Saturday, 11 June 2011

Different sounds

I started to tackle another piece in the transition jigsaw ths week - voice.

I had my first appointment with a speech therapist at the Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital in Gray's Inn Road, a lovely chap called Gary Wood.  He plainly lnows his business and put me completely at ease.  Just as well as he then proceeded to poke a camera thingy up my nose and down my throat to photograph my vocal chords.

Voice is a big deal for me.  I am a barrister so my voice is my working tool and it gets used most day and often all day.  I am also fairly low pitched so, although carefully made up and well dressed I pass reasonably well (as well as yu can at 6 feet tall!) if I open my mouth my trans status rappidly becomes apparent.  Male voices have a pitch around 120Hz, and female ones about 220Hz, although there is a range.  My natural pitch is about 93Hz, so on the low side of natural male.  Apparently barristers are naturally a bit lower than normal and given the need to have 'authority' in our voice and to be heard by the whole court, that is not surprising.  You may recall that Margaret Thatcher had voice coaching to deepen and lower her voice to give it more authority.  I can's end up as 'Minnie Mouse' but I would like to sound a bit more feminine.  It's not all about pitch, though, and apparently there is a lot we can do.

This week's appointment was all about checkking me for the health of my vocal equipment and establishing a base line for the coming work.  The good news is that my equipment is in good condition, especially considering that I have never smoked and I used to sing semi-professionally.  I do need to drink more water, though.

An unexpected court cancellation has allowed me to bring my second appointment forward to next Tuesday, so we should start with some exercises then.

And in the meanwhile it is now only 19 days (Eeeeeek!) until I head off to Belgium for facial surgery.  Transition is all seemiing very, very real (and very, very exciting) now.  I can't wait to get rid of collar-and-tie for the last time.



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