The Risk of Keeping Our Secret Lives a Secret

If you are anything like me (and I am guessing you are since you are on this Learning Center) then I imagine you remember the first time you tried on a bra, a pair of heels, the first time you tasted cherry red lipstick on your lips.  These are special moments that have forever made their mark on us.  We can recall the thrill of hearing heels clicking on the floor, the swish of a skirt, the power of a dress.  I feel these things still. 

We remember the sadness and regret we felt when we put these beautiful clothes away.  It's likely they were not ours, but quickly and quietly borrowed from our sister.  These clothes made us feel beautiful.  We loved them in a way that we never loved clothes before.  It was an intense feeling that somehow, we knew we had to keep a secret from everyone else.  

Boys didn't wear dresses.  Boys didn't wear makeup.  Boys played with trucks and played sports and we weren't supposed to be beautiful.  There were rules, you see, but no one really knew why things were this way.  They just were.  We kept these moments of beauty to ourselves.  We became really good at putting high heels back in a closet exactly how we found them.  We could change out of a dress and back into boys’ clothes quicker than anything.  Thus, began a life of keeping this side of us private.  As we grew older these instincts stayed with us.  We learned how to shop for lingerie and skirts in a store without drawing attention to ourselves.  We hid our beautiful clothes in our closets.  We knew we weren't going to change who we were, but we didn't understand why we are who we are.

But this side of us does not need a reason why we want to wear what we want to wear.  This is who we are.  We can't explain it to ourselves, and we certainly cannot explain it to someone else.  Years of keeping this part of us a secret continues and few people, if any, know all of us.  Some of us have come out to people in our lives, whether it is our families or our partners.  Sometimes this can go well, other times....well, it's a disaster.  We don't understand this side of us, so it's not really a surprise someone else doesn't understand either.

But understanding this side of us is one thing, accepting it is another.

I am out to my wife and my immediate family.  Besides a very small number of others, this side of me is very much hidden.  Like many of us, I have all come to the conclusion that it's just easier to stay in the closet.  With my beautiful clothes.  

Coming out to others does not really get easier for me.  Every relationship is different so each time I have come out has been done in a different and delicate way.  Sometimes it has gone exactly how I thought it would, other times have gone better, or worse, than I had dreamed.  There have been times I regretted doing this.  People don't understand and it's hard to explain who we are.  I absolutely feel that being honest with this side of you is the most important gift you can give to yourself.  I also feel that you need to be honest with your partner, especially before your relationship moves to the next level or commitment.  I also understand, and can relate, when you don't want to.  It's a risk to come to out.  Coming out to our partners is the scariest thing in the world.  No matter how well you know them, you really don't know how they will react to this. 

So, what is life like if you make the choice to not share this side of you to your partner?  From my experiences, and I am sure yours as well, I can tell you that it is a life of paranoia and guilt.... each and every day.  When I was younger, I met a girl who I thought I would be with for the rest of my life.  I was in love, the kind of deep, passionate forever love that only a twenty-year-old feels.  Love makes us feel we can conquer anything and everything, even the part of us that wants to wear lingerie and dresses.  I promised myself that I never would do 'this' ever again.  Look at me now. 

I had my own apartment and feeling very grown up and I gave her a key to my place.  She and I liked the idea of her coming in and out whenever she wanted.  I gave her my key because I didn't have anything to keep from her.  Well, except, you know, THIS.  But I wasn't doing THIS anymore so there was nothing to keep a secret.

This worked for about two weeks.  It wasn't long before I went shopping for a new bra and panty set (with matching garter belt, naturally).  I have always loved lingerie, it has always been my way of connecting with this side of me, even in boy mode.  Only a crossdresser can feel relaxed and comfortable in stockings and heels after a long day at work, after all.  I tucked my beautiful lingerie in the back of my dresser drawer.  Just like always.  But this time was different.  

In the coming days, I felt paranoid every time I left my apartment.  What if she came over while I was at work?  Sure, it was unlikely she would go through my dresser, but.... she might.  What would she think?  If she thought they were mine, would she out me to our friends?  Would she confront me?  Would she think they belonged to another girl?  Would she break up with me?  

