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swallow

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Hi Everyone,

 

Don't really know where to post this...🤔

 

I've been so busy the last 3 weeks helping with an Art Fair in LA.😓

 

Its been ups and downs at the job but I was very happy my boss gave me the opportunity since aside from film production, I have zero experience in the Art world.🤫

 

In between, I've almost lost lots of money for her and almost compromised her because I Copied everyone instead of Blind copied.😣

 

But I managed to salvage the situations ...what I'd deem as taking a -crap- and coming out smelling like roses.🤭

 

During the Art show I found I was rather more in my element.😌

 

I was of course still employing a male voice and had soon established an effective control on the floor crew, started to whip things into action albeit still in a gentle non Alpha male feminine lead by example, organize and encourage manner.😊

 

But the girls in the office and everyone still gendered me as male and called me He or Sir.

 

Partly this was because I had told my boss that she should use whatever was more natural in terms of pronouns for both her and everyone-else and not make much issue of it.

 

Of course it still bothered me deep down.😔

 

Anyway come show days I got a bit more bold with my dress sense.

 

I had feminine clothing on the entire pre-production but I shed inhibition and started first to wear a frilly see through black blouse and waist high paperbag Khaki trouser on the first day. I elected for trousers since we went full day and into the night and I needed full mobility across the show floor.

 

But as the show days progress, I was assign partially to a more sedentary paced Door Bitch duty at the VIP lounge for some periods.

 

So I decided it was time for the dresses😬

 

Second day I worse a knee length black dress with tassles down the front and Khaki Maryjanes

 

Third Day I was back in a suit (Female cut)

 

Fourth day I went full Pink to match the Fuschia VIP Lounge with an ode to Molly Ringwold Pretty in Pink (Meets Korean style...as I was told by some Korean Gallerist)

 

Final day I had a deep green long dress with a lime green belt and sneakers plus a Retro short crop sand brown duster jacket.

 

Anyway on that day, I was busy trying to coral people into a talk at an Italian Gallery by a famous Italian Street Artist when my colleagues suddenly called me into the gallery.

 

I was wondering what emergency could have happened this time...

 

...instead the artist then proceeded to point at a new piece of work (Featuring two frogs in suits graffitied)...and then announced that this new work was inspired by me being brave enough to be me.

 

It was rather touching.☺️

 

As the final last days progress, I noticed many of the Gallerist started to refer to me in the feminine as well, with 'What's up girl?" or if I was in with my female colleagues "here come the girls".

 

I even got a bouquet from the Lead painter who bought all the 'girls' flowers🤗

 

Of course there were still some floor crew who preferred to address me as "Sir" even if I was blatantly in a dress but it did not feel purposeful.

 

What to me felt interesting was how things turned when I forced the issue with the dresses.

 

I don't think my female colleagues were expecting me to come in in dress.

 

There was all their pre-opening night chatter about what they were each going to wear for the event but I wasn't asked and felt somewhat excluded.🙄

 

That I chose to wear blouse and pants kept any issue with me under lid.

 

But you should have seen the reaction the next day when I swooped in (all natural) in my black dress.

 

To her credit the floor boss immediately greeted me with "And how are you today girl?"

 

Anyway I seem to have made a mark on the little event with my dressing. Apparently I am more than on point and they loved the colour combinations felt I brought a spark to the proceedings.

 

Inside, I just felt I was being myself really. I would have liked to have had a more female range voice but I had been working with these people before meeting them in person over the phone in male voice so was unsure if I wanted to go female voice and throw such a strong curve ball at them (make it an unnecessary other issue from the work)

 

But they must have had somewhat of a shock anyway when they first met me in person with my long hair and quite obvious female clothing.😁

 

You should have seen the looks when I walked the floor in dresses.

 

Hopefully this is a positive strike for us all? I like to think so. Small steps forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Forum Moderator

Congrats @swallow, It just goes to show you that as you become more comfortable with yourself, others around you follow suit.

 

I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of many more wonderful and exciting things to come. The art sector is a very affirming bunch overall. I am so happy for you and this confidence building experience you had. Thank you for sharing this uplifting update with us and may you have many more like it!

 

All My Best,

Susan R🌷

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  • Admin

As another California Girl, our arts community is really a cool group of people as far as gender and acceptance things go, and they have eyes for appreciating us.  There are many Trans and Enby artists as well who put their stuff out for people to see and the artists to be seen themselves.  Sounds like you fit in with the group, and the ones I know in person are all so sweet and encouraging that you simply feel at home and completely natural.  Best of luck.

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Many thanks...

 

Well...the art people were one thing but the production work crew and builders were another thing altogether.

 

I was a little nervous with them at first. Groups of men huddling around male chatter rather than working.🤨

 

And i think they were also understandably somewhat nervous with me.

 

But I think I carried on and issued efficient dissemination of orders and they took to me at least in terms of work efficiency.

 

The gender question became somewhat irrelevant as we managed to get the job done together regardless.🙂

 

As they saw instructions from me led to things getting done, I think all other questions with regard my gender were less of an issue.

