Posts tagged voice

Security? No way!

Well, i SHALL write about it. The event, incident, THING: even though i am pretty sure that Tesco, who are a generally decent firm when it comes to customer handling, will sort me out…will apologise profusely and will more or less go thru the right sort of motions.

Until the next time.

Which is why, as well as personal experience, this is also question, for anyone else who might be affected one way or t’other by this mock security affectation that some companies seem to have.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (2) »

Well that was crap…

There is, i realise, something of a rhythm to misgendering. And its mostly nowadays on the phone.

Still, unexpectedly, it has the power to upset, to disturb and in this instance, to reduce me to tears. Why? Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (7) »

Finding my voice

I keep thinking I’ve done all the emotional bits, apart from the obvious. Then something else creeps up and hits me over the head and… I suddenly go all tearful (and happy) for no reason whatsoever.

Yesterday’s voice therapy was one of those. It really was.

For starters, the whole exercise is about helping me to pass, even though, as I have made perfectly clear, I am not at all bothered, one way or another, about whether I pass or not.

Cue “am I bovvered” monologue.

But honestly? The idea that I can start a conversation on the phone with “Hi, I’m Jane Fae”, without instantly being challenged by someone going “James?” fills me with joy

Elsewhere, I think I’ve mentioned how the transition process feels. In many ways I am giving up what is traditionally regarded as “male privilege”. I can’t pretend I had none of it: but I did have considerably less than the average male. I never felt at home or comfortable in male company. It was as though they spoke another language…and I was always having to run to my dictionary to work out what they were really saying.

Made me very awkward…very much less easy, socially.

And, transitioning, I have given up that traditional role: taken on one that is far less; and yet, because I fit it so much better, it is all round easier for me to socialise, get on, work. Which is better? Being comfortable as secretary or PA? Or always out of your depth as a manager?

(That slightly caricatures it: but essentially, I was always happier picking up support roles that are traditionally – better? – done by women: and very often was not allowed to occupy that space because the assumption was that as a man, I wouldn’t want to “demean” myself).

My speech adapted to how I felt. Which is: I have always been quiet, always used words as a way to negotiate/manipulate rather than assert.

I put some of that down to having real physical difficulties with voice projection. What yesterday’s session suggested was exactly the opposite.

That, because I never felt comfortable speaking out, I had developed some appalling habits of speech which were actually quite damaging to my voice. Those, in turn, were giving me issues like a persistent cough: a secondary mode for speech; and various other problems.

In a very real sense, therefore, I left yesterday’s session going: “OMG! I never had a voice before!”

That hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. Not only had I passed most of my life not being me: I hadn’t even been able to express myself as me.

Happy? You bet. I rather think I poured out a load of totally embarrassing stuff to Christella, along with thanks and “I’ll be back”. I walked out of the session wishing it could have gone on twice as long.

Walked? Actually, I skipped ever so slightly. I didn’t – quite – punch the air in triumph. But that was how I felt.

The idea of doing ten minutes a day – ONLY ten minutes? – of practice is just silly. I want to be doing this all the time.

And then Kim – the director on the documentary asked me on camera how I felt and the above sort of tumbled out. A voice! Yesss!


Comments (2) »

You sound like a man…

Should I laugh? Or should I cry at this latest bit of utterly egregious insensitivity?

OK. I admit it. I sound like a bloke. That is one of the last and hardest of things to change. Unfortunately for those of us making the MtF (Male to Female) trek, whilst hormones and surgery can and do achieve many things, voice isn’t one of them.

I say unfortunate, because for those crossing the other way, hormones DO have an effect, bringing about noticeable deepening of the voice within a reasonably short time frame. I, on the other hand, have just two options: a surgical tightening of the vocal chords; or speech therapy.

I’ll be opting for the latter, thank you, since the surgical technique is one of the least certain of the techniques going in this field. It could work: or I could end up sounding like Micky Mouse. Or maybe Minnie. Perhaps not.

This vocal blokishness is therefore something of a bane for a girl who does much of her work on the phone. Still, I get by and although I can hear the disbelief on the other side, most never do more than descend into raised eyebrow territory.

Maybe I’m not as bad as I think: maybe I am. Certainly, the times I seem to pass least well nowadays are when there are only voice cues for others to pick up on. Last week, f’rinstance, it happened when I was in the dark, in the back seat of a car – and then with people who had known me for years by my old name and only an hour or so by my new. I certainly don’t hold it against them: they were trying very hard; and with only voice to guide, they reacted instinctively.

For the most part, people manage to check me out subtly. There is the exchange that goes: “Jane”. “James?” “No, Jane.” “James??”. I find that seriously boring and unimaginative.

Most folks nowadays settle for “how are you spelling that?” which is clever: acknowledges there MAY be a problem without saying there is. Best of all are the ones who go “is there a y in that?”, allowing me to wonder if they are genuinely trying to decide whether I’m just plain Jane – or a slightly more upmarket “Jayne”.

Worst, to date, was a legal practice, where one secretary was clearly giggling as she spoke with me. Hmmm.

Worst til today, that is. “Hello, my name is Jane Fae”.

“Jane? But you sound like a man”.

Pardon! In what universe is that the best workaround to any possible doubt as to my gender? If I am a cis woman, how am I going to react? If I am a trans woman, isn’t that just a tad insensitive? And if I am some sort of joker….Nah!

Oh, how I’d love to be a fly on the wall if ever that person met Sacha Baron Cohen: “But you don’t LOOK black…”?

The strange thing is, this was another legal practice – Bevan Brittan – which offers amongst other things, advice on discrimination and diversity in the employment field.

The individual coming out with this bizarre comment claims to be a mediator with “a particular interest in analysing how disputes arise in order to solve them”. er, yes. Because I was phoning on behalf of a friend, I bit my lip and said nothing.

However, I think I can suggest at least one way in which disputes arise – and that is through just this sort of indelicacy.

I can’t be arsed to take this further, though actually…it was quite hurtful.

Still, somebody, somewhere in that practice needs to sort out their diversity training.


Comments (3) »