PFLAG Events in 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.

November’s meeting will feature Minnesota author Ali Sands who wrote “Love Appears in Whatever Form It Chooses”.

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Ali Sands shares her experience in finding her own identity as her partner transitioned from female to male. Using humor, education and providing safe spaces for public listening, Ali creates an inclusive environment for learning about gender, identity and relationships

Please join them for their November meeting.
Tuesday, November 19th at 6:30 pm
Union Congregational Church
3700 Alabama Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55416
Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I am hoping for some advice on taking my sister in law shopping for the first time. She recently transitioned and has asked for my help going shopping for more feminine clothing, not that I’m a fashionista by any means. I am so excited to bond with her in this way but I want to be as respectful as possible in what choices I offer as far as clothing and if there are any tips on making the experience as comfortable as possible for her too. If you have any guidance for me on styles that would be the most comfortable or flattering in these early stages of transition I would be forever grateful. She is a super tall, super skinny, gorgeous woman and I want to help her feel that way every day.
Thank you!

Building a wardrobe is one of the most fun, but overwhelming things we will ever do.  I have had to needed to shop for new clothes for male mode when I got a new job for example, but shopping for Hannah is a completely different, but much more fun (and expensive) experience.

When it comes to my wardrobe, I have clothes for every occasion.  Whether it is a sparkly dress for a holiday party or something casual for a day at the mall, I have an outfit (and shoes and accessories) to mach.

What I would recommend is to start by thinking about her goals.  Everyone needs clothes, but what is she looking for?  Professional attire for her job?  Comfy staples for running errands?  Start slow, start small, and then go from there.

Another goal to keep in mind is what style of clothes is she looking for.  Not only from a personal preference perspective (say that three times fast!) but from a physical one as well.  I am not very curvy but I like to create an illusion of hips.  My Jolie Thigh Pads from The Breast Form Store help a lot, but I also love what a cute peplum dress does for my figure.

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I like showing off my legs, so my dresses and skirts tend to be on the short side.  Granted, when you are over six feet tall a dress will usually be on the short side anyway.  I also like to avoid exposing my shoulders.  I have plenty of dresses that are sleeveless, but I usually don’t wear spaghetti straps.  Many of us have features we like to show off as well as features we like to downplay.

Truth be told, I know (and care) very little about fashion.  I wear what I like and what I think is cute.  Putting together a skirt and top combination is something I struggle with, but I find mannequins and Instagram quite helpful, to be honest.  This outfit is cute…

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… but everything I am wearing is exactly what a mannequin at H&M wore.  It looked cute on the mannequin and I thought I could pull it off.  Matching a strip top with a tan skirt was not something I thought would work, but seeing it on display won me over.

I look at the style category on Instagram for inspiration as well.  I saw a lot of girls wearing cute, pleated skirts and I had to have one.  The problem was knowing what top to pair with it.  I saw a lot of girls wearing a sleek black top with the skirt, so I thought a black bodysuit would be perfect.

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I think I was right.

I don’t try to keep up with trends or what’s in at the moment.  It would be exhausting to try to keep up.  Everyone should wear what they want to wear.

I would also recommend knowing your measurements.  Dress Barn and Forever 21 both have different ideas what a size 12 dress is, but if you know your measurements it will make shopping (especially shopping online) a million times easier.

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Knowing her goals and measurements are important, but the most important thing a t-girl needs, whether it is shopping or anything else, is something you have already given her: support.

You are a gem to help her, encourage her, and shop with her.  I would rather hit the mall with a supportive person than a fashion writer.  It’s obvious you are supportive and enthusiastic about helping her and right now (and always), she will need that more anything.

Have fun!

Love, Hannah

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

 

Both Sides of Us

As someone who lives and presents as two genders, I think about gender identity a lot.  When en femme, I identify as transgender and bristle when feminine pronouns are not used by others when interacting with me.  I know one should never assume someone else’s pronouns, but when I am dressed to kill in a dress and heels and spent $65 on a makeover, I think it’s pretty safe that I am a her.

Being called male pronouns when en femme can also sting in a way that can ruin my entire day.  Sometimes I can shake it off, but other times, especially if I am having an ugly day, it can linger in my head for longer than it should.

Sometimes someone can mistakenly use pronouns when speaking with me, but they will quickly correct themselves.  But when it appears they are using male pronouns on purpose in an effort to be vindictive, then it becomes an issue of common courtesy.  To intentionally call someone by the wrong pronouns is simply cruel.  When someone uses the wrong pronouns, I will always correct them.  Well, unless it’s clearly pointless.  T-girls are pretty adept at knowing when someone is mis-gendering them intentionally.

Identifying as transgender covers a lot of gender identities.  Not that labels matter, but I feel that bi-gender is a more specific term when it comes to my identity.  I have two gender identities, and besides underdressing or something subtle, such as wearing “girl” jeans, my wardrobes do not crossover with each other.  Like my closet, my gender identities are very separate from each other.

Gender identity, pronouns, specific labels are very significant and important when en femme, but in male mode these things do not come up very often.   When I present as male, no one ever calls me by pronouns that do not match my gender presentation.  This is cis-privledge.

Last week was International Pronoun Day.  According to their website, referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people’s multiple, intersecting identities.

