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.
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.
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If you or someone you know needs to talk, please call.
Like many terms in our little world, such as “passing”, “being read” and “clocking”, catfishing means something other than what you’d think it would.
‘Catfishing’, or ‘fishing’, is used a lot more broadly than it used to. According to Urban Dictionary, it’s defined as the phenomenon of internet predators that fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into emotional/romantic relationships (over a long period of time).
But for a while it was used to describe a t-girl who really, ah, enjoyed “tricking” cisgender heterosexual men into them thinking they were a cisgender girl. Usually the reveal occurred during an intimate moment, if you know what I mean.
I’ve always hated this. And here’s why!
First of all, there’s no such thing as what a girl should look like, whether she is transgender or cisgender. Girls can be tall or have a penis or need to shave their face. Catfishing typically involves a t-girl looking SO FEMININE that men are duped into thinking that she is a cisgender girl. Look, I understand and can relate to wanting to dress and present as feminine as someone possibly can. I attempt this with every outfit I wear and with every makeover I get. But I do what I do and wear what I wear because this is how I want to look and how I want to dress. I don’t think any of us needs to meet certain standards to be feminine, to be a girl, to be pretty.
Secondly, intentionally deceiving people is not a good look for the trans community. Some haters like to think that transwomen are trying to deceive men into thinking they are cisgender. And to be fair, that’s kind of what catfishing is. But I don’t think most transwomen are trying to deceive anyone.
This is also potentially very dangerous for someone to do. When we come out to someone we never really know how they will react. Someone learning that the cute girl they are in bed with has a penis could turn violent. There are too many stories of men getting angry when they learn that they are talking with a transwoman when they believed they were speaking with a cisgender girl. In situations like this it’s not uncommon for someone to use the “gay panic defense”. Citing Wikipedia, this is when a defendant claims to have acted in a state of violent, temporary insanity, committing assault or murder, because of unwanted same-sex sexual advances, typically from men. A defendant may allege to have found the same-sex sexual advances so offensive or frightening that they were provoked into reacting, were acting in self-defense, were of diminished capacity, or were temporarily insane, and that this circumstance is exculpatory or mitigating.
Again, I absolutely understand and can relate to wanting to look as femme as possible. But how I present is 1000000% about ME. I don’t dress for anyone else. I don’t dress to pass or to blend in. I don’t care if anyone “knows” I am transgender and it’s not a compliment if someone thinks that I am cisgender.
Finally, catfishing has an element of competition to it as well. Some t-girls and crossdressers who catfish sometimes gloat about how successful they are in tricking men and can criticize others for not looking “fishy” enough. Can we stop doing this? Can we stop competing with each other? Can we stop bringing others down?
We’re all in this together. We always have been, and we will always need to be, now more than ever.
After I posted that particular update I calmed down a bit. Writing can be very cathartic. I read your emails which were very supportive and encouraging and empathetic. Of course some were along the lines of “Shut Up and Sing” but that was to be expected. My perspective is still very much the same and I am still angry and scared but I’ve decided a few things.
I know that my feelings and thinking may be pessimistic and perhaps not the same as everyone reading this, but it’s hard to be optimistic when legislation is being written and being passed into law that can and will negatively and dangerously impact our lives. And yes, this perspective may come off as fatalistic to some but I still can’t shake it.
Gender affirming care is being made a felony in certain parts of the United States and for now most of them are focused on people under the 18 years of age but it’s not hard to see where this is (probably) heading.
Could presenting as a gender that is different from the one you were assigned at birth be made a felony? I think that is very possible. I hope I am wrong.
I feel that time is running out. I feel that the things I do, the clothes I wear, the pronouns I use, could all be prohibited in a few years because the ‘M’ box is checked on my birth certificate. Again, I hope I am wrong.
So, knowing this, and with feeling these things, what do I do?
As I mentioned, I have stepped back from the ledge and it’s time to reassess. What do I do? What can be done?
I will continue to vote against people that have different values than I do. But other than that, I think I need to do what I would like to do, while I still can.
Some of the potential actions are disbanding the MN T-Girls or no longer stepping out en femme. Hopefully it won’t come to these things.
For now, I am “safe”, or as safe as it is to be trans in Minnesota but things could change.
It’s best to prepare for the future even if planning is not my character, at least not in my femme identity. But let’s do some (pessimistic) speculating.
Before I dive into ANYTHING, I’d like to remind ya’ll that I am not a Democrat. I think the Democratic party, despite their best intentions, are incompetent and clueless. They’ve earned no praise, recognition, or votes.
This little disclaimer is about the facts about these proposals, as well as who in the government is writing and supporting laws like these. My point is that it seems that all the recent legislation that impacts the LGBTQIA+ community in a negative way has all been proposed and supported by Republicans (and yes, not all Republicans).
