Gender Affirming and Transgender Voice Training may be appropriate for individuals who are looking for a safe way to develop or explore a voice that is healthy and more congruent with and/or reflective of their identity.
Our speech-language pathologist and voice therapist, Alyssa (she/her), is grateful to have been welcomed by the LGBTQ2S+ community and offers support through her extensive training, flexibility, creativity and experience in voice. She is passionate about helping folks to discover, develop, and maintain a voice that is congruent with their identity. Alyssa takes a person-centred approach across the gender spectrum when it comes to gender affirming voice training and care.
While some may have specific voice feminization, voice masculinization, or voice neutralization goals in mind, Alyssa invites exploring beyond the constraints of gender labels and stereotypes. She also provides voice therapy for those who are looking to refine vocal quality and build vocal endurance, or for those who are healing, for example, from a voice feminization surgery. You can read more about Alyssa's journey here.
Voice work is so personal and can be scary to approach. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with Alyssa to chat or meet and get a better understanding of whether this could be a good fit for you!
If you're curious about the length of time for voice training, you're not alone. This is so challenging to answer, as each program is non-prescriptive and highly individualized. For a general idea of what training might look like, you could consider these three stages:
Develop a healthy strong voice foundation for long-lasting voice use and flexibility.
Explore a wide variety of features and colours that shape voice, in a healthy way.
Delve into advanced exploration of voice features to reinforce the ideal voice qualities. Begin to guide Alyssa so she can best support you in discovering features you enjoy and feel represent you.
Grow with and train a congruent voice through increasingly complex situations that require stamina, duration, projection and confidence. Check-in to refresh training and maintain optimal voice health.
Trans Voice Toronto
Trans Voice Toronto
Trans Voice Toronto
FAQs with Alyssa & Anonymous
FAQ: How can someone tell if voice training is for them?
Voice training can be beneficial for people who feel that their current voice is not representative of who they are.
FAQ: How do you identify?
I am a cis-woman and use the pronouns she, her.
FAQ: What’s your experience?
I have clinical training as a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) and Voice Therapist, and am also trained as a Singing Voice Therapist. Along with standard voice therapy, I work alongside an Ear Nose and Throat doctor, performing scopes of the voice to make sure that it’s healthy and functioning well. I began clinical training in Trans-specific voice in Nova Scotia before moving to Toronto, and have continued to learn and grow ever since. I am constantly learning, yes through courses and workshops, but I learn the most from the amazing people who bring me along on their voice journeys. I feel humbled to have been a part of the gender affirming voice journey for over 100 people. Let's be honest, no matter how much I learn, I can never truly know what it's like to be someone who doesn't identify as cisgender, but I'm willing to learn as much as possible from this community. I arm myself with as much competence as possible. I’m a member of the 519 and the Rainbow Health Organization, and make sure to keep up with WPATH and CPATH updates. Finding an SLP that is also a voice therapist and has specific experience in trans and gender affirming voice, and has completed clinical training by a certified clinician, is essential for making sure the voice is strong and healthy.
FAQ: What's your method?
I come recognizing my bias - that I am a cis-woman working on gender spectrum and transgender voice. I do my very best to provide a safe space. My everyday goals, and I’m being honest, are to be flexible, attentive and present. I listen and learn. My role is not to impose ideals around voice goals but instead to explore how my knowledge and experience in the voice area can support the goals that are presented to me. Each person's voice journey is different.
FAQ: How does it work?
It can really be a different experience for each person! We always start by building on a healthy and optimal voice for long-lasting use and reliability! From there, we would likely train various voice area targets, such as pitch, resonance, articulation, and quality from a health perspective. Some folks are interested in training stamina, duration, projection, or the singing voice. We might then reinforce the features (style, quality, inflection patterns) that are not only gender congruent, but are also aligned with what the individual feels is representative of their own personality and style. We move our target through increasingly complex situations. It’s a different world to have best voice with me, alone, and then to maintain this out in the world, for example, while hollering across the street to say hi to a friend, or to have those 2 hour phone conversations!
FAQ: I'm interested in voice feminization, but my pitch is really low. Is this an issue?
Usually not. As long as the voice is healthy, starting pitch is often not a barrier. Some folks choose to pair voice training with voice surgery if they have difficulty with the pitch training component.
FAQ: Can you help even though I am planning on or have already received voice feminization surgery?
Yes! Voice therapy is typically recommended for post-op recovery and training. This is because voice feminization surgery only changes the pitch of the voice, which is a small component of voice training.
FAQ: How long will it take?
This is almost an impossible question to answer as everyone is different! There are many factors that contribute to training duration, some of which include having a safe practice space, overall voice health, time resources, financial or insurance limitations, previous experience with voice training, and confidence in exploring variations in voice. I have seen variations range from 5 to 20 sessions across 3 months to a year and a half. Most people plan for 10-12 sessions across about 8 months.
FAQ: I'm on Testosterone but am not satisfied with the sound of my voice. Would voice training help?
HRT for transmen and masculinization does effect on the pitch of the voice - Testosterone lowers the voice. (HRT for transwomen and feminization does not have any effect on pitch of the voice). People who wish to masculinize their voice participate in voice training if they are dissatisfied with the timbre, tone, or stamina of the voice. Frequent goal areas include voice resonance, projection and stability.
FAQ: When can I start?
You can start whenever you feel ready. There are no requirements on my behalf, such as referrals or a certain time on HRT. If you are 17 or younger, guardian consent is required.
FAQ: Do your services qualify for private insurance coverage?
Yes, since I am registered Speech-Language Pathologist, both in-person and online sessions could be eligible. Make sure ask your insurance provider if you are unsure of coverage areas or budgets.