Users on social media were commenting on their own pronouns regardless if they were cis, trans, or non-binary.

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Although providing pronouns on a social media profile is pretty common for our community, I am also seeing it more often for cisgender people.  The more cisgender people state their pronouns, the more normal it becomes when someone who is transgender states theirs, especially when it changes.  I also see this happen as a show of solidarity and support for the trans community.  Why should only transgender people have to state their pronouns?  Why doesn’t everyone?

I appreciate anyone showing their support for the transgender community.  Even a small and subtle thing such as this makes me happy.  It’s reassuring to know we have allies out there.

Through my blogging, the MN T-Girls, and just simply being visible in the real world, I feel I am a positive voice and representative in the transgender community.  But I wonder if I am doing enough for our community in my male life.

I vote for candidates that support the same social issues I support.  I use the correct pronouns for my non-binary coworkers and friends.  I defend our community when someone attacks it.

But could I do more?  I write a lot about activism and awareness here, but I rarely bring up the same things on the social media that I use in my male life.  Hannah goes to Pride celebrations, but perhaps I should go presenting as male.

In the few people I have come out to, identifying as transgender or bi-gender or as a crossdresser is the last thing they would have guessed about me.  I wonder if that means me being an ally for our community is also just as much of a surprise.  Maybe I should do more to show my support and solidarity in my male life.

As a straight white male, I have never had to fight for my rights.  I have never had to fight for the right to vote, to own property, or to marry who I wanted.  This is another example of cis/hetero/white privilege, to be perfectly honest.  When marriage equality was passed, it took the entire LGBTQ+ community fighting for it, but it also needed the support of the non-LGBTQ+ community as well.  Similarly the transgender community is waiting for the Supreme Court to decide on whether or not sex can be a determining factor in cases of employment discrimination in regards to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Of course, the transgender community is involved with making sure that we are protected, but the cisgender community needs to be involved, too.  Like many issues, this decision should not be based on gender identity, but it should be a basic human rights issue and it’s a little insane this is even being argued.

In order for the transgender community to have all the rights and protection and respect that we deserve, it’s going to take everyone, regardless of gender identity, fighting for it.

It’s going to take both sides of me fighting for it.

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 15 at 6:30 pm
Union Congregational Church
3700 Alabama Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55416
Love, Hannah

Beautiful T-Girls and Beautiful Art

The MN T-Girls spent yesterday admiring beautiful works of art as well as each other’s fabulous style at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, one of the city’s amazing art museums.  An art museum was one of the first places I went en femme (during the day, anyway) and even still I find it is one of the most wonderful things to do when dressed to the nines.

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The day started with an amazing makeover from Corrie Dubay who was in town from Las Vegas.  Corrie had recently relocated her fantastic makeover service to Nevada and is in town for a few weeks.  She is taking appointments in case you are looking for either a makeover or a makeup lesson.

After my makeover, the group met up and we spent the next two hours enjoying sculptures, paintings, and the sounds of our heels clicking on the floor of the museum.  Speaking of heels, here’s a piece done entirely out of shoes.

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It was a fun way to spend the day and I look forward to our next adventure!

Love, Hannah

 

 

 

 

PFLAG Events for September

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.

This month on Tuesday, September 17th, their program will be held from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm and will be followed by our support groups from 7:30 pm until 8:45 pm.
The September program will feature guest speakers Leslie and Sam, a mother and son duo from Minneapolis who will share their experiences and lessons learned from each of their vantage points along the way. They both are self-described ‘open books’ on the subject of raising (Leslie) and being (Sam) a transgender child, and welcome questions and dialogue from the audience.
Lessons Learned on a Road Less Traveled
The first time Sam Lagerstrom told his parents they were getting his gender wrong, was at the tender age of four. That was in the year 2000, and from that point on, the family found themselves on a road less traveled, sometimes feeling as if they had to invent new directions at every turn.
Leslie Lagerstrom is the creator of the blog, Transparenthood™, which chronicles her experience raising a transgender child. Her writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, featured in three anthologies, and turned into a stage production. Committed to spreading awareness on the subject of transgender children, she frequently shares her family’s story, speaking in front of audiences across the nation.
Sam Lagerstrom graduated from Bates College in May of 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Returning to the Twin Cities, Sam is now working for a start-up software company and renewing his commitment to advocacy work for the transgender community.
This month their meeting program will be held from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm
and be followed by support groups from 7:30 pm until 8:45 pm.
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 Please join them for their September program and support groups.
Tuesday, September 17th, 6:30 – 8:45 pm.
Union Congregational Church
3700 Alabama Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55416

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Love, Hannah

Minneapolis Trans Equity Summit

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Minneapolis is hosting the 6th annual Minneapolis Trans Equity Summit on Thursday, September 26th at the Walker Art Center.

From the press release:

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, the theme for this year’s Summit is “Shifting the Narrative.” As trans and gender non-conforming people, what are the stories that are told about us, our histories, and our futures? How do we want to change those stories? What is the silenced history we want to highlight, and what are the futures we’re envisioning?

The Summit is free and open to the public, and we encourage anyone interested in furthering transgender equity to attend. This is an event for trans/GNC community members to connect to resources and each other, and for potential allies to learn more about issues impacting trans/GNC community and how to integrate community visions through an equity lens

Hope you can attend!

Love, Hannah