Why Passing Isn’t Important

I don’t believe in ‘passing’.

I don’t believe there is a standard, physical or otherwise, that a t-girl needs to achieve in order to look like or treated like a cis-woman.  If there were standards, what would they be?  Can a girl have a shoe size that disqualifies them from looking like a girl?  Can a girl have hands that are too big to be a girl?  Of course not.

I used to desperately want to pass.  I was hesitate for years to dress up or leave my house because I was afraid of being clocked.  My shoulders were too wide, my jawline was too square and a million other things.  It dawned on me one day that I would never think that a cis-woman wasn’t “feminine” enough to be a woman.  If transwomen are women, then why should I have different standards and expectations for myself?

After that revelation, I was ready to step out into the real world, giant hands or not.

Over the years of being in public, I have interacted with baristas, sales clerks, makeup artists (lots of makeup artists), servers, paramedics, cashiers and countless others.  I have had mostly either really positive, or at least mundane, interactions with people in the real world.  Very few have been negative but they have happened.  Unless someone expresses an opinion, good or bad, I never know what people think of me.  Why would I?  I don’t ask the Starbucks cashier what they think of me.  Why would I care?

But I get it.  I really do.  We want to be accepted by the rest of the world.  We dream of being treated as the gender that we are presenting as.  I dreamed for years of hitting the mall and no one batting an eyelash at me as I shopped for heels.

We want to be loved.  We want others to see us as beautiful.  Or at least not yelled at.

It can be a scary world.  It’s not hard to see stories on a very regular basis of transgender people getting hurt, yelled at, discriminated against or threatened.  Some of us want to pass to avoid getting read.  If someone finds out we are trans, will they beat us up?  Will they laugh?  Will they find out who we are in our male lives?’

Some of us want to pass because we just spent over an hour working on our makeup after months of practice.  We want to be viewed as cis-women because we finally mastered walking in four inch heels (heel to toe, ladies) and dammit, we earned a little respect.  Some of us want to pass because we want that validation.

But passing and feeling confident are two different things.

I went out a couple weeks ago to one of the many malls around the Twin Cities.  I had a makeover, I was wearing one of my favorite skirts and I looked AMAZING.

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I felt confident, I felt beautiful, I felt like I could destroy my enemies and deflect any hateful comment anyone could throw at me.

But I didn’t “pass”.  My hands are big, shoulders are wide, my jawline is too pronounced…

But if I waited until I “passed”, I never would have left the house that day or…ever.  Every time I hear that click of my heels on a sidewalk I wonder why I waited so long to venture into the real world.

I had countless interactions that day.  I chatted with a girl in the ladies room about shoes, a makeup artist at Ulta about lipstick and a salesclerk about whether or not that leather miniskirt was available in my size.  It was.  🙂

Not once did I worry about what anyone thought of me.  What would they say if I asked them?  Would they tell me if I was feminine enough?  That they thought I was cis or knew I was trans?  I didn’t know what they thought of me.  I didn’t care.  I didn’t spent $45 on a makeover for anyone but myself.  I didn’t wear that skirt for them.  I dressed up for me.

Based on the looks I get, whether it’s a supportive smile or a longer glance as someone is seeing a t-girl for the first time, I am pretty sure most people in the real world know that I am trans.  And that’s fine.  They can know I’m trans because, well, I am trans.  And you know something?  Most people are either wonderful or don’t care.  I am (almost always) treated with respect.

My point is that I am being treated with respect by people who “know” I’m trans.  What that means is most people (in my experience) are consciously being nice to a transperson.  That says a lot about how they personally feel about our community.  It’s really affirming and makes me optimistic about the future.

I would rather be treated with respect from someone who knows I am trans than treated the same way because they think I am cis.

Love, Hannah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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All that Glitters…is AMAZING! 😍

Corrie Dubay is a makeup artist extraordinaire and owner of Femme Makeovers, an amazing transformation studio in Minneapolis.  She is a friend and hero to girls everywhere.  She is beyond talented and I am lucky to have worked with on photo shoots in the past.
Corrie has a newsletter that she sends out with helpful makeup tips like these and is reprinted here with her permission.  I am certain you’ll find this useful!  You can sign up for her newsletter here.
Love, Hannah
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Darlings – How are you? I hope you’ve been enjoying this relatively snow-free holiday season – I know I have! 😀

‘Tis the season for everything that sparkles and shines…just like all of YOU! Today I’m going to answer the ever so popular question: How the f*ck do you apply glitter so it stays?? Stay calm my friends, it’s really not too hard if you have the right tools. I have some easy tips and tricks to make glitter stay where you want it….instead of looking like a glitter bomb just went off in your face. (Trust we’ve all been there, though!!).

