Ask Hannah’s…Wife

We know what it is like to be us.  We know how complex, stressful, conflicting, and wonderful it is to be who we are.  Sharing this side of us is not easy and I do my best to write about what our partners may be feeling, thinking, or worried about when it comes to being in a relationship with someone like us.

Most of the questions I get are about making this work within a relationship.  Much of what I write about is about being considerate of what our partners may be experiencing.  The truth is that every relationship is different and there is not a roadmap as to how to make this work for every couple.

Talking to other t-girls and their partners gives me a lot of perspective on how this side of us affects their relationship.  How this works, how it doesn’t, and what someone is feeling.  There are many things that these relationships have in common but there are also elements that are as unique as every relationship.

My wife and I talked a lot in the early days.  I learned a lot then, and now years later I am still learning and listening.  Some things she felt then but couldn’t voice them at the time.  One thing that was always there was a feeling of loneliness when I came out to her.  Who could she talk to?  Who could she confide in?  Who would understand?

Many of our partners felt, and feel, this way.  The internet wasn’t helpful and in many ways added to her fears.  There are resources for those who have partners who are transitioning, but not many resources for those who are married to people like me… and probably you.

Seeing this lack of resources, my wife has offered to answer some questions.  My wife is many things, but it’s her gentleness, honesty, and realistic perspective that I feel are among her strongest traits.

If you are transgender, and especially if you are the partner of someone like me, please add your questions to the comments before.  You can post anonymously or you can email me at hannahgotta(at)gmail.com.

I assure you confidentially if you send an email.  Names and email addresses will not be posted.

I can’t promise every question will be answered, but every one will be read by her.  Questions will be taken for about a week and her responses will be posted at a later date.

Love, Hannah

 

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Ask Hannah!

I’m just curious, other than that time you ran into your mom, have you ever been caught out as Hannah by someone from your “Non-Hannah” life? If so, what did you do? How did you react?

No, thank goodness.

The only time something similar happened was when I was in male mode shopping for a skirt at Target and ran into my sister.  This was a couple years before I came out to her.  I wasn’t in the women’s section and hadn’t picked anything out, so it was a close call.

When we go out in public we do that with the acceptance that we may potentially run into everyone we know, whether that is our boss or the conservative side of our family.  Although there are things we can do to minimize the risks, we need to understand that this can happen.

So, what do we do when that does happen?  It will depend on who you run into, of course.  My boss?  I may as well quit my job and leave town.   My best friend?   Then it’s time for an overdue conversation.

If you wish to remain in the closet to some people in our lives, then we must remain conscience of where we go and be vigilant of who is in the room or the store.

There is no right way to come out to someone.  Those conversations may be carefully planned for weeks or may be unexpected and happen at the mall.  It’s good to be prepared for those talks, even if there is no correct way to do it.

Fortunately I  have never had this experience, but if others reading this have had this happen, please share in the comments.

Love, Hannah

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

Ask Hannah!

I like to crossdress and I’m trying to totally come out of the closet but I’m afraid I might lose friends.

It’s easy for me to say that it doesn’t matter what people say or think and that we must live our lives for us, and for no one else.  We can’t wait for the world to accept us and to tell us that it’s okay for us to be who we are, whether we identify as transgender or as a crossdresser.

I have no problem ignoring the stares or shrugging off any potential comments from people at a crowded mall.  But coming out does have consequences.  We never know what people will say or how they will react and the uncertainty makes it really difficult to come out to someone else.  We know that coming out is risking losing a friend or ending a marriage.  It’s understandable when we decide to not chance it when the stakes are that high.

But we know how hard it is to keep this side of us from others.  We want to come out for different reasons.  Some of us are just tired of keeping secrets.  Some of us want to share this wonderful part of us.  Some of us need a friend to talk to about this.  I understand.  I’ve been there.  I’m still there, too.  There have been times when I have almost come out to more of my friends.  I remember being out to dinner and thinking that maybe it was time to come out to one of my oldest friends.  He is a good person, a champion for the community, and I trust him more than most people in my life.  But the nagging feeling of uncertainty held me back.  It would have likely gone well, but I also knew that there was the smallest chance it might not.

It wasn’t worth it.  I am out to enough people in my life where I feel I have a support system when I need it.  But for some of us don’t have anyone and that support system has to start somewhere.  Some of us feel the need to come out to everyone in their lives and that this part of us burns so bright that we need to share it with every person we know.  For others, coming out to one or two people is enough.