 

At wrap of show one of them (A sweet gentleman from Belize) was dismantling an entire wall of beer can 12 feet high by himself...I offered to help him by getting on the ladder to pass down the cans higher up and speed up his process but he declined.

 

In some sense, they would not let me do the heavy lifting (Sexist)🤭

 

But also maybe he was afraid I would give him an unwanted upskirt since I was in my frock.😅

 

 

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21 minutes ago, swallow said:

Hopefully this is a positive strike for us all? I like to think so. Small steps forward.

My heart went thump thump when I read this! Loved it! One "small" step for Swallow, one giant leap for me!!!! Maybe one day, soon! For new I'm happy "being me" in groups out in public or on zoom. I'm a known entity to hundreds of folks in these groups, and I'm gradually metamorphosing, so I don't think it will come as a surprise to anyone when my attire gradually changes to fit the contours of my body and my mannerisms. Kind of like an adolescent, coming of age, I guess. 

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Hi Aggie,

 

Absolutely.

 

I sent some pics to my sis.

 

I've been on hormones for two months almost and she was curious. She mentioned I look shaplier (Is this even a word)🤔

 

I mean the only thing that is outing me at the moment is the obvious male voice I employ

 

I don't think I look out of place with the girls if I kept my mouth shut...but I can't.🤭

 

So next step is to attempt to work on the voice again.

 

I'm fairly neutral in mannerisms, feminine in looks but masculine in voice.

 

Luckily for this show I found an entire women's bathroom on an upper level that was empty so I had it all to myself.🤫

 

...otherwise I was worried about ruffling feathers in both camps as most of us are familiar with...😬

 

Just trying to be oneself and not affect others is such a hard thing.

 

I think the extra tipping point going full dress just helped them to decide how to take me in.

 

As the street artist said, being honest with how you see yourself and comfortable with your dress/expression is everything.😌

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  • Forum Moderator

The art community in our area is extremely accepting as well.  When i was first coming out i had a show at a local co-op gallery.  I was accepted with open arms by almost everyone with the exception of a fundamental christian.  

I'm glad you were able to express yourself and find such sweet acceptance.   Voice can be difficult but we can be ourselves regardless.

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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12 hours ago, swallow said:

 

I mean the only thing that is outing me at the moment is the obvious male voice I employ

 

I don't think I look out of place with the girls if I kept my mouth shut...but I can't

I’ve been working on mine for a few months. I was very worried about this for a while. I give talks and am on video calls almost every day. I’ve been practicing forward resonance, feeling the vibration in the face, mouth, tongue and lips when I talk. It helps if my resting face is in a position ready to say EEEEE. With my face in that position, not only do I look like I’m happy, but the darker vowels tend to come out a bit brighter. I also have started using subtle movements of my lips to form words and trying to feel the resonance that far forward. It forces me to soften some of the more gutteral sounds. It’s a very subtle change. Putting more weight on my toes to increase pitch for instance forces the diaphragm to engage. 

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When trying to determine if your voice is working look to people you don't know like store clerks and such.  Do you get the reaction you expect (none actually!)  People that are familiar with you won't hear any change.  My mother comments about my voice, but she's known and heard me for a very long time.  Plus I think inflection is almost more important than tone.  There are many women with male sounding voices, whether from age, medication, or smoking.  We also tend to be larger bodied and its rare to hear a big person with a high pitched voice, in my experience.

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Hi Aggie and Jani,

 

Mine is a Psychological issue because I can do it.

 

But I need to convince myself I look the part first.🤨

 

With the hormones, I'm beginning to come around to self acceptance that I do pass enough 'deserve' also employing a more congruent vocal range.

 

I don't think people know what to make of me when currently I appear in Women's clothing but since I am wearing trousers, they may feel I am somewhere in between.

 

One (and only) weird interaction at the show when in capacity as the door bitch was with an older Asian Artist who came up and asked me if I was one of those undecided types or if I was trying to look like a display for the show.😏

 

I took it with a pinch of salt that some of it may have been lost in translation and told him I wasn't sure what he meant but I am unsure about nothing and I am certainly available for display and ornament to any gallery who would like me to.☺️

 

It was an awkward parting thereafter. as he quietly went along to purchase his drink.🤭

 

But I think since I don't nominally declare who I am unless someone asks the right questions (The Army Don't ask Don't tell approach) then people tend to assume maybe I am on the fence and still use the 'He' pronounce' since my voice is the dead giveaway.

 

It was only when I employed full assemblage of female attire (Mind you I did not put on any makeup) that they then decided I was perhaps sending strong signal that I was in the female end of things.

 

I don't feel I will still be accepted as fully female but the treatment thereafter addressing me in female pronouns more and getting the same treatment as the other girls was rather encouraging.😊

 

 

 

 

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My voice is my give away too. Well, that and being 6' 1"! I begin voice therapy next week. Luckily, I have a moderate pitch. Thank for sharing your stories of your art world experiences.

