En Femme Photo Shoot!

This weekend I did another photo shoot for En Femme, the premier clothing brand for the crossdresser and trans woman! 

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I modeled four different outfits, including the Luxurious Sleeveless Swing Dress as seen in these photos. If you want to add one to your wardrobe, you can shop for it at EnFemmeStyle.com here!  I also have a special discount code (ENFHANNAH) that you can use at checkout to get 15% off your first purchase!*

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The photos were taken near downtown Saint Paul by my friend and incomparable photographer Shannonlee.  It was a fun day and I can’t wait for you to see the finished pictures!

Love, Hannah

*Please note the discount does not apply to ultra-premium products

 

 

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La Femme Mystique Photos!

Last year I had the honor of visiting La Femme Mystique, a gender transformation studio in Saint Paul run by the incredibly talented Rebecca.  I know many of you have had the pleasure of getting a makeover and photos from her, and I wanted to share the pictures from my visit.

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Not only is Rebecca an accomplished makeup artist and a skilled photographer, her studio is located in a really beautiful building which seems like it was built for perfect photo shoots.  We did pictures in the hall, on the roof, by huge windows…. I loved the variety.  Rebecca’s eye for the camera always gave her the perfect shot.

La Femme Mystique is a wonderful little studio and Rebecca couldn’t be nicer.  I hope you all visit her soon!

Love, Hannah

Ladies and Gentlemen

For those of us who aren’t full time or haven’t transitioned, we carry (or wear) secrets.  I have been in work meetings about revenue projections and I’ll think to myself that under this three-piece suit I am wearing the laciest panties I own.  That’s  a fun secret.

We share experiences and perspectives that our female co-workers, sisters, friends, and wives have.  They just might not know it.  I have listened to conversations between my female colleagues about how their lipstick wears off too quickly and I am tempted to suggest applying an eyeshadow primer before putting lipstick on, but that would raise more questions (and eyebrows) than I am comfortable with, so I keep my advice to myself.

We know what it’s like when a girl gets frustrated when a $18 pair of stockings runs.  We can relate (and become a little jealous) when a girl says that her heels are killing her.

We notice subtle things, like accessories a girl is wearing, the color of her nail polish, the perfect swoosh of her eyeliner.

We understand the joy of finding a cute outfit that fits.  The happiness of finding a new shade of lipstick.

I know that this might sound a little superficial, but these things make me happy, these are things I notice, appreciate, and can identify with.

I have learned many things over the years.  How to move my hips when I strut in heels, how to blend foundation, how to hold my head high when people stare at me in the mall.  I have also learned that in male mode that it’s better not to comment on a girl’s outfit or makeup.

This is likely going to spark a discussion, so let me explain.

A couple of years ago I went to a coffee shop in male mode and the barista had the most amazing eye makeup.  The color, her eyeliner, her eyelashes… glam, glam, glam.  Forgetting for a moment which gender I was presenting as, I told her that I thought her eye makeup was amazing.

As Hannah, a comment like this is usually met with a thank you, but not that this time.  She just rolled her eyes, handed me my coffee and that was that.  She wasn’t rude, she was probably tired of men commenting on her appearance.

She doesn’t know who I am. She doesn’t know that I appreciate and strive to achieve makeup like hers.  To her, I am just a boring man who was flirting with her or felt that her appearance was up for discussion.

When I dress, I dress for myself.  I don’t give a second thought about what others might think about my outfit or makeup or shoes.  Most women, cis and trans, do the same thing.  She spent who knows how long on her eyes, and she did it for her.  Not me, not for anyone else.

The #metoo and #timesup discussions are focusing on bringing women’s experiences with harassment into the public eye.  Almost every woman I know has shared their own experiences with sexual comments and harassment from men.  This includes everything from inappropriate jokes from male co-workers, to unwanted physical contact, to comments about their appearance.

“Um, Hannah?  NOT ALL MEN.” 

Okay good, glad we got that out of the way.

No matter if we are wearing lingerie under our clothes or slipping into a nightgown when we go to bed, many of us present as men for most of our lives.  I do.  To most of the world, I am seen as a married, white male.  Which is fair and accurate.  These discussions will hopefully make men examine their conduct and be held accountable when we say or do something inappropriate or offensive.

It is not up to me to decide what is offensive or inappropriate to someone else.  Yes, commenting on a girl’s eyeshadow might be perfectly innocent from my perspective.  I may mean it a compliment, but to the barista, some man commenting on how she looks might make her uncomfortable.

