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




Ask Hannah!

The Super Bowl is in your town this weekend. Are you a football fan? Do you plan to wear a football themed outfit to watch the big game?

I was wondering why there was so much more traffic this week!  😉

I am not a football fan, so I am not planning on watching the Super Bowl.  But even though I am not a Vikings fan, I still wear purple on occasion.


I am proud that Minneapolis is getting a lot of attention at the moment, though.  I think we have an amazing city for many reasons.  It’s a very progressive city that has a lot of resources and support for our community.  In November Andrea Jenkins became the first out trans woman of color elected to public office in America.  The University of Minnesota also recently curated an exhibit documenting the history of the transgender and gender non-conforming community. IMG_0593


If you’re in town for the game I hope you enjoy our city and I promise you that it’s not normally this cold.

Love, Hannah

A Big Fabulous Spectrum

I’ve gotten quite a few emails lately about people questioning their gender identity.  Someone may love to wear dresses, but does that mean they are transgender?  How often, and to what degree to you “need” to step outside of traditional societal gender norms to be “allowed” to be transgender?

First of all, there is no such thing as not being trans enough.  There’s no qualifying exam.

Got it?  Good.  🙂

It was explained to me a few years ago that the term ‘transgender’ is a big, fabulous umbrella that can cover a wide variety of gender identities and that when someone does something that is outside of stereotypical gender norms that are usually associated with the gender that is assigned as birth that it falls under being transgender.

So, a big tough construction worker that wears panties?  Transgender.  A 20 year coffee shop barista that paints his nails?  Transgender.  Someone who spends two hours on their makeup and selecting an outfit and styling their wig to hit the mall?  Transgender.

Being transgender is a hard thing to explain as it can cover quite a wide spectrum.  We may all be trans, but my trans-ness is likely different than yours.  Sure, Laverne Cox is transgender and so am I, but there’s a world of difference between she and I.


I highly recommend watching this little video that nicely summarizes many of the terms that our community has.  Thanks to Jennifer for sending this over.

Love, Hannah



Hello, I wanted to pass along some information about a new app called myTransHealth.

What is myTransHeath?  Well, from their FAQ section…it connects trans people with qualified, culturally competent providers in their neighborhood. Our location-based search tool offers resources in four categories: medical, mental health, legal, and crisis care.

Their perspective is that access to quality healthcare is a crisis in the transgender community. Patients often face discrimination or refusal of treatment due to their gender identity. These experiences disproportionately affect transgender people of color.

Love, Hannah

Days Like This

If there is one thing I want someone to take away from reading my blog is that yes, I know it’s scary to go out for the first (and fiftieth) time.  I know we all wonder what people are thinking, but the point I try to make is that you will never know what people think.

For the most part, I have had only positive, or at least unremarkable interactions out in the real world.  I’ve been going out for more than five years now and I almost forget that I am doing something that I used to be terrified in doing.  It’s always fun to go out, but it’s normal these days.  I’ve gone from “I’m going out into the real world and I better have my guard up” to “I’m going out into the real world and I need a coffee.”

That’s good, right?  That being said, my guard is always up, it needs to be, but having my guard up is second nature and I don’t even think about it.  It’s just…always up.  I’m always breathing, my guard is always up.

I’ve said before that what someone thinks of you is none of your business.  And it’s true, I don’t want to know what you think of me, unless of course you think my lipstick is cute, you like my dress or you’re complimenting me on my ability to walk in stilettos.  I don’t think anyone minds when someone says something nice about us, and I think for the most part people are generally kind and likely won’t say anything negative to you.  But the world is filled with jerks who feel it’s their right, maybe their obligation, to tell you what’s on their mind and to harass you.  I know that people at the mall don’t care what I think, so why do they suppose I care about what they think?  Guess what?  I don’t.

Although for the most part my adventures have been wonderful, I still get second glances and stares.  And that’s okay, I look amazing and I don’t mind.  You look amazing, too, by the way.  I don’t spend any time trying to figure out why someone is staring, but I am self-aware enough to know I am well over six feet tall in heels and I am likely wearing a “look-at-this-fabulous-dress” dress so I am not surprised by the looks.  I am also a t-girl and, let’s face it, not everyone has seen a transperson before out in the real world so it’s not unrealistic someone sees me and is processing it for a moment.

And this is okay.   I knew I was ready to go out into the real world once I accepted the fact that people would probably always react this way.  Being prepared for the worst made the positive, even the mundane experiences, even better.

But people are people and some think that their opinion and perspective needs to be heard.  I know that there are many people, for many reasons, whether politically or religiously or whatever, think that transpeople are…well, not okay.  We’re unnatural, heathens, perverts, confused, or not part of God’s plan.  I understand that others will have this perspective and belief system, but I am not on this planet to make anyone but myself happy.  I am not living my life to make others comfortable and neither are you.  Well, maybe you are, I don’t know.  Are you?

