Respecting Transgender Players

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Thomas White Foster

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As our community grows, it is important to discuss this topic of respect and how to respect transgender individuals. It is especially important since it is evident that our community is diverse with all kinds of gender identities. Many use roleplay as an outlet to escape the transphobia of this world, and we want to make sure they feel safe in our community. Whether it's the topic of respecting pronouns or how to correct yourself after misgendering someone, it is important to discuss this type of thing.

- Respecting Pronouns -


This is simple. If someone tells you their proper pronouns, use them! Purposefully misgendering someone or not putting effort into correcting yourself is just rude. There's no benefit in misgendering someone.

This includes they/them pronouns. I mean, come on, the singular "they" pronoun has been in use since the 1300s! It was even added to the Marriam-Webster dictionary as a singular pronoun. It's not that difficult to use they/them pronouns. People have been using them forever, it's nothing new.

- Derogatory Words/Phrases -

TW: This may include language that may trigger some.

There are a lot of derogatory words/phrases against transgender people other than the t-slur. Using phrases like He-She, She-He, GirlBoy, BoyGirl, It, etc. is unacceptable. Calling transpeople "traps" are unacceptable and it is stating that the person is only dressing up as a female or male in order to trick and prey on others.


(scroll down on this website to see more phrases and words that can be hurtful to the trans community)

Words hurt more than you think.

- How to avoid misgendering someone -


"The first step is unlearning all the socially coded behaviors we have when it comes to using gendered language in everyday conversations, which is no small task. Basically, never assume anyone’s gender. We’re conditioned to greet people as “sir” or “ma’am,” to refer to them by whatever we automatically assume their pronouns to be when talking to other people. Instead, get in the habit of using gender neutral pronouns with every new person you encounter"

I know a lot of people are accustomed to using "maam" and "sir", which is perfectly fine. Possibly instead, you could use those neutral terms until you learn which they prefer. Just a little bit of effort can go a long way.


- What do if you misgender someone on accident? -

As a transgender person, I get misgendered DAILY. and I mean in my own home, in local shops, and even while in roleplay. I get misgendered accidently in game, in streams, and OOC. But, I have learned that mistakes happen. I don't sound like the typical man everyone is accustomed to. The voice is probably the first thing people notice about others. But after a while, it can become exhausting, especially if someone makes a big deal out of it and continues to joke about it.


"The best way to handle the situation is to apologize, correct yourself, and never do it again. This applies whether you realize your own mistake or if that person corrects you. Please do not turn your apology into a monologue or use it as an opportunity to proclaim your support for trans people. Misgendering happens most often in public/social situations, and they’re already embarrassing enough without you creating a spectacle."

DON'T
"She, OH I mean He, sorry I am trying to get used to it"
or
"He, OH I mean She, you still sound like a man, sorry"

DO
"She, sorry, He..."

Just as simple as that. If you misgender someone, correct yourself and move on with the conversation. If someone corrects you on their pronouns, Thank them, correct yourself, and move on.

"She.."
"I use he/him pronouns"
"Thank you, He..."

- What can I do if someone misgenders someone else? -

As an ally, it is important to make sure people are not misgendering someone behind their back. Don't be afraid to speak up and correct someone, but also don't speak over a transgender person if they took it upon themselves to correct the situation. Correcting a misgendering can be exhausting for a transgender person, especially since most of us experience it everyday. Listen to your transgender friends and make sure they are comfortable.


-

Feel free to add any of your thoughts and experiences in this thread. Remember, this is a community and a family and we are here to make sure you feel safe in this server. Speak up to staff if you ever feel uncomfortable or targeted, while IC or OOC.


Much Love!
 

Fox Alvarez

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Jun 8, 2020
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Ahhhh I love this! This post speaks lots. Thank you for writing this Thomas.
I have been misgendered a few times but I usually correct others politely and tell them appropriate gender pronouns go by
I'm a Transmale but my voice is still high pitched, which can't do anything about it.
So people accidentally call me she/her on accident and I usually quickly say He/Him politely.​
 

Varun Torino

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Thank you so much for making this post for the community @Thomas Foster

This is all incredibly frowned on in-game, to purposely make fun of a person's voice based on the gender someone identities as. It will more often than not end very poorly for you. OOC I have seen multiple times staff notifying us in discord. It is highly promoted that you open a ticket and talk with staff. if you ever experience these things. This community is thriving on the inclusion of all people.

Trans Rights are Human Rights.
 

Dawson McGath

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Small things like simple pronoun corrections go a long way. I have a lot of anxiety about my voice and the way I sound so people at least trying to correct their vocabulary gives me some hope.