She doesn’t know (or care) that I appreciate amazing makeup.  As soon as I commented on her makeup, I knew I crossed a line.  I felt awful the rest of the day.  While it’s true some people might take what I said as a compliment, it’s not up to me to decide how someone else should interpret my words.

“Gee, Hannah, you’re so politically correct” you might be thinking.  For starters, I think that term gets thrown around so often that it loses it’s meaning.  There is nothing political about being respectful.  Keeping opinions about someone’s appearance to yourself shouldn’t be up for debate.  Sure, YOU might appreciate someone commenting on your makeup or outfit, but it can cross the line for someone else.

If you present as male at all, I am sure you are a respectful and kind man, and would never say or do anything that is disrespectful, hurtful, or offensive to women.  It’s easy for us to feel like “one of the girls” because for many of us, we are… but perhaps not at that moment.  I listen to my female coworkers who compliment each other on their outfit or shoes.  I often want to do the same thing.  But it could easily make them feel uncomfortable or taken in a way I did not intend.  For those who have more than one gender identity, we need to be ladies and gentlemen.

I write a lot about being transgender, I write a lot about having more than one gender identity, and I write a lot about being a girl.  But I can’t ignore the fact that I present and interact with the world as male for most of the time.  The Hannah part of me might want to compliment a girl on her outfit, but it would the male side that says the words.    My wife knows what I mean when I compliment her on her makeup or outfit, but very few others do.

As someone who identifies as a t-girl, I feel I have a lot of responsibility when it comes to representing the transgender community and I think I do a fairly decent job of being a positive voice for us.  As someone who also identifies as male, I also have responsibilities when it comes to how I interact with the world and I will always choose to speak with upmost respect to everyone and to do my best to not let others feel uncomfortable with my words and actions.

No matter how stunning their eye makeup is.

Love, Hannah

 

Ask Hannah!

I have been crossdressing in my mind since I was 15. I am now 45. I have been in clothes from time to time. I have been I a relationship for 8 months and I have told her everything. She is totally on board and thinks this will be really fun. I have never had any support and of course she doesn’t know where we should begin. We both agree we aren’t ready to hit dressing rooms to find my clothes. The thing I’m struggling with is my size. I’m 6’1 and 260. Definitely not a feminine figure but we want to get the ball rolling. My dream is to get to wear skirts and blouses. Can you help us out with this?

Congratulations on taking this step!  I am very excited for you, and I am very happy you were upfront and honest in your relationship.

Just a reminder, that there is no standard you must meet in order to be feminine.  No one is too tall, too short, too thin, too masculine, too… anything, to be beautiful.  Being comfortable and happy with who you are has more to do with how you feel than with how you look.  We all know women, whether they are cis or trans, who are all shapes and sizes and every single one of us is drop-dead gorgeous.

And you are too.

When you are ready to start building your wardrobe, you’ll find that determining your measurements is the most important thing you can know.

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When I purchase “male” clothes (please note I don’t think there are such a thing as “male” clothes or “female” clothes, they’re just clothes), I purchase shirts that fit my shoulders and pants that are long enough and are the proper waist size. It’s pretty straightforward. Dresses are a different story. I have dresses that fit perfectly around my hips and waist, but don’t fit my shoulders and chest as I am wider on top than my middle. And of course every dressmaker has different sizing standards, as well. When shopping, you need to know your measurements, and yes, sometimes it is a flip of the coin when it comes to deciding to order based off of hips or waist measurements.

And remember, as the two embark on this… (ugh), journey, and it IS a journey, no matter how much I hate that word, you will both feel different things at different times and it is easy to let this overwhelm someone.  I write a lot about relationships on this site, but if you take anything from my writing, just be worth it and beware the fog.

Love, Hannah

 

 

Resources: Gender Therapists

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Therapists that focus on issues regarding gender are not easy to find, so I am happy when I learn of a therapist that specializes in gender identity.

Hanna Zipes, according to her website, introduces herself as a psychotherapist located in Minneapolis and providing individual and couples therapy, coaching and supervision in-office and online. I come to this work with a belief in people, in possibilities, and in the power of relationships. I work from the perspective that healing happens in a positive environment, and that relationships are sustained through love, laughter, presence, humanity, acceptance, and solidarity. While people consult with me for a variety of reasons, I specialize in addressing concerns related to intimacy, communication, infidelity, sexuality, gender identity, and fostering healthy relationships.

I am LGBTQIA+ affirmative and respect diversity in sexual identity, relationships, sexual orientation, and sexual practices and lifestyles. I work to create an environment of radical inclusivity for clients of all genders, sexual orientations, races, cultures, faiths, sizes, and lifestyles.

