Name: Mahogany LaPiranHa
County of Residence: Allegheny
Pronouns: All of them
How do you describe your identity? ShapeShifter, I am transgendered and I am in the process of going through a male to female transgender transition! However I do not intend on getting bottom surgery! So to some that may look at the situation ; they may judge me as not a true transsexual or transgendered male to female! I however exist in this body and my opinion is the only opinion that matters to me and I think being transgender is something you are from birth which doesn’t include all the fancy surgeries and doesn’t include Heels , nor breast forms ,make up or lashes ,etc. you simply are what you simply are and what you do with your life it’s completely up to you! how you live when you come out, when your ready go fulltime , when you are ready for a bottom or top surgery , when you are financially able , when you are mentally and physically able , its your own story and your own time and you don’t have to compete with anyone to do any of those things so you can feel like you are white they deem as correct ! you’re correct in however you choose to live your life, it’s what is most comfortable and most breathable, ultimately what’s gonna leave you most peaceful and happy! So this being my story, I’m doing exactly that! A very Proud Transgendered male to female person and I love the body that I am in currently, I will love this body that I am in in 10 years, 50 years from now because I am completely OK with however I present myself inside and out ! I am always just who I am ! Mahogany’ la PiranHa; ergo a ShapeShifter!
Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? I came out in 1994 ironically it was all over a playboy magazine issue! I found out that this huge secret I was carrying around with me for 14 years it was an unplanned time for me to let it go. My mom wanted to basically have the talk about sex, birds and the bees and I took that opportunity to To tell my story and Tellnit I did! This big secret and that I don’t know why It was such a big secret because I’ve always just been myself, but this big secret that I have that I had been holding in for so long I let go and I just remember feeling i huge emptiness inside of me after! It was almost as though I had given birth but in a way I did ! Actually I did; I gave birth to letting go! Giving birth to caring around such a heaviness, all the stress , all the loneliness , all the pain , of keeping a secret was now gone and I was able to from that moment be a whole person and so it turns out it wasn’t a emptiness but yet it was a release , a relief of burden gone, off my shoulders,, off of my mind and off of my heart!
How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? I am a 6‘4“ androgynous African-American walking talking for sure badass ! so me being out now, is once I’m out I’m out! I’m out once I leave my home I am out there in the trenches as much as I can be! There is no run back in or no gray area in which to hide because I’m out and I’m like a peacock what you see is what you get, no apologies, no regrets!
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? I guess the first LGBTQ Person I met was my late and great Best Friend, Rahymond Hayes! We both shared an intense passion and love for music and it’s till this day no matter what I’m going through music will help me through it and I will always find him inside the music!
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. i’d say the first celebrity that I definitely know was gay or trans would have to be boy george! He made such a impact for me just because he was so in your face with that he owned that you really didn’t know if he was male or female or gay or straight oh what ever the situation was he was just him and watching him and made me feel that I could just be myself whenever that was however that would undoubtedly be!
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? I don’t! I don’t stay informed, I don’t watch TV, I don’t bother myself with things that shouldn’t exist! There shouldn’t be any issues I feel as a person in the LGBTQ community, I was born free I will die free and that same respect that I give myself and to other people I expect the back I don’t want any special treatment I don’t deserve any Special treatment, I just want the space the freedom and the respect to live my live just the same as anyone else!
Describe your geographical community. I have strong opinions I reserve the right to keep those opinions to myself!
Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. I have strong opinions I reserve the right to keep those opinions to myself!
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Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity? Specifically, in a job setting, when applying for housing or while in public. I’m always going to have some form of discrimination some form of malice intent, ill wishes and negative understandings about myself and the community I’m in! There us nothing I can do about that besides be myself be out and proud and not be a parody of what these people may think I am! Most importantly not to be physically, mentally weak at the event of a situation!
Have you experienced microagressions based on your identity? Think everyday indiginities & slights that you experience, but would not characterize as discrimination. Please describe in your own words. This question is hard for me because I am working currently on my anger management!
Tell us about your access to health care in Western PA. Has it been LGBTQ competent (or not?) I actually want to give this woman a huge shout out for her work for her support for her loyalty in the LGBT queue community and western Pennsylvania her name is Miss Stacy Lane from central out reach they are saving lives every minute every second of the day and I think God for such a lovely wonderful impactful woman!
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? This question is hard for me because I am working currently on my anger management!
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? We are all one people , we are all fully engulfed in the current issues of our local, national and worldwide neighbors!
Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. It’s hard ass hell but it sure is the beautiful life if you let it be !
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? We as human beings have always been our worst enemies we as human beings will always be our worst enemies
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? The Persad’s center! An amazing place of support ,therapy and advocacy!
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? Too many bottoms!
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? Too many tops!
What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? Don’t vote for assholes like Donald a Trump!
How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? Everybody deserves respect love and kindness!
What motivated you to take part in this project? Everybody deserves respect love and kindness!
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. Why aren’t I famous! To that question I answer I do not know but I wish I did!
Thank you, Mahogany
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AMPLIFY LGBTQ is a series of blog posts designed to give a “signal boost” to the voices of our LGBTQ neighbors throughout Western Pennsylvania. These are glimpses in to the lived experiences of LGBTQ people in Western Pennsylvania as told in their own voices.