Keep in mind, trans folks have been around longer than you think. In the 1870s-1890s, many trans folks traveled west to start new lives as they wanted to live.
Some trans men were famous outlaws and "lady killers" cause if someone tried to give them lip about who they were, simply fixed that lip with a bullet.
Even further into history up to today, Native Americans have had their version of trans folks called Two Spirits. The term is modern (1990) but they have existed long before any of us came along.
I will always be grateful for this community and how us of the trans community are included in it.
 

Raela

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Small things like simple pronoun corrections go a long way. I have a lot of anxiety about my voice and the way I sound so people at least trying to correct their vocabulary gives me some hope.

Keep in mind, trans folks have been around longer than you think. In the 1870s-1890s, many trans folks traveled west to start new lives as they wanted to live.
Some trans men were famous outlaws and "lady killers" cause if someone tried to give them lip about who they were, simply fixed that lip with a bullet.
Even further into history up to today, Native Americans have had their version of trans folks called Two Spirits. The term is modern (1990) but they have existed long before any of us came along.
I will always be grateful for this community and how us of the trans community are included in it.
Yes, trans folks have existed for a long time! And the binary concept of gender was not a thing in many Native tribes, and I currently know quite a few gender queer Indigenous people.
 

Emily McNeil

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Sep 2, 2020
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As a Transwoman myself, I was and am honestly shocked by the sheer number of trans folk on this server. It's something I never would have expected. To see so many people that I share so much in common with, in the same place, I never would have expected it in a million years. It's absolutely positively uplifting, heartwarming, and amazing. And I fully stand by everything said here. Finally, @Thomas Foster , I assume based on everything you said that you're a Transman. I never would have known to be honest. I've known many guys that don't have the standard deeper pitch. It happens a lot. I honestly thought you were Cis.
 
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Kate Michaels

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Jan 8, 2021
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This is the thread that convinced me to apply to be whitelisted, which happened a few hours ago.

I'm a trans woman, and if you're reading this then I won the emotional battle over clicking the 'Post reply' button. It wasn't easy. I'm not used to being out; up until now I've stuck to text RP online. I've only used VOIP in one previous community, and being constantly misgendered there was just heart-breaking. I live in the UK, and gender services here are chronically underfunded. I've been on a waiting list for years and vocal training is still a distant prospect, so the idea that there's a roleplaying community in which I can be accepted is just... well. It means a great deal, and I haven't even met any of you yet.

Being trans but not out is like the ultimate in roleplaying. To me it's like wearing a costume, someone else's identity. I can't take it off, however much I want to claw my way out. You see, I learned as a child that I had to suppress the natural way I acted, the way I spoke, everything, replace it all with something more boyish, more "acceptable" to be able to live without bullying, to fit in. I eventually learned to pass as a guy so well and it's been habit for so long, it's going to take me a long time to unlearn it. I love roleplaying because, weirdly, taking on the role of someone else lets me be truer to myself.

In an effort to make myself more comfortable using voice (and in an effort to sound at least slightly similar to my character), I've bought a license for a voice changer and played around with it for a while. I know that strictly speaking this isn't necessary, but it's more for me than anyone else. It's not a massive change to how I usually sound - change things too much and it's like listening to autotuning, super obvious - but I think it'll help me actually speak up with at least some semblance of the confidence of the character I've written.

Anyway. Thank you so much for this thread, thank you for being a community in which this thread can exist, and thank you especially, beautiful people, for being a community in which I think I can exist.
 

Nicholas Carter

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I literally just came upon this post browsing the forums, but I'm glad it was made. I actively work to properly identify anyone that I interact with, whether it be in game or in real life, and Nick is also quick to jump up and correct someone if they incorrectly refer to someone's gender. I always conduct it in a polite and respectful manner, as well. Every now and then I'll wait to see if the person will do it themselves, but if they seem uneasy or something, then I get involved.

We're in 2021 now. Hate, bullying, and all that sort of stuff needs to stop. Leave it at the door before you enter a room. Leave it on the dock before entering a town. Hell, leave it buried in the ground, and just enjoy life alongside your fellow men, women, transgender, and anything else that someone identifies as. Unless they're Necromorph's. In which case.. kill 'em. Ain't havin' no alien outbreak.
 

Addison Flanagan

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Thank you for this post and including tips on how to handle accidental misgendering. It's almost a daily occurance when I'm playing that someone will call me "sir" or "he" because of my voice, then when corrected make a big scene about it or say things like "OH I didn't know - I thought it was a man talking".
 

