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Voice Feminization / Therapy for a Transgender in Transition

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I have had some voice feminization cases in the past. Not wanting to pass up a challenge or a learning experience, these clients with me to learn how to speak more feminine. Here are some techniques and ideas I have used to assist this kind of client.

1). We phonate in semi-occluded phonations as I would with any singing student in an effort to lift the larynx and get out of a "bottom-up", throaty phonation.

2). We have identify the optimal pitch range for a woman to speak in vs a man. I believe we settle on pitches slightly below middle C. We focus around 180-220Hz.

Place your fingers on your throat lightly, feel where the Adam's Apple is. Swallow, feel how it goes far up, then down. Learning how to shift it upwards and backwards while talking is the key to successful voice feminization.

3). I have encourage clients to read while phoning a slightly higher pitch around the optimal feminine speaking pitch range.

4). I have address the prosodic issues of feminine inflections, (speaking rate, inflection, pauses), which can be a bit unsettling for me to demonstrate, but thats what I have to do. Essentially, trying speak like a woman.

Things that help make a voice feminine:

Pitch - Feminine voices are higher; this may be the most important concern. Pitch Range Men tend to be more monotone, varying the pitch helps feminize the voice.

Speech Rate - Men typically speak at a steady rate, while women tend to speak in shorter bursts followed by pauses.

Tag Questions - Example: "It's a beautiful day, isn't it?" A man, on the other hand, would be more likely to simply declare, "It is a beautiful day."

Supportive environment - As with any skill, speaking with a feminine voice may be easier without the stress of extreme consequences for failure (for example, being identified as a transsexual by someone to whom one is not out.) Additionally, opportunities to use the feminine voice in conversational situations (as opposed to speech-therapeutic ones) may be helpful in polishing the skill.


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