I wish I could tell you the right words to say.  I wish I knew how to get people to understand who we are and why we are.  It would make writing that book that much easier.  But everyone you come out to is different, everyone will have different reactions, and every relationship is different.  Some reactions will go better than you could have dreamed, some will turn your life into a living hell.

I know.  I know that’s not very encouraging.  When we come out to someone, we are trusting that person to keep this a secret.  This is a huge thing to ask.  This is not something that most people expect to be told by someone else.  It’s something that some people need to process and talk through with someone else.  It’s not uncommon for someone needing someone to talk to when their brother, husband, boyfriend or whoever comes out to them.

This can go badly.  I know I am not being very reassuring.  I don’t know how to come out to someone, but I do know what we need to be thinking about and what we need to prepare for.  Before you come out to someone, there are a few things I would advise you on.

-Know yourself.  How do you identify?  Is this just about dressing up?  Do you identify as transgender?  What does being transgender mean to you?

-Be prepared to answer questions about your sexuality.  Yes, I know that this doesn’t really have to do with that, but you’ll likely be asked.

-Think about why you want to come to out to that particular person.  I have come out to different people for different reasons.  I came out to my brother because I felt it wasn’t fair for my sisters to know but he didn’t.  I also thought it was good for them to have someone to talk to if they had feelings about this.  When I came out to my sisters they asked why I was telling them.  I was simply tired of keeping this from them.  This is a huge part of me.  I thought by being more open with who I am it would strengthen our relationships.

-Pace yourself.  If you want to come out to multiple people it might be best to tell one person and then hold off for a bit.  See how it feels.  If it goes well, wonderful.  When that happens it’s encouraging and we usually want to tell someone else as soon as we can.  It’s easy to get caught up in coming out, but we need to think things through before we do it.  Remember the pink fog?

Will people look at you and think of you differently?  Yes.  Yes they will.  That’s the reality.  But how they do that is impossible to predict.  They may be weirded out, they may value your honesty.  They may never speak with you again.

Again, I wish I could be more positive.  Coming out to someone can be the best thing you ever do, but its naive to think that it will always go well.

Gosh, I am just a ray of sunshine with this, aren’t I?

If you need help talking about this before you talk to others, I would absolutely encourage you to find a therapist that is familiar with topics of gender or one specializes in the LGBTQIA community because, yes, we are part of that.

You can also attend a local PFLAG meeting where experienced counselors are available to help you accept and understand yourself but also help your friends and family.

I hope it goes well.  I wish I could be more helpful.

Love, Hannah

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

Ask Hannah!

What is the best way for me to meet other girls that just want to hang out dressed up?  I’m not looking for hookups, just fun people like me

I know a lot of t-girls.  In our male lives we work in warehouses, banks, offices, and just about every profession you can imagine.  You never know if your colleague is called Amanda on the weekends.  This is, in my opinion, really amazing.  You never know who is a girl like us but it’s not something you can really ask someone.

That also makes it hard to make friends with girls like us.  Especially if you are looking for friendship instead of sex.  There are groups, communities, and apps out there for people who are looking for sex with others who share a particular…interest.  It’s easy to find a furry or a latex enthusiast and have sex, but friendship?  True friends are hard to find.

One of the main reasons I started the MN T-Girls was to make friends.  Its more fun, and safer, to hit the mall with a friend.  Having friends who are like us is important.  It’s not easy to explain who we are to others, but another t-girl gets it.

There are websites out there such as crossdressers.com and urnotalone.com where you can create a profile and message others in your area.  Of course, safety, safety, safety.  Meet in public places, not at someone’s house or hotel room.

Of course, you can also start a group like the MN T-Girls, as well.  It’s not easy but it can be done.

Good luck, stay safe!

Love, Hannah

 

 

Love, Hannah

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

The Pink Fog

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It was a very hot weekend.

Over those few days what I remember the most was how hot it was.  It was a Friday night and after a glass or two of wine, I told my girlfriend, the girl I would marry years later, about me.

I danced around the word ‘crossdresser’ because even then I wasn’t comfortable with that word as I didn’t think it was the most accurate label for myself.  But at that point most of what I wore, and what I wanted to wear, was lingerie.  I underdressed and had a lot of beautiful lingerie but it would be a few years before makeup, heels, dresses and wigs worked their way into my wardrobe.