I have no illusions about myself or how others see me.  I fully accept that others “know” I am trans.  And with that, I also fully accept that others will think of me as a man in a dress, a guy playing dress up or something derogatory.  Some members of the transcommunity embrace the term “tranny”, but I think it’s offensive.  Regardless, most people don’t care about me and what I’m wearing and they are distracted and engaged in their own life, or, more likely, staring at their phone.  Some people do want to share their opinion and for the most part, it’s overwhelmingly positive.  Some will compliment my outfit whether it’s because they sincerely like it, or because it’s another way of saying “I support the transcommunity” and will go out of my way to make me feel welcome.

FullSizeRender(3)But the point is that there will always be those that just don’t like us.  If you go out at all, whether once a year or once a week or living full-time, the odds are pretty good someone will say something that will not be very nice.  How you react to it is one thing, but being prepared and accepting that you’ll likely have that experience does make it easier to leave the living room.  Last year at the mall I was having a nice afternoon shopping (of course) and a woman walked across the hall and intentionally bumped into me and loudly said “oh, excuse me, SIR”.  At first I was confused.  I was wearing a cute white dress with a floral patterns, matching accessories, nude heels, my favorite lipstick and carrying a purse.  It took me a moment to remember that not everyone will respond to me as the gender as I am presenting as.  Once that moment of confusion passed, I realized what had happened.  Although I will never know why she did this, it was pretty clear she wanted to make me feel uncomfortable, stupid or embarrassed.  Perhaps she felt that I needed to know that I wasn’t “fooling” her.  I don’t know.  I don’t know what she thought of me.  I didn’t ask.   I didn’t care.  Still don’t.

So, what happened next?  Well, nothing, to be honest.  It wasn’t worth thinking about or speculating about.  Rude people are not worth your time or energy.  Don’t let them steal your sparkle.  It didn’t ruin my day or bother me or hurt my feelings in the slightest.  I didn’t feel stupid, I didn’t feel embarrassed, I didn’t feel ugly or male.  Whatever she wanted to accomplish, she failed miserably.  I went on to have a fabulous afternoon and evening, found two really cute dresses and had a fun, thirty minute conversation about politics with a grandmother, her daughter and her granddaughter from Missouri.

You’ll have good days, bad days and days that are unremarkable.  You’ll have days where you’ll find the perfect matching heels for the dress you bought two years ago but have never worn.  You’ll have days where you’ll have lipstick on your teeth and run your stockings.  You’ll have days where you stumble a little in your stilettos and lose an earring.  You’ll have days where someone will call you ‘sir’ and smirk.  You’ll have days where a grandmother from St. Louis will call you the sweetest thing and waiters will call you ‘ma’am’.  Mama said there would be days like this, and she was right.

Love, Hannah




Walking While Trans


Last week I wrote about the common fear we all have when it comes to presenting in public.  The core of what I wrote centered on speculating what others might think of us.  Of course, we will never know what others think of us unless we ask them.  And I don’t plan on asking anyone what they think of me.  Why would I?  Someone once told me that what other people think of you is none of your business, and that’s exactly correct.

Ignoring what others think of us can be pretty simple.  However, it becomes devastating when others tell us what they think of us.  Although almost experience I’ve had has been either mundane or positive, I’ve still had a few instances where someone has said something disparaging to me.  I’ve had two instances this year where someone said something that wasn’t very nice but by then I’ve been going out for years and I felt pretty invincible.  I can’t imagine anyone saying anything at this point in my life that would really affect me.  However, if negative comments were said in the first couple times I went out, it might be a different story.

I thought about all this as I read about a documentary called “Walking While Trans” produced by the website Mic.  According to the article, Mic has produced a series of videos capturing the personal and often insidious moments of aggression and judgment directed at transgender people in public spaces. To capture this, a shooter walked in front of, behind and alongside four different trans individuals while they walked through the streets of New York, filming the ambiguous and ultimately universal moments where strangers glance at one another, with no idea what the other may be thinking. 

I encourage you all to watch this video and read this article.

Be safe.  Be happy.  Happy New Year.

Love, Hannah

Reality and the T-Girl

One of the first books I ever read about being crossdressing was written by Charlie Jane Anders and titled ‘The Lazy Crossdresser’.  If I ever were to write a book, I think it would be called ‘The Realistic T-Girl’.  If I have a message, it’s that being who we are is…complicated and super fun and stressful all at the same time to varying degrees.  Some days are more fun or stressful or humbling than others.  It’s not all pink and high heels and glitter.  I would be wonderful if we could be who we are without any sort of criticism, discrimination, fear, hatred, sideways glances or smirks.

But that’s not realistic.

For some, it would be wonderful for us to “pass”, to appear in public without anyone thinking that we are genetically male or transgender.  I have written pretty extensively about my perspective about “passing” previously and although I don’t believe in “passing”, I understand why this is a goal for some of us.  It was a goal for myself years ago but I don’t care at all what others think of who I am when I go out.  For some of us, we want to be able to look so feminine that no one will think we were born male.

