The Opposite of the Pink Fog

Love and hate are both passionately motivated emotions, however they are not the exact opposite of one another. I was told that the counterpoint of love is indifference, apathy.

And do you know? That’s much worse than hate.

If you’re apathetic or indifferent towards something or someone it really means that you don’t give them (or it) a second thought. And if you do, it sparks no emotion. I mean, even hate is fueled by emotion. You mentally shrug as you realize that something or someone has zero impact on you.

It’s… kind of freeing. But it’s also a little odd. Something that perhaps took up a huge part of your soul or heart at one point is now something you are completely indifferent to.

The singer Regina Spektor compared falling out of love to forgetting the words to your favorite song and what a beautiful and sad comparison that is.

With so much that has happened over the last few years it’s not surprising to learn that so many of us are feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. We’re just tired. We have to struggle to find the emotional or mental bandwidth to process an event or even take action.

The feeling of hopelessness creeps in.

We feel powerless to stop something, we feel powerless to reverse something. It’s tempting to cut our losses and just try to survive.

And yes! This is all very depressing and defeatist. Sorry.

I get questions on occasion asking why I post photos but specifically lingerie photos.

Like this one!

This is not to say that people are asking for any nefarious reason. It’s not like they’re saying “you look horrible, why are you posting this?” It’s just more of a curiosity question. Like, damn, those pictures are revealing. Why post something where you show so much skin?

I tried to answer why I post pictures a few days ago. It was, like many of my posts, a long and rambling and likely unsatisfying answer. But based on the emails I received in response to this was that a lot of t-girls “get” it. I said the short answer was vanity and it’s true, but other t-girls told me that it’s also about affirmation (and I totally agree) but it’s also because life is pretty short (although it doesn’t always feel that way).

So, I post lingerie photos because I love lingerie, I am (for the most part) confident in my body, and because one day I won’t be able to.

These all sound like very positive and inspiring reasons. BUT I could also take on a very different attitude in thinking that nothing really matters and I may as well do whatever I want because everything is going to hell and I really don’t have the energy or motivation to care.

And there’s the opposite of love. The apathy and indifference.

Not caring about what someone thinks can be a constant back and forth of “your opinion has no impact on me” and “nothing matters and who cares”. Swinging back and forth between inspiring and depressing.

When exhaustion and apathy and feeling overwhelmed cloud our heart and mind, it’s not uncommon to make choices that don’t align with our character or principles or weighing the potential fallout of an action.

This is not unlike the Pink Fog.

When we are lost in the fog we are so giddy with THIS that we make decisions that aren’t always the best or could have a consequential impact in the future.

Apathy does something similar. Like we KNOW we should complete that work assignment or pay that bill or schedule that doctor appointment… but we are feeling overwhelmed, we are spent, we are tired. We put it off, we ignore it, we hope it goes away. But it doesn’t and soon things are worse.

My wife and I moved back in August. The first weekend here we unpacked and organized and hung pictures and alllll that stuff. It was exhausting and overwhelming.

I had one box that needed to be sorted and it sat in my office for weeks. WEEKS. Everything else was organized except that one box. It sat in a corner for a very long time. I saw it several times throughout the day and instead of tackling it I just felt tired. And yes, this is a little silly.

And then one day I sorted it and finished the task. It took less than ten minutes and like many things I wondered why in the world I didn’t do this sooner considering how little time it took.

So, what does this feeling of hopeless and exhaustion has to do with this side of us?

When we are in the fog we are finally unshackled from the part of our soul that held this side of us back. We are more alive than ever before. We are happy, we are free, we are confident, we are excited. This can easily lead to spending money that we shouldn’t or coming out to someone without really considering the implications.

Although the days of being enveloped and influenced by the fog are mostly behind me, it’s not uncommon for me to feel apathetic about this side of myself when it comes to protecting my gender identity.

Simply put, I don’t want to have THE TALK with anyone else in my life anymore. Although it’d be nice for some of my friends to know Hannah, I am exhausted at the idea of coming out. Maybe I should do a Powerpoint and tell people I am not taking any further questions.

It’d be easy to have the attitude or perspective of just doing what I want (and presenting how I want) at any given time and to hell with the consequences or what someone else thinks.

