I Get By With a Little Help From My Forms

My most recent photo shoot had a couple of dresses that I had to look DEEP into my closet to find. I have been meaning to wear this particular one for years and years but for some reason or another just never followed through with it. I would plan a day out en femme and sometimes I would end up getting a NEW dress and wanted to wear that one instead or the weather wasn’t going to cooperate and I would need to wear something else.

But I suppose those were just excuses. The reason I didn’t wear it was because I didn’t feel cute in it. I found the dress on Amazon and thought it looked pretty and it fit like a dream but I just felt a little… frumpy? Like it didn’t fall right? Because of this I just didn’t feel a lot of affection towards it.

So, what changed?
My body didn’t, the dress didn’t, all I needed was to add my forms and a corset.

A dress can FIT, but it doesn’t mean it fits in the right places. Sometimes a pretty dress doesn’t compliment you.

Femme clothes are, for the most part, designed for the cis gender female body. This means a bust and hips. My body is pretty rectangular and sometimes the most gorgeous gown fits like a pillowcase.

I packed this dress into my suitcase for the shoot and honestly? I just hoped for the best. The shoot started and as the afternoon progressed the outfits I brought were worn, photographed, and then (carelessly) tossed back into my suitcase.

There was time left for one more outfit, and this dress was the last one left. I shrugged and changed.

This was the first time I had worn the dress with my breast forms and corset. My body was completely different compared to the other times I tried on the dress.

It fell where it should. The dress fit the body it was designed for. I had the body (courtesy of my corset and forms) that it was designed for.

I am not saying that you need a certain figure or $400 breast forms to look cute in a dress. This is a reminder that clothes sometimes need a little help.

Love, Hannah

I Can Resist Anything Except Temptation

Well temptation and leather. I can’t resist leather. I just can’t.

And it’s silly. But it is what it is. But isn’t all of *this* is what it is?

When I am en femme I feel confident and brave and powerful. It’s not necessarily because of what I am wearing but it’s more of a result of all the mental barriers and fears and insecurities and dysphoria I had to conquer before I could leave the house, before I stopped caring about being read, after I realized there was no such thing as passing, before I stopped trying to blend in.

Not caring is one of the most freeing things one can experience.

Of course, not caring is not the same thing as not being compassionate, kind, or considerate, but you know what I mean.

Sometimes I think I have enough LBDs. or enough bodycon dresses with pretty floral patterns on them, but then you see IT. A dress that you KNOW you don’t NEED but you can’t imagine living another minute without it.

So you buy it and the feeling dissipates… until it happens again.

And it will. And I love that. I love finding a dress that I can’t say no to.

A few months ago I was at a second-hand boutique and I saw a dress. It was my size, it was leather, and I mean, I HAD to get it. And really, it wasn’t that different than the other leather dresses I have, but really, when has logic and reason had a chance against a WANT?

I used to save leather for nights out but I rarely am out late these days. Late nights and bold outfits tend to go together but… well, I don’t care about blending in anymore. Well, I do to a degree, there are some limits to what I will wear when I am out. I might love my thigh-high boots and pink PVC dress but I won’t wear that outfit to the mall.

Speaking of shoes, let’s talk MORE about shoes I wore with this dress.

I didn’t MEAN to buy them. I had no choice.

I mean, yes I had a choice, but I didn’t feel I had a lot of options on the day that I bought them. I was out en femme a year or so ago when the fastener on my heels stopped cooperating. Girls like us don’t have the luxury of popping into Target in a pinch and picking out a pair of heels that fit. I also “needed” black heels to go with the outfit I was wearing. I knew I had only a few places I could go that would almost guarantee where I could find a pair of black heels that would fit so off I went.

There is a chain of shops called Fantasy Gifts in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area (and New Jersey) and they sell lingerie and um, other accessories of a sexual nature. They also, thank heavens, sell heels for people with my shoe size.

Their selection tends to be on the more fetishy side with towering platforms and six inch stilettos. Obviously I heart heels like this buuuut for the day I had planned I was hoping to find something a LITTLE more modest.

Depending on how you look at it, luck was either against me or it was running in my favor because the only option where these heels:

My heart skipped a beat and felt a combination of OMG I HEART THEM and I can’t possibly wear them while I run errands.

