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50 years apart: 2 people from different generations share transgender experiences

WATCH: Two people who transitioned at very different points in their lives are opening up about their personal journeys. Donna came out as transgender when she was 60 and married with children. Izzy came out when she was 10. The two shared in a conversation with Global Calgary’s Jill Croteau.

Izzy Pigeon was 10 years old when she came out to her parents as transgender. Her family has supported her over the past four years as she’s been going through her journey.

“It was around Grade 4 I actually thought I was gay,” Pigeon said. “Near the end of the summer, I came out to my parents. I wasn’t sure if I disappointed them or not and then I talked to them and started to feel way more comfortable about it.”

“I was nervous because I wasn’t sure how my friends felt about all that stuff, but that’s just who I was,” Pigeon said.

“I was the same person who walked into that class.”

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For Pigeon, coming out was a lot different than it was for Donna Battaglia, who came out when she was 60, married and had adult children.

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The two sat down and shared in-depth conversation to compare their experiences.

Izzy and Donna.
Izzy and Donna. Jill Croteau/Global News

“I actually told my daughter first,” Battaglia said.

“One day I got up in the morning, put my wig on and nicest dress and was off to work.

“I haven’t looked back since that day. It’s just the exhilaration and release of all of the years of wondering.

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“I knew when I was young but there wasn’t a word for it back then,” Battaglia said. “Once I realized who I needed to be, it was the best decision and now nothing feels out of place. It’s like it should have been that way all along.”

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The two hope their personal stories give way to conversations about acceptance, compassion and inclusion.

“A lot of people think it’s scary to just change and people think it’s weird, but if you are trans then you know it’s not weird at all,” Pigeon said.

“Somebody outside doesn’t have clue to know what it’s like to feel you are in the wrong body and not be able to express it,” Battaglia said. “As long as people understand we are just being us, we aren’t trying to convince anyone else to be us.

“It’s living your life honestly and being truthful. It’s a shame to deceive yourself and those around you.

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“It doesn’t matter what your age is, if you need to change, you know who you need to be,” Battaglia said.

WATCH: Global Calgary’s award-winning series Pride Without Prejudice

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