Revisiting HeartlandTG with Hanna Olsen

Revisiting HeartlandTG with Hanna Olsen

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Tell Shelley Anne

Hanna Olson

Born in Norway and raised and educated in the Oklahoma City metro area, Hanna Olsen has been married three times with no children. She has been with wife number three for 41 years. She is now retired, except for being the hostess, for the past 18 years, for the largest international transgender weekend parties in America, known as Heartland Transgender events.

Olsen is active in promoting transgender awareness through her events, which have grown larger each year, and went global several years ago. She holds a BA from Southern Nazarene University and an MS from Oklahoma State University. Olsen went through what many have experienced, including countless purges of clothing and everything feminine, being repulsed by her femininity and swearing it off forever only to realize her urge to be feminine was building and she was going to be feminine again whether she wanted to or not. That in turn repeated often as a purge cycle for her life, until one day she stopped and sat down to think about why she purged. It took her over a week to realize that being feminine is an inherent part of her life. It is who she is, and she cannot be herself without Hanna. Once she accepted herself for who she is, she never purged again and has been incredibly happy ever since.

TGForum (TGF): How are plans coming together for the spring Oklahoma HeartlandTG weekend?

Ms. Olsen: The event is coming along really well. We have relocated to the Aloft Hotel Quail Springs, a Marriott Bonvoy hotel, which is very LGBTQIA friendly. They have hosted other LGBTQIA organizational events, and it is proving to be a very welcoming place for us to hang our hat.

TGF: Attendees come from surrounding states and include a mix of crossdressers and trans folks.

Ms. Olsen:
Yes. We have attendees of all ages from around the U.S. as well as several countries who come to relax, mingle, chat, and just be themselves among others who share the crossdressing and trans lifestyle. Our events include CD, TV, TG, TS, DQ, trans and any other Trans Nation identity flag bearers We are designed for the first time out Tgirl to have an opportunity to socialize with those with similar interests and give them a feeling of what it is like to be out as a woman for three days and nights in a very safe gender affirming venue. Many attendees have gone on to transition, and many of those return to chat and chill with like-minded guests, which helps others make informed life decisions for themselves regarding transition. We offer full makeup, hair, and nail services, if needed, to transform our guests to look like the women of their dreams. Our attendees can come and not have to worry about anything except relaxing and enjoying themselves. I want to mention, sex is not part of our events. It never has been and not why we meet.

TGF: Any live entertainment scheduled this year?

Ms. Olsen: We have Tgirl musicians appearing from Baton Rouge, LA, Viva la Diva, and our in-state group, Carol & the Cougars, who will be performing this time.

TGF: What is the best way for people to learn more about the event? Is there a cost to attend?

Ms. Olsen: The best way is through our website. There is no charge to attend our events. Just your hotel costs and incidentals.

TGF: At this time, are you able to share more about how the HeartlandTG documentary came about and its status?

Ms. Olsen: Absolutely. I was contacted in late summer 2021 by Paul Sanchez, a producer/director from Los Angeles who wanted to know more about my events. He had read about Heartland from interviews on TGForum. We chatted back and forth over the ensuing weeks and tried to answer all of his questions. He said he would be back in touch with me, and I never thought any more about it. A few months later he called and suggested a visit with his crew to our Fall Music Festival and perhaps interview some of us who would be willing to sit down with him. We discussed the fear and anxiety over being exposed and he understood as he has a trans man on his crew. He and his crew flew out and stayed five days the first-time conducting interviews for three days. Each of us was on contract and interviewed in a private setting along with LGBTQIA community leaders, and business owners within and around our small Oklahoma City LGBTQIA district.

The producer’s thought was to capture how we can have such successful events here for years, that are well known across the U.S. and globally and in a red state, which fascinated him. The documentary was supposed to be released before Covid but was delayed, then the Hollywood actor’s SAG strike added more delays.

I was contacted last month learning the documentary was picked up and being sent to the distribution company the studio uses to stream videos worldwide. Our director worked with well-known actor Johnny Depp, who he has been very close friends with, to narrate the documentary. We have also been made aware the documentary will be shown in memory of Nex Benedict.

As you can imagine, we are all extremely excited to see it when it airs. We will not know the major streaming media company who picked up the project until they start advertising it. You can see the official trailer here:

TGF: Let’s switch gears and focus on GOP lawmakers who are working to aggressively limit trans rights in Oklahoma. Have you thought about relocating to another State?

Ms. Olsen: No. We have had no issues with our events in the last 18 years here, at least so far. Furthermore, we do not anticipate any problems.

TGF: Republicans want to severely restrict access to gender-affirming treatment. The full Oklahoma Senate has now approved a measure prohibiting gender transition procedures for children under the age of 18. Your thoughts.

Ms. Olsen:
We are very supportive, and work with other state LGBTQIA agencies and of course fully back resolution of these issues. I know Oklahoma City Pride and Freedom Oklahoma are working diligently on our behalf of all Oklahoma trans folk to resolve our legislative issues here.

TGF: Should attendees be concerned about any State laws affecting the trans community? Is it safe to be out in the city?

Ms. Olsen: We have had no issues being out in the City that anyone else has experienced in any blue state. We have those who do not like us here, like there are in any of the other 49 states. But nothing is organized or deemed targeted against us.

TGF: Have you had to overcome major obstacles?

Ms. Olsen: Not personally but thank you for asking. We continue to work with our sisters in the area to be supportive to all who would like to have reliable trusting friends. We have monthly events to deter loneliness or suicidal thoughts from those of us feeling alone and isolated. We reach out as much as we can.

TGF: Anything you are passionate about?

Ms. Olsen: Helping others through our events. I love doing it and have a wonderful staff and girlfriends who work hard to make sure everyone enjoys themselves while here.

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Category: Interview


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