Content tagged 'voice'
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By Natalie, postedEver wondered what it takes to get on a bus? The fears and scary parts explained and how eventually I overcame them. For some this is not a problem, those with the strongest of characters who really want the world to know about who they are, but for many integrating and becoming the person you really are without any fuss and bother it's a different story.
Many years ago the first hurdle apart from the big step of going out of the front door as the real me, was getting on the bus. For those just beginning the journey from one gender to the other, this can be terrifying and once you have managed it thats when you know you have really begun your transition.
My preparation was always the best, but my confidence wasn't great so every day I found myself in the position of taking the terrifying journey and this is where strength of character comes in. So you are ready to face the world in the new you and hope no one is going to give you a second glance, because in many ways that is what you are trying to achieve. There you are stood at the bus stop waiting for the bus hoping that no one notices you, and then someone turns to you and asks, "Do you have the time please." Now hang on, who doesn't have a watch or a mobile (cell) phone with a big display on it? Its often a good indication that they want to hear your voice, they have looked at you and wondered....is that a man or a woman? The best way to overcome it is to to nod and show them you watch/phone and smile if you're not happy with how your voice sounds.
Of course the bus stop is often where people talk to each other, (years ago before smartphones and everyone was a bit more social) so when the bus arrives its a bit of a relief, or is it. I suppose its a lot easier now with electronic passes, no words have to be uttered but when I was just starting out, talking was necessary....So you ask for your fare....city centre please.....then once you have your ticket you turn and face the all the passengers, desperately trying to find a seat .....EVERYONE is looking at ME.....no they're not, but thats what it feels like. Seat found, head down ....please don't talk to me.
I have one of those ...faces. I always sit next to the most talkative person on the bus, it happens often. But then there is the other parts, people looking at YOU....they know, they've spotted me, they know I'm trans and they are looking at me, talking about me.....OMG. The fears of the newbie are immense, in an enclosed space with all these people and THEY KNOW. No, probably they haven't even seen you, but the fear is there all the same.
Seat selection is important, inside seat you have to ask (if you are polite that is) to '"Excuse me please." So outside seats are easier (just don't speak to me).
If the bus is crowded the next step is to get off the damn bus, ding the bell and hope that its going to be the stop everyone else alights too. If not, it can be a struggle as it might be necessary to say ...excuse me several times.
The point of all this? I had realised than when I could get on the bus, face the 'crowd', find a seat, talk to my fellow passengers and get off the bus with no problem, that is when I knew I was on my way to being happy with my transition. Thats when you know you have begun to integrate the new you and made it.
Overcoming the fears isn't easy but when I realised that probably no one was really looking at me, no one really noticed anything different about me, it drew less attention anyway. The voice I have found is a powerful delimiter in that you can use the voice to confuse anyone. if you are able to sound like the gender you present, then any unwanted attention seems to be lessened and I found I could overcome many uncomfortable situations.
I hope that you have found this interesting and helpful.
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I’ve recently joined a closed group on Facebook where the majority of male to female members will post pictures of themselves and ask if they pass physically. Just about every since member who post and ask if they are passable indeed passable. Having been on this journey would like to offer a small piece of advice which is forget about passing physically and focus on your female voice.
When I or any heterosexual male or female encounters a female without thinking “are they really female” expect a softer voice then a male voice. When the female speaks in the same tone as a male that will make the heterosexual male or female wonder or think “is this really a female”.
My guess is many male to female transgender or cross dressers realize this already but want to stress that this can not only lead to people wonder about you but also may very well cause them to be embarrass and infuriate them to incite a mindset to cause you physical harm.
There is only one method to circumvent this when out in public which is to practice speaking as a cisgender female does. For many it’s not easy, like myself I had to practice, practice, practice. The most difficult part as one gets older is to not only train your voice but also to retrain your brain.
Example, as you close to finish speaking your brain says “now I can relax” and attempts to to back to the male voice if for no other reason that it’s easy while speaking in a female tone is hard work especially keeping a conversation going.
If you can afford to take voice lessons even for a few sessions this will assist in building a proper foundation for what you need to do later to keep up appearances both with your physical looks and sounds that come out of your mouth.
Several times a month I go out with several cross-dressers and transgender groups in my area and I’m the only one, say out of twenty that use a female voice. All of them speak like men and if they didn’t speak the majority would pass one hundred percent as cisgender females. Do they go out in public? Several do yet are known to locals as cross-dressers and never will pass.
For the next part a little history.
I joined a cross-dresser group who are located 40 miles from me back in 2000. At that time I was not even trying to transition in the public and never made it to any of their events which are several times a week. Another group opened in my immediate area and they have one member who belongs to the other group (40 miles away). The decide to meet here in my town in a gay bar, I thought, great, finally get to meet them.