Sparkle on my dears!!

XOXO from your favorite makeup guru,

Corrie
FemmeMakeovers

Glitter – I think we all have some sort of love/hate relationship with it, right? It can really look great if applied correctly. But!! Like with lots of makeup-related things, it  doesn’t take much to tip-toe over into the “Oh, shit!! What just happened?” sort of situation (ex: I’m just going to do a nice little wing here….and before I know it, my ‘nice little wing’ is ready to take flight…)…yep. Been there, done that.

So – how do we control glitter? There’s a few different ways that will result in a similar outcome – it’s really dependent on what products you use and how you decide to apply. Before we get rolling though – you want to make sure you do your eye makeup first. Get your shadow and eye liner on before you even think about touching the glitter. Save your eyelashes for last though. Mainly because they are harder to work around – you can see what you’re doing better if you put the lashes on last.

Okay – so there’s a handful of different types of glitter products: loose glitter, glitter gels, glitter liquids, etc. You’ll find your fave (I happen to like loose glitter and glitter liquids the best – and I’ll tell you why in a second). But first!! NEVER, and I repeat NEVER use craft glitter anywhere on your face. Only use cosmetic grade glitters on your face, especially if you are putting it on your eyes. Craft glitter can cut the bejeezuz out of your eye and do some serious, serious damage. Cosmetic grade glitter is eye safe. It could irritate the eye a little if you get some in there, but shouldn’t do any serious damage.

Okay? Okay! As I mentioned – you have several types of glitter products:
1. Loose glitter (just as it sounds – no base, generally need something tacky to stick to)
2. Glitter gels (glitter in a gel base – great for skin/face, but usually slower dry time not always best for eyes)
3. Liquid Glitters (glitter in some sort of liquid base already – I think easiest to use, too).
To make glitter stick – it needs to either have a base applied prior to the glitter application, or, have the base mixed in w/the glitter. Having said that – you have a few different options for glitter base: liquids, cremes, etc. I’m showing one by LIT Cosmetics and MAC. The MAC one technically is not a glitter base (it’s called a paint pot – similar to a creme eye shadow) but works well enough (the finer the glitter, the longer it will hold w/the MAC one).
Let’s start with the liquid glitter base and loose glitter. With this particular glitter base I like to pour out a few drops of base onto a palette so I don’t contaminate my base. Then I dip a synthetic brush (because a synthetic brush will hold it’s shape when wet) into the glitter base, then into loose glitter and apply (pat or dab on). Because you are essentially mixing the two together, it forms somewhat of a barrier over the top – allowing for longer wear time and less fall out. Just make sure you allow the glitter base to fully dry before you open your eyes – otherwise you’ll have a crease that you can’t blend out.

The application with a creme base will be similar, except we will apply the creme first with a brush or finger, then pick up the glitter with your finger (or brush) and apply (again, pat or dab on). This one you won’t need to let dry like the liquid – the glitter sort of ‘sets’ the creme for you. I find finer glitters tend to work better with this.

The next product is going to be your glitter liquids (that have the glitter and base already mixed together). These tend to be the easiest to use, I think, because it’s really only one step: Applying/blending the glitter on. One of my faves is by Stila (you can find at Sephora) – they have a bunch of different colors and it’s really easy to use. Like with the other liquid base – give it a minute to dry before opening your eye so you don’t put a crease in it.

When working with glitter – you’ll have less of a mess if you can apply the base and the glitter together (liquid methods) rather than separate. The liquid will hold the glitter in place (for the most part) and I feel, is just easier to work with.

Once you get your glitter applied – put your eye lashes on (you can visit here for a step-by-step tutorial on how to perfectly apply false lashes). I suggest waiting until the glitter is on and dry because it’s a lot harder to see what you’re doing if you have a thick pair of lashes in the way. Plus – you might end up getting glitter all over the lash – which isn’t a bad thing, just not necessarily what you are after.