But guess what! I could and I did:

I am used to being the tallest girl in town but my goodness I towered over everyone. It was… an experience. A sexy experience.

Like a few other pairs of shoes I own, I couldn’t imagine wearing them in the real world so when it was time to plan my outfits for my most recent photo shoot I thought they would perfect for my newly acquired leather dress.

I love how these photos turned out. I think it’s obvious how the stilettos and the leather just… awakens something in me.

Love, Hannah

Life is Short. This Dress is Shorter.

Sometimes the world feels overwhelming. Often life feels overwhelming.

I try to be optimistic, or at least I try to not let the bastards grind me down, but God knows that isn’t always easy.

It had been a stressful couple of days. I can’t even remember what was happening in the world at the moment but it was worrying. Work stuff was frustrating, and I was just in a baaaaad mood.

I had to run to Target and I saw a cute dress. I was in such a cranky mood that I barely stopped to appreciate it. I did see it was my size but you know the feeling when you’re in a bad mood and you just want to… I don’t know, stay in the bad mood for a bit? Like you don’t want to cheer up quite yet? That was me.

The dress had very thin straps. The type of straps that at one point I was convinced my shoulders were too masculine to wear. But I got over that. The dress was also pretty short, probably too short for someone with my body. I like showing a little leg but this dress? I would be showing a LOT of leg.

I picked up a few groceries and went home.

Eventually my mood improved and of course I started to think about that dress and how I should have bought it. Even though I was feeling pissy I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I was reminded that life is short and the time that we have is not a promise. I may live for another five decades but the life that I have, the things I am able to physically do, could all change in the blink of an eye. The day is coming when I can’t strut in heels. There will be a time when I can’t do THIS anymore.

So, I decided to take my own advice and to buy the dress.

I went back, found the dress, and wore it for my most recent photo shoot.

The dress was even shorter when I was all dolled up… breast forms and shapewear can do that. I probably should have purchased the next size up buuuut I didn’t. The length is fine in the sense that it conceals the parts it needs to conceal… as long as I don’t sit down.

This is, at the risk of being crude, my “f____ it dress”. Not because I want to be… ah, sexual while wearing it, but more like “life is short, the time we have is running out, so, f____ it, wear the dress.”

I may be too old to wear this, but in a year I’ll be even older. I might wear this dress for Pride later this month. A year ago I never thought I would wear a dress this thin, this revealing in public but again, life is short… who knows when I will have the chance to wear something like this again?

Love, Hannah

New En Femme Blog!

My new blog for En Femme has been posted!

I hope you like it!

Love, Hannah

The Learning Center: Building a Better Wardrobe

New in the Learning Center is Hannah McKnight’s latest article on Building a Better Wardrobe – Part 1. Hannah knows a thing or two about clothing and what she looks for to create a look for herself. But when just starting out, it’s nice to have some advice. Or you may be wanting to go beyond that first item you purchased and now you’d like to go a little further. Hannah is here to help.

As always, Hannah imparts her wisdom in this first part of building a better wardrobe for yourself. Read it now>>

It’s Pride Month In Case You Hadn’t Noticed

If you’ve poked around your social media today you may have seen a lot of businesses have changed their logo to incorporate the Pride flag. Like clockwork, many companies will do this to mark the start of Pride month.

I mean, that’s great and all. I think our community should absolutely be celebrated and supported. Perhaps I am being cynical and uncharitable but when a multi-billion dollar company says they support the LGBTQIA+ community, I ask myself HOW they do so.

Sure, they may have a diversity/inclusion committee on staff, but does their support extend beyond this? I am not asking for a parade or anything like that, I just want to know what they do to support us.

At the very least, I hope that a business isn’t hypocritical. It’s contradictory for a company to say they celebrate diversity but at the same time they donate money to politicians who support conversion therapy or those who vote to limit our basic rights.

Sure, it’s nice when Amazon has a “Support LGBTQIA+ voices” image on their website but the pessimistic part of me thinks that this is a thinly veiled attempt to just sell more stuff. A cursory, minimal gesture.

And YES, I KNOW a business has a goal of growing their business and they are trying to make as much as money as they can, but is Amazon, for lack of a better phrase, putting it’s money where it’s mouth is?

Well, let’s find out.