Truthfully it was more than one or two glasses of wine that helped me come out to her.  It was something that consumed me the moment I started falling for her.  I knew that if we dated I would eventually be at a point where I would have to tell her.

A point where I would want to tell her.

I told other girlfriends about me and had a wide range of responses.  But with her, it was different.  I wanted to marry her and be with her for the rest of my life.  I knew I couldn’t change and she needed to know regardless of how it would go.

So, I told her.

We had the expected questions and we talked all throughout that hot weekend.  Like most of our partners she had a difficult time understanding why I loved wearing bras and stockings and, truth be told, I don’t understand it either but after decades of dressing I decided there was no real reason and that I had accepted there wasn’t one.

(We say there is no reason but let’s be honest, there are millions of reasons.  We feel beautiful when we dress, we love the feeling of soft clothing, we love waking up in a nightie, we love the…power that an amazing pair of stilettos gives, we love the hypnotic effect of eyeliner…)

So, yes, there are reasons we love this.

When we need to know more about something, whether it is replacing a fuse or how to contour, we turn to the internet.  After my revelation sunk in, my wife did the same thing and googled ‘crossdresser’.  She was met with a wide array of fetishistic images and stories and tales of secret and deceptive lives.  This did nothing to ease her concerns about me.

But over time, patience and conversation, we got through that, we married and she remains my best friend and the love of my life.

After a couple of year into our marriage we stayed up late talking and the conversation drifted into my dressing.  Had I ever worn makeup?  Ever owned a wig?  Dresses?  I had tried makeup and I had no idea what I was doing.  Beauty Vloggers were not yet a thing and I gave up quickly.  I did purchase a wig once and it was a cheap mess of blackness.  I carefully put it on and imagined I would see Elizabeth Hurley looking back at me in the mirror but… that did not happen.  Into the trash it went.  I did own a few dresses in the past but I not wear them much.  They were harder to hide in my closet as opposed to lingerie so I didn’t own many.

My wife brought out her makeup and I remember the coolness of the liquid foundation on my skin.  I remember her asking me to smile to better apply my blush.  I remember the finishing touch of lipstick.  Elizabeth Hurley was not in the mirror…but I was.  And that was better.  I never would look like her, but I could look like me.

She asked how I felt.  I was happy, I told her.  She smiled and said that she understood.  I just wanted to be beautiful.  It was startling that after decades of trying to make sense of why I dressed she summed it up better than I ever could.

Over the next few weeks she helped pick out my wig and soon dresses were tucked into the back of my closet.  I had purged before we moved in with each other and panties began to appear once more in my dresser.  I was…exhilarated.  She taught me makeup and we had many late nights just staying up and talking.

It sounds too good to be true.  It sounds like a fantasy.  I know I am lucky.  I know that this is not a common outcome when one comes out to their partner.  I don’t do everything right in my life.  I make mistakes, I do this when I should do that.  I am very far from perfect.   I always will be.

I get emails from girls like us asking how to introduce this side of them into their relationships.  I don’t know.  Every one of us is different.  Introducing this side of us to a marriage can mean anything from underdressing to you and your spouse dressing up and hitting the mall together.  Every partner is different and there will be many different reactions to our revelation.  So, no, I don’t know how to introduce this side of you into your marriage.  I don’t know how to “get her to let you do this”.

What I can tell you is this:

Tell them.  Be honest with them.  Tell them before you are committed.  Before you are engaged.  Before you move in with each other.  Before the two of you buy a house or adopt a dog together.

Know yourself.  You are likely going to be asked if you’re attracted to men.  If you want to transition.  If you were born in the wrong body.  If you are unhappy.  If you cannot answer these questions then perhaps you need to do more reflecting before you come out.  The most frightening thing you can tell your partner is that you don’t know if you want to transition.

One more piece of advice.  Don’t laugh these questions off when you are asked.  Don’t dismiss them or trivialize them.  Answer them patiently and truthfully.  When someone is asking you a question, whether it is about gender identity or anything else, it is done in an effort to understand.  Don’t make someone feel bad, or stupid, when they ask a question.

I was honest with her when I came out.  I was honest with her every step of the way.  I still am.  I knew myself well before I came out to her.  I respected her feelings, understood her concerns and listened to her fears.  This much I did right.  I am not perfect.  I am not the perfect spouse or person.  But I came out to her the best way that I could.

The nights my wife and I stay up and talking about…everything are some of my favorite moments of my life.  I am more open and honest and vulnerable than I had ever been.  I was living a dream that I had my entire life…my wife and I having girl talk while I was dressed.  I was happy, I was confident, I was calm.