Mato Ptecila

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Nov 14, 2019
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Not many people know, I've only told people within the Arikoan tribe and others that have asked, but I am a trans man. Six years on HRT, and working towards getting the surgeries necessary to ensure my body looks like how I feel. I don't know how many times I had to break character with Mato - who does not trust Addison a lick despite trying to work with the government (before my RedM decided to GFX State Error me into oblivion)-, to tell people off regarding them poking fun at her voice, or making inherently transphobic comments thinking that I was going to laugh it off and agree with it.

No. That's not acceptable. It's never acceptable. Humanity, regardless of gender fluidity, is made up of many different kinds of men and many different kinds of women. I met women with deep voices who were born that way, I met men who had light, stereotypically feminine voices. There's no excuse for this kind of behavior. Point blank, period.

With that being said, I will continue to break character to shut that shit down, and happily do so.

Now on to the point. I'm going to take the bullets and add my own personal advice to them:


- Respecting Pronouns -

This is the easiest thing to do. "I identify as he/him, she/her, them/there, etc" The only response to that should be "Okay." You do not have to understand or agree with someone to show the minimum ounce of respect a life deserves. As the OP had stated, being Trans is nowhere near a new concept. Many, many cultures regarded gender neutral or gender divergent people as divine or spiritual because of such things. Throughout history the changes came not only with widespread religious assimilation, but cultural changes that were inspired by these religious infiltrations and otherwise.

If you expect respect from other people, give respect to other people. None of that pseudo-machismo "I only respect people who earn it". That helps no one, and has done no good. Hollywood movies that use this as a plot device should not be viewed as something that's worthy of emulating.

- Derogatory Words/Phrases -

There are many. Traps, Tranny, c--tboy, dickgirl, etc. If you're using porn terms to regard someone as, you're probably doing it wrong. Hell, porn 90 percent of the time is not a good interpretation of trans people as a whole. However, it doesn't have to be singular statements and epithets. Derogatory statements regarding a trans person's sanity, or implying that they are mentally infirm or insane when there is little evidence to prove that it's an actual mental disorder in the same light as schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder.

The most harmful argument that is done in bad faith is that because Gender Dysphoria is a diagnosis and it regards how someone mentally and emotionally identifies themselves, one should be treated to curtail those thoughts with therapy and medication discouraging it rather than prescribing Hormone Therapy and operations to allow them to live comfortably. This goes on the same thought that brought along Homosexual Conversion Therapy and other Conversion methods to do away with "unsavory thoughts."

As stated above. You don't have to understand it, but you can still give a living thing respect.

- How to avoid misgendering someone -

This... is where the most people lose their collective minds when trying to speak about the issue in any way. It's usually where I lose people. Our society uses gender conforming formal titles, such as Mister, Missus, Miss, et cetera. That is something that has been in place for hundreds upon hundreds of years. Asking people to just drop it is going to bring up the wall for people- especially older people- who are trying to take the steps to learn.

The best way that I can suggest doing this, is when I meet someone, I use the proper greeting of the day such as "Good morning/afternoon/evening", and ask them their name. At that point, if it's a formal setting, I ask how they wish to be addressed. Sometimes they'll say Mister or Miss, other times they'll give something else. Use that formal address. It's that simple. I personally say they until I get a confirmation on how they identify from -them-. I don't take other people's words for it, I take theirs. Theirs is the only one that matters.


- What do if you misgender someone on accident? -

If you misgender someone on accident, don't make a huge deal about it. That causes more issues for the person as usually the reaction is 'Oh my god I'm so sorry HE/SHE'. Best thing you can do is look directly after them once it occurs and you catch yourself, or you are corrected is offer an apology- a sincere one, and continue with the correct pronoun. IT can be as simple as "I apologize, -pronoun-". Also, don't get irritated if you get corrected. It's not an affront to you or a desire to embarrass you. It's the practice of reinforcing a change. Also, don't blow it off as if your mistake is "no big deal" or "You didn't mean it like that". It absolutely is a big deal, as you have no idea who is listening to that conversation and who has less than harmless intentions for the person you call your friend.

I have been in a few dangerous situations because I was misgendered in a place that was not the best place to be misgendered at. I've had people follow me to the bathroom after I've been misgendered. I've been dragged out of bathrooms after being misgendered. If you act like you don't care about your mistake, people WILL think you don't give a damn if your friend gets beaten in a back alley.

- What can I do if someone misgenders someone else? -

It's best to read the intent. If someone slipped up, and the person they are referring to hasn't corrected them themselves? Correct the person that made the mistake. HOWEVER. Do NOT ever do this with the person's family. EVER. EVER. If you don't know they've come out to their family yet, do NOT out them to family. Support them in private after the fact- or ask them before a gathering you're invited to if they are out to their family.