Please keep in mind I’ve only mentioned a few of my favorite glitter products here – there are literally hundreds of different options. In fact – most brands have some form of glitter and/or glitter base within the line – so experiment!! Play!! And as always – if you have questions – please feel free to reach out and ask!

I hope some of this helps – I love glitter – especially for fun nights out on the town. And having the right products and tools to work with will save you a lot of time and frustration! 🙂

Byeeeee!

PS: All product recommendations are based on my own personal experience using them. I’ve not been paid to make any of these recommendations. Be sure to check out our Instagram page!

Questions or want to request an appointment? Call/text (612-860-6739) or email Corrie at: corrie@femmemakeovers.com

Be sure to check www.femmemakeovers.com for more info.

Shopping for Lace in Cyberspace

Shopping online is so hit and miss.  When I first started to buy my own clothes, I had to gather up my courage to shop in the women’s department of a store or covertly pop into a Victoria’s Secret (well, not anymore) to find something cute that I hoped to God fit me.  This got expensive and exhausting.  It was stressful worrying about who might see me at Target when I needed to pick up a new pair of stockings.  Years of building (and purging and rebuilding) a wardrobe was expensive, especially since I didn’t know how to take my measurements.

But it did help me realize that unless you bump into someone you know, no one cares what you have in your shopping cart.  Stores don’t care what departments you shop in.  No one is paying as much attention to you as you think.  This realization helped me find the courage to step out into public the first time.

That being said, I would have loved to have been able to shop online all those years ago.

This dress, worn for the recent MN T-Girls recent photo shoot is a perfect example of when shopping online could go so wrong but thankfully ended up fitting like a dream.  For the most part.  It does not pass the “Can I sit down in this dress?” test, but I suppose in a way that’s one of the reasons I like it.

I wore this on a MN T-Girls event earlier this year, but I wanted too show it off in a photo shoot.

Photography by Shannonlee.

Makeup by Ana at Rita Ambourne.

I hope you like it!

Love, Hannah

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Help!!! My skin is SOOO dry!!! My Makeup Looks Patchy and Not So Pretty – What Do I Do???

Corrie Dubay is a makeup artist extraordinaire and owner of Femme Makeovers, an amazing transformation studio in Minneapolis.  She is a friend and hero to girls everywhere.  She is beyond talented and I am lucky to have worked with on photo shoots in the past.
Corrie has a newsletter that she sends out with helpful makeup tips like these and is reprinted here with her permission.  I am certain you’ll find this useful!  You can sign up for her newsletter here.
Love, Hannah
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Hello darlings! I hope this newsletter finds you well.

Today’s newsletter talks about dry skin and how to deal with it when applying your makeup. Winter – you can seriously just go away!!!!!!

Also!!! Be sure to check out the new Instagram page (@Femmemakeovers). If you’re on there – feel free to follow me!!

Warm wishes for a happy Holiday Season and super amazing New Year!

XOXO from your favorite makeup guru,

Corrie
FemmeMakeovers

Help!!! My skin is SOOO dry!!! My makeup looks patchy and not so pretty – what do I do????

That’s been a common question the past several weeks with the colder weather we’ve been having. Not only is it the season for parties and gift-giving, it’s that dreaded time of year where the cold weather combined with the dry air wreak havoc on our skin. I don’t know about you but no matter what I do – I feel like I cannot keep my skin hydrated enough….which in turn can cause some frustration when we are applying our makeup.

So…what do we do when our skin dry, flaky and our makeup will not cooperate? Well – for starters – we want to take look at our water intake. I know it might not sound like a big deal – but it’s going to be the best thing for us when trying to keep our skin looking and feeling hydrated.

1From there, be sure you are using a moisturizer (even if you’re not applying makeup)….and consider using twice a day. I actually have two different moisturizers I use. I use my Embryolisse before my makeup application. It hydrates but doesn’t leave my face feeling slimy or sticky. There are lots of great options out there but Embryolisse is my favorite.

At night I use something called a sleeping mask (which essentially is just a heavier moisturizer)…the one I’m currently using is by Laneige (you can find at Sephora). It’s heavier but because I’m putting it on before I go to bed, it doesn’t really matter. I wake up with skin that feels nice and hydrated. They also have a lip mask that is GREAT. Oils also work great for helping to hydrate the skin. I’ll rotate back and forth between the sleeping mask and oil at night…just to shake it up a bit! LOL! 🙂 The one in the photo is by Beautycounter.