I mean, that sounds inspiring but that wouldn’t be the motivation of wearing whatever I please.

As I write this I am wearing faux leather leggings and a femme top. I am, in my opinion, crossdressing. What I mean is that I am masculine presenting (no wig or makeup and with a few days worth of facial hair) but I am wearing “girl clothes”.

It’d be nice to leave the house wearing this outfit to run errands. I like these clothes, they’re comfortable, and well, I just like wearing “girl clothes”.

These days it’s a lot more… hm, tempting to just do that. Or rather it’s not as easy to come up with reasons why I shouldn’t.

And it’s not because this side of me is growing stronger. It’s not because I WANT to present as non-binary or gender non-conforming. It’s not because my gender identity is evolving or shifting.

It’s because I just don’t care.

I am exhausted and don’t have the energy to care.

See? Apathy. Indifference.

So, what’s holding me back? It’s recognizing that this feeling is not much different than the Pink Fog. I might not see anyone I know at the store while I am wearing faux leather leggings and a femme top buuuuut a lot of people know my wife. I may not care about what others think of me, especially someone I’ve never met or will ever see again.

But I do care how others see my wife.

Specifically I don’t want people to think my wife is naïve or foolish. My wife understand me as much as someone can. She accepts me and is at peace with my identity. She gets it.

And! We both understand that it would take a lot of time and energy for someone other than ourselves to have that same level of clarity.

Time and energy we just don’t have.

It’s like being asked to run a dozen errands after a very, very long day at work and you just want to get home and sit on your couch. I don’t want to stop at Target, I don’t want to go to the store, I don’t want to clean the house. I just want to take a break from everything.

Many of you have had the same talks that I have had.

“I’m transgender but I don’t want to transition.”

“I wear lingerie but this isn’t a fetish.”

“I wear femme clothes but I am not into men.”

And so on.

It’s not uncommon for these statements to be met with a HUGE amount of skepticism. No matter how much we tell someone else about the delicate balance of who we are and who we are not, some people just think we are in denial and that time will tell.

The passing of time with either prove we are right or we are wrong or we are in denial. I’ve always told my wife that I have no desire to transition and so far (not that I expect it to change) this has been consistent. Of course, I have also known a lot of t-girls who said the same thing and fast forward a few years later and, well, things have changed.

My wife has always made it clear that she doesn’t want to be taken for a fool. Like, “oh your husband wears dresses but he doesn’t want to transition? Sure, whatever you say. But we’ll see”.

I mean, that’s understandable and relatable and completely fair. She’s not a fool and I don’t want THIS side of me to add any more stress than it already has. I mean, a transgender spouse is not something she signed up for.

Keep in mind I am not talking about outing myself as a t-girl. I am referring to outing myself as a crossdresser. I think less people would recognize me when I am presenting as Hannah compared to being recognized as my wife’s husband wearing femme clothes. In a sense, it’s… “safer” for Hannah to at the mall than my male side in leggings.

A lot of us have partners who accept us but have requested some boundaries such as refraining from posting photos or dressing outside of the home. My marriage also has boundaries when it comes to who I am and one of them is not intentionally being careless. Another is not letting my guard down. Essentially doing what I can to avoid outing myself. Not making the choices that the Pink Fog is notorious for.

I don’t think these requests are unreasonable. I want to respect my wife in every aspect, especially when it comes to my identity. I think a rule for relationships is to do what you can to make your partner’s life easier… or at the very least, avoid doing things that would make their lives harder.

And this side of us is not a walk in the park.

Although I feel overwhelmed and apathetic about much of the world, my wife has always tethered me to reality, to the positive aspects of life. Reminding me that there’s still good out there and reason to be optimistic. To not throw everything away.

She is the voice of reason and the smartest thing I do is listen to her.

If you’re feeling alone, tired, hopeless, please know there is hope. There is help. There is support. There is light.

Trans Lifeline is a national trans-led 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving the quality of trans lives by responding to the critical needs of our community with direct service, material support, advocacy, and education. Our vision is to fight the epidemic of trans suicide and improve overall life-outcomes of trans people by facilitating justice-oriented, collective community aid. 

