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  • #727642
    Lauren Mugnaia
    Registered On: November 1, 2021
    Topics: 32
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    The Woman Inside, Lauren’s Journey.

    A year ago I came out to the world as being transgender, and it has been an amazing year for me. Finally, after the majority of my life, I was able to live as the person I was born as, the one I’ve always known I truly was. This past year has been a roller coaster of emotions, with many ups and downs. I now know what it is to be an outcast, to be shunned, forgotten, and basically written off. Many people I considered “friends” have proven that was never true, as transgender people quickly find out who their true friends are.

    Those were the downs, but there were amazing and wonderful ups! Living as the woman I’ve always felt I was, since childhood, has been so emotionally fulfilling that I cannot find adequate words to describe the sheer joy that one experiences. I work in an office environment as the supervisor for security. I came out to the staff, which is largely made up of women, as being transgender and was openly accepted as such. I then announced I would like to transition to living and working as a woman at my workplace. Again, I was not only accepted but welcomed, affirmed and encouraged by my fellow co-workers. I have been told by them that they view me as “one of the girls,” as a woman, the “lady at the security desk.”

    I changed my residence and now share a condo with the mother of one of my co-workers, who views me as the lady who lives with her. I now attend a church that accepts me as a trans woman and welcomed me into their congregation. I have reconnected with my artist friends and they look forward to seeing what Lauren comes up with as she gets reacquainted with her pencils.

    I now get around the city, to and from work, and everywhere else, using public transit. So far I pass as a woman and the people at my bus stops, and fellow riders on the bus, see, and treat me as such.

    This is the week of TDoV, Transgender Day of Visibility, March 31st.

    This has caused me to ask myself a serious question. I pass relatively easy as a woman at work and during my every day activities, so the question to myself is this: I am a trans woman, am I going to be visible as such, or go stealthy and blend in? What path do I take?

    If I’m going to fight back any haters, be an ambassador for trans people, and CD’s, a role model for who we are, and try to educate people, then I have to be visible, and action often causes reaction.  Are we, as transgender persons, or CD’s, willing to take the risk, or do we take the safer path?

    I welcome your thoughts.

    Hugs girls,

    Ms. Lauren M


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  • Author
    • #728045
      Marg Produe
      Registered On: March 16, 2022
      Topics: 1
      Replies: 442
      Has thanked: 2124 times
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      Hey Lauren,  Welcome to year two of your new life.  Sorry for the late response, it took me 3 days to write this because I struggle also.  I once lived stealth but now live openly, unapologetically and authentically as an intersex person.  I am still learning this life.  I do tend to blend with most of the world but it is not on purpose.  Sometimes people see me as a man and sometimes people see me as a woman.  I am greeted with both sir and ma’am.  It is the reality of having a womanly body with a manly face.  Sometimes I will just outright state that I am an intersex person and explain if I think that the situation deserves it.  But most of the time, I just go about my business.  It is the the reality of my life. While women’s clothes fit me best and I wear them daily, I also have a long history as a man.  I am at ease being a person, living a life and trying to do the best that I can.  I wear a small Mercury Symbol Medallion representing the Intersex Community on a chain around my neck.  I openly support others in the LGBTIQ community but also in the cis community.  I try to share the gifts that I have but don’t feel guilty that I have them.  Instead, I feel a responsibility to use them wisely.   These comments from others rang very true for me and seemed quite sensible .  “don’t feel pressured to do so”    “have no obligation to announce my gender”  “Maybe wear a trans flag pin, tell people about the day, or meet with somebody from our community”  “there are groups that you can become involved with and attend events or offer your experiences” .   I had a few good conversations with other former military members at Keystone and it brought to mind the phrase “survivors guilt” which speaks to the idea that we are here living a relatively good life while others were or are not as fortunate.  There is not a day that goes by that I do not go “back to the day” but I remind myself that if I am going to serve the others then I must live a life that will honor them and not be hampered by a guilt trip.  So each day I try to live wisely and generously as an intersex person and pay it forward as best I can to all communities.  I adjust my language and sharing to the situation.  There’s no need to wear an 8 x 10 placard but also no need to be silent.  Choose the balanced life that you can be comfortable with and live it well.  I am aways pleasantly surprised to see you still here and I thank you for sharing with all of us.  There are others that take the gifts that they have gotten and choose a path to silently leave.  So I recommend that you do like Rose at the end of the movie Titanic and live life fully and wisely and generously and without regret.   Hugs,  Marg

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    • #727886
      J J
      Registered On: September 13, 2019
      Topics: 9
      Replies: 830
      Has thanked: 0 times
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      It sounds to me that you are a woman, and no longer a trans woman since your transformation sounds complete. You are living as the girl/woman you always knew you were. So, go ahead and support trans people as the woman you are. If people want to discuss transitioning, and you want to tell your story, go right ahead, but don’t feel pressured to do so.

