PFLAG Events for May

PFLAG_TClogoPFLAG 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 wonderful, supportive, and inclusive community.

So, what is PFLAG?  Their 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.

The Twin Cities chapter meets on Tuesdays (please check their website for specific dates and times) at Union Congregational Church and has two scheduled events this month:

-The May 15th meeting and support groups will feature a speaker from Transforming FamiliesI’ve been a guest speaker at previous meetings for Transforming Families and I think this is a wonderful organization.

-The June 19th meeting will be their traditional annual Signs of Pride party.  Please join them for a relaxed and informal evening of chatting and making signs that you (or someone else) can carry in the Pride Parade in Minneapolis the following weekend.

Love, Hannah

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Get GORGEOUS with Corrie!

I’ve written a lot about Corrie Dupay and her business Midwest Makeup Supply on my blog.  If you’re looking for an amazing makeover from a huge advocate for the trans community, you cannot do better than Corrie.

Corrie has recently revamped her gender transformation studio for her business ‘Femme Makeovers‘.  I’ve had a chance to visit her new studio at the Vandalia Building in Saint Paul and she has everything you need for an amazing experience…heels, clothes, makeup, wigs….anything a t-girl could want.

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Corrie also offers lessons, makeovers, outings and consultations.

I cannot recommend Corrie enough.  If you go, let me know how much fun you had!

Love, Hannah

Dragged Out: St. Paul’s scrappy, sincere drag show secret

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Most crossdressers and t-girls are familiar with the Townhouse, Saint Paul’s oldest gay bar.  For many of us, it’s one of the first places we go when we are ready to leave our living rooms.  The MN T-Girls, as a group and as individuals, have been here many times.

City Pages has written a nice little article about this haven for the GLBTQIA community.  You can read it here!

-Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

How do I know if I’m a crossdresser or if I’m transgender? And if I am transgender, then Ok, I’m transgender. Now what?  Do I really have to come out?  I can’t afford a therapist. What do I do?

As far as I know, there is no agreed upon definition of what a crossdresser is.  But if you asked me what a crossdresser was, I suppose I’d define the term as an individual that enjoys wearing clothes that are traditionally associated with a different gender.   A little vague but I think most people get the idea.

Personally I think all crossdressers can be considered transgender.  I wrote a little about this here.  To be honest, you can identify as however you want.  I started to identify as transgender when I realized that all….THIS went beyond just panties and heels.  Identifying as a gender (even on a limited basis) that was different than the one I was assigned to at birth was what really pushed me to identifying as transgender.

If you are transgender, well, okay, now what?  Only you can answer that.  Coming out as transgender is not the same for everyone.  There is no next step you have to take.  Coming out is not the same for all of us.  Do what you feel is right.  Take it slow, though.  You can come out if you want to.  But you don’t have to if you don’t want to.  There are no rules…except for wearing non-nude stockings with open-toed heels.  Don’t do that.

If you can’t afford a therapist, please, reach out to PFLAG.

Love, Hannah

 

Southern Minnesota Transgender Support

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KTTC, the NBC affiliate in Rochester, MN recently had a story featuring Mallory Heath, a transwoman who facilitates the Southern Minnesota Transgender Support group, a trans advocacy organization in southern Minnesota.

I like what Mallory has to say about how some some people may know more trans people than they think:

“We’re here and that they very easily might know a trans person or several trans people and have no idea.”

I think I need to make a trip to Rochester.  🙂

Love, Hannah

This or That

As someone who doesn’t *really* believe in gender, I sure think about it a lot.  I think about the social expectations and societal norms and traditional roles that are all connected with gender.  I believe that gender is a personal choice and you have the right to identify as different genders throughout your life and even throughout the day. That might make it hard to keep track of someone else’s gender, but really, why are you keeping track of someone else’s gender anyway?  Does it matter how they identify?

Growing up, I was happy being a boy and I still am.  I never wanted to be a different gender permanently.  I wanted to freedom to change into any gender that I wanted, whenever I wanted.  I have that now.  I’m everything I wanted to be.  Things that people traditionally associate with gender, such as clothes and colors, feelings and perspectives are still pretty far solid.  You are either THIS or you are THAT and that’s end of the discussion.