But it’s easy and normal to make wrong decisions in the early days of coming out.  We are so enraptured with everything happening.  Our wardrobes are expanding, we are getting better at mascara and we can strut in heels better than we could a few weeks ago. If we come out to someone and it goes well, it’s not uncommon to want to come out to someone else.

And now we enter THE PINK FOG.

As I was starting off from underdressing to where I am now, my wife, like most of our partners turned to the internet for some perspective.  Is what we had normal?  Am I in denial?  Is she?  Where is all this heading?  I don’t think it’s uncommon for our partners to be asking themselves what is next for us.  One day it’s high heels, one day it could be hormones.

She came across the term ‘pink fog’ which I had never heard before.  It refers to someone being so…blissful of this side of them that they don’t think things through as much as they should.  Like a fog, this can cloud your perspective and your thinking.  It could mean that we are so in love with a pair of red stilettos that instead of doing something responsible like making a car payment we suddenly own a new pair of heels instead.  Or five pairs of heels.  And a new wig.  And a dress.

This fog can lead to, well, let’s call them lapses of judgment.  We might post a picture online, we might leave the house.  If we have partners that have requested or set boundaries we may cross them.  The fog can be similar to a form of drunkenness.  We might make decisions that we normally would not make when sober or not in the fog.  The fog, like alcohol, does not justify our decisions.  We still made them.

So…don’t drink and dress?

Please know that I am not saying we need to keep this side of ourselves hidden because we should be ashamed about this side of us or that there is something wrong with who we are.  What I am saying is that this is a part of us that needs to be handled and disclosed in a thoughtful, delicate way.

The pink fog can also lead to coming out to others when we haven’t thought it through.  We are so happy with coming out to someone (or even to ourselves) that we want to come out to everyone.  We want to be ourselves with others in our life.  We are tired of keeping secrets.  We want our friends, our siblings, our families to know us.

I understand that.  I can relate.

But this is a BIG DEAL.  You cannot put yourself back in the closet.  There are too many dresses in there for one reason.  You only get one chance to come out to someone and although I don’t know how to come out to someone (besides the two points I made above), I know there are countless ways to do it wrong.

We need to be able to recognize when we are in the fog.  Not only can this help with our shopping and spending but it can help prevent coming out to the wrong person at the wrong moment for the wrong reasons.  We need to remember when we come out to our partners they are now sharing the secret.  We may want to come out our friend, brother, our mailman but our partner might not be ready for that.

I was in the fog plenty of times, and it normally ended with me adding to my wardrobe as opposed to something more serious.  The fog tends to fade as time passes.  Who I am and how I balance a life (and a checkbook) between genders becomes more normal and easier as the days go by.

You can find balance in life if you identify as more than one gender.  Like liquid eyeliner on your waterline, it takes practice, time, and usually at the expense of many mistakes.  When you are in the fog, if you feel you are acting on impulse and the voice in your head says not to do that ever you are about to do, then full stop.  Exhale.  Put the credit card down, don’t click ‘submit’ if you are about to post a photo online, wait a day before sending that email.

I want all of us to be happy and to have a healthy relationship with ourselves and the others in our lives.  I know many of us want more than what we have, but make sure you are taking it slow and carefully.

Love, Hannah

 

 

PFLAG’s Events for April

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.

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Please join us for our April 16th support groups.
Tuesday, April 16th, 6:30 – 7:45 pm.
Union Congregational Church
3700 Alabama Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55416
At every other monthly meeting we will be holding special programs we feel may be of interest to you, along with our regular Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans support groups.  In the alternate months, we will meet and hold our support groups only.
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Love, Hannah

Marriage and the T-Girl

I have written quite a bit about relationships and our gender identity.

I have always and will always say that we need to be honest and open about who we are before the relationship is serious.

Some of us, for various reasons, weren’t able to do that.  For some of us, we were in denial.  Others thought (and maybe hoped) this was a phase and they would outgrow it.

But the truth comes out.  Whether it is because someone was caught or we simply couldn’t keep it a secret any longer.

If you came out after you were married, I would love to know about your experiences.  How did it happen?  Why did the truth come out when it did?

I understand that this is a very sensitive and difficult topic.  If you feel inclined to share your experiences, please feel free to email me or comment anonymously below.  Spouses are encouraged to comment as well.

Love, Hannah