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  • #634162
    Gabriela Romani
    Founder
    Registered On: January 11, 2021
    Topics: 864
    Replies: 412
    Has thanked: 356 times
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    After being able to go through “my closet”, I grouped things on things to discard due to being old/damaged, things to sell, things to keep, and things to donate. And the things to donate I separated in things to donate to other cd/tg individuals (taking them to the local LGBT center where three different cd/tg/ts groups meet) and things to donate to the local chapter of the “Dress for Success” charity.

    I donated to them in the past, and I was familiar with their main objective: Provide women trying to enter or return the work force with clothes appropriate for a job interview. My previous donation was in late 2020, so it was pretty much just a drop off of my donation. But by checking their site I saw they have been operating “normally” for a few months now, so yesterday I dressed up nicely and loaded my donations in a couple of containers and went to their location.

    I parked and got to the door, rang the bell, and an incredibly nice lady (Ms. Rhonda, the manager) came and opened the door and I let her know I had some items to donate. She asked me to park in front of the entrance and while I was doing so she called for other ladies to come to assist. Once I parked and opened the rear hatch in my suv, they promptly grabbed both 25 gallons containers and loaded them on a dolly and took them inside.

    Ms. Rhonda asked me to step in so I could fill in the donation form, but before that we went to the next room where they were getting all the contents out so I could have my containers back. There were many comments about how nice several of the items were and how some were “new with tags”.

    Anyway, I completed the donation form, and Ms. Rhonda thanked me and asked me if I had some time to tour the facilities, and I of course said yes. They recently moved from a much smaller location and the new one has about 5,000 sq/ft! So, they have the main area where they bring the ladies who are trying to find a job and they allow them (and advise them) to select one great outfit for a job interview. And they are also gifted a pearl necklace for luck!
    Shall they get hired, they can return and be provided with 5 more outfits appropriate to the position they were hired for. From an office environment, to scrubs, to kitchen or services clothing and shoes.

    And they also offer training in several marketable skills, and seminars to help women in different areas, work and community related.

    They have a “boutique” section where they have all items of higher quality donated by different stores, estate donations, etc. which includes designer clothes and shoes. They sell these items for very low prices and the profits go to support and fund their operations.

    All and all, the tour lasted anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes… near the end of it, Ms. Rhonda gave me some literature and forms to fill if I was interested in volunteering either in mentoring other women, or by working part time at their location. And invited me to join them in September at their main fundraiser event, their “LBD ball”. It was such a nice conversation all the time, and I was really inspired by all of what they do!

    At the end, we said our goodbyes with her invitation to come again, and a warm hug!

    So, personally… does it matter if at some point she thought I was a woman or if she knew from the first time she saw me that I wasn’t? Sure, it would have been nice… but in reality, the most important thing and the best feeling was that of being fully accepted! Whatever she may have thought about my gender, it was irrelevant. She treated me like I’m sure she would have treated any other lady making a donation, and for that, I’m thankful to her (and her staff)

    Definitely one of my best experiences. (Link to the photo before leaving on my way to the donation place: What I was wearing

    *** Update 20May22 ***

    A quick update!

    I am off the phone talking to Ms. Rhonda from “Dress for Success”. She wanted to know if I may be available to volunteer for basic computer training during the Summer, for two weeks, daily from 8-10 am.

    I wish so much that I could do it! But I really just can’t! It would mean having to take those two weeks off from my job, and well, it would be a logistics nightmare! So I had to decline, sadly… * sigh *

    But we agreed that I would call her at any time if I had some time either for coaching or for fundraising. So, we will see!!

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    • #646521
      Gabriela Romani
      Managing Ambassador
      Registered On: January 11, 2021
      Topics: 864
      Replies: 412
      Has thanked: 356 times
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      A quick update!

      I am off the phone talking to Ms. Rhonda from “Dress for Success”. She wanted to know if I may be available to volunteer for basic computer training during the Summer, for two weeks, daily from 8-10 am.

      I wish so much that I could do it! But I really just can’t! It would mean having to take those two weeks off from my job, and well, it would be a logistics nightmare! So I had to decline, sadly… * sigh *

      But we agreed that I would call her at any time if I had some time either for coaching or for fundraising. So, we will see!!