The idea and identity of being agender, non-conforming, gender-fluid, non-binary or simply a third gender is becoming more recognized and understood and accepted.  As someone who identifies as boy OR girl, the concept and identification of a third gender, or no gender, is fascinating to me, and ultimately helpful to the transcommunity.  I think anything that challenges the traditional perspective of gender is a good thing.  Anything and anyone that breaks out of the ‘boy’ OR ‘girl’ mold does help break down gender stereotypes.  Perhaps it makes it easier or others to understand that gender can change, it can be fluid and it’s not permanent.

Wishful thinking.  🙂

At any rate, I wanted to share a couple articles about non-binary people.  The first article is from Buzzfeed and is written by someone who identifies as gender non-conforming.  The other is from Vox about a photographer who takes pictures of transgender and non-binary kids.

Love, Hannah

 

T-Girls – The Next Generation

I know I can only speak for myself, but in conversations with other t-girls, it seems one of the many things we have in common is that we have always been who we are, as far back as we can remember.   Who we are, what we want to wear and be only grows as we get older.

No one outgrows this side of us.  So many of us thought we would stop doing “this” when we hit certain milestones in our lives.  Whether it was becoming a teenager, becoming an adult or even getting married.  But the truth is that we will always be who we are.

Which is wonderful, actually, since there’s nothing wrong with who we are.

As I hit my teen years I grew bolder and more accepting and understanding (and forgiving) of who I was.  I started buying clothes for myself in my teens and purging them a few days or weeks later.  When I moved into my own apartment at age 20 I started to build my wardrobe.  I still purged but it took longer than it used to.  I didn’t purge because I thought I would or could outgrow this, rather I purged because I was terrified of being caught.

When I started the MN T-Girls almost five years ago, I really had no idea who would be members, but I expected t-girls from a variety of age groups.  Today the members of the group number in the hundreds and although I haven’t met everyone yet,  I would estimate that over 90% of the group are in their 40’s or older.  This surprises me.

Most members have discovered the group by googling “Minnesota” and “crossdresser”.  My site is the first option that pops up.  When I was in my teens and the internet was in the early days, the first thing I searched was the term ‘crossdresser’.  I was amazed at how many results the search provided.  It also affirmed my belief that I was far, far from the only one like me out there.  My thinking was that as others like us hit their late teens and early 20ths that they would want to reach out to others like themselves.

When I started the MN T-Girls, I had thought there would be many members in their early 20’s joining the group as that was the age that I had started to grow bolder and wanting to meet others like myself.  But that’s not really the case and I often wonder why.  I would have loved to have found a group like the many that exist today in the Twin Cities at that age.

I have two thought on this.

My first thought is that perhaps a support or social group is just not needed.  I started the group because I wanted to connect with others as Hannah.  I wanted to have friends as Hannah.  There are very, very few people in my life that know me as both of my genders.  I had wanted to expand this number but for various reasons I don’t see myself coming out to anyone else in my life.  In a recent survey, more U.S. teens than previously thought are transgender or identify themselves using other nontraditional gender terms, with many rejecting the idea that girl and boy are the only options.  This aligns with the thought that perhaps the younger generation does not feel the need to seek out support for others like them because they are finding the support within their own current social circles.  If their friends and peers are accepting of those who identify as transgender, then the need to find support may not be as strong.  I often think that if more people in my male life knew about Hannah, I may not have needed to start the T-Girls.  But I’m glad I did.

My second thought is that coming out as transgender is still terrifying for many of us and it’s still easy to think that no one would understand or accept who we are, regardless of a survey indicating that more youth are identifying as gender non-conforming.  Those in their late teens and early 20’s just simply many not be ready to reach out.  As much as I would have moved to have joined a group like the MN T-Girls or attend a PFLAG meeting when I was younger I probably would not have been ready to do so.  Although the support and acceptance from one’s peers may be there, there is also more media attention and laws that specifically target the transgender population than ever before.  Almost every day there is a news story about a high school and the issue of which bathroom a transgender teenager is allowed to use.  Far too often there are reports about a transperson getting ridiculed, hurt or worse for simply being who they are.  There may be more acceptance, but there is also more vocalized hate than ever before.  From that perspective, it’s not a surprise that more of us are not coming out.

But these are just my thoughts.  I would love to hear from others on this topic, especially from those in their teens or late 20’s.

Love, Hannah