Okay – so you’re moisturizing and drinking enough water but still have some flakiness happening. What do you do? Exfoliate!!! You can usually do it once or twice a week (depending on the product). This will help remove some of the dry, flaky skin that causes our makeup to look patchy or uneven. A couple of my faves are SexAppeal (you can use up to twice a week on your face and is gentle enough to use on your body daily if you want). It’s super easy to use: spray the area you want to exfoliate and massage or rub gently. The dead, dry skin will start to come off. Once it does – rinse with water. It leaves your skin feeling so soft. BONUS! This stuff is AMAZING on your feet, hands and elbows!!!!

The other one I just recently found is by Kate Sommerville – it’s called ExfoliKate and can2 also be found at Sephora. This one left my skin feeling AMAZING. Also very easy to use – apply a small amount to hands, gently massage onto your face, let sit for up to two minutes, then rinse. It does tingle a little bit at first but it’s not bad. I was super happy with how smooth my skin felt after though.

Side note: If you do exfoliate, do that before you moisturize and apply your makeup. You may also want to avoid using immediately after a shave as it could cause a little irritation.

3Another thing to help combat dry winter skin and aid with your makeup application is to also use a primer. We might not be able to entirely eliminate all the dry skin (which can cause our makeup to look a little patchy) so adding a primer could help with smoothing things out a little more. A few of my faves are the HD Micro Primer by Kryolan, WaterBalm by Sonia Roselli (This stuff is crazy good! Actually, all of her products are super great – a little pricey but worth the $$) and the Inglot Underbase Primer is also pretty solid (a little bit goes a long way!).
The last product I LOVE and use on just about everyone – regardless what time of year it is – MAC Fix+ – it’s basically a liquid moisturizer (although they claim it is a setting spray – I don’t feel like it has any setting properties – but that is just my opinion). I use it to dampen brushes and sponges, spray it as I apply makeup and also when I’m finished (before or after a setting spray) to add moisture to the application. Hands down the product I go through the fastest and use the most. Plus – it smells really nice.

My final piece of advice when it comes to dry skin and our makeup applications, if 4during winter months you struggle with dry skin – avoid using any sort of foundation that says matte, satin or velvet finish. These usually have a very dry looking finish (in my opinion) which can amplify the dry skin problem we are trying to lessen.

Okay – so as a quick recap:
1. Drink lots of water
2. Moisturize (face and lips) both day and night
3. Exfoliate to remove dry, flaky skin
4. Primers can help smooth things out
5. Using something like MAC Fix+ can add moisture to makeup applications if we’re still feeling especially dry.

Dealing with dry skin is one of my biggest frustrations so hope this helps a little. Good luck!!!

And as always feel free to reach out to me via email (corrie@femmemakeovers.com) or phone (612-860-6739 – and be sure to leave a message) if you have any questions or want to book an appointment. You can also visit www.femmemakeovers.com for more information.

Byeeeee!

PS: All product recommendations are based on my own personal experience using them. I’ve not been paid to make any of these recommendations.

Questions or want to request an appointment? Call/text (612-860-6739) or email Corrie at: corrie@femmemakeovers.com

Be sure to check www.femmemakeovers.com for more info.

PFLGAG Events for December

PFLAG’s 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.

PFLAG 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 supportive and inclusive community.  PFLAG is a wonderful group, especially for our spouses and family members and I am happy to promote the events the Twin Cities chapter has scheduled.

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Please join us for a Holiday party.  

We will be serving hot chocolate and cookies, along with great conversation – all in a relaxed atmosphere from 6:30 until 7:30 pm.  We will then break out into our small, confidential,  support groups until 8:30 pm.

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018 at 6:30 pm
Union Congregational Church
3700 Alabama Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55416
Love, Hannah

Have Yourself a Fabulous Little Christmas!

Last night was the December event for the MN T-Girls…the annual holiday party!

The holiday party is one of my favorite nights of the year.  When else can you wear a sparkly sequined dress and not stand out?  Even better when it’s paired with sparkly heels, right?

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Like previous years, the party was held at a hotel and everyone brought something to share.  We made new friends, had tons of girl talk and thought about what the group will do next year.

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It was a fun night.  I wasn’t able to stay as late as I would have liked and I really want to thank Kylie for stepping in as the night’s hostess.

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Here’s to a happy holiday season and a wonderful 2019!