      I am not trans, but do support trans and CD rights and I do so happily as a man. Meaning that I happily support trans people, and that I am happily male.

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    • #727871
      DeeAnn Hopings
      Registered On: November 10, 2019
      Topics: 11
      Replies: 1054
      Has thanked: 9 times
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      I don’t think DeeAnn has ever wanted to blend in. In some circumstances, I think I am seen as DeeAnn and others, not so much. Working against blending in are the facts that I like bright and/or unusual colors and short skirts and short skorts. You say that is is a bit scandalous for a 74 year old, but as Rhett Butler said: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”. Looking stylish (but rarely “in style”) and well turned out is important to me and that is what I do.

      I think most people that I meet might guess that I am a trans woman, but most of them behave appropriately. If misgendered, I will either clear my throat or say something like “Really?” and often people will realize that a mistake was made. I did that to a cashier at a restaurant and she became so rattled that she checked my bill 3 times before she told me what the total was!

      Anyway, it is probably hard to blend in while holding office in 5 organizations. Visibility is important to me and I think it should be important for all of us.

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    • #727859
      Kim Dahlenbergen
      Registered On: November 18, 2019
      Topics: 1
      Replies: 397
      Has thanked: 433 times
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      I discovered this weekend that I have “passed” as a woman. The proprietor of the wine bar I visit on occasional weekends made remarks that confirmed that she believed me to be a woman. This came as a complete surprise to me, because I had presumed that despite my best efforts to blend, that i was seen as a transgender person.

      So, I am left with the choice. Do I clear up the misconception or simply go with it? My feeling is that I have no obligation to announce my gender to her or anyone else. If I am perceived as a woman, then that is great and good. Let it always be so!

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    • #727812
      Bianca Everdene
      Registered On: April 11, 2017
      Topics: 36
      Replies: 1118
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      Hi Lauren

      Thanks for sharing your story, and congratulations on your successes on your journey. In my opinion you have already done more than most to be a wonderful ambassador for our community.

      I totally get the thread of your question,  but you be you. I guess it’s the same as being lesbian or gay, how do you show this to the world to show support for the particular community?
      Maybe wear a trans flag pin, tell people about the day, or meet with somebody from our community in need of some of your sass and confidence, maybe in a cafe or restaurant . I would love to have lunch with you, but alas am half a world away.

      Stay golden.

      B x

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    • #727754
      Angela Booth
      Registered On: August 1, 2020
      Topics: 10
      Replies: 1613
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      Congratulations Lauren on your anniversary, you are obviously very happy and living a good life now.

      It is a bit of a confusing question being an either or choice when the answer is, in reality both. You are now a woman and living as such so you are happily blending in on a daily basis. you are what people see. You are of course aware you are a transwoman and quite rightly proud of the fact but appear to want some visibility and the only way to do that is to wear a T shirt or badge every day to announce this to the world, which would court approval or censure by those that see it. The former is great but the latter is something we wouldn’t want to contemplate as reactions could be verbal or even physical which is not so nice if you are on your own.

      My answer is to go about your day and just blend in. If you want to educate and be an ambassador then I am sure that there are groups that you can become involved with and attend events or offer your experiences. In this you would be in a safe area where there are other like minded souls and is a safe environment.

      Perhaps your employer would like to have you as an ambassador where you work, your church and so on where your experience can be used if a person needs that support as they know your trans status.

      Emily said’  When I’m out I expect to be seen as a trans woman.  I know I can look good and I do feel good about myself.  And that’s what matters.  Regardless of what I’m wearing I think it’s obvious I’m trans.  I’ll proudly wear that badge’ 

      I would say that when I’m out I am almost always seen as a woman, I know I look good and feel good about myself and people treat me as such and that’s what matters. Regardless I think I’m sometimes seen as trans but have had the very rare reaction and can live with that as I am also proud to be so. If any one, be it friend, colleague or casual acquaintance wants to ask a question they can.

      So in essence you can blend in and be visible.


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    • #727742
      Emily Alt
      Registered On: August 24, 2019
      Topics: 35
      Replies: 1514
      Has thanked: 1772 times
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      Hi Lauren,

      I’m very happy to hear you’re able to live authentically and have been able to overcome the challenges we all face.  Your story is an inspiration for any girl that’s considering transition.

