Change Your Gender, Change Your World, Part 2

"A crossdresser is a man who likes to wear women's clothes." 

This off-hand comment by a friend absolutely turned my world upside down.  It was like... finding out that fairies were real.  I was young, probably around twelve years old.  It was the first time I had ever heard the word, the first time I learned there was a term for someone like myself.  It was confirmation that there were others like me.  I was, and will always be, a man (in the physical, binary sense of course) that likes to wear "women's clothes" (of course, clothes have no gender, but you know what I mean).  

Trying on my sister's dress or my mom's heels never created tension or anxiety.  I never felt I was born in the wrong body.  There was never an identity crisis.  I never yearned to be a girl, at least not permanently.  Yes, I wanted to wear makeup and pretty clothes and my underwear drawer absolutely had the wrong clothes in it, but I was always content to be who I was, to have the body parts that I had.  For years *this* was alllll about clothes.  I was, and will always be, fascinated by them.

As I got older it wasn't uncommon for boys my age to show each other issues of Playboy that they had stolen from their older brothers.  I would be shown pictures of pretty women and although I would think that the women were beautiful...  I would also be painfully jealous of the lingerie they were wearing.

I came out to my wife when we were dating.  By that time I was very comfortable and secure in who I was.  Although I wore panties whenever I could and had drawers of beautiful lingerie, I still never felt conflicted about who I was.  Of course I wondered at different points in my life if transitioning was right for me.  Of course I wondered if I was in denial about my gender.  I would take long and honest looks at who I was (and often in talks with various therapists I've seen over the years) but still I remained "a man that liked to wear women's clothes".

After my wife and I married, I started to tiptoe a little into "proper clothes".  I still wore lingerie but dresses and heels started to take up room in my closet.  My wife helped me pick out a wig and did my makeup.  And I loved it.  It felt right.  Now, to be clear, although it felt right, I never thought the person looking back at me in my mirror was the "real me".  Yes, I loved the dresses and heels and jewelry (I still do), but I was still secure and comfortable and happy "as a boy".  

At the time, I was fairly active on different websites and crossdressing forums and I needed a name, a femme name, and I found one that felt like me.  My confidence grew.  I was ready to make the strut from my living room out into the real world.  Perhaps it wasn't the real world, but perhaps a better way to describe it was discovering "her world".

Walking out the door in stilettos is waaaay different from walking out the door in sneakers.  In my heels and my dress and wig I am going to experience different things, see different people, have different interactions than I do when "he" shuffles out the door.  

Hannah started to... well, establish a life for herself.  She had friends, a growing section of my closet, a website, and soon a new and deeper perspective on gender.  One thing Hannah and her friends talk about is identity and our journey... the journey that brought us to where we were and the journey we were still taking.  Some of my friends talked about transitioning, HRT, and living full-time.  Some of my friends identified as transgender after identifying as a crossdresser for most of their lives.  I started to associate "transgender" with transitioning, just as I associated "crossdresser" as wearing clothes that weren't... well, meant for one's assigned gender at birth.  

My perspective on gender again started to evolve.

As my femme world grew and became more meaningful, I started to feel that all of *this* was more about just clothes.  Hannah had friends who knew only HER, not HIM.  Hannah had her own email address, her own... life.  Identifying as a crossdresser didn't fit quite right anymore.  If crossdressing was about clothes, well, THIS was MORE than clothes.  I started to wonder if I would feel more comfortable identifying as transgender but what held me back was that I felt that identifying as transgender was deeply tied to a more permanent change.  A transition.  

I chatted with another girl like myself and explained my hesitation.  She was so kind and patient and explained that "the T word" was a very broad term that describes someone who associated themselves with clothes and pronouns and more that were different than the ones they were assigned to at birth.  This very inclusive perspective helped me make the shift from identifying as a crossdresser to identifying as transgender.

This change, this evolution, was a natural and gradual process for me.  It felt right.  Experience, growth, and maturity led me to this part of my journey.  These are the same things that can impact your own journey, your own identity.

In my experience, this new identity was a result of what felt right to me.  But other things can lead one to a different identity, namely feeling uncomfortable, anxious, and perhaps angry about being assigned a gender at birth that wasn't right.

Parents of transgender children often have experiences where their child would insist, often at a very young age, that they were a girl, not a boy.  They become moody, sad, and even angry whenever anymore calls them a boy or that Santa brings toy trucks instead of princess dolls on Christmas.  Some transgender teenagers talk about the... fear of their body developing in a way that feels wrong when it comes to their identity.  A transgender boy may be horrified when they start developing breasts or menstruating.  A transgender girl might want to shave their legs and body hair more than anything in the world.  They are terrified of their body.  They may even hate it.  

