On Vocal Training and the Holidays

Part of transitioning, at least for most male-to-female folks, includes a healthy amount of vocal therapy - speech therapy with the goal to "un-masculinize" your voice, whatever that means for you (raising the pitch, changing the resonance, etc). While there's surgery for certain cases to help, of course surgery sucks (see my next post on facial surgery - or rather Lily's first experience in 2018).

Vocal therapy for me started with the lovely Dr. Maureen O'Conner at Peninsula Associates in Menlo Park, CA in August (1 month HRT). Unfortunately, she was out of network, so I had the honor of paying between $1,000 and $2,000 before my insurance finally started paying out (that's for another story in itself).

She's a great person, and made me feel great about my voice. She told me I could definitely improve it, and so I got to work...

For the first few months, I didn't see much results. People always told me I sounded gay (whatever that means - I think it has to do with pitch/resonance), which is funny because I guess that helped and made it slightly easier for me than most to "feminize" my voice.

Starting this month, I had a lightbulb moment where my new voice clicked, and within a week I forgot how to use my old voice, surprisingly enough. Interestingly -- what really helped was going home to see the family.

My family is loud. Like, everyone in it is loud. My cat (or former, since she's passed away) Lulu even learned to meow-yell (we'll call it meowll) out of necessity. I was considered the quietest person (always) in my family. My team at work, on the converse, thought I was the loudest person on the team.

So one of the hardest things of using your new voice is projection - that is, volume. It's a lot easier to whisper and sound female; but it's a different ballgame when you need to yell across the room.

To make a long story short, I came to my parents' for Christmas break on Dec. 22nd with an almost whispery voice, and left on Dec. 29th confident in almost yelling. Nothing beats family time for using and abusing your new voice. ❤

- Lily

P.S. Let me know in the comments if you're practicing your new voice and want some tips! I love sharing what I've learned.

P.S.S. If you want to hear my voice, here's a good clip: clyp.it/brkhjmpd


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