Anyway, as of this writing the Democrats control the White House, the Senate, and the House. If the Democrats REALLY wanted to do what they said they’d do when they campaigned, whether it was student loan forgiveness or protecting someone’s health care, they could have done it by now but I don’t think they know HOW to do what they said they would do.
It’s looking like the Democrats will lose the Senate in November’s mid-terms, and possibly the House. I don’t think there’s a single Democrat in the country that has a chance of winning the White House in 2024.
My thinking is that in a little more than two years all three branches of our government will likely be controlled by Republicans. If the last few years and the recent pieces of legislation have taught us anything, it’s that I think it’s safe to say that more laws against the trans community are a given. Oh sure, they will be written under the guise of something else, like preserving the sanctity of gender or whatever, but the intentions will be clear.
If this happens, and I think it’s likely, then my thought is that I have about two years of being able to “safely” present en femme and identify as transgender. After that, it could be a very different world.
So, what do I do until then? And yes, I know this all sounds very fatalistic and pessimistic and I hope I am wrong with all of this, but if there’s something I want to do en femme, it’s time to it now. Although this feeling of time running out is very depressing and frightening, there is a little bit of… hm, ambition I am feeling at the moment. Do I want to fly pretty? Do it now. Do I want to dress up as a princess? Do it now. Do I want to do a bridal photo shoot? Do it now. Attend a transgender conference? Do it now.
I am excited about doing these things, even if they are due to a very horrible reason.
I’ve swung back and forth recently about I should be doing. Part of me feels I need to…hm, reduce my visibility a bit to prepare for what I feel is the inevitable need to “go back into the closet” if legislation is passed to “regulate” gender identity/gender presentation. The other part of me feels that I should be as, ah, LOUD and as out there as I can possibly be before I no longer have the freedom to present and identify how I wish. Both options are extreme and at the opposite ends of the spectrum.
Stay safe. Stay true to yourself.
The comments section has gone completely off the rails and I have disabled them for this post.
I get this Ask Hannah! question, is, or variations of it, from time to time (well, ALL the time).
And to be honest I have no idea how to answer them.
Essentially it comes to what you feel you need to do in order for your whole BEING to align with your gender identity.
For some of us, we NEED a vagina to be a woman. For some of us, we need to LEGALLY be a woman. For some of us our legal status or our anatomy have nothing to do with our gender identity.
If you feel your gender identity is different than the one you were assigned to at birth, then your magical journey of hard work and dysphoria will begin. It is up to YOU to decide what your gender identity means to you and what you feel needs to be done in order for you to be at peace with your gender.
Depending on the steps you feel you need to take, you may need to schedule an appointment with your doctor and/or a therapist specializing in gender.
Crossdressing is sometimes portrayed as a challenge.
No, this isn’t about the challenge of trying to find the right foundation to cover up our stupid facial hair, this is about the… crossdressing DARES that we see online from time to time.
Do you know what I’m talking about? They seem to be mostly aimed at the “crossdressing is a kink” crossdresser (not that there is anything wrong with that).
These challenges are usually broken down into steps with the first “challenge” being something rather small and progressively becoming more advanced and tend to push people out of their comfort zone.
Not that this is a bad thing. This is EXACTLY what building up the courage to go out en femme requires. Baby steps. If they are thoughtful and well written, they can be immensely helpful when it comes to providing… ah, step-by-step guidance as to what you do first, what comes next, and so on.
These challenges almost always concentrating on what I call the practical side of crossdressing, such as focusing on clothes and heels and makeup. Which can be important! I think they are! However, they usually skip over the emotional and psychological aspects that crossdressing and presenting en femme usually requires.
What I mean is that it’s easy to find a wig, but often the wrong wig can trigger dysphoria. There are countless dresses that will fit us, but if we don’t like how we look in them it can be hard to feel that yes, we CAN be, and that we ARE beautiful. We can follow along with a makeup tutorial on Youtube, but if the products used aren’t right for our face shape or skin type we probably won’t look like the supermodel that we were expecting.
These disappointments can trigger a lot of negative feelings and frustrations and hopelessness.
In a lot of ways the practical sides to crossdressing are a zillion times easier than the psychological parts. Essentially a dress can fit, the heels can be comfortable, but if we don’t FEEL cute, if we FEEL we look “too male”, the clothes don’t matter at all.
Does that make sense? I hope so because I don’t know how to explain it differently.
Sometimes the challenges are a “point system” where you award yourself points for the different tasks you complete. Once the points are added up you can find out how much of a sissy you are, or whatever. Again, these tend to be mostly kinky in nature with wearing panties is worth one point but dressing up in teeny-tiny schoolgirl skirt while having anonymous sex with a stranger in the backseat of his 1993 Honda is worth ten points or something.
