I have been here for six days and the new house is nearly sorted, boxes unpacked. Generally I am blown away by how good the house is for my needs. I imagine you would think that I should have known that earlier, only I had not been able to see inside of the house before moving in. However, I had not seen the house before taking it so it has been a pleasant surprise.
I was concerned about how I would fit in and whether or not I would experience any hostility. Early days yet but the signs are positive, or at least not negative. The area is generally quiet and suburban and my immediate neighbour with whom I share a driveway appears completely neutral. In my book, I take that as a positive. So far there has just been an acknowledgment as we pass each other. The other half of the semi attached to my house is empty at the moment. Their front door though is round the side of the house so I am not so likely to bump into them. So fingers crossed it is going to be good.
This is a new chapter as it means I have come to the end of five months of isolation and am venturing into the outside world again. I am a consultant to a company and I have been assisting them remotely for the past five months using Zoom and mobile phone calls. For the first time I was at the premises in person this week and I was shocked at how lax the staff were over the Covid virus. I had already decided to stick to stringent procedures in an effort to stay safe yet I was made to feel uncomfortable over the steps I was taking. The most blatant breach of my protocols was when a colleague just simply came up behind me and gave me a hug! Despite my protest at his action the response was “oh that’s all bullshit”, not that that it is against all of the guidelines and social distancing etiquette, if not actually illegal.
Having drawn my red line and sticking to it, it is becoming easier to manage. What I do not understand is why people do not seem to see that the infection rate is steadily rising and the risk is not going away. I am constantly being told when I refer to statistics that they are wrong, we are not being told the truth (that may be true the real situation is probably worse than we are being told) and not to take any notice. It feels as if the majority of people are in denial.
So now I am back in the outside world I need to press ahead with improving my ability to pass and be accepted generally. I am having my hair styled and coloured this week. However, I have really struggled with achieving a feminine voice and maintaining it for the duration of a conversation. I have come across an App called Voice Up created by Christella Antonini, the main voice coach at The Gender Identity Clinic. There is a free version which allows you to analyse and track the progress of your voice and also other sections which for a total of £59.99 gives you actual tips on how to improve your pitch resonance, intonation and vowel length. Although I have been practising for months, I have not really been able to assess how my voice comes across and have tended to focus on the negative as I am frequently addressed as Sir while on the phone.
When I started using the App two days ago I had been pleasantly surprised that on the reading I was 48% in the feminine range. A higher percentage than I would have guessed with 25% neutral and 27% in the masculine range. Now after only two days I have achieved one reading when there was no section of the recording in the masculine range it being 100% feminine. I did not feel particularly comfortable with the pitch of that reading though what it has done is clarify the range I need to aim for. This has been really helpful in that you get feedback as to the progress you are making. I am now going to move on and pay for the upgrade to get the further hints and exercises to capitalise on this beginning. For the first time in over a year I feels as if it is going to be possible to achieve an acceptable feminine voice.