Need to talk? Call! Our peer support hotline is run by and for trans people. We’re available 7am-1am PST / 9am-3am CST / 10am-4am EST. Volunteers may be available during off hours.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I’m a child counsellor and I’m working with a 15 year boy who is a ‘cross dresser’. He is desperate to find support, or support groups but when he goes online he ends up down rabbit holes and can often feel persecuted. I’ve tried to research this for him but end up on transgender pages. He says quite clearly he is a straight man who likes to dress as a woman when he can. He does not identify as transgender.

My question is, where can we find support that just focuses on the cross dressing element of him, without presuming there is a desire to transform any further than that?

Hope you can help guide us.

I hope I can help, too!

Before I dive into your question, I want to share my own personal thoughts and perspective on how I define “crossdressing” and “transgender“.

This is a HUGE oversimplification and I absolutely acknowledge that not everyone will relate or agree with me.

When I am in male mode and I am wearing panties, a nightgown, leggings, femme jeans, etc. then I am crossdressing (because I am masculine presenting and using male pronouns while wearing clothes that society tends to view as “for women”).

When I am in full makeup, a dress, my wig, wearing breast forms… then I am no longer crossdressing. I am presenting as feminine. I am a transgender girl. A gender that is not the same gender that most of the world sees me as (since I present as male to most of the people in my life). I am presenting as one of my gender identities.

My OPINION is that your client is transgender IF they are, in your words, dressing as a woman… as opposed to JUST wearing femme clothes. I think once we include a wig or using femme pronouns we have stepped over the boundary of “crossdressing”. Again, this is my OPINION.

BUT transgender does NOT mean they ARE, or WILL, or WANT to transition. I am 1000000% transgender but I have ZERO plans or desire to take hormones or legally change my gender.

I had a very hard time making the transition (no pun intended) from only identifying as a crossdresser to identifying as trans. What held me back from this was thinking that transgender ALWAYS meant, and HAD to mean transitioning. It doesn’t. It might for some, but it doesn’t for everyone.

It’s my opinion that if your client is wearing a wig, makeup, and wanting to present feminine than it MIGHT be more than crossdressing. If their interest was ONLY about the clothes as opposed to wanting to present as a girl, then it MIGHT be JUST crossdressing.

Does that make sense?

Over ten years ago I started a website where I wrote about my experiences and my perspective on my gender identity. I wanted to make it clear that who I am had absolutely nothing to do with wanting to transition. I wanted to see if there were others like me… people who loved femme clothes, people who loved makeup and had a femme name (even just on occasion) BUT didn’t feel that transitioning was the right decision for them.

Turns out there are a LOT of others like me.

When I meet others like myself, either in real life or online I sometimes need to clarify that YES, I am indeed trans but no, I’ve no plans or desire to be full time or transition. It might get a little repetitive but it goes with the territory. And YES there are people who don’t think that I am transgender because I am not, will not, and have not transitioned but I ignore them. What do I care what they think of me? They don’t make the rules about who is and who is not trans.

You can absolutely be trans but not make any physical or legal changes.

Resources and support SPECIFICALLY for crossdressers MIGHT be a challenge. Googling ‘crossdressers’ will likely return a lot of sexually explicit material which is both not helpful and not appropriate for a minor.

Could I suggest your client start their own website? There are quite a few options out there (such as WordPress, the site I use) that offer free blogging sites. This might be worth considering if they feel alone.

I mean, it’s what I did. It took a while to gain followers and to be noticed but by consistently writing and posting it eventually happened.

By writing about my own experiences and perspectives I am able to connect with countless others like me. I think your client will likely find that there are many others like themself. I mean, I relate to your client. I present en femme AND I have no desire to transition.

And gender identity has nothing to do with sexual identity. What we wear has nothing to do with who we are attracted to. Your client being straight doesn’t necessarily mean they are not transgender, does that make sense? I mean, I am married to a cis woman, I have no experience or desire to be physical with a man AND I have more panties than a typical Victoria’s Secret. My sexual identity has nothing to do with what clothes are in my closet.

I really hope this helps. I am not recommending THIS website or THAT website, but rather I want to offer a perspective that maybe your client can relate to.