But that’s not realistic.

What helped me go beyond the idea of passing was simply slipping on a pair of heels and experiencing the world as who I am.  I absolutely accept that it’s incredibly likely that anyone who sees me knows that I am transgender, but my experiences taught me that the vast majority of people in the world could care less.  That first time out during the day I interacted with baristas, cashiers, people at Target and restaurant servers and had nothing but positive or at least mundane experiences.  Some people went out of their way to be kind and some didn’t even bat an eye when they saw me.  I had low expectations the first time I went out.  I was scared to death and was hoping that no one would laugh at me or threaten me or set me on fire for being a threat to society.  That didn’t happen and I am pleased that even after all these years I still have not been burned at the stake.  My experiences taught me that no one really cares that I’m transgender.  It would be incredible if no one in the world cared if anyone was transgender.

But that’s not realistic.

We live in a world were people hate us, fear us, misunderstand us and do not even try to.  We live in a world where laws are consistently introduce to repress our rights.  We live in a world where the CDC has banned the very name many of us use to identify who we are.  We live in a world were transgender men and women do get harassed, threatened, hurt and killed on a daily basis simply for existing.

But this will surely change, right?  Maybe not for a couple years but this will change, right?

No.  It won’t.

That’s not pessimism.  That’s reality.  Social justice and social change takes decades, even centuries sometimes, if the change happens at all.  Look back throughout history and you will see that we can pass all the laws we want, but that doesn’t mean everything is fine.  Sure, women were given the right to vote in 1920 but that didn’t solve the problem of gender inequality.  Slavery was abolished in 1865 but the Klu Klux Klan still exists.  I do not expect the hatred and misunderstanding of who we are to go away in my lifetime, in yours, or in the next generation’s lifetime.  It would be nice…

But that’s not realistic.

So, how do we live and be happy and accept ourselves when so many things we want are not realistic?  For starters, you just have to strut out of the house, head held high wearing a smile and not give a second thought to what others are thinking…because for the most part, they don’t care.  And really, how will you know what they think?  Are you planning on asking them?  If there’s anything I want others to take away from my blog it’s how to manage our expectations when reality might be working against us.  For myself, it would be wonderful if I could spend just 15 minutes on my makeup and head out the door.  But the reality is that I am genetically male and hair grows out of my cheeks, neck and all over my face.  I can shave very closely, but I still have a light hue to my face.  So, in my reality, I need to do some color correcting and add three layers of different foundations to counter that.  It would also be idea if I could just pop into Target and find a new pair of heels that fit, but in my reality I need to shop at stores that sell heels that go up to size 11 1/2 and most stores stop selling shoes after size 11.  So close.

My shopping reality takes a little adapting, but it’s fine.  I’ve learned how to live with it.  My reality also means, at times, a complicated relationship with some people in my life, but again, I’ve readjusted my expectations.  It would be wonderful if we could all be who we are without fear of…anything from anyone in our lives, from the gas station cashier to our parents.  It would be amazing if everyone accepted us, loved us.  It would be incredible for us to have “permission” to walk out the door in our favorite dress without fear of anything.

But that’s not realistic.

Instead, we can accept ourselves.  We can love ourselves.  Acceptance and permission does not need to come from the government, from society or from our families.  It doesn’t need to.  Even if we were given this from others, it doesn’t matter if we don’t give this to ourselves.  It’s hard to be who we are.  I get that.  I know that.  For those who are not where they want to be this is very much understood.  For those who have accepted and embraced who we are we know that this did not come easy, and it’s still not always easy.

Reality is…well, it’s difficult at best.  We cannot wait for reality to line up with what we want to be who we are.  If you are waiting for everyone in the world to signal that it’s okay to be transgender then you’ll be waiting a very, very long time.  Instead, it’s time to buy that dress and hit the mall.  The museum.  The steps of the capital.  Anywhere you want.  Any acceptance, tolerance and legal right we have came from those before us.  The brave men and women who marched, who demonstrated, who were arrested, who were hurt and killed for what we have have brought attention and change to our social and legal status.  We may not have everything we want or deserve, but it’s slowly, slowly getting there.  But what we have came from some form of activism, whether it was a protest, a campaign or by simply existing.  I like to think that when I am out in the real world I am helping create awareness that transpeople exist and that we’re normal and not a threat to a society.  I like to think that the more people see us, the more unremarkable we become to others which leads to more acceptance.

If we want to the real world to accept us, then we need to get out in the real world.  So yes, getting a makeover and hitting the mall looking amazing can lead to social change.  How fun is that?

It’s unrealistic to wait for the world to love us and accept us before we let ourselves be who we are, or want to be.  Be you.  Be you now.

Love, Hannah