More information about Ms. Zipes and her practice is available on her website.

Love, Hannah

 

Passing Thoughts

There’s no question that we are people who evolve.

We evolve and grow and and change in many ways.  Ten years ago I identified as a crossdresser.  I mean, I still do, but transgender is definitely the word I use these days.  To me, all of… this is more than just about what clothes I like to wear.

Our looks evolve, too.  The more we do out makeup, the better we get at blending our foundation and applying eyeliner to our waterline.  The more we strut in stilettos, the more graceful we become.  The more we wear that dress that shows off our fabulous legs, the more confident we get.

If these two photos below do not represent my own personal evolution, I don’t what does.

 

Our perspective can change as well.  When we were in our teens perhaps we thought (or hoped) that this was a phase.  We were not comfortable with this side of us.  But as we get older, we learn that this is who we are.  Hopefully with this epiphany we soon learn to accept and embrace this part of us.

Lately I have been thinking about the eternal quest that many t-girls have.  Although I think ‘passing’ is arbitrary and there are no standards one must have or achieve to “look like a girl”, I understand and can relate to how looking a certain way is so appealing.  I love how I look, but that doesn’t mean I don’t wish I had smaller hands or shoulders that were a little less broad.

Holding yourself to a set of standards, or letting others hold a set a standards to you, should never prevent you from presenting in the real world as the gender you identify as.  If I waited to “pass” I’d still be in sitting in my living room waiting until my hands shrunk.  Letting go of these expectations will free you and you will never look back.

My core beliefs on passing are still unchanging, but there is another reason why some of us want to pass.

Survival.

That sounds fatalistic and dramatic, but it’s absolutely true. Transwomen who “look like” ciswomen have a lesser chance of being “clocked” as transgender.  We all know that being transgender opens us up to being laughed at, ridiculed, mocked, and worse.  When we go out into the real world, we may have certain goals in mind, such as finding a pair of heels, or wanting to go out to dinner en femme, but usually not being harassed is among those objectives.

I know I am transgender, and so does everyone I encounter when I leave the house.  I have friends who are also transgender who fit the expectations that many people think women “should look like”.  They aren’t six feet tall and they have softer features, for example.  The have different experiences than I do.  They blend in better.  Camouflage, in a way.

But I stand out.  I know I do.  Since I will never pass, I go the opposite direction.  I wear the brightly colored dress, I wear eye-catching floral patterns, and the heels I wear don’t do me in any favors in trying to blend in.  This is what I mean when I say I embrace who I am.

The hill I will die on is that we are all beautiful and none of us are too tall, too old, too… anything to be beautiful.  None of us are too masculine to be a girl.  Personally I want to be as pretty and as feminine as I can be, but these are expectations and standards that I have set for myself, not by anyone else.  I stopped letting any sort of expectations hold me back from doing anything I want, whether it is modeling or going out for coffee.  I hope you do the same.

It’s unfortunate and heartbreaking that we have to take into consideration the connection between our presentation and safety, but that is the world we live in.

Be safe, be gorgeous.

Love, Hannah

 

 

 

 

News Flash! En Femme!

I am thrilled to share that I am now partnering with En Femme, the premier clothing brand for the crossdresser and trans woman!

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I will be doing some modeling (remember that photo shoot earlier this month?) as well as some blogging.

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Our partnership was officially announced last night and I am excited to share the details below:

En Femme is thrilled to announce our latest partnership with blogger, trans-activist and fashionista, Hannah McKnight! You may know Hannah from her blog where she discusses more in-depth her journey as a self-described T-girl! 

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Hannah will be a regular contributor to our Learning Center and social media, and we are excited to have her be part of the En Femme family!
 
Hannah’s Learning Center articles will focus on relationships – something most if not all of us are managing – and could use advice on from time to time! Hannah draws on her own experiences living between male and female identities – she shares inspiration, insight and ways to incorporate our full selves in a positive way whether we are crossdressers, transgender, non-binary or gender fluid.
 
Here is Hannah’s first article for the Learning Center – we hope you enjoy it, comment on it and look forward to seeing more from Hannah at En Femme.

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I hope you enjoy my contributions to their Learning Center, and I know you’ll love their clothes.  I am modeling the Sleek Body Contour Dress in Black and White and the Seamless Stripe Teddy Top paired with the Skater Style Swing Skirt.  The dress is gorgeous and incredibly flattering and the top has cap sleeves that fit my shoulders and arms.

Photos by Shannonlee and makeup by MAC.

Love, Hannah