However, if someone is obviously doing it to be derogatory? Be firm, stern, and defend your friend, or the person being harassed, even if they are there to defend themselves as well. Your back up and support of them in that stressful moment for them will mean so much more than what you would think.



A note, however: Being an ally doesn't mean you just defend your friends. Being an ally means you step up to the plate and put yourself between people you don't even know to defend someone who is being harassed. A cute tweet going #LGBTQALLY or a statement on facebook regarding your support means nothing if you look away when it's actively happening in front of you.
 

Addison Flanagan

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I don't know how many times I had to break character with Mato - who does not trust Addison a lick despite trying to work with the government (before my RedM decided to GFX State Error me into oblivion)-, to tell people off regarding them poking fun at her voice, or making inherently transphobic comments thinking that I was going to laugh it off and agree with it.
I did not realize this was happening behind my back..
 

Louis McFarlane

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Sheriff's Office East
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Jun 30, 2020
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I suppose it's time I chimed in, and touch on some voice things.

As many people know already, I'm trans (he/him, never they or she). Ive been in transition, medically, for 5 years. I'm a late bloomer (some of us are), so I had lived 30 years one way before affirming myself.

One of the biggest things I want to address is voice. In a community like this, where we rely primarily on vocal RP, it can be daunting. We definitely hear the comments of "You sound like a woman/man". Ive been misgendered a few times, IC and OOC.

Start letting go of the notion of "This voice doesn't fit this character."

My first weeks in the community, I resolved to playing a younger character because it was flat out said "I won't respect a character whos voice doesn't match what I'm seeing."

I wish I could remember, now, who said it. I doubt they're around any longer.

But, because of this, I had it in my head that I was stuck to 1 role: A younger character. That, if I chose to play a big burly dude, with my voice, it'd break someone's immersion.

As for correcting on misgendering, ill somewhat echo whats already been said.

I'd much rather hear "Oh, I'm sorry, sir" than "Oh, im sorry, sir, I thought I heard a woman's voice".

Correct yourself, apologize, move on.

Something also to note, swinging wildly into another topic: the trans experience is different for everyone. We don't all follow the same path, the same identifiers, the same outcome or goals.

But we do all ask for respect, patience, and understanding.
 

Mato Ptecila

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But, because of this, I had it in my head that I was stuck to 1 role: A younger character. That, if I chose to play a big burly dude, with my voice, it'd break someone's immersion.
I always found this odd. When I was a powerlifter in High school, some of the most burly, gigantic dudes were the most soft spoken and good-hearted people I've ever met. Because the high school teams did not really have a means to have the sport set up, we would compete through the USAPL, and in turn, we would compete alongside adults that were national and world champions in the same event. The fact that it would "break someone's immersion" to play a soft spoken or lighter-voiced burly man is just them holding onto a rather toxic and unrealistic stereotype.

However, I also understand the problem with it, because I stopped playing my character that was meant to be a sheriff because I got so man 'HAHA Are you really a woman with that voice?" Etc. Simply because it was beginning to push my character in a direction that he ICly wouldn't take. My OOC reaction is to just Twisted Tea a transphobe, Dalton's IC reaction would NOT be that.
 

Addison Flanagan

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I've been thinking about this for a little bit and decided I should say something.
@Mato Ptecila
I don't know how many times I had to break character with Mato - who does not trust Addison a lick despite trying to work with the government (before my RedM decided to GFX State Error me into oblivion)-, to tell people off regarding them poking fun at her voice, or making inherently transphobic comments thinking that I was going to laugh it off and agree with it.
While I appreciate you sticking up for me in these situations - I really don't think you needed to single me out and talk about the countless times people have made fun of me behind my back. I didn't need or want to know that. All that did was hurt my feelings and make me more self conscious completely unnecessarily. Especially given how I've talked many times on how sensitive I am about my voice - including in this thread. It would have been just as easy to keep it vague and not name names if you felt you had to bring up these encounters.

Please consider that in the future.
 
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Louis McFarlane

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Sheriff's Office East
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Jun 30, 2020
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I'm sad to say I witnessed a lot of really poor handling in regards to self-education and self-correcting lately in WWRP.

For privacy, I will not name names, as this isn't the place, but I WILL remind people the best way to handle these situations when you're corrected about someone's pronouns.

DO NOT:
"I just always say man/boy/he, I'm stupid."
"I call everyone him"
"Oh, I couldn't tell."

THE BEST way to correct yourself is simply:

"I'm sorry, (correct pronoun)" ie "I'm sorry, (she)" or "Right, she (and finishing your statement)."

