Texas Tech University has joined other U.S. colleges in offering a workshop to help people “transitioning” to the opposite sex to sound more like their target gender.
The program offers transgender individuals the chance to “work on vocal presentation” with coaching by professional speech pathologists who help them develop the correct pitch and voice qualities that fit with their new gender identities.
Two speech therapists, Angela Van Sickle and James Dembowski, head up the program, which is offered by the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center Speech Language & Hearing Clinic, according to Texas Tech’s website.
In an email to The College Fix, Van Sickle said that the workshop “is for individuals transitioning from male to female or female to male. We focus on voice. We work toward creating a voice that is representative of their gender/sex.”
Most group members are transitioning from male to female, Van Sickle said.
“The ultimate goal is to help those individuals transitioning from male-to-female with their voice. We work on feminine pitch and feminine qualities,” she said.
Voice training for transgender individuals is a growing field, and courses are available online as well as at college campuses.
As one ad for a 30-day “crash course” in voice feminization declares:
“If you’re like most transgender women I know, you’ve spent a lot of time, energy, and money perfecting your feminine image. But your appearance can only take you so far …”
“If you can’t speak like a woman, you’re not going to pass. Period. It’s your VOICE that makes or breaks you as a woman.”
Dressing like a woman and reconstructive surgery are apparently not enough to convince other people of a new female identity, if the all-important voice patterns and timbre are still masculine.
“Will you still be floundering around, wasting time on things that don’t work, experiencing the frustration of being called “sir”, and feeling more and more hopeless about ever being accepted for who you are on the inside?” the ad asks.
Another college to offer a “voice transition” course is the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Quebec’s McGill University, which provides “voice training workshops for transgender communities” aimed at assisting transgender individuals transition to a voice more suited to their new gender identities.
“Each hour-long workshop includes a combination of presentations that introduce the anatomical structure of the voice and how it is important in terms of gender identity as well as small group exercises and vocal exercises to help with their voice transition,” the McGill website states.
Other institutions offering “voice modification” programs for transgender individuals are Albany’s College of St. Rose and San Diego State University, The College Fix reports, which once again focus particularly on helping biological males sound more like women.
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