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CrossPort: Cincinnati, Ohio

Volume 22, Issue 5


\ÇÇxÜi|xã Version: 5/14/2006 1:36:47 PM May 2006

In This Issue!
To Sound Like A Woman
Finding Susan D Clark Phil: Speech and acceptable female voice. are likely to be perceived as
Your Language Therapist
On the first visit to the thera-
• Those who have an unre-
alistic self- perception of
male. There are two impor-
tant points to remember re-

Feminine
pist, a case history is taken. acceptable voice. garding frequency. Firstly
Hearing a person's back- there is an overlap between
ground in their own words
• Those who can gain ac- male and female frequencies
Voice!
ceptable voice with con-
helps to form a relationship, - Eartha Kitt and Cher are
siderable therapy input
and to elaborate on areas per- examples of low frequen-
tinent to communication. A • Those where voice modi- cies, and secondly, some
person who is not perma- fication surgery is re- transsexuals have a large
nently cross-dressing full- quired. frame and would sound ri-
time, may be accepted for The aim of therapy is to femi- diculous with a high pitched
Index: treatment because this pro- nize the voice so that it does voice.
vides an opportunity to give not attract attention. The A photograph of the client is
To Sound Like a Woman 1,2,7 them basic information that voice should possess the cor- taken at an early stage in
will allow them to practice rect blend of pitch, loudness therapy, and may be re-
techniques, and they will and quality combined with a peated at intervals to assess
Melanie Speaks 1,2,5 achieve results more quickly feminine manner. At the first improvement in femininity.
once they are cross-dressing or second session an audio Recently I have started
permanently. From the outset, tape is made to determine the videoing transsexuals to
CrossPort Information 2 fundamental pitch frequency.
total commitment to therapy evaluate voice and body
is essential. This is to show if the pitch language together.
So far as voice is concerned, moves into the feminine range We are all influenced by
How to Develop a Female 3,4,5 experience shows that trans- after therapy. Transsexuals how we expect males and
Voice sexuals fall into four catego- who use a fundamental fre- females to sound. A group
ries; quency of 160 Hz. or more of university students were
Happenings 4 • Those where little ther- are likely to be judged as fe- asked for three female and
male. Those with a fundamen- three male characteristics.
apy is required to achieve
tal frequency below 160 Hz. (Continued on page 8)
Feminine Voice Techniques 6,7

Voice Feminization 7,9


Melanie Speaks
Nothing gets you read faster than a voice that doesn't match your appearance. Many gender
folk dress up to the nines and look like goddesses... until they open their mouths. Suddenly, in
Top Tips 10 spite of the grace and curves they turn into truck drivers or lumberjacks right before your eyes.
Clothes may make the man, but voice makes the woman.
Illustration 10 Whether you are a cross dresser or transsexual, developing a truly FEMALE voice - not just a
feminine one - is of paramount concern. When I began my transition, there was electrolysis to
worry about, mannerisms... but it was voice that seemed to me the greatest obstacle.
Membership Form, Info 10
Like most, I tried simply feminizing my voice, softening the voice I had. I tried raising my
pitch artificially, arriving at that bad falsetto that forms the stereotype of the transgendered
Coming Next Month 10 marking them as parodies rather than the real thing. Eventually I even consider vocal chord
surgery as a last resort.
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Melanie Speaks, Part two


Voice surgery made me nervous though. I had a fairly decent singing voice, I like to do character voices, I liked to sound dra-
matic when I spoke. But the thought of being read every time I uttered a word was enough to tip the balance to consider voice
surgery, even though all end-results I had heard were not very convincing AND I had heard horror stories of those who as a result
of the surgery lost their voices completely!
I had just about resigned myself to that risk when, a few months into fulltime, I stumbled into something quite by accident that
made the difference in my career, my relationships, in my life as a whole: I learned to sound female.
Notice I did not say "to talk like a woman", but rather "to sound female". This is because the secret I found is not in the way one
speaks but the way one sounds. I had been trying out different voices that day (as I did most days), sometimes trying to sound
like a squeaky teenager, other times like a mature matron. For weeks I had been struggling with no progress to speak of. And
then, this one day, suddenly something happened. My voice "slipped gears" and came down in a different place than it had ever
been.
All at once, in one broad stroke, the TIMBER of my voice had turned female. I couldn't believe it! I actually SOUNDED female!
I tried saying this and that and EVERYTHING sounded female. This was incredible! After all my fears and yearnings... well, it
was almost like magically being transformed into a woman!
I was working as Melanie, but still going home to my wife as Dave. The kids did not know about my transition yet. So each
night, I would leave work, take off the nail polish and make-up, change my clothes and go home. So, I decided it was time to go
back to my "drab" voice and do Dave again for the night. But when I tried to revert, I couldn't find my old voice. I tried again -
nothing! Suddenly I felt that I really HAD been transformed! That somehow my whole voice box had been changed to female!
But this was terrible!!! My wife was going to kill me!
After half an hour of unsuccessful attempts to get out of voice, there was nothing left to do but face the music.
Continued on page 5