Went to the bar, walk in and there is this thirty something cisgender female with a guy sitting at the bar, she looks at me and says, hi gorgeous, you smell sexy. I said thanks, got my drink and sat down. Five minutes later she come over to my table, sits down next to me and we start chatting. Shortly there after the one cross dresser group walks in, they are all wearing prom dresses (the theme of the evening, not be thou). I wave at them, remember they don’t know me and they stare until I wave them over. I introduced myself and the night was fantastic. Later on the leader said that when I waved and she looked over she thought we were two cisgender females and was dumb founded that I was post-op as my voice passed with no hints of male.
Fast forward to last weekend, the leader of that group was suppose to be down by 8:30 but arrived at 7:30 (I've been there since 7). I greeted her and said, thought you would not be here until 8:30? She said, I know you don’t stay late and wanted to talk to you which I thought was cool. Had a great conversation to say the lest. Another member who didn’t know I was trans or post-op was told by another member and was shocked at how well I controlled my voice.
Pause: Although my voice is not a 100 percent it’s fully passable. Even to this say I do warm-up exercises because my brain will still fall back into old habits.
With that I want those who have decided to read this far to know that it’s not easy (some may disagree but they are the minority), one must be committed to not only appearing as a female but make efforts to speak the part too.
Have you heard Autumn? https://autumnasphodel.com/222/transgender-female-voice I feel the same as her in regards to mindset. There are plenty of resources on the web so thre is no excuse not to try.
The power of the mind is incredible
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Obtaining a female voice for the male embodied female is that thing to which can’t be surgically remedied with a 100 percent success and is the holy grail for many. So what are common methods?
Mimic the cisgender voice on their own, purchase some type of series of lessons, enlist the aid of a voice therapist or go out on a limb for questionable voice surgery which statistically speaking can do more harm than good.
Many factors play into how one goes about obtaining that female voice which range from being in the closet, monetary funds to available resources. Kind of hard practicing the voice with others in the house and you are in the closet or money is tight, hard to overcome these things and can be frustrating when funds and a place to practice are available but no therapist or one is shy to make appointments in fear of what they might think of you.
No matter which avenue is chosen the ultimate test is picking up the telephone, talk to a stranger and have the responses coming back with female pronouns.
It’s relatively easy to learn to speak female for a short time e.g. one or two minute conversations but eventually for many the vocal chords want to relax, go to a comfortable place (heaven forbid), the deep male voice rather than the soft/higher voice we aspire too.
Things that can help, learn to breathe from the abdomen rather than the upper chest, placing your finger on your Adam’s apple, when at the right place the Adam’s apple rises and stays there. Try laying on the floor, this makes it more difficult to use the upper chest for breathing. Place a book on the abdomen and feel it working and if not then work on that aspect alone followed by going back to speaking at the right pitch and resonance.
After getting good with one or two minute shots of female voice try these things. Speak the following and maintaining the female voice (note between each word pause a second).
One, two, three,
One, Two, three, four etc.
Got that! Now do
One, two, three, “Every dog has its day”
Practice that until you are satisfied and now put together several quotes like this and pick a random one, no peeking. After speaking the words finish with describing the quote. The idea here is the first part the brain is comfortable with while explaining the quote is spontaneous and now you have to work harder at maintaining the female voice.
Can’t do this at home? Why not do it when driving to work or taking a walk?
When I took voice lessons I was given 30 quotes, some did more than the above as they would challenge more aspects of getting the female voice done properly.
It’s important to keep in mind that the older you are the more chances there are for one to slip back into that deep voice rather than the soft voice.
Lastly, set a reasonable standard for your female voice rather than go for something that is unobtainable as this will help you to get a passable voice.
These are just a few suggestions that may or may not work for you but if not considered or tried one will never know.
Closing out with a short story.
I belong to a local transgender group on Facebook, was invited to meet ten or so at a local club. I walked in 30 minutes early, was approached by a female (lesbian) who sat down at my table and started talking to me. Several minutes into talking she asked, are you here alone? I said no, I am waiting for a group of transgender people and they are all dressing in prom dresses (I did not). She then said "is that them" pointing to the entrance. I said yes, recognized them from FB pictures. I waved and said "Hi", several stared at me from where they were standing then decided to come over. When they did I said I was part of their group. One (I think she is the leader) said :"I was not sure who you were... all I saw were to cisgender females"
About thirty minutes or so into talking with them several complimented me on my looks (and most important) my voice which in this case I know they would never had said it if they did not mean it.
It took me a while to obtain that voice and so happy for having taking lessons by a professional therapist who's main task in the beginning was to cultivate what I had obtained on my own.
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