Long ago decided my voice was not going to inhibit my transition after coming to the conclusion it was not going to reflect my gender no matter what I did. It was a hard thing to come to terms with as my gender presentation at the time was, lets just say rough, undefined and unrefined. Sounding like a man just did not help.
Even with today’s more inclusive social atmosphere vocal presentation remains an obstacle for many, particularly male to female trans people. For instance, I have a friend who has told me the major issue that is keeping her from fully transitioning is her voice. To me she sounds and looks enviable but it is our own self perception that holds us back after all.
There may be help for the vocally insecure as there are people who are studying this issue. Given time and effort who knows what might be possible? Yesterday I was contacted by Stefanie Hays, a graduate student at Louisiana State University who’s conducting a study which could lead to drastic improvements in our lives.
She explained “I’m doing a research project about attitudes and perceptions about voice among people who identify as trans. The speech/voice field has done some previous research about trans voice, but hasn’t traditionally (received) a lot of input from the trans community itself. I’m hoping to start addressing that problem through a research project, using an online survey.”
This survey was designed to collect information about personal satisfaction with voice, how voice impacts the participant’s life, what (if anything) the participant has done to change their presentation of gender vocally, and overall satisfaction with those procedures or behaviors. The results will be published in my master’s thesis.
I just finished the ten minute survey. She has included all of her contact information including the supervising professors phone number. Of course you are free to opt out at any point during the survey.