Love, Hannah

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

God Bless the Wing Girls

According to the Urban Dictionary, a wing man is a friend that you can bring to a bar or party in order to find women more easily.

This past weekend at Pride I met a few wing girls. They didn’t visit the MN T-Girls booth with the intention of romance, though. But they all had similar stories.

I have a friend who is just now accepting that they are trans and she needs to meet others like her.

These girls are not much different than a wing man. Their goal is not to help their friend hook up, though. They are helping them find support and friends.

So we chat about the group and how our mission is to be a social and support group for other transfeminine people. Sometimes the wing girl was just scouting out different booths on behalf of her friend. Sometimes she would wave her friend over who was watching shyly further away.

Girls like us need girls like us.

But I think girls like us need cis friends, too.

Besides my brother, I’ve only come out directly to cis women. I say directly because when I came out to my siblings they in turn shared my revelation with their husbands. I knew that would likely happen and I suppose I could have asked them not to out me but from my perspective if I trusted them with my gender identity then I could also trust them to treat the information as confidential.

Aaand as far as I know they have.

My point is that, for the most part (and certainly not in all cases), cis women understand (as much as they can) us.

Buuut perhaps understanding isn’t the right word. Perhaps being able to relate is more appropriate. Many cis women can relate to wanting to look cute, wanting to feel beautiful. Being drawn to a pair of shoes.

Of course, this makes women sound very shallow and superficial and I don’t mean that at all. I mean, I have guy friends who are absolute fanatics about the newest Air Jordans or whatever and sleep outside of shoe stores so they can buy them on the first day.

Sometimes my wife playfully teases me and doesn’t understand why I choose to wear a bra and high heels when I don’t have to. Expectations and standards for men tend to be very low. Society, by and large, expects women to wear certain clothes and shoes and to present themselves in a certain way.

Don’t believe me? Look at the dress code standards that some corporations have for their employees and review the differences between men and women office attire. Of course, this has evolved and gotten more progressive over the years but not by much.

My sisters don’t really “get” this side of me (and that’s fine) but they can nod their head in agreement when we discuss how expensive foundation can be. Again, they don’t understand me, but they can relate to me.

I love talking to my t-girl friends for a lot of reasons, and one of the biggest reasons is that I don’t have to explain every nuance of who I am and why I wear what I choose to. They get it. I get them.

We accept each other unconditionally. Our conversations go beyond the whys and get right to the important stuff (like dresses and makeup, lol).

I love compliments by other t-girls because they can relate to how much work presenting en femme can be. And I love compliments from cis girls. Although they may not be able to specifically relate to how much work can go into contouring a traditionally masculine face to a face that appears to be more feminine, many can relate to just how much effort goes into looking like how one wishes to present.

So, to the cis girls out there who are looking for ways to support their new girlfriend, thank you.

Love, Hannah

Hello from Pride!

Yesterday the MN T-Girls made a fabulous return to Pride and it was a wonderful day. Organizing and preparing for Pride is a lot of work. I mean, we have to set up a tent! In heels! But we did it. Want to see?

Look at the beautiful t-girls and look. at. all. the. PINK.

And look at me!

Although preparing for Pride is a lot of work, once things are set up the fun really begins. It was a good day. The weather held, we chatted with a lot of people, and the T-Girls made me proud by talking with others about the group.

Every year as we struggle with driving metal stakes into the ground to secure the tent I promise myself that we are never doing this again but after a few minutes of being a part of the community I remember why we will be back.

Thank you to all of the MN T-Girls who helped make the day a success. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to say hi. It’s nice to know that we are helping others live their lives and find friendship and support.

Love, Hannah

Thoughts on Pride

So, Pride is this upcoming weekend. I mean, Pride is allll of June and many cities have Pride celebrations outside of the month but Minneapolis will have their Pride festival beginning later this week.

The MN T-Girls have had a booth/tent thing for a few years but last year due to COVID we skipped it but we went as festival goers to a scaled down event.

I love Pride. It’s amazing how… normal it feels to be there. When I am out en femme I feel comfortable but I also feel a little like an outsider. As far as I know, I am likely the only trans person in whichever boutique or coffee shop I am in but I am also usually the only girl in heels and a dress as well.

