Everyone is insecure about something. It might be about their weight, hairline or even their teeth. The truth is, everyone has aspects of themselves they don't necessarily love - and that's okay. Today I would like to share my biggest insecurity with you: my voice.
I was triggered to write this article as I haven't spoken about it much, at least not from a personal perspective. I have briefly mentioned before in the article 'What is Gender Dysphoria' that many trans people experience discomfort in relation to their voice, either being too high or too low depending on how the individual identifies.
My Personal struggle with my voice.
If any of you have ever seen my instagram stories, IGTV or YouTube videos - you will have heard my voice. And yes, despite being extremely insecure about it, I still push myself to provide you guys with content and challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone.
Being a guest on a podcast was a new challenge for me, as usually I can rely on my appearances to give away the fact that I am male to female trans - but there is no video to podcasts and all the listeners have to go off is my voice. I'm not here to say that I have the deepest voice in the world, however, compared to (and I know I shouldn't be comparing myself to cis-women) my voice is considerably deeper than theirs.
Every time I am in public, I try to speak as little as I can to not give away that I am, in fact, a trans girl. The most you'll hear me say in public is "thank you" and other remarks of politeness, as with every word I say I feel more and more uncomfortable.
Relieving gender dysphoria by changing my voice.
The thing is, I cannot change my voice myself. Yes, I am in fact on hormone replacement therapy, however ,the damage to my vocal cords have already been done. Everyone was born with a similar thickness of vocal cords and as we all know, everyone's voice is unique. Testosterone thickens the vocal cords, and this is an irreversible process. This means that trans men will experience a gradual deepening of the voice in the first few years of starting hormone replacement therapy (taking testosterone) (1), however, if a trans girl has gone through puberty, those vocal cords cannot get any thinner (2) - without the help of a doctor.
Individuals will often seek the help of a specialists to help relieve them of their insecurities depending on how severe they are and the choices of the individual.
Some trans girls choose to undergo surgery to thin the vocal cords, making them sound more feminine (undoing the thickening of vocal cords caused by testosterone). Unfortunately, this is a very risky procedure and it means going under the knife, which of course brings many complications associated with it.
Personally, I do not feel the need of performing such surgeries on my vocal cords - at least not yet, especially considering that it's a very risky procedure and there is no certainty of how you will sound after the surgery.
Non-surgical interventions are also an option. Vocal training is a therapy in which you train your voice to sound more feminine using your own voice, and in ways - pretty much every trans girl does this naturally to not sound like they have a deep voice, however, this is a professional voice training programme where patients are taught how to use their voices naturally, and sustain them for longer periods of time (3).
I am not certain how effective voice training is, however, you can look up some videos about this on YouTube if you are interested. Personally, it sounds like a money grab - however it could potentially help. I may give it a go and report back... who knows.
If you would like to listen to my guest EMVT podcast, click here, or search "Spill the EMVT" on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
1. Antoni, C., 2020. What Effect Does Testosterone Hormone Therapy Have on the Voice? - Christella Antoni Voice and Speech Services. [online] Christella Antoni Voice and Speech Services. Available at: http://www.christellaantoni.co.uk/what-effect-does-testosterone-hormone-therapy-have-on-the-voice/ [Accessed 7 March 2021].
2. Antoni, C., 2020. What Effect Does Oestrogen Hormone Therapy Have On The Voice? - Christella Antoni Voice and Speech Services. [online] Christella Antoni Voice and Speech Services. Available at: http://www.christellaantoni.co.uk/what-effect-does-oestrogen-hormone-therapy-have-on-the-voice/ [Accessed 7 March 2021].
3. Bebinger, M., 2014. How Transgender People Are Changing Their Voices. [online] Wbur.org. Available at: https://www.wbur.org/commonhealth/2014/08/19/transgender-voices [Accessed 7 March 2021].