And that's simply no way to live.  

They may not yet be at a point in their life or their journey where they feel they would be happier, calmer, more themselves if they adopted different pronouns or a new wardrobe.  Sometimes at first it's all about feeling they have the wrong body.  Oftentimes they hate their physical appearance.  Something is "wrong" but they are not sure WHAT.  They know they are unhappy but not sure what would stop these feelings of sadness and confusion.

And then something... clicks.  

They realize they are a different gender than what everyone else thinks or sees.  They realize they would be calmer if their parents, their friends, or their teachers could call them "her" instead of "him".  It's a moment of clarity.  It's a moment their world turns inside out... but in a way, their world starts to come together.  The pieces begin to fit.  A lightbulb goes off.  They are a girl.  They are not a boy.

Different experiences shape our lives and identity.  We meet different people on our journey and we learn from them.  This is exactly what representation at any age is important.  If you spend ten years of your childhood hating who you are and feeling something isn't quite right it will make those years a nightmare.  When someone learns that they are not alone, there are others like them, then a new part of their life begins.

Of course, representation should be there at every point in our lives.  Learning who we are doesn't only happen in our formative years.  It can and often does happen later in our lives.  Some of us don't put the puzzle pieces together until well into our adulthood.  

As I previously mentioned, 'transgender' can be quite broad and can cover quite a bit of territory... and quite a few nuances.  I believe that those who identify as a crossdresser, those who do drag, those who are non-binary, those who live full-time, those who who have, are, or will transition all belong under the transgender umbrella.  There's room for everyone.  These days I feel the term 'bi-gender' is the most accurate description of myself (if I NEED to describe myself).  I have HIS life, I have HER life.  HIS side of the same closet that is shared with HER.  Two separate lives with very little overlap.  Is this the end of my journey?  Yes, I think so.  Although I have moved beyond thinking that 'transgender' means transitioning, it's still a common belief among the rest of the world that 'the T word' means a permanent change.  

We are all on different journeys and we all took different paths to get where we are.  Some of our adventures were fraught with danger and fear and storms.  Others were more or less uneventful.  We stop and rest and re-evaluate at different points along the way.  Some of us may be close to the end, but of course, some of us are unsure how far we have to go.  We may feel alone on our paths, and in many ways this is indeed true.  Our adventure is mainly our own, but like a butterfly moving its wings, what we do, how we feel, how we identify can impact someone else in our lives.  The next part of this series will focus on how others may react to us as our gender identity evolves.

Love, Hannah


  • Renee Louise

    There is no way for me to tell you, and all of our ‘sisters’, how much your explanation of your journey means to all of us. I see there are several others who, like me, have very similar pasts and paths. We must thank you for the guidance and your witness to the unique lives we’re leading. Like you and many others I’ve been cross-dressing since junior high-school. For many years our culture struggled to remain completely oblivious to our existence. I sometimes think that if we had begun life today, when the transgender label is no longer a mystery and is becoming recognized, our lives would be easier. But we all come into a time and a place that we must live and find ways to change. When we think deeply about all those who have gone before us from Stonewall to today’s non-binary leaders, we can see how we ‘stand on the shoulders’ of pioneers and realize that it is now our turn to do what we can to help the rest of the world see more clearly the nuances of ‘our’ world. Thank you, Hannah, for your light and your example.

  • Jill Summers

    Hello Hannah here in the UK we have many rules and regulations and Do and Don’ts I have waiting ever since 2017 and it seems an endless wait .
    I’m a 24/7 woman I have been subject to Hate Crimes 3 times and not this inconsideration’s from ignorant idots has made me change my mind , I knew that going through this process its hard ,but I always knew that becoming a woman in a man’s world would ne be an easy task to do , but I will be a woman in full .
    Jill Summers

  • Becky Jo

    Hannah, I’m a 60 year young transgender woman. Until today I never identified myself that way, I was a closet cross dresser. It’s liberating to now refer myself as transgender, and all THANKS to you. All my life I’ve been confused, embarrassed, frustrated and even mad at times. Thanks to your articles I have now found peace within myself as to who I am. Thanks again Hannah for helping me gain some clarity and direction.
    Your devoted follower. Love Becky jo

  • Rick (Sasha)

    This is exactly how I have felt my entire life only when I had a massive heart attack 💔 at 44 yrs did I realize that I was transgender and felt like I was running out of time. I have since started talking to a therapist and sycoligist about how I was feeling. I will hopefully be starting hormone therapy March 30 2022 so I can start feeling like myself mtf transitioning

  • Doris (Marc)

    I hope your still married, you didn’t say, as for myself my wife accepted my cross dressing @ 1st but now not so much , we are still married after 20 yrs. I love your shoes, where did you get them .

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