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #647111
        Eileen Bach
        Baroness
        Registered On: February 27, 2021
        Topics: 1
        Replies: 263
        Has thanked: 139 times
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        Awesome Sauce! You’re in Ms, Rhonda’s thoughts. Perhaps if weekends were available? Then, where to change?

        Eileen

        • #647126
          Gabriela Romani
          Managing Ambassador
          Registered On: January 11, 2021
          Topics: 864
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          Has thanked: 356 times
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          We’ll see Eileen… we’ll see! It would be so awesome if I can make it work!

    • #635185
      Danielle MacGuffin
      Lady
      Registered On: May 21, 2021
      Topics: 6
      Replies: 167
      Has thanked: 384 times
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      Wonderful story! Such a positive experience to be accepted like that. And the outfit you wore looks stunning.

      Xoxo,

      Dani

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #635207
        Gabriela Romani
        Managing Ambassador
        Registered On: January 11, 2021
        Topics: 864
        Replies: 412
        Has thanked: 356 times
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        Thank you Dani!

        It was such a special time for me! And I was very happy with my choice of outfit for that visit. 🙂

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #634874
      Michelle McQueen
      Lady
      Registered On: June 14, 2021
      Topics: 24
      Replies: 1230
      Has thanked: 7556 times
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      Nice story, thanks for sharing. Its always good to know you’re helping someone less fortunate.

      If I looked as good as you do I would have more confidence too.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #634890
        Gabriela Romani
        Managing Ambassador
        Registered On: January 11, 2021
        Topics: 864
        Replies: 412
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        Michelle, thank you!!

        May I make a suggestion in general? Goes for everybody everyday. We only need to be the best version of ourselves. Comparing to others is human nature, but gets in the way of our personal growth.
        I’ll never look as good as Geena Davis, Nicole Kidman, or my wife or the weather girl in TV. It is nice trying to find out how to look better, but we can’t wait until we “get there”, or we will miss most of the party!

    • #634873
      Eileen Bach
      Baroness
      Registered On: February 27, 2021
      Topics: 1
      Replies: 263
      Has thanked: 139 times
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      Dear Gabriela,

      I’ll have to look for a Dress for Success in our area. There is a small resale shop nearby that supports women in abusive relationships get their lives back together. Women re-entering the work force may be in the same position. Highly doubtful that such an organization would ask any other than a genetic woman to assist them. The last thing an abused woman needs is a guy dressed female to help her become independent.

      That you not only ‘passed’, you were assumed to be a woman right off. A little hint to others on this forum, tight dresses and heels aren’t the best attire to ‘pass’.

      Gaby, your outfit is very nice, casual and feminine. Better than most other women dress these days.

      Now that you’ve been accepted into the world of womanhood, with a hug no less (!), any plans on helping out at Dress for Success in the future?

      Hugs, Eileen

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      • #634895
        Gabriela Romani
        Managing Ambassador
        Registered On: January 11, 2021
        Topics: 864
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        Hi E!

        While I hope that larger corporations like Goodwill or The Salvation Army will really dedicate the funds they get to help people, it is smaller organizations ran by volunteers where you can see quicker results, and even better, improvement in your own community.

        On the topic of abused women and men, you made me think of a scene in the movie “The world According to Garp” with Robin Williams. Too long to explain in typing from my phone! 🙂 but yes, I totally get what you are saying.

        Was I taken at face value? Maybe. The thing is that the only way to find out for sure would be asking them directly, and I don’t really need to know either way! (Other than being very curious about it!!)

        I know that I’ll support them both with cash donations and more clothing donations. But as for being able to volunteer my time, that would depend on how things evolve at home. But I tell you I already made my preliminary pick of a LBD to wear in September!! 😉

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        • #635172
          Eileen Bach
          Baroness
          Registered On: February 27, 2021
          Topics: 1
          Replies: 263
          Has thanked: 139 times
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          Gaby, I read the book, never saw the Garp movie. That was a long time ago, I hadn’t thought about the issues of abuse and trans acceptance in the story till just now reminded.

          Absolutely, you were assumed to be female. Of course, asking would not be feasible. otherwise, what’s the point of dressing your best in the first place? People see what they want to see. That little bit of self-doubt you harbor shouldn’t hold you back.

          I have looked for a Dress for Success in my area. the only affiliate is downtown, crime infested, Chicago. Drop off a donation and get your car jacked or shot in the head. No thanks.