      I can relate to much of what you’ve said.  I’ve been able to more or less live authentically for about 9 months.  I haven’t experienced much adversity….at least not yet.  I do expect to see more – mostly at work.  But as you said, it’s hard to put into words the joy I’ve experienced.  I know I’m on the right path and things are only going to get better.  To say I’ve never been happier would be a fair statement.

      I’ll be in Palm Springs California for TDOV, on March 31st.  Upwards of 100 girls (or more) from Southern California will be there for the Desert Crossroads event happening next week.  Many of my CDH sisters will be there.  We will be quite visible.  In Palm Springs, that’s a regular occurrence.  It’s one of the most trans friendly places on the planet.  So I suppose our presence won’t have the same impact that it would in say, middle America.  Regardless, there are always out-of-town visitors and I hope we can enlighten some of them.

      Despite the compliments I receive, I know I don’t pass.  Not really.  I’m okay with that.  When I’m out I expect to be seen as a trans woman.  I know I can look good and I do feel good about myself.  And that’s what matters.  Regardless of what I’m wearing I think it’s obvious I’m trans.  I’ll proudly wear that badge.

      So what does TDOV mean for me?  It’s a day to celebrate who we are and our contributions to society.  And it’s a day to raise awareness of the systemic inequities we all face.  Important stuff to be sure.  But that V also reminds me of those that came before us.  Susan B. Anthony and the Women’s Rights Movement.  Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement.  Stonewall and the Gay Rights Movement.  Black Lives Matter.  The one thing in common they all have is VISIBILITY.  TDOV is symbolic.  Visibility every day is being part of a movement.

      We need all the faces we can get.  If that’s you great!  Obviously some of us can’t.  We each have to decide what’s best.  You know where I’ll be.


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    • #727716
      Brittney Andrews
      Registered On: August 1, 2019
      Topics: 3
      Replies: 846
      Has thanked: 55942 times
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      Hello Lauren, congrats on the anniversary of the completion of your journey. Why not both; be visible, but yet be stealthy and blend-in to society.

      You’ve openly shared your life long struggle here on CDH and you deserve to enjoy living your life as the woman you are. The changes that you’ve made doesn’t mean that you have to constantly reveal that you’re a trans woman. Educate those you encounter that are curious and open to learn. Universal acceptance won’t be achieved by just one person; it’ll take everyone in the “Rainbow” community for that to happen.

      I guess what I’m trying to get at is that you can be visible and still maintain a bit of ambiguity in your daily life.

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    • #727715
      Wanda Ovahear
      Registered On: October 19, 2022
      Topics: 8
      Replies: 615
      Has thanked: 1484 times
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      Well, as a crossdresser, I’m not sure what to say. Transgender Heaven might be a better place to ask than here. However, if I had transitioned I think making a point of being anything other than a woman, full stop, would be a step backwards. But that’s just me, dear, do what your heart and mind tell you to do.

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #727686
      Alison Anderson
      Registered On: October 15, 2018
      Topics: 16
      Replies: 1045
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      I’m a little unclear as to exactly what you are asking. Is there a TGOV event scheduled somewhere? If so, are you asking if you should attend? Are you asking if you should speak up and share your story? What kind of security and publicity will be at the event?

      You’re in the security business, so I don’t have to tell  you that safety is of paramount importance. I just returned from the Keystone Conference and our keynote speaker was a young lady named Kai Shappley who has been speaking up about trans rights (and her rights) for many years. Now I’m not saying you have to go to her level, but if you could help even one person without endangering yourself, would you be that ambassador?

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    • #727644
      Kerri Smith
      Registered On: November 21, 2022
      Topics: 20
      Replies: 146
      Has thanked: 63 times
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      I am so happy that you are living your life as a transgender woman and you have received acceptance from your coworkers.  I often wonder if I would be happier going down your path but there is still some man left in me. I hope you enjoy a long and happy life to come.


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      • #727690
        Lauren Mugnaia
        Registered On: November 1, 2021
        Topics: 32
        Replies: 747
        Has thanked: 14078 times
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        Hi Alison, Friday March 31st is the Transgender Day of Visibility, every year, everywhere.  Many cities and universities are celebrating the day. Here, where I live, in Victoria BC, Canada, the Provincial Government is acknowledging the day and raising the transgender flag along side the Canadian and British Columbia flags. The University of Victoria is honoring the day by sponsoring a four day conference on transgender issues, it’s called ‘Moving Transgender History Forward’

        I will be attending this conference, and also celebrating my one year anniversary of living and working as a woman at my workplace, which is a provincial government building. A number of trans people I know, both trans women and trans men, have been discussing the issue regarding whether or not to just be passable or being openly out about being a trans person, hence my question of how people on this forum may view the issue.

        Hugs girlfriend,

        Ms. Lauren M

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