But Pride? Girl, I am underdressed at Pride. Between the drag queens and other fabulously dressed girls I feel I need to up my glam game.

I still feel a little on edge at Pride. In my boy life I have a lot of LGBTQIA+ friends and acquaintances that don’t know about Hannah and although I am certain they would be accepting and even enthusiastic about my gender identity I still would prefer not to go down that road.

Pride is about celebrating every letter in the LGBTQIA+ acronym but it’s also normal for cis and straight allies to come to festivals and cheer at the parade. Which is good. We need allies and we especially need allies who actually stand with us and go beyond simply saying they support us.

The edge I feel at Pride is mostly apprehension. Will I see someone at Pride that I don’t want to come out to? Maybe. Will a sudden strong gust of wind lift a tent off the ground again and cut me in the face leaving a scar that I still have? Maybe. Will this happen again? Maybe.

I’ve always been nervous and fearful about violence at Pride. It has happened and I think it will continue to happen. So far the worst of planned attacks have been prevented… so far.

I admit that stories like this give me pause and wonder if the MN T-Girls should even attend. The safety of girls like me at official T-Girl events is always my biggest concern, whether it’s about education about safely wearing a gaff or organizing events that will hopefully be without incident.

I suppose that’s the POINT of terror, to stop someone from living their lives. As a country we have the mentality of not giving into terroristic threats in all its forms, so there is that.

Pride is supposed to be a safe haven for all of us. Indeed, it’s sometimes the ONLY safe haven. It’s just a shame that even at Pride we have to be on edge.

Love, Hannah

MN T-Girls Return to Pride!

After two years of COVID, I am happy to announce that the MN T-Girls will be making an appearance at the Twin Cities Pride Festival!

As of this writing the festival organizers haven’t finalized their map as to where different booths will be placed, so please keep an eye on their website if you are interested in dropping by!

I would love to meet you!

Love, Hannah

It’s Pride Month In Case You Hadn’t Noticed

If you’ve poked around your social media today you may have seen a lot of businesses have changed their logo to incorporate the Pride flag. Like clockwork, many companies will do this to mark the start of Pride month.

I mean, that’s great and all. I think our community should absolutely be celebrated and supported. Perhaps I am being cynical and uncharitable but when a multi-billion dollar company says they support the LGBTQIA+ community, I ask myself HOW they do so.

Sure, they may have a diversity/inclusion committee on staff, but does their support extend beyond this? I am not asking for a parade or anything like that, I just want to know what they do to support us.

At the very least, I hope that a business isn’t hypocritical. It’s contradictory for a company to say they celebrate diversity but at the same time they donate money to politicians who support conversion therapy or those who vote to limit our basic rights.

Sure, it’s nice when Amazon has a “Support LGBTQIA+ voices” image on their website but the pessimistic part of me thinks that this is a thinly veiled attempt to just sell more stuff. A cursory, minimal gesture.

And YES, I KNOW a business has a goal of growing their business and they are trying to make as much as money as they can, but is Amazon, for lack of a better phrase, putting it’s money where it’s mouth is?

Well, let’s find out.

According to Business Insider:

At the same time, the company’s PAC split donations from 2019 to 2020, donating $659,000 to Democratic candidates and $648,500 to Republicans. More than $460,000 of those donations went to politicians who voted against the Equality Act.

Now, before you start blowing up my email and posting unhinged comments, the point of this little blurb is about donating money to people who voted against the Equality Act. It’s kind of hard to feel supported by a business that donates money to politicians who tried to stop this legislation.

The Equality Act was pretty straight-forward with its goals. According to congress.gov, the bill, in part, reads:

This bill prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system. Specifically, the bill defines and includes sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation.

I don’t know, but to me donating money to people who want to stop something like this is the opposite of supporting the LGBTQIA+ community.

Amazon isn’t unique in this hypocrisy. If you did enough research into publicly disclosed corporate donations it would be hard to find almost any company that isn’t contradictory in the celebrate Pride/financial contributions paradox.

This makes it tricky for someone like myself who wants to support LGBTQIA+ businesses and avoid those that, well, aren’t. I won’t eat at certain restaurants buuuut I do order from Amazon on occasion. By definition, this also makes me a hypocrite.

