It can be tough to be transgender when your voice does not match the gender that people see you as. Having your voice not match with your gender appearance can lead to harassment and not passing. Vocal therapy and speech therapy are the keys to help people who are transgender to pass into society.

What is the difference between a trans woman’s voice and a trans man’s voice?

A man’s vocal cord are longer, thicker, and less tense. Testosterone will change the muscularity of the body. A transgender man will try to bring the feminine pitch down through speech therapy. Transgender women, on the other hand, need surgery as therapy will not be enough for them.

What kind of vocal surgeries are there?

There is Cricothyroid Approximation which pulls and sutures two pieces of cartilage together. Other surgeries involve cutting the vocal cords to make them shorter or using a laser to scar a section of the vocal cords, increase the tightness, and higher the pitch. Another procedure involves cutting and removing a section of the thyroid cartilage so that the vocal cords are shorter and tighter.

What are the risks in vocal surgery?

Vocal surgery can leave a small scar on your neck where the incision was made but it is barely noticable. Your voice can feel hoarse and lower sound like when you have laryngitis or a bad cold. Because of the swelling or temporary scarring, it is best to be on vocal rest for two weeks.

How is vocal transitioning important in gender passing?

How we identify people is based on the way they sound. Different factors affect your voice like your voice box size, the tension and thickness of vocal cords, and the shape of your ribcage and mouth. It is also about the rate of speech and how you enunciate your words. For peers feel you are the gender that you identify with, an important step is making your voice match.

How can vocal surgery be life-changing?

After your vocal surgery, it is possible that you will feel shocked in how different your voice sounds and how it matches your true gender. It can be hard if you are a singer or other vocal professions for it to suddenly sound different or vocal delivery complications. If your voice lacks in pitch variation or becomes hoarse, speech therapy will help you but not cure your voice.

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