A lighthouse beacon for those seeking hope


Our CrossPort Web Site:
Web Sites
http://www.transgenderzone.com/
http://www.tsroadmap.com
http://www.looking-
glass.greenend.org.uk/

Synchronicity Bookstore:
http://www.transgender.org/crossprt
http://ifge.org/catalog/

CrossPort Information
CrossPort Inside CrossPort 2005-2006:
P.O. Box 1692 Shelly Brooks, Phone: Shelly30@aol.com
Cincinnati, OH 45201 Stacy Lynn Parker, Treasurer, Publications, Events : stacylynn@fuse.net
CrossPort Line: 513.919.4850 Barbara Ellis, Library: barbieboy49@hotmail.com
(Your privacy assured) Robyn Davin, Email, Mailbox: robyn_davin@yahoo.com
Volunteers:
crossportcincy@yahoo.com
Jenelle Rose, Newsletter Editor, Advertising: Jenelle@jenellerose.com,
http://www.transgender.org/crossprt Subject:CrossPort or call: 513 731-2464
Mailing List: Marsha Dimel, Newsletter E-mailing: MarshaDi@att.net
crossport-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
V OLUME 2 2, I SSUE 5 INNE RV IE W PAGE 3

How to Develop a Female Voice


Tara M. Taylor gender. There are inexpensive devices you can buy at Radio
You can be very passable in your appearance, but if you Shack, and other electronics stores, that plug into your phone
speak in a masculine voice you've just outed yourself. It and a cassette recorder and are activated when the phone re-
amazes me how many transsexual women speak in a mascu- ceiver is lifted. (Check with your local laws. In some states in
line-sounding voice, even post-ops. They'll spend thousands the US it's illegal to record a phone conversation without the
of dollars on hormones, electrolysis, surgery, etc, but won't other person's knowledge.)
make the effort to retrain their voices. If you don't mind get- Similarity to acting
ting sir'd on the phone, or even in public, go ahead and talk Speaking in a female voice has similarities to acting, in that,
like a man. But if you want to pass as a woman, your voice is you're adopting speaking mannerisms that are different from
important. your normal voice. The difference being it'll become your nor-
Another reason to speak in a female voice is we are all am- mal voice! Actors whose character speaks in a foreign accent
bassadors for the trans community. People will often base often study other actors, or everyday people, who speak in the
their views of us on first impressions. If you speak in a mas- accent they need to imitate. A southern accent is good practice
culine voice not only will there be an incongruity between in developing a female voice and will be addressed later in the
your voice and appearance, but people will probably relate us lessons.
more to drag queens and crossdressers than women, an im- Just as in a female walk, when everything's done correctly they
age we need to get away from. combine to make a convincing sounding voice. You'll need
Just about any male voice can be retrained, so don't be dis- some reading material to practice from. I recommend some-
couraged if you're starting as a baritone! Just like your walk, thing you enjoy, like a favorite book or women's magazine.
unlearning years of doing something in a masculine way, Warm ups
you're retraining your throat muscles, so give yourself time. When you take acting lessons you're taught warm-ups. One I
It may take a year, or more, before your voice sounds good recommend is saying the vowels (a-e-i-o-u) and over-
in all situations, like yelling. emphasizing them by making exaggerated mouth movements.
Will hormones make your voice higher? Unless you This will help in relaxing your mouth muscles and achieving
started HRT at the onset, or at puberty before your voice had the clear enunciation and modulation of the female voice and
changed, hormones will have no effect on pitch (though es- break the male habit of slurring words and not enunciating
trogen will tend to soften the voice). clearly.
What about voice surgery? That is an option and can take Pitch
the worry out of whether you'll get read when you speak. As The main difference between a masculine and feminine voice is
with most surgery, the outcome of voice surgery isn't certain. pitch. Don't believe anyone who says pitch isn't important.
Explore your options and educate yourself about vocal sur- Those who say that usually don't pass well with their voices.
gery before deciding to have it. Even Melanie Phillips says pitch isn't im-
There are three steps to developing a female voice: portant. However, if you listen to her voice
1) Learn the techniques, 2) practice, 3) more practice! her pitch is far above most male voices (I
Training your voice is similar to learning piano: first you think that's a reason why some don't get
start with scales, then progress to songs until you're profi- results from her lessons). Pitch should be
cient. the technique you work on the most.
If you have singing experience, radio broadcasting, or have Males have deeper voices due to longer and
done character voices, these techniques should be easy for thicker vocal cords. It's like the difference
you. between a flute and an oboe.
Recording and listening to your voice, either with a cassette
recorder or your computer, is essential! If you picture your vocal cords as a pipe (see diagram), pipe B
There are many nuances that make up a female voice and will make a higher pitched sound than pipe
you can only hear them when you play your voice back. A, since pipe B is shorter. You can accom-
When a person hears his or her voice played back for the first plish this by tightening your vocal cords.
time they're usually surprised at how different it sounds. You want to move the resonance out of your
That's because when you hear your own voice it's resonating chest and lower throat and up into your na-
in your head and will sound different from what others hear. sal passages and head. Try this experiment:
I also recommend recording your phone calls, either with place your index finger just above your
your computer or a cassette recorder. They will be invaluable Adam's apple and your middle finger just
to your learning process. The phone is an important test since below it. Now speak in your normal voice.
the person you're speaking to has no visual clues about your
Continued on page 4
PAGE 4 INNE RV IE W V OLUME 2 2, I SSUE 5

