism and dedication.  It takes commitment.  It is a lot of hard work.  It takes a lot of my time.  However, through the group I’ve been able to do many amazing things and I am constantly looking for new adventures for us.

I will say if you are going to create a group then it really is something you need to commit to. You’ll need to stay in contact with the members, keep them updated about outings and listen to requests. You’ll need to be reliable and consistent. You need to be social and outgoing and friendly and confident. The group really brings me out of my comfort zone in terms of being social, and I really need to be organized and plan ahead. You’ll also need to be able to not take things personally. There have been many events where ten T-Girls say they’ll be there…but two show up. There are times when I get frustrated when not as many girls show up as I expected because the events can take a lot of time to plan. Most outings take a few weeks, or sometimes even months to plan. The last outing was in the works for three months, for example.

I wish you the best of luck! I hope it goes well and thank you for creating a group!  Let me know when you group is up and running and I’ll writ a post about it.

Love, Hannah

 

MN T-Girls Uprising

Some people think that the Twin Cities are a frozen tundra that is completely uninhabitable.  Since yesterday was our first 60 degree day since November, sometimes I agree with them.  This has been an unusual spring for us.  Last week was supposed to be the MN T-Girls monthly outing, but a very powerful blizzard caused me to cancel our plans.  I was disappointed as it sounded like a fun event, but the event itself was cancelled, too.  However I’m happy we were able to do something that was just as fun.  Yesterday the sun shone, the snow melted, and people were out enjoying the day.  I spent the afternoon shopping and getting a makeover by Corrie at Midwest Makeup.

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Last year we went to a play at the Phoenix Theater that was put on by the Uprising Theater group.  I was excited to see that they were doing a production titled ‘Twisted Death’.  The description for the production reads:

Pam and Ryan couldn’t be more different. He is a young transgender man and she is an older conservative woman but when they are both diagnosed with cancer their lives intersect in ways that neither of them could have ever imagined.

This world premiere of a new work explores questions of identity, relationships, our health care system, and who has control over your body and life.

 

It sounds rather dark and serious and it does take on some pretty heavy themes however there are some genuine moments of brevity and tenderness.  It was a wonderful evening.

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It was just a trio since the event was planned at kind of the last minute but I was glad to see another play en femme.

Love, Hannah