Can you hear me now?

I finally did it. I faced my biggest fears and went under the knife one last time. This time to have voice surgery (Feminizing Laryngoplasty) in Portland, OR with Dr. Thomas.

Out of all of the things I have done over the years, this one has always scared me the most. I tend to not do well with uncertainty and well, there is no telling what the outcome of such a procedure as this might be. For all I know I could end up sounding like Marge Simpson or I don’t know… Mini Mouse? There is simply no telling where I might land.

But in-spite of all of this, I knew that given the chance I would likely go for it.

I have always maintained that my voice is my biggest tell and with that it has been my biggest insecurity for a long time. While over the years I have gotten more comfortable with it, that anxiety surrounding my voice never truly went away.

I have tried doing voice training with little success. Up until recently I had gigabytes of voice recordings of myself to prove it. Unfortunately, I could never really find my voice using the methods I had learned from books and the internet. So I eventually gave up and instead decided to employ a method of simply not caring. So what if someone calls me sir on the phone.

While this strategy might sound good in theory, at the end of the day it still stings a little every time you get misgendered. I don’t hold any hate towards anyone who has done so without malice, but I’d be lying if I said my self esteem didn’t take a hit with each sir I’ve endured.

I had originally planned to have voice surgery out of country in South Korea, but unfortunately, the public health crisis of recent years struck down those plans and with no end in sight, I decided to explore other options.

After much back and forth, I eventually made my way to Portland, OR for a consultation with Dr. Thomas.

Now a bit more than a year later I am two days post-op. Pain is pretty minimal, but not talking has proven difficult. Not gonna lie, I have slipped up a time or two already. I really need to be more aware of what I am doing.

I am on strict voice rest for the next two weeks, and will be able to start talking a little more week by week, gradually increasing in word selection and volume. All in all, it will be five weeks of no or limited use of my voice. As already noted above, this has proven much more difficult than it sounds.

I am still rather nervous to see what I might sound like in the weeks and months to come, but I had to take a chance on this and role the dice.

While I make no secret of who I am or the life I’ve lived, the thought of being able to move about in the world without being outed every time I open my mouth has massive appeal.

I have family and friends in the Deep South, the land of Trump and confederate flags, a part of the country largely not considered friendly to those in my community. I hope that this procedure may one day permit me to visit my loved ones without the fear of putting their safety or my own at risk.