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Love, Hannah

 

Victoria’s Secret Shame

This may come as a surprise to you, but I love to shop.

Shopping can be intimidating for those in our community.  It’s impossible to predict what our experiences will be like.  Will the cashier stare at me?  Will the customers make whispered remarks to other shoppers?  Will the sales clerk be helpful?  Are those heels available in my size?

I support trans-friendly and trans-positive businesses and avoid those that are not.  Many companies will champion those in the LGBTQIA community.  For example, I shop at Target because of their policy towards our community.  Of course, everyone who works for an organization will have their own opinions even if the corporate culture and core beliefs encourage diversity and inclusion.  Just because their policy is to welcome us to the store and allows us to use the dressing room of our choice does not mean the cashier isn’t going to be rude to you.

I have always loved shopping at Victoria’s Secret.  I have always been treated very well and always had positive, friendly experiences with the staff…regardless of what gender I  presented as.

I was…disappointed, to say the least, when I saw recent comments by Victoria’s Secret chief marketing officer and executive vice president of public relations, Ed Razek.

Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy.

Rightly so, there was immediate backlash including comments by Heidi Zak, the CEO of ThirdLove, a new lingerie company:

“How in 2018 can the CMO of any public company — let alone one that claims to be for women — make such shocking, derogatory statements?” she wrote. “You market to men and sell a male fantasy to women. … Your show may be a ‘fantasy’ but we live in reality. Our reality is that women wear bras in real life as they go to work, breastfeed their children, play sports, care for ailing parents, and serve their country.

“Haven’t we moved beyond outdated ideas of femininity and gender roles?” she added. “It’s time to stop telling women what makes them sexy — let us decide. We’re done with pretending certain sizes don’t exist or aren’t important enough to serve. And please stop insisting that inclusivity is a trend.”

There are also calls to boycott the brand by models and modeling agencies, including transgender model Leyna Bloom.

Of course, an apology came quickly after:

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I read apologies with a huge amount of skepticism.  I wonder about the sincerity of such comments as it’s easy for a company to say they’re sorry when a backlash is going to hurt their profits.  The damages has been done.

Normally I would simply stop shopping somewhere when the organization made comments like this, but as I said, I’ve always wonderful service at the stores themselves.  An apology without a change in behavior is worthless.  Was Victoria’s Secret going to do anything to win back the trust and the business of our community?  Should I trust them?  Was this an offhand comment by some insensitive corporate idiot?

I wasn’t sure.  So, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and asked them.

I submitted a comment via their website on November 20th.  I copied the message below:

Hello, my name is Hannah and I am a model, activist and blogger. I am also a transwoman. I’m sure you know where this is going. 🙂   When I started to present in public as a woman, one of the first places I visited was Victoria’s Secret. I waited years to buy your beautiful lingerie and clothes. Of course, I was nervous on my first visit, but on my first, and every visit I’ve made since, I have received nothing but excellent customer service. Whether it is a bra fitting or just friendly smiles at the register, I’ve always felt welcome at your stores.

My enthusiasm for your stores plummeted last week when I heard the disparaging comments of the transcommunity by your Chief Marketing Officer, Ed Razek. It was the first time anyone in your organization referred to a girl like differently compared to cis-gender women.

Transphobia hurts. It hurts even more when it comes from someone who represents a brand that I love, a brand that screams femininity. A brand that, until last week, made me feel welcomed and beautiful.

I have not been to your stores since. I want to, but I will not support an organization that says such hurtful opinions on my community.

Yes, he apologized, but anyone can apologize when faced with criticism. The apology is there but so is Mr. Razek and his opinions…which are possibly a representation of the culture in you organization.

Like I said, I want to shop at your store. I have more of your clothing and lingerie than any other brand, but all I can think of when I see my closet are what Mr. Razek said.

Beyond the apology, what else are you doing to win back the trust of customers like me?

Thank you for listening,

Hannah

I was curious to see what their response would be.  The automatic reply I received stated they strive to reply to comments within 8 hours.

After a few days of silence, I sent the comment again.

Still nothing.

Silence can speak volumes.  Inaction is a form of action.

Their decision to not to respond to my concerns show that they really have no interest in keeping me as a customer.  Any organization can tweet an apology, but it takes real work, fueled by a true commitment to a community, to earn that trust back.

Love, Hannah