          Hugs, Eileen

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #638336
            Gabriela Romani
            Managing Ambassador
            Registered On: January 11, 2021
            Topics: 864
            Replies: 412
            Has thanked: 356 times
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            Oh no, definitely don’t risk it in those areas!

            You are absolutely right in saying that people will see what they want to see. And I guess that at that time, I was like the Spanish Inquisition… (For any not Monty Python fans) “Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition!!”

            Same as on my visit to the “Beyond Van Gogh” exhibit in the Graceland grounds… noon visit, very mainstream thing.

            Thank you!

    • #634643
      Emily
      Lady
      Registered On: April 30, 2016
      Topics: 29
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      Has thanked: 4773 times
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      Sounds like a lovely experience! There is nothing more rewarding than being accepted for just being yourself. Whenever I go out dressed and interact with people, I am always just amazed at the positive responses I get. Confidence and being comfortable with who you are makes all the difference. Thanks for sharing this story.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #634857
        Gabriela Romani
        Managing Ambassador
        Registered On: January 11, 2021
        Topics: 864
        Replies: 412
        Has thanked: 356 times
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        Thank you Emily! I wish everybody would be able to experience situations like this… so they could understand how being accepted for who you are is so much better than being out there aiming to pass… which is for the most part the opposite, since when you are trying to pass you are basically selling a performance.
        But like with many things in life, the idea will either click in their minds… or not. Go figure!

        Thanks again!

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #634622
      Raquel Smith
      Lady
      Registered On: August 26, 2021
      Topics: 14
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      This was the classic win-win situation. Your generosity paid off for both you and the wonderful charity. Congratulations Gabriela!

      Much love,
      Raquel

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #634814
        Gabriela Romani
        Managing Ambassador
        Registered On: January 11, 2021
        Topics: 864
        Replies: 412
        Has thanked: 356 times
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        Thank you Raquel!

        The things I gave had spent most of the time since I bought them inside plastic containers or just stored in a closet so it was nice to see they will likely help make a woman’s life better when she lands a job because she was feeling so confident wearing a pretty blouse or a dress I decided to donate!

        So yes, win-win!!!

        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #634576
      Leonara
      Ambassador
      Registered On: October 13, 2015
      Topics: 6
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      Oh my Gabriela, what a wonderful experience. Thank you so much for sharing. I have donated to goodwill some items both from my femme wardrobe as well as my “manly” items.. in the future I will find the same type of organization to donate some of my wardrobe.
      I hope our ladies here at CDH will donate some of their “oldies but goodies” wardrobe.
      Regards, Leonara

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #634807
        Gabriela Romani
        Managing Ambassador
        Registered On: January 11, 2021
        Topics: 864
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        Thank you very much Leonara! That would be great!

        I forgot to ask Ms. Rhonda if they also took formal dresses… I was thinking of finding something similar (A charity collecting Prom or party gowns). I guess I have a reason to call her soon!

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #634569
      Peggy Sue Williams
      Duchess - Annual
      Registered On: June 26, 2019
      Topics: 20
      Replies: 376
      Has thanked: 1402 times
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      Thank you for sharing this heart-warming experience, Gaby, and it shows how there are positive experiences out there in the community waiting to be discovered by us.  Experiences that are not only rewarding for us but which will leave a good impression of us on the general public.

      Then again, as you say, this was probably just a beautiful day when a nicely dressed lady, driving her SUV, pulled up with some lovely donations for this charity, and your gender was never an issue.

      Hugs,

      Peggy Sue

       

       

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #634623
        Gabriela Romani
        Managing Ambassador
        Registered On: January 11, 2021
        Topics: 864
        Replies: 412
        Has thanked: 356 times
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        Peggy Sue,

        Going to make the donation in person, as Gaby, wasn’t in my plans. But I am so glad that when my plans changed I was able to do it!
        I had a feeling that I needed to. Can’t explain it.
        At this time I’m slightly curious to know what we’re all those ladies talking about after I left. In a way if would be very nice if they were talking about me being a CD/TG, because that would mean I helped to improve whatever their previous opinion they had of us.
        And of course the vain me wishes they didn’t know at all, and were thinking what a nice lady I was.
        I’ll never know. And that’s ok! Because to me it was the scenario as you mentioned.
        “This was probably just a beautiful day when a nicely dressed lady, driving her SUV, pulled up with some lovely donations for this charity”

        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #634403
      Caty Ryan
      Baroness
      Registered On: August 27, 2017
      Topics: 112
      Replies: 1009
      Has thanked: 8 times
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      We have similar groups down here in “OZ” eg “Fitted for Work” and altho I’ve never “done the tour” I have donated some of Caty’s pieces that would be suitable for women returning to work after a long absence, (for what ever reason that may be). But I am aware they assist transgender women, so I’m hoping some of my things end up with them.

