It’s incredible to me how a song can really change your mood or spark an idea. I have this weird quirk where I often remember the first time I heard a song. For example, the first time I heard “Fly Away” by Lenny Kravitz, I was sitting in traffic with my mum on the QEW somewhere between St. Catharines and Hamilton….wishing I could fly away. “Good Life” by One Republic will always remind me of San Diego. The first time I heard the song on the radio, Megan had just picked me up at the airport for my first visit to California while we were still dating. Coincidentally, the San Diego radio stations play an alternative version of the song that actually mentions San Diego in the lyrics, so it really stuck. “Closer” by the Chainsmokers became my anthem while travelling in England, because I heard it for the first time leaving Heathrow Airport in our rental car. When I hear these songs, and others, I’m immediately transported back to those moments in time.
I’ve always loved music. Yes, I’m that girl you see on the highway dancing and singing in the car. I’ll sing in the shower at home and annoy my co-workers as I break into song randomly throughout the day. I tried playing cello, viola and trombone when I was younger, but I found my true passion through singing.
I joined my first chorus in Grade 5 and stuck with it through various school changes all the way through Grade 12. I made so many close friends and it kept me going when I was struggling with my identity in high school. Of course, when you leave public school, there aren’t a lot of opportunities to sing. One of my favourite hobbies then fell off my radar and I quickly buried it.
This year, I tried out for our local gay men’s chorus. I found a whole new community again, and rediscovered my passion for singing. To be honest, I had known about the group for years, but I was very reluctant to join. I was so worried about my own voice. It’s usually one of the first ways a transwoman can out herself, and there’s nothing hormones can do about it. I finally decided I needed to get involved in the community and I chose to embrace my tenor sound, and I’m so glad I did. Not only did I find a group of people who love to sing like I do, but I found a family who loves me for who I am. When I first introduced myself to the group, I proudly declared to everyone “I’m a transgender woman.” This was so important to me, because this was going to be my family and I wanted to be open and honest from the get-go. The reaction shocked me. There were claps and cheers and smiles from everyone. I still get tears thinking about it.
Just like that, I found my confidence and my singing voice again. I walked in there so shy and unsure of whether I belonged. Sometimes, I still feel like I don’t belong. I am reminded constantly that I have a “man’s voice.” I have to remind myself that it’s a safe space, and I don’t have to hide it. I’m so grateful I could wear a skirt and an ascot in our most recent performances. It means so much to me to have that validation from everyone that I am still a woman. It’s a totally euphoric experience being in front of the crowd on stage, showing off who you really are.
With a few concerts under my belt again, I can definitely say I will continue to sing. If not for myself, but to add my voice to such an amazing group of people who can heal hearts through the power of music.