Every day until I threw away my new lingerie I was on edge.  I was paranoid.  I was afraid.  Terrified.  I lived in fear, but I also knew I was not being honest with myself.  This is who I am.  I can't change this side of me.  I wasn't being honest with her.  I did not want to be in a relationship with someone I couldn't be honest with, and it was unfair to her as well.  I had a glimpse of what my life would be life had the relationship progressed.  It felt like lying and, to be honest, terrifying.  I could not live in fear of someone finding my panties, no matter how well I thought I had hidden them.  Denying this side of me was not an option, I knew that, too.

Coming out is never easy.  It's also not always required.  You don't have to come out to everyone in your life.  But coming out to your girlfriend, fiancé, boyfriend, significant other, partner, spouse.... I believe it's the right thing to do.  I know it's hard, I know we are terrified of the response.  We could lose it all, but that just underlines the importance of coming out as early in the relationship as possible.  A first date is probably not the time to have this conversation, but once the relationship becomes, well, a relationship, then it's probably time to say "honey, we have to talk".

Love, Hannah


  • Stevie

    I just want to say
    For each person examine the risk reward ratio of coming out to your SO.
    Are their children?
    Are u having other issues in marriage?
    Job at risk?
    Did you test the waters by talking about tg issues that are in pop culture or play with her panties in the bedroom to see her reaction?
    Just saying be careful

  • Shannyn

    You're very correct. Denying and purging and stopping over a long period of time like I did was pretty bad in retrospect. And definitely come out before you have kids. Because if you don't, your life will get exponentially harder once you have children.

    Thanks to Hannah for the blog, and EnFemme for hosting it. If you'd like to know more about my story, I blog regularly at

  • Abbie Michelle

    Good article and advice, Hannah. My wife found my nightie i left out after we were married about 3 years. She left me only to return uncertain of why i wanted to wear women's clothes especially lingerie. Was i gay, did i really love her what else was i keeping from her. The years that followed i hid clothes away, purged again and again. Finally i realized this was me. Couldn't explain it but my desire to wear beautiful women's clothes was to overwhelming. I had to explain to my wife as best i could why i needed to dress up. My wife would call it me getting comfortable when i dressed up. Then i evolved into 2 people. Abbie Michelle was always inside of me and I love being Abbie. I learned to be my wife's best girlfriend (well 2nd best). Now my wife helps me buy dresses and shoes etc…etc..
    I sure wish i had the courage knowledge to have told her from the time i decided to ask her for marriage.
    My advice is listen to Hannah, don't hide who you are from you significant other. And don't confess to those who do not need to know.

  • Hannah


    Your friend brings up a very good point. It's very common for our femme sides to go through something similar to what you experienced. It's a period of trying out different looks to see what suits us and what we are comfortable with. And your advice is spot on. Coming out can be very hard for our significant others, so it's important to be gentle.

    Love, Hannah

  • Amyrakunejo

    Even back home, where life is simpler due to 'legal identity' and 'legal documents' being non-existent (no government and no laws), and that even gender itself is a concept that is not really ever given much thought, there are those who live only part-time as their femme and/or true selves due to the same kind of fear. The fear that their loved ones and/or the public will have some level of issue, warranted or not.

    Most of the time, unwarranted, especially to the public since people tend to not care what someone else wears, how they identify, etcetera.

    "As long as you don't cause trouble, all is good." -essentially the logic of my homeland

    Of course, that would be expected from an Anarchist society, but that's for another time. I myself love watching femmes beautify themselves, and even more, I love being the beautician (I am a volunteer at a local dressing service in my hometown-mainly doing makeup and hair). Once I see her walk with a bounce in her step, I know she's feeling the fab, and that invokes all sorts of raw energetic feelings, which I won't go any further into, since it teeters on NSFW…

    Yes, I have had fun encounters with transfemmes, well, actually, just the one encounter…and again, I won't go any further into detail.

    When I think of all the struggles people have had here, it makes me sad because it's not fair, it's not right, it most certainly isn't balanced…
    She should have her femme fun without worries or constraints! That's what life is all about, the fun along the way!!! If it is in red lipstick, high heels and a dress, then by all means! Have fun with it, whatever that means for you, for you, and for her. ♫Give me Fuel, give me Fire, give me that which I desire! Ooh! On I burn!♫

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