The way we speak plays a significant role in how the world perceives us and how we see ourselves. There is no set standard of masculinity and femininity. Yet, certain qualities of voice and speech are considered more masculine, while others are considered more feminine.
Irrespective of your gender identity, you may have a dream to sound or speak a certain way. It does not have to fall under the conventional norms of genders. However, to achieve these voice qualities, you will need to work hard and train your voice with a speech-language pathologist specializing in gender-affirming voice training in a way that’s safe for your vocal cords and mental health.
You may find it necessary to alter the way you sound to match your true self. To bolster your self-esteem, confidence, and comfort, you should always speak to a licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP) who has first-hand experience in working with transgender, agender, or genderqueer individuals.
Here are some of the questions you should be asking about gender-affirming voice training.
- What is Gender-Affirming Voice Training?
- Who can attend gender-affirming voice therapy?
- How Does Hormone Replacement Therapy Affect a Person’s Voice?
- What are the Aspects of Communication that can be modified?
- What can I expect in my first session?
- Why is Professional Guidance Recommended?
- What will Gender-Affirming Vocal Training Involve and Look Like?
- How can Stamurai help in Gender Affirming Voice training?
1. What is Gender-Affirming Voice Training?
Gender-affirming voice training is often referred to as voice therapy for trans-gender voice modification. It is a non-surgical process that has helped thousands of people find their voices. It is a training method or intervention that can modify the gendered aspects of someone's voice.
The client and the speech-language pathologist explore the client's gender identity and comfort zones before beginning the voice modification training. Detailed discussions before the actual voice training help the voice specialist understand what kind of vocal characteristics the client desires.
There is no imposition or judgment in the entire gender-affirming vocal training process. The voice specialist strives to ensure that the client achieves the vocal traits that suit their gender identity. Therefore, gender-affirming voice training involves several individualized sessions that help the clients explore their authentic voice qualities and communication skills.
Voice modification training for a gender-diverse person may include exploring and adjusting the pitch, resonance, intonation, syntactical choices, non-verbal communication, and voice quality.
The training process and goals depend entirely on the person's desires and communication necessities. SLPs with experience in gender-affirming voice training can help the clients achieve these goals in a safe environment. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) who specialize in gender-reaffirming voice training have a thorough understanding of voice quality, traits, and physiology. Therefore, you can expect to safely and effectively modify your voice as per your personal preferences.
2. Who can attend gender-affirming voice therapy?
Gender-affirming voice therapy is open to everyone. Anyone with intentions to modify the gendered traits of voice and communication can attend online gender-affirming voice modification.
People across the entire gender spectrum are welcome to partake in Stamurai’s voice training sessions.
Trans-individuals (assigned male-at-birth and assigned female-at-birth), no-binary (enby), bigender, genderqueer, agender, gender non-conforming, multi-gender, and cisgender individuals may seek voice modification therapy online through our cutting-edge platform to adjust specific voice characteristics.
3. How Does Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Affect a Person’s Voice?
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can affect a person’s voice quality. However, it works differently for those receiving testosterone and those on estrogen.
Gender-affirmation voice training is the most common therapy sought by trans individuals who were assigned male-at-birth (AMAB). It is primarily because testosterone and estrogen have vastly different effects on the pitch.
For trans-women, who receive estrogen, their voice pitch remains almost unchanged. It happens since their vocal cords have already been thickened by the action of testosterone in their adolescence. Therefore, trans-women choose non-surgical interventions like gender-affirmation voice training to learn and reinforce gendered qualities of voice that may make them feel more comfortable, confident, and content.
When trans-men choose HRT, they experience thickening of the vocal cords. Testosterone has a masculizing effect on the voice. Trans-men experience the deepening of voice within the first 2 to 5 months of receiving hormone replacement therapy. However, the onset and extent of voice change can vary significantly between individuals. Transmen can also choose to work with a voice specialist. A specialist can help you modify the intonation, articulation, and volume of your voice. You will also learn new ways to deepen the resonance of your voice as and when required.
Irrespective of the duration and nature of your HRT you can speak to a specialist to modify your voice according to your identity.
4. What are the Aspects of Communication that can be modified?
Gender-affirming voice training addresses several aspects of speech and communication, such as pitch, intonation, resonance, language, nonverbal communication, and vocabulary. However, it does not impose the supposition that all men speak in a certain way and women speak in another way.
A professional and trained SLP always is mindful of the fact that there is an entire spectrum of masculine and feminine vocal qualities that anyone can choose to adopt while communicating. Behavioral voice change aims to help you find the vocal qualities that you find most comfortable and authentic for your personality.