It’s sometimes jarring at how quickly the sexual nature of these challenges can escalate. The first challenge is tiny and innocent, but then all of a sudden you are getting dared to put on a frilly pink French Maid dress and having a gangbang at a truck stop.
I tended to score very low on these. And I have nooooo problem with that.
Like other things out there, these lists can be fun but also play up the sexual aspect of crossdressing. Again, there’s not anything wrong with that. But many of us dress how we do for so many reasons and kinkiness isn’t even relevant. There’s the fantasy aspect of this for some of us but for some this isn’t our truth.
From time to time I think about writing my own version of something like this, but I think the “challenges” would be, well, not fun. It’s easy to dare someone to buy a cute bra, it’s another thing to actually do it. Buying a bra is not as easy as it sounds, even if you’ve been wearing one for years. Cup size and band size are too be considered, and there are different bras for different outfits and different bodies and different, well, GOALS, I suppose.
But I suppose this is how ANYTHING is. Telling someone how to change a tire SOUNDS easy but, well, it’s NOT. Everything is easier said than done.
I am also hesitant to write something like along the lines of “instructions” because we all have different goals when it comes to this side of us. When someone asks me “how do I crossdress?”, I struggle with how to respond because, well, crossdressing could be as simple as painting your nails or as time-consuming and expensive as hair removal, breast forms, thigh pads, a $90 makeover, an expensive wig, and a killer dress with matching heels. It’s kind of up to you.
And! Step-by-step doesn’t always work for each of us. Our journeys are not linear or identical to everyone else (which is a tiny reminder that we shouldn’t measure our progress or self-worth in comparison to anyone).
I know I often sound like a wet blanket when it comes to crossdressing. I focus a lot on the reality of this side of us which can be a buzzkill. But please know that I absolutely understand that expressing our femme identity or wearing what we want (for any reason) is important AND I think it is really super fun. Yes, it’s a lot of physical work to shave and wiggle into a dress and cinch my corset and strut all day in stilettos, but it’s SO MUCH FUN. I love it. I love every minute of spending the day en femme. I love getting ready. I love shopping for clothes and wearing new panties for the first time. The magic is always there.
I suppose these challenges and the idea of awarding points is similar to thinking about what we SHOULD be, what we SHOULD look like, and so on. It’s easy to look at a list like these and feel that we are not femme or brave enough if we’ve only done half of the “challenges” and the rest feels intimidating.
Sometimes these “challenges” include something along the lines of “tricking” a guy at a bar that you are a “real” girl. UGH. So many things are wrong with that. There’s no such thing as a “real” girl. I KNOW that this is referring to “fooling” someone that they are a cis gender girl but girls are girls, trans or not. And! you don’t need validation from some loser drinking beer at some stupid bar. A guy being attracted to me isn’t a victory, in my opinion. It’s not the compliment that we are led to believe.
Listen. This side of us is super fun and amazing but it’s also some of the most difficult parts of our lives, especially on the emotional side of who we are. We don’t need to make it any harder by measuring our progress and what we do or what we wear against some silly list or by comparing ourselves with anyone else.
And yes, like changing a tire, this is easier said than done. Sometimes I feel cute but then I feel absolutely monstrous in comparison when I see photos of Heidi Phox or Farrah Moan.
On the flip side I do feel like a supermodel when I look at a recent photo of myself and compare it to a picture from a few years ago.
But maybe that’s the point?? Maybe we need to focus on our own personal growth and be happy with any progress we make, no matter how small or how long it takes.
I write a LOT about staying safe as a t-girl. This can cover a LOT of different things, such as how to safely wear a gaff, what to have in your purse, or how to stay vigilant in public when we are en femme.
There are things that threaten us other than just the transphobic jerk at the mall or a corset that is not worn properly.
We need to be aware of EVERYTHING that could hurt us, and that includes legislation.
So before you send emails telling me to stop writing “political stuff” or taking the comments section off the rails, please keep it in mind that our personal safety, protecting who we are, is more than just being able to safely walk in stilettos.
It wasn’t that long ago when it felt like things were getting better, that tomorrow was looking brighter.
When marriage equality was passed in 2015 it was an exciting time. It didn’t impact me personally but I was happy that many of my friends were finally going to be able to legally marry the person that they loved. When I married it was because I had the right to make a private decision about my life that impacted no one else on the planet and now my friends had the same right.
It was a sign that we as a country were becoming more progressive, more tolerant, and less intrusive about the private decisions that someone else made.
As a trans person I had hoped that it was a sign that our community was, well, next. Perhaps if marriage was defined as a commitment between two people, regardless of their gender, perhaps one’s gender identity differing from the gender they were assigned at birth could become more understood and accepted, or at the very least, tolerated.