Don't argue or make excuses when you're corrected. Thank them, and move on.

Thank you, and please keep standing up as allies when you see this behavior.
 

Josie Erickson

Ayaya Intensifies!
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Apr 20, 2020
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This is a great post Thomas! Thank you for writing this up.

I think, together, as a community we can not only self-correct, but correct others who do this. Do not fear correcting someone when they misgender another, if they continue, report them. We cannot allow it to slip idly by. I know I will not stand for it.
 

Rose LaBelle

Cowpoke
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Mar 1, 2020
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I suppose it's time I chimed in, and touch on some voice things.

As many people know already, I'm trans (he/him, never they or she). Ive been in transition, medically, for 5 years. I'm a late bloomer (some of us are), so I had lived 30 years one way before affirming myself.

One of the biggest things I want to address is voice. In a community like this, where we rely primarily on vocal RP, it can be daunting. We definitely hear the comments of "You sound like a woman/man". Ive been misgendered a few times, IC and OOC.

Start letting go of the notion of "This voice doesn't fit this character."

My first weeks in the community, I resolved to playing a younger character because it was flat out said "I won't respect a character whos voice doesn't match what I'm seeing."

But, because of this, I had it in my head that I was stuck to 1 role: A younger character. That, if I chose to play a big burly dude, with my voice, it'd break someone's immersion.

As for correcting on misgendering, ill somewhat echo whats already been said.

I'd much rather hear "Oh, I'm sorry, sir" than "Oh, im sorry, sir, I thought I heard a woman's voice".
THIS. I always try to tell people when roleplaying that we are not our characters specifically. We PLAY them. Bringing characters and worlds to life is why I adore roleplay. :).

I personally RP a female even though I'm male in real. Just because it's fun to do. Because thats why we're ALL here, to just... Have Fun. :D.

Shine Bright. Always. Stay you. Always.
 

Annabel Bartholomew

Traveler
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Mar 25, 2020
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Another “T” here, M2F for about the last 12 years; hormones and all. Started voice RP about 3 or so years ago on Arma 3 on a Russian STALKER server, but at first I decided to roll a male character because I was just too self-conscious of my voice, but I really preferred to play a female character… especially due to the fact that the server had like 1 female for every 50 males.. Seemed like someone should help with that balance. But I couldn't get myself to do it; thing is the issue of voice affected me IRL too, I always had to strain my voice; make it a bit squeakier - slightly less pleasant but also slightly higher-pitched (up to the point where it doesn’t sound fake or absurd). I got better with it over time, just a matter of practice I guess. I believe many other transgenders have that, a 'trained voice', a way that they speak that isn't their natural voice but rather the voice that makes them comfortable speak in public that almost becomes a second nature. Still, it wasn't perfect and it required extra energy to speak with a trained voice. I hated talking on the phone, talking during meetings at work and just to sound off my voice in general. I always felt very conscious about it even though by and large it seemed I was doing 'okay'; it was exhausting, mostly mentally… I’d have killed for a natural female voice. Seemed like the issue haunted me at every corner and voice RP servers were the least of my concerns, but it actually may have helped push me over the edge. About 2 years ago I actually went ahead and got vocal surgery. It didn’t magically turn my voice into a natural female voice and I wasn’t allowed to talk for almost a month after the surgery which was hell. I [still] need to cope with the hoarseness the surgery introduced (they told me I need to practice a lot to get rid of it, I probably don't practice as much). The bright side though is that a year after it did increase my pitch and made it more naturally feminine and I don’t have to strain my voice much. I started feeling much more comfortable doing basic things like talking on the phone and just talking in general. And, yes, that gave me the confidence to play female characters in RP servers. I admit, it was fun playing on a server with a 1-50 ratio, I got a lot of attention and freebies :p wasn’t the same here, too many females already. Blah.

As for the topic,
First off, thank you for making it. As you can see it’s an issue very dear to my heart, I’m even working that in for my next youtube video about voice vs text. I agree and support the comments about respecting pronouns, the do and don’t list.

While it’s good to raise awareness, something also has to be said about effort, trying not to break the immersion and trying not be too jarringly off with your voice. While I don’t think you should be limited to your voice, if you are moving far outside the range of your voice for a character (typically it’s only an issue with role-playing opposite gender, or rather, role-playing a gender that doesn’t match your voice) then at the very least put in the extra effort. Just like transgenders have a 'trained voice', you can have a 'trained voice' for your character. In more blunt terms, I personally much rather hear a fake pitch, whether low or high, because I know the player is making an effort; they’re playing something very outside the range of their voice which is very brave and difficult - and I very much respect that.