You can expect each session to be tailored to meet a personal goal. When you sign up for online speech therapy for gender-affirming voice training, your speech-language pathologist will only focus on the areas you want to modify.
Here are some aspects of voice and communication that may be a part of your gender-affirming voice training goals –
Pitch is the quality of your voice that makes it sound "high" or "low." With daily work and practice you can control and adopt a new pitch that fits your authentic self.
Are you loud or soft? Can you control the resonance of your voice? Or do you desire to change the loudness and softness selectively while you work on the pitch of your voice. Your SLP can work with you to help master resonance and modify it as necessary.
Intonation defines how your voice rises and falls while you speak. It is the melodic quality of your voice, which you can modify to suit your genuine self while working with our SLP.
Non-verbal vocalizations can include yawning, laughing, or even yelping in pain! Our SLPs can help you adopt new nonverbal vocalizations or modify your existing ones as per your desire.
Rate of speech
Your rate of speech is how slowly or quickly you talk.
You may also choose to work on other aspects of communication that include the articulation of certain sounds, modification or expansion of your vocabulary, and altering social pragmatics.
5. What can I expect in my first session?
During your first online speech therapy session with one of our certified and highly experienced SLPs, you can expect discussions on all aspects of your voice that you love and certain elements that you wish to change. The SLP will make detailed notes on the qualities of your voice, such as your current pitch, intonation, resonance, articulation, volume, and speech rate. It is known as voice evaluation, and it will also include tests on how a person's breathing affects their voice.
Assessment of communication skills
The professional will thoroughly assess your spoken and non-spoken communication skills. This step will also help the SLP look at various aspects of your voice that you want to alter.
Identification of goals
The SLP may further talk to you about short-term and long-term goals of gender-affirming voice training and the speech therapy or exercises necessary to achieve them. You can work with the SLP to set up personalized plans that bring you closer to your goals.
6. Why is Professional Guidance Recommended?
Changing how you sound and talk can often be tiring for your vocal cords if not done correctly in absence of expert supervision. Not seeking professional help can lead to long-term damage to the vocal cords. Of course, it can be demotivating.
When you aspire to embrace new vocal qualities, you must work with someone who has extensive knowledge of vocal health and hygiene. Only a trained and experienced professional can help you find your true voice in a healthy and safe environment. While voice training sessions aren't physically painful, they may cause mental stress.
A trained and certified SLP can help you understand your own voice and teach you the techniques of voice training. Before every exercise, you should complete your voice warm-ups to prevent fatigue. An SLP can guide you through a truly transformative experience, at the end of which you will find a voice that you will be using for a lifetime!
7. What will Gender-Affirming Vocal Training Involve and Look Like?
Gender-affirming voice training usually begins as one-on-one sessions. You may need several 30-minutes to 1-hour sessions spread out over a couple of months. Depending on your progress, the SLP may recommend group sessions to practice newly acquired skills during real-world conversations.
The format of these sessions depends on the needs of the client and the methods used by the therapists. The basic types of gender-affirming voice training may include –
Feminizing gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT) uses estrogen, which doesn't alter voice quality drastically. If you are taking GAHT, you may need to work with an SLP to adopt new aspects of vocal communication that you believe are authentic for your personality and gender.
Receiving masculinizing hormone therapy or testosterone will deepen your voice and lower the pitch. You may need to chalk out a plan with your voice trainer that reinforces the lower pitch and assume a slower speech rate.
Androgynous voice training
You may want a voice and qualities that are neither feminine nor masculine. In that case, your SLP will work up another detailed plan that includes both feminizing and masculinizing voice training tailored to meet your needs.
Not all voice training sessions look alike. Your gender-affirming voice training sessions will be tailored to meet your voice needs exclusively.
8. How can Stamurai help in Gender Affirming Voice training?
The Stamurai speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are here to talk to you about your dream voice. You will get the chance to talk at length about what you currently dislike about your voice and what you wish to change. You will work side-by-side with the SLP to create a completely customized plan for gender-affirmation voice training. This is one of the chief reasons why so many people worldwide prefer Stamurai when they are on the lookout for online speech therapy for gender affirming voice training.
Our unique approach offers a safe and judgment-free space for all individuals who want to modify one or more aspects of their voice.
Our SLP will never force you to change your voice or ignore your concerns.
You will receive suggestions and guidance to explore your voice, vocal hygiene, voice physiology, and mindfulness. These sessions will be designed to be wholesome that can aid you to explore your authentic self.