It would be almost impossible to live a life that cuts all financial ties to companies that have this contradiction. I wouldn’t be surprised if my mortgage holder pays lip service about celebrating Pride but making political contributions to people that don’t align with my values. Sure, I can stop going to a certain store but changing who my mortgage is with is not as simple.

At the end of the day, we just do what we can. Almost everything has been commercialized whether it’s Pride month or Christmas. It’s easy to be cynical.

Don’t let a business tell you to feel pride about who you are. It’s easy to forget that visibility for those in the LGBTQIA+ community was started by people who just were tired of being vilified and being attacked for being who they were and loving who they loved.

Love, Hannah

Graduation Day

The first MN T-Girls event was held in November 2013.

I think. I don’t know, I am not a historian.

Since then I have evolved in terms of my presentation, confidence, and identity. I went from nervously going out into the real world and only visiting LGBTQIA+ coffee shops to strutting downtown and through the biggest shopping mall in the state.

My evolution is not unique. This happens to us naturally. The more often we go out the more confident we become. The more we realize that *this* isn’t as big of a deal as we might think it would be. The first few times I went out en femme I was sure I would be yelled at and harassed.

I mean, not everyone that I interact with is happy to see a transperson, but there’s been much less (obvious) hate than I expected there would be.

Part of the reason for forming the T-Girls was remembering how scary it was to go out en femme the first few times. I hoped more of us would be ready to go out into the real world if they could do so in a group. Safety in numbers, after all.

Over the years I have seen girls like me make their first step into the real world. I have held their hand as they shook in fear of being in public for the first time. I have walked to the parking lot of so many shopping malls so a girl wouldn’t have to walk in alone. I have sat next to girls at restaurants who were too terrified to say a word.

I have seen girls cry from happiness of being in the real world and I have felt their joy of being out for coffee en femme. I have seen girls blossom and grow and embrace this side of themselves.

And then, sometimes, I never see them again.

At one point they were there for each and every monthly outing but one day they stopped coming.

And I wonder about them. I wonder if something happened to them. I wonder if they went back into the closet. I wonder if they are okay. I hope they are happy and safe.

Sometimes I do hear from them, though. And most of the time they’ve stopped coming for a pretty amazing reason… they don’t need the group anymore.

They joined the group to make friends, to get used to being in public, to learn about who they are, what they wanted. This was a part of their journey. But somewhere along the way they no longer felt that they needed to only do things with other girls like themselves. They felt safe being alone. The saw the world was more accepting of t-girls than they initially thought.

When this happens I think of it as graduation, in a way.

And I can relate. As I stated earlier I myself started going out en femme to t-girl friendly cafes and transgender support groups but now I go everywhere.

They’ve found the confidence to be themselves in a very complicated, bewildering world. Of course I will miss them but I am so happy for them.

Love, Hannah

Beauty and Art

This past weekend the MN T-Girls visited the Minneapolis Institute of Art for a lovely afternoon of coffee, girl talk, and of course, art!

I love art and as much fun as it is to get lost in a mall, there’s something so peaceful about wandering around a giant, beautiful building and stopping and admiring whatever catches your eye. I love doing this alone and I love doing this with friends.

It was a lovely, quiet afternoon… a nice little reprieve from the stresses of the world.

Love, Hannah

Love to Jaclyn

Hi girls,

We know this can be a lonely life and the world often seems like a harsh place. But you are not alone.

I came across a blog for one of our sisters named Jaclyn who posted a very sad and very upsetting message.

If you have a moment, please visit her blog and post a supportive and encouraging comment.

I hope she sees them.

Remember, help is out there.

Trans Lifeline is a national trans-led 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving the quality of trans lives by responding to the critical needs of our community with direct service, material support, advocacy, and education. Our vision is to fight the epidemic of trans suicide and improve overall life-outcomes of trans people by facilitating justice-oriented, collective community aid. 

Need to talk? Call! Our peer support hotline is run by and for trans people. We’re available 7am-1am PST / 9am-3am CST / 10am-4am EST. Volunteers may be available during off hours.

If you or someone you know needs to talk, please call.

Love, Hannah