Spring Photo Shoot!

Can you think of a more fun way to spend a Friday afternoon than getting a makeover from Corrie Dubay and then going to a photo shoot with Shannonlee?  Because I sure can’t!

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This was a little different than other shoots I’ve done in the past.  This session was all about photos for product reviews from The Breast Form Store and Glamour Boutique.

I’ll be posting photos and reviews for some items over the next few weeks.  I’m actually wearing one of the products in the photos above and I can honestly say it has changed my life.  And no, it’s not the dress.  🙂

In the meantime, if there are any products or clothes that you would like reviewed, please email or comment below!

Love, Hannah

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More Than Just a Flag

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The kind people at MB Books sent a copy of ‘More Than Just a Flag’, an autobiography of Trans Flag Creator and Trans Activist, Monica F. Helms, to review.

I love to read and I especially like to read what is called ‘micro-history’ which is usually a deeply researched book that focuses on something very specific that has had a significant impact on society.  I believe our community should be familiar with our history so I was very excited to read this.

The book covers her time serving in the Navy, her journey of discovering who she is and her days as an activist.  In addition to creating the transgender pride flag, she also fought for creating a union when she worked for a civilian employer which is where she worked when she transitioned.

According to the introduction, some of Ms. Helms’ other achievements include:

-Before TAVA’s launch in 2003, Monica was active on the
board of directors of the nonprofit National Transgender
Advocacy Coalition

-Monica was Georgia’s (and the South’s) first transgender
delegate to the Democratic National Convention. She has
been active in lobbying state legislators in Arizona and
Georgia, and the U.S. Congress.

-Along the way, Monica managed to pick up three college
degrees, two in television production. She maintains a
channel on YouTube with some 250 videos.

-Monica has six books available for purchase on Amazon.
Five are science fiction, three of which – perhaps
unsurprisingly – involve submarines.

The memoir is insightful, relatable, serious and lighthearted.  It is also heartbreaking, especially when Helms recounts her relationship with her parents:

As I left their house again, I tried to give my mother a hug goodbye, but she wouldn’t put her arms around me. Instead she told me, “We’re taking you out of the will and we don’t ever want to see you again.”

So, I walked out of my parents’ home, never to speak face-to- face with my mother for the next seven-and-a-half-years. I would never get the chance to look into my father’s eyes ever again, because he would end up dying a few years later. Even though the rejection
caused me enormous pain, I knew I had no other option than to continue with my transition. To the outside world my actions may have looked selfish, but I can truthfully say that I only did what I had to do to survive.

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I learned a lot more than I expected about this history and creation of our iconic flag.  But as the title implies, this book covers more than just our flag.  Ms. Helms writes about her experience and her perspective on gender.  Much of what she writes is a reminder about every transperson is different and how different the meaning of ‘transgender’ can be from person to person.

From the text:

As my life has progressed, I’ve found that I’m both man and woman, neither a man nor a woman, and sometimes both at the same time. I am not confused, rather I believe I’m enlightened. I feel that I have been blessed to see life through the eyes of a man and the eyes
of a woman. It has given me an amazing viewpoint of the world. As such, I believe I am an amalgamated person.

An amalgamation is “the process of combining or unitingmultiple entities into one form.” In  metallurgy, in an amalgam or alloy, the elements do not chemically combine, but mix together to form a stronger byproduct. I feel that the amalgamation of male and female in me has helped to make me a stronger person. I identify as female, but I’m more of a bigender person. This allows my brain to float between multiple worlds, or solidly take on one role or another. Sometimes I am a man and a woman at the same time, or I can
change in a nanosecond, then change back just as fast.

If you are interested in our history I recommend ‘More Than Just a Flag’, but I also encourage you to read it as I found Helms’ perspective on gender fascinating.  She writes well and succinctly gets to the point of what she is saying.

You can get a copy online or from your local bookseller.  Thank you to Ms. Helms for writing this, for your contributions to our community and for creating a symbol for us.  Thank you to MB Books for sending this!

Love, Hannah

 

Kylie and Hannah and the Angry Inch

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Today was, well, it still is for a few more hours, The International Transgender Day of Visibility.  I was happy to be able to spend the day being out and, well, visible.  AND FABULOUS.

I was invited by Theater Latte Da to a performance of Hedwig and The Angry Inch.  I had always wanted to see this show which is based off of a movie from 2001 of the same name.  My friend Kylie and I attended today’s matinee performance and had a wonderful time.   Look at us being all visible.

In the show, Hedwig fronts a band and the story is not so much a traditional play but rather a rock concert where Hedwig and her (really amazing) band play songs that range from rather touching to angry and loud to inspiring.  I really liked all the music, particularly ‘The Origin of Love’ and you can hear all the music from the show here.  Between the songs Hedwig tells the story of her life which is at times funny, touching, and relatable.

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Hedwig is a difficult character.  At times I felt bad for her because of her hard life, a botched operation and unloving mother.  At times I felt bad for her as we learn about her former song writing partner taking all the credit for the work she did as he rockets to fame but leaving her behind.  But at other times I didn’t like her at all as she constantly berated her husband throughout the entire show.

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It’s interesting to see a show like this deals so heavily with transgender issues but also feels outdated, in some ways.  But that’s not the show’s fault.  We as society have evolved and learned so much about gender identity since the show was written in the 1990’s. There’s a terrific and insightful Star Tribune article about this very issue here.

The cast is small and the primary roles are played by Tyler Michaels King and Jay Owen Eisenberg.  King does an impressive job playing such a polarizing character.  King plays to the audience, loves the spotlight and is sincere in the role.  Eisenberg’s role was reduced to being yelled at by Hedwig throughout the entire play, but gets a chance to shine in the end.  I would have liked to have seen more of their character.  The musicians are great, the songs are wonderful and the theater itself is beautiful.

I want to thank Theatre Latte Da for the invitation.  I encourage you to check it out and to let me know what you think!

Love, Hannah