As a voice therapist, speech trainer, and singing voice specialist (preferred pronouns: she/her/hers), I’ve been called upon many times to assist transgender men and women in discovering and stabilizing the voice that conforms with their gender identity. As you will see in this Washington Post article, this is not a quick fix or a one-step process. Unlike the hormones taken by transgender men, the hormones that transgender women take don’t change the voice pitch. This must be done through vocal training.
Not only are physical factors involved, such as speaking pitch, intonation patterns, articulation, tone placement and resonance, there are numerous psycho-social factors in feminine communication style. These may include choice of vocabulary, grammatical style, and use of certain gestures and facial expressions. Even posture, the way you walk or the way you sit figure into the equation. These factors may have been learned at a very young age. In our society, young boys and girls are often expected to conform to certain expected gender-oriented communication patterns. A transgender woman may not even realize that she subconsciously slips back into these long-ago ingrained patterns of communication. In today’s not-always-tolerant society, having a voice that presents as feminine is not only a confidence-builder, it’s also a safety issue. That gender-congruent voice may help to prevent harassment.
This really isn’t just a matter of “speak in a higher voice and you’ll sound feminine”. That could be one part of the total vocal training program for the transgender individual. But so many other facets of communication are key, both verbal and non-verbal. Read more about it in the Post article here. Or, contact us at the Professional Voice Care Center for your individualized transgender voice evaluation and holistic communication training program. Learn how to achieve congruence and authenticity in your communication style, reduce instances of being misgendered, and develop confidence with your new voice. Be affirmed in your gender identity in a safe, welcoming, and authentic space!