      I seem to recall donating a pair of circa 4″ heels that I hardly worn. Mostly cos I used to just about fall off ’em whenever I tried them on

      As for the rest of Caty’s stash (in all it glory…) I have notes stashed in “strategic places” eg my bra and panty drawer saying if I “cark it”, (Oz for “gone”) listing the organisations relevant to the above and “respectfully”   stating that my family contacts them to see how much of the stash they would want.

      Tho I’m not at all sure about the period “Scarlett O Caty” Civil war ballgown or indeed, some of my other “formals”. But there’s enough skirts, tops, shirts etc that hopefully will end up going where I’d like them to. This instead, of just the local Goodwill charity genre of store.

      Caty.

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      • #634621
        Gabriela Romani
        Managing Ambassador
        Registered On: January 11, 2021
        Topics: 864
        Replies: 412
        Has thanked: 356 times
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        Caty,

        In all reality, when I’m gone, I hope that all of my things will be donated to some charity. And DFS will be on top of my list of options.
        But like you mention, there will be some articles of clothing which would only be of any benefit to another CD/TG individual. And I hope they would find their way to one.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #634325
      Angela Booth
      Lady
      Registered On: August 1, 2020
      Topics: 9
      Replies: 1005
      Has thanked: 3735 times
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      To her you were a valued and generous member of the public. She saw you for who you are and beyond. As you said, you dressed nicely and that will set you apart as having good dress sense and the fact you gave quality clothes she could see your eye for fashion and detail in appearance, invaluable for someone entering the job market. Mary Jane hits the nail on the head as also you exude confidence.

      As said it mattered not and you both benefited from the experience.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #634397
        Gabriela Romani
        Managing Ambassador
        Registered On: January 11, 2021
        Topics: 864
        Replies: 412
        Has thanked: 356 times
        Been thanked: 1927 times

        Angela,

        It is definitely true that she saw in me a potential repeat donor/Supporter, and she would be right. And also, If I could, I would gladly volunteer some of my time to work with them!
        As for being confident, yes, I am, but not saying it to brag, just to share that I am not “incredibly special”, and if I can go out and interact with anybody and do anything I want, everybody can do the same. True, finding that confidence took time, but it was worth it!
        In any case, thank you for your kind words.

        5 users thanked author for this post.
    • #634164
      Mary Jane
      Lady
      Registered On: September 30, 2020
      Topics: 25
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      Has thanked: 816 times
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      Thats an incredibly positive experience.

      What a wonderful community service as well. Brought tears to my eyes.

      Well done Gabriela.

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #634205
        Gabriela Romani
        Managing Ambassador
        Registered On: January 11, 2021
        Topics: 864
        Replies: 412
        Has thanked: 356 times
        Been thanked: 1927 times

        It really was Mary Jane. And thank you.

        Had I been limited by a “I hope I’m passing” mentality, the whole experience might have been a waste of time an energy. Instead I was just enjoying the whole experience, as a human being interacting with others, that was all.

        4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #634212
          Mary Jane
          Lady
          Registered On: September 30, 2020
          Topics: 25
          Replies: 502
          Has thanked: 816 times
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          I believe the secret of passing isn’t to look like a woman and deceive. Rather its to exude confidence in who we are, no matter how we are dressed.

          Our confidence gives others confidence. Our timidity and nervousness causes others to be likewise.

          • #640249
            Gabriela Romani
            Managing Ambassador
            Registered On: January 11, 2021
            Topics: 864
            Replies: 412
            Has thanked: 356 times
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            Hi again Mary Jane.

            I was discussing this very topic yesterday with my therapist.
            If you feel or think you don’t belong when you are out shopping or having dinner, etc, people may not read you immediately, but many will be able to feel your own insecurity, which will lead them to pay closer attention to you. In particular on the retail environment where Salrs associates are trained to look for possible shoplifters.

            When we are confident, we project that too. And people will be more likely to take us for what they can see… hopefully a confident female if that is our goal.

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