This is a wonderful article about the work that the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in St. Paul is doing. Of course, there is no standard as to what a woman should look or sound like, but I understand how we sound can easily be associated with dysphoria.
When Alice was growing up in the Midwest, she rarely saw her grandmother, who lived on the East Coast. Usually, they’d just keep in touch over the phone.
“Every time I called her in high school, she would say, ‘Oh, your voice is getting deeper, you sound like you’re growing into such a nice man, you’re going to be like your dad,'” Alice said.
Those were painful words to hear. Alice remembers artificially raising the pitch of her voice to thwart her grandmother’s comments.
It wasn’t until years later that Alice realized she was transgender. She started to publicly transition during her senior year in college. She’s 23 now and recently graduated from a speech therapy program that helps transgender people safely adjust how they speak, so they can sound more like themselves.
“I’m at a point where for like 90 plus percent of the time, I’m happy with how I sound and how I’m perceived by other people,” Alice said. “This is something I never expected to be in a position of. And it’s really exciting.”
Vocal training for transgender people is becoming more widely available as the community becomes more visible. But it can be fraught because each individual needs to decide the mannerisms they want to adopt, some of which may be considered stereotypical or even sexist.