What's that old line? "It ain't over until the fat lady sings!"
Yes, this is a bad stereotype. But opera singers go through years of intense vocal exercises in order to perfect their craft. And tonight, I went to the Transgender voice therapist in NYC for a group session.
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I know from early morning that this would be a late day at the office. And through I've been moving through my check list for tasks that must be completed this week, I feel that I haven't been accomplishing as much as I should be accomplishing. Of course, I'll find out where I stand when my boss comes back to the office tomorrow morning.
After work, it was time for the transgender voice group session. I walked over to Broadway via John Street, and then walked down Broadway to the therapist's office. If I had given the path much thought, I'd have taken Water Street, and cut to Broadway somewhere near Wall Street. At least I got my hour's worth of walking in today. So I was a little bit tired when I got to the office, where there was a mix of M2F and F2M transgender folk. Today's group session was "talking softly for transgender people". Each of us had to warm up and practice several vocal exercises. The time went quickly. Of course, my female voice is soft, and reasonably similar to a classic grandmother. But it doesn't yet pass the "telephone test". So I'll probably go to the therapist in the Fall for private sessions - which will take a bite out of my savings.
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Why do I want to go through the effort to sound female, when many transgender people don't bother to do so? Well, to me being authentic also means sounding authentic - where people either forget that you are transgender, or never notice it at all. This means that I have to learn how cisgender females speak, and replicate those speech patterns when I'm in Marian mode.
In one sense, it will be harder for me, as I will be playing hopscotch with gender identity. One moment, I'll be Mario, and then I'll be Marian the next. Luckily, I've been good at keeping these identities separate and unique. My friends who know both sides of me are comfortable with me, no matter how I present myself. But to others, I have to be seen as Marian without a trace of Mario to be safe....