September 2021 marked one year since I underwent voice feminisation surgery with Mr Al Yaghchi and I wanted to share my experiences to help others who might be considering the procedure.
I have always suffered from dysphoria in relation to my voice. This is something I got around by trying to live my life as quietly as possible.
Voice feminisation surgery was always something I had considered. I even booked in with a couple of surgeons but things never progressed beyond that. Then Lockdown happened and I suddenly had the time and enough funds to seriously consider it. I came across Mr Al Yaghchi, and the results on the website were so good that I decided to take the plunge.
I opted for Mr Al Yaghchi’s adapted version of Wendler’s Glottoplasty, which meant I could be in and out in a day. Everything went really smoothly, the staff were great making me feel completely at ease, and I was up and about in no time.
I must admit that following my surgery I did suffer from some anxiety and dysphoria, especially during the six months after the procedure while my voice was still settling down. I knew it would take time but on some days, when I sounded a bit deeper than usual, I would find myself resorting to old habits to artificially raise my pitch. This would result in a nasal tone, which didn’t do me any favours.
A big part of the process for me was letting go of the techniques I had learned through voice therapy – which had become a bit of a safety blanket. I knew that in order to hear the full effects I had to go with it and learn to speak naturally, easier said than done when you’ve worked so hard your whole life to mask the way you sound.
Around March 2022, things began to fully settle into the voice I have today. My pitch can still fluctuate. If I have a cold or hay fever for example, it’s about 20Hz deeper, which is the same as it is for anyone else, and still within regular levels for a cisgender female. Randomly, it went higher when I got Covid! However, I have come to realise that that’s absolutely normal and I’m learning to not be overly concerned by this anymore, and not to obsessively use voice assessment apps to constantly monitor my pitch!
I always hoped that having a voice which matches my appearance would change my life for the better, but there’s always the fear that it won’t quite work out as well as you hope. I am happy to say that, in my case, voice feminisation surgery has far exceeded my expectations. My newfound confidence has positively impacted all areas of my life: I got a permanent promotion; I can give presentations at work without even thinking about how I’m perceived; I can answer my phone even if it rings in a busy train, without worrying about people around me (or whoever is on the phone) and what they are thinking. Even being able to answer the door without worrying who is on the other side is liberating! I’ve turned into one of those ghastly chatty people. A positive change for me, perhaps not so much for my husband when he comes home from a 12 hour shift!
Your voice, and how people perceive you as a result, is something that so many people take for granted but for me, it has been both life changing and life saving.