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50 minutes ago, swallow said:

Mine is a Psychological issue because I can do it.

 

But I need to convince myself I look the part first.🤨

 

With the hormones, I'm beginning to come around to self acceptance that I do pass enough 'deserve' also employing a more congruent vocal range

That is my issue too!  The first month was "who do i think i'm kidding!" The next few months were "I like the way I feel". A couple months later I'm "I'm starting not to care what anybody thinks." Now, I'm more like "Everybody I know seems to like me. Only one person has had a strong negative reaction sufficient to unfriend me from Facebook, (but still willing to meet for coffee to talk about stuff). I can get stuff done just as well (maybe even better than before I retired). My technical skills are just as sharp, and I can do a better job pulling people together than ever. I feel validated with all my interactions. People instinctively know what's going on, even though I haven't said anything official, except to a small handful." I was a bit self conscious the first 6 months walking my dog in my neighborhood. Now I really don't care what anybody thinks. I just smile sweetly and wave, and engage them in conversation, and they respond in kind. 

 

As @Jani said, inflection is extremely important too, elongating the vowels, turning short words into polysyllables. "H-i-ii-iii" takes me a lot longer to get out now, followed by more words of inquiry, and a little wave, and a wiggle of my fingers, and it feels pleasant and enjoyable, rather than a gruff "Hi". Also, I get more words out on a single breath. 

 

I'm still not brave enough to wear a skirt and heels walking around though. Small steps! I'm thinking when my face is cleared of whiskers? I imagine it would be in the company of other women, to fit in, to feel comfortable? All the women I hang out with in person are members of a walking club, and they all wear track suits, so that's what I wear. I don't want to attract the wrong kind of attention. I'm pretty sure the reason I used to secretly wear female attire was a desire to "fit in" with women (or girls) that I identified with. 

 

I look at Jeopardy Amy (40 game winning streak tonight) and listen to her voice (a bit lower than the normal female range, but unmistakably female in resonance. I think this is definitely achievable for me. It will be a gradual evolutionary process, one little tweak at a time, and then one day, a barrier will be crossed.

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10 hours ago, Erica Gabriel said:

Well, that and being 6' 1"!

Don't let that be an issue.  I'm 6' and I fit in.  When I am grocery shopping I see many women who are tall or taller than I.  Despite them being cool, I avoid heels over 1.5" but mostly because I get wobbly every now and again. 

 

Jani

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Hi Erica,

 

I just walked by two women today who were towering over me. I'm slightly under 5'9 these days... Its not at all uncommon to have tall statuesque women in Cali (ala Sigourney Weaver)🙂

 

Aggie,

 

Most times I feel doing certain things are more for the benefit of others to make them feel comfortable about who I am than anything-else.🤔

 

This especially with the voice.

 

As for the 'whiskers', I totally understand that. I'm not hirsute in the least with negligible to no body hair but today I had to deal with my chin and upper lip, the only place with unwanted hair.🙁

 

I must have tweezed out about 80 pieces of hair. I'm waiting for Electrolysis next. Was going to do this following my recent job (and money) but now I'm stuck with additional bills since someone broke into our apartment garage and smashed one of my windows for chum change and an expired Krispy Kreme Donut card...😠

 

But the real crooks are the insurance company with their $250 deductible and then the increase in my premiums.😤

 

And I have to wait 3 weeks for the glass from the dealer because apparently there is also a supply chain issue for that. I mean, I drive a humble Kia.

 

Cretin Thieves also decided to nick my pair of 10 year old glasses which means I can't drive at night.🤓

 

I'm now driving around at the speed of an old grandmother since the temporary plastic the Glass people put on for me threatens to violently fly off like a kite past 40mph...this isn't terribly appreciated by the average LA driving populace.🙄

 

So I have to spend on glasses tomorrow which takes precedence now over my grand plans to take care of my chin and the landing strip beneath my nose.

 

I'm due to see my doctor next week though and I believe the case officer mentioned she may be able to get me on electrolysis under insurance so am going to ask again.

 

It's the latest bug bear.

 

I told my brother I've noticed my eyelashes have thickened and that my palms are incredibly smooth (I've always done rough things so this is extremely new to me)

 

What I of course neglected to tell him was I am even more sensitive to touch than I already was before.

 

And now I'm sensitive ALL OVER. It can get distracting...🥺

 

So I'm trying to start to align my voice with all these new changes😌

 

And I agree a bit more inflection and gentler tones helps. I was singing along to The Emotions today "The Best of My Love"

 

It really got me in the zone...that it until I realised when buying some succulents at the Home Depot to replace others in my little garden ironically ruined by rare California rain a couple of weeks ago, that I had misplaced my credit card.😮

 

That got me in a tizzy and I went through the emotions of anger, sadness, worry, elation all in half an hour...finally locating the card at Costcos where I had left it at check out...the day before!😅

 

If the emotions I ran thru were not part of hormone side effects, perhaps the absent mindedness is if not for the fact that I'm back to my predictable ditzy self following the focus of work recently.🥴

 

C'est La Vie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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