It’s a voice that is unmistakable to millions of harried New York City subway riders, telling them to “please stand away from the platform edge” or that the next train is “approaching the station.”
It is deep and sounds authoritative, even comforting. But behind those disembodied familiar reminders was a secret. Bernie Wagenblast, the voice actor and traffic reporter who found success as one of the most recognizable voices of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, knew that despite living as a man for most of her life, she was a transgender woman. And at 65, she wanted to live as one.
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She had kept the secret for six decades because she was paralyzed by what the truth might bring: “Would this make me a laughingstock? Would this make me a source of pity? Would this endanger my safety?” A marriage and a family had been built on a promise that no one would utter that secret.
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