Interviews

September 2018: 

The Unity of Voice and Identity

An Interview with a 22-Year-Old Transgender Woman

Role and gender expression play out in attire, movement, preferred appearance, body language, and, of course, speech. A transgender woman who is unable to sound the way she wishes to sound may have difficulty making her life align in the way she hopes. The same is true for transgender men.

This interview with a transgender woman was conducted following speech therapy for voice and communication modification, to bring pitch, resonance, intonation pattern, articulation, body language, laughing, and even coughing into alignment with identity.

Cara Bryan

CARA BRYAN:
What has been the most challenging communication attribute to modify?

RESPONSE:
The sense of smallness in my throat required for a more feminine response, what I call a small aperture.

CARA:
What was the most straightforward communication attribute to modify?

 

RESPONSE:
Pitch. I wanted more of an androgynous sounding voice, so changing my pitch was pretty straightforward.

CARA:
How comfortable are you with your feminine/androgynous communication style?

RESPONSE:
Pretty comfortable. There’s more personal work to be done.

CARA:
How long did it take you to feel comfortable using a more feminine/androgynous style?

RESPONSE:
About 3-4 months. Depends on who I am speaking to.

CARA:
Does your communication style align with how you identify?

RESPONSE:
YES!!

CARA:
Would you recommend this therapy to other transgender individuals?

RESPONSE:
Yes, do it.

CARA:
What has the intervention meant to you?

RESPONSE:
It has given me a sense of security with the way I communicate.

CARA:
Has modifying your voice and speech helped with managing dysphoria*?

RESPONSE:
Yes. Before when I would think about what to say, a foreign/alien voice would come out. I don’t feel that way anymore. The voice in my head was not the voice that came out.

CARA:
Any other comments?

RESPONSE:
I learned more than just about voice and speech. I learned a lot about myself and what I actually wanted.

A Note from Cara

What would you do if your voice did not align with your identity? How would it affect your daily interactions? Your self-esteem? Your psychological well-being? Your socialization? Your relationships? Your employment? Your acceptance in society? Your safety?

Many persons in the transgender community suffer with voice and body language that are not congruent with their gender identity. They may already be coping with gender dysphoria, which is the associated stress and anxiety of their identity not aligning with their biological sex.

Help and Support Groups are available!