According to Business Insider:

At the same time, the company’s PAC split donations from 2019 to 2020, donating $659,000 to Democratic candidates and $648,500 to Republicans. More than $460,000 of those donations went to politicians who voted against the Equality Act.

Now, before you start blowing up my email and posting unhinged comments, the point of this little blurb is about donating money to people who voted against the Equality Act. It’s kind of hard to feel supported by a business that donates money to politicians who tried to stop this legislation.

The Equality Act was pretty straight-forward with its goals. According to congress.gov, the bill, in part, reads:

This bill prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system. Specifically, the bill defines and includes sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation.

I don’t know, but to me donating money to people who want to stop something like this is the opposite of supporting the LGBTQIA+ community.

Amazon isn’t unique in this hypocrisy. If you did enough research into publicly disclosed corporate donations it would be hard to find almost any company that isn’t contradictory in the celebrate Pride/financial contributions paradox.

This makes it tricky for someone like myself who wants to support LGBTQIA+ businesses and avoid those that, well, aren’t. I won’t eat at certain restaurants buuuut I do order from Amazon on occasion. By definition, this also makes me a hypocrite.

It would be almost impossible to live a life that cuts all financial ties to companies that have this contradiction. I wouldn’t be surprised if my mortgage holder pays lip service about celebrating Pride but making political contributions to people that don’t align with my values. Sure, I can stop going to a certain store but changing who my mortgage is with is not as simple.

At the end of the day, we just do what we can. Almost everything has been commercialized whether it’s Pride month or Christmas. It’s easy to be cynical.

Don’t let a business tell you to feel pride about who you are. It’s easy to forget that visibility for those in the LGBTQIA+ community was started by people who just were tired of being vilified and being attacked for being who they were and loving who they loved.

Love, Hannah

“A Dress!”

This is going to sound very silly but for a long time I didn’t really think about where clothes came from.

I mean, they came from a store and I knew that someone sewed them using fabric but as for the PERSON who designed them? Never gave it another thought.

Until the movie ‘Clueless’ came out in 1995.

I’ve always noticed tags on clothes and sometimes they had a name on it but I assumed it was the brand and for the most part I was probably right. Occasionally I would see the name and it was the name of a person but again, I never considered who the person was or why on earth there was someone’s name on the dress I was quickly trying on before my mom returned home.

In the movie the main character has a quick conversation with her dad when he sees her wearing a dress.

Mel: What the hell is that?
Cher: A dress.
Mel: Says who?
Cher: Calvin Klein.

Again, this sounds very silly but it was a lightbulb moment. Of course someone had to design the dress.

I am not much of a brand girl. There’s not many designers that I really care about or seek out, but it’s still something I notice (and avoid if I think the designer is a horrible person).

This little scene from the movie popped into my head when I saw this dress at a thrift boutique. I took it off the rack because it was kind of cute and it wasn’t a color I had a lot of in my closet. It was a Calvin Klein dress and it fit like a dream. I’ve had this dress in my wardrobe for years and I thought it was time to wear it for a photo shoot. So I did!

When I add something new to my constantly overcrowding closet I think about what occasion I could wear it to. This dress would be perfect for a wedding or another formal event that Hannah will likely never ever be invited to, but reality usually doesn’t stop me from buying an outfit.

At any rate, that’s the story behind this dress. I hope you like it!

Love, Hannah

Beauty and Art

This past weekend the MN T-Girls visited the Minneapolis Institute of Art for a lovely afternoon of coffee, girl talk, and of course, art!

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.

Love, Hannah

Love to Jaclyn

Hi girls,

We know this can be a lonely life and the world often seems like a harsh place. But you are not alone.

I came across a blog for one of our sisters named Jaclyn who posted a very sad and very upsetting message.

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.

Trans Lifeline is a national trans-led 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving the quality of trans lives by responding to the critical needs of our community with direct service, material support, advocacy, and education. Our vision is to fight the epidemic of trans suicide and improve overall life-outcomes of trans people by facilitating justice-oriented, collective community aid. 

Need to talk? Call! Our peer support hotline is run by and for trans people. We’re available 7am-1am PST / 9am-3am CST / 10am-4am EST. Volunteers may be available during off hours.

If you or someone you know needs to talk, please call.

Love, Hannah

Let’s Talk About Catfishing

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.

Stay safe, stay pretty, support each other.

Love, Hannah