At my most optimistic I was hoping we were becoming more enlightened. But if enlightened was a bridge too far, hopefully it meant that at the very least we could let grown adults make their own decisions about their body and their medical care.
Besides my wife, my gender identity and gender presentation and choices about my body impact exactly zero percent of the world’s population. How I dress, how I identify, the prescriptions I take, or conversations I have with my doctor are about as relevant to someone else as the type of music I listen to or the food I prefer.
If I chose to, I could schedule an appointment with my doctor today about HRT. If I wanted, I could file the paperwork to legally change my gender. As of this writing I can do anything I damn well please when it comes to my gender, whether it is about how I present or what box is checked on my drivers license.
I am an adult and can make my own decisions. Everyone should have that right, regardless of someone else’s religion or moral beliefs.
We all know that it’s looking very likely that Roe v Wade is going to go away. People who have the ability to become pregnant will no longer be able to make decisions about their health. A right that has been in place for almost fifty years will disappear.
I do not have the ability to get pregnant but I think pregnancy is the private and intimate decision that is left to the individual.
It’s not hard to imagine and anticipate what could come next.
Perhaps I am being pessimistic (and I really hope this is just pessimism) but I wouldn’t be surprised if marriage was equality was challenged and overturned.
We’re seeing laws being passed all around the country when it comes to gender-affirming care for the trans community. So far most of these laws are impacting those under the age of 18, but it’s not unlikely to think that there will be serious attempts to prevent grown adults from making decisions about their own gender and health.
Although I don’t want to transition or start HRT, I think I should have the right to make these choices if I wanted. I think you do too.
A law doesn’t have to impact me directly in order for me to support it.
Where will this all end?
As I wrote earlier, when marriage equality was passed, I had hoped that the trans community was “next”. My thoughts are somewhat the same today but they are less optimistic. If Roe v Wade goes away, I think that marriage equality will be targeted after that, and then WE are next.
I wouldn’t be surprised if doctors were prevented from prescribing estrogen to trans women or states were prohibited from changing one’s gender on a birth certificate.
But that is just the start.
Neither of these things impact ME personally. I don’t plan on starting HRT or legally updating my gender but dammit I think an adult has the right to make these choices for themselves.
It’s not hard to imagine (or fear) that gender presentation will be “regulated”. It sounds fascist to think so but perhaps someone could call the police on me if they see me, a t-girl, out in public.
I feel that bad things are coming. That they are already on their way.
Regardless of your religious beliefs or moral perspective or commitment to a political party, adults have the right (and I am speaking specifically about ADULTS in this post) to decide who they marry, how they dress, the pronouns they use, and their medical treatment.
The world is very different than it was a year ago. It will likely change even more in the months ahead.
And I think there’s a lot of truth to that. For example, two weeks ago I realized I needed a photo shoot. But in a less dramatic and in a more realistic perspective, I didn’t NEED one. I did WANT one, though.
Of course, it would be boring to only take photos of a corset over the two hours Shannonlee and I had the studio, so I jumped into my closet to see what else would be fun.
Aannnnd to be honest? I am kind of running out of outfits that I haven’t already worn for previous shoots. As I selected the dresses for the shoot, I was struck by how well I remembered when and why I bought the dresses in the first place. Every one of these dresses has a story. I’ll share these exciting origin stories over the next few weeks as I post the photos from the shoot. So, stay tuned, I guess.
In the meantime, here are some very low-quality iPhone pictures we took of the outfits I wore yesterday. It was a fun shoot and I am looking forward to sharing the photos with you!
Wife and I been together for 10 years. She has always known I have dressed. Recently I brought up that I would like to take things further and start wearing norm day clothes, a wig and makeup. My wife says she wants to grow with me but is very reserved. How can I talk to her and make her more comfortable with expressing how she feels too?
Understand that while you may want to go a zillions miles per hour and dive right into dresses and eyeliner and wigs and stilettos, she will likely need and want to take this very, very, very slowly. And gradually.
Let her take the lead, if you will.
Encourage her to seek support, whether it is with counseling for herself or for the pair of you.
Be prepared to hear things you don’t want to hear. Be receptive of what she tells you. There may be times where she needs a break from seeing you en femme.
Marriage is something we work for every single day. Gender identity is… it’s enormous. The two together is going to take a lot of communication and effort. There are a lot of aspects and nuances to this that would take a long, long post to cover and even that would be the tip of the iceberg. I’ve written a lot, and I mean A LOT about marriage and gender identity and have discussed everything from sex to boundaries to making mistakes. If you want my perspective on this, please spend some time reading about marriage and crossdressing here.