How to Develop a Female Voice


Part two
Happenings
Continued from page 3
You should feel vibration under both your fingers. Now Second Tuesday’s, 7:30 Sharp to 9PM General dis-
tighten your throat, raise your pitch and try to make your cussions @Jenelle’s house. Q&A. afterward. Open
voice resonate from just your upper throat. You should now topic meetings in safe, quiet, accepting neighborhood.
feel vibration mainly under your index finger. Don't be dis- S.O.’s welcome! Call or write for details: 513 731-
couraged if your pitch doesn't sound natural at first; It will 2464 or jenelle@jenellerose.com, Suject::CrossPort
rise over time with practice. CrossPort Social held on third Thursday of each
I teach two techniques to raise pitch. The first is emitting an month. Dinner and socializing. Spouses and partners
audible sigh -- like a big yawn -- in the highest pitch you can are welcome to attend.
go without breaking into falsetto (falsetto is that high, Cross dresser's (CD/TV) Support Group meets on
squeaky voice that sounds like Mickey Mouse and sound
unnatural). This technique is taught to singers. The second is
the first Wednesday of each month. The goal of this
deliberately going into falsetto and sliding down into a pitch group is to address issues relating to the needs of the
that feels comfortable. cross dressing members of CrossPort. Every month we
Now, onto your first lesson. Start your recording device and offer all or part of the meeting to open discussion.
do an audible sigh while raising your pitch as high as you Spouses and significant others are welcome and en-
can. In other words, take a breath and say "haaaa" in as high couraged to attend. For more information, please
a pitch as you can without breaking into falsetto. Holding that email Stacy: stacylynn@fuse.net
pitch read a few lines from your reading material. Or try the Transsexual Support and Discussion Group: The
same thing by going into falsetto and letting your voice slide defining characteristic of transsexuals is the lifelong
down to a pitch that feels comfortable. If your voice cracks or desire to live and be socially recognized as the sex
breaks, that's OK. When you first start it will, your throat isn't
accustomed to using the upper vocal cords exclusively.
opposite the one assigned at birth. The primary pur-
Breathiness pose of this group is to provide an environment in
Marilyn Monroe had which transsexual identified and questioning people
the classic sexy, have the opportunity to meet and discuss concerns that
breathy voice. affect them. These include: relationships with family
Breathiness begins by and friends, employment concerns, legal issues, dis-
whispering -- pretend crimination and violence, and access to health-care
you're whispering providers.
something into your The group, which focuses on pre-operative, post-
girlfriend's ear. Over
operative and non-operative female-to-male and male-
time your volume will
increase; people are
to-female transsexuals, offers an opportunity to net-
used to women having work in a supportive forum. This group meets twice a
softer voices. Just month, on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays. For more
speak loud enough to information please email Cynthia at:
make yourself understood. Don't over do it -- talking with too cynthialeigh2@yahoo.com
much breathiness can make you sound like a drag queen!
You may think you sound funny, just ignore it and keep prac- Vicki D'Salle @Hamburger Mary's Friday, June
ticing. 9th- 5:30-8:30 PM
Ricky Nye @Chez Nora Wednesday’s, 8:30-12:30,
“Imagine your voice being projected w/Bekah Williams the first & third Wed's.
out the tip of your nose”
CrossPort membership is ENCOURAGED, not a require-
ment to attend our meetings.
Without Members there is no CrossPort

Send your event to: jenelle@jenellerose.com,


More on page 5 Subject:CrossPort
V OLUME 2 2, I SSUE 5 INNE RV IE W PAGE 5

How to Develop a Female Voice


Part three
Continued from page 4 are relaxed and this tends to put your resonance into the
Enunciation lower vocal cords and chest. A good time to practice is when
Men tend to slur words and not speak as clearly as women. This you're excited about something, after a good day. Your voice
is probably due to having louder voices so they don't have to naturally sounds livelier and you're enthusiastic.
enunciate clearly. For example, a man would say: "Gonna go ta Here's a tip when answering the phone: Women tend to take a
Tom's house 'n' check out the game." Whereas a woman would breath just before speaking. When you answer the phone take
say: "I'm going to visit Mary. We're going to do each other's an audible breath (inhale) before speaking.
hair." A good way to learn to enunciate is to read something When you think to yourself, think in your female voice.
and over e-nun-ci-ate each word. This will sound overdone, but Spend at least 10-15 minutes a day practicing recording,
you're breaking the male pattern of slurring words. playing back and critiquing your voice. Don't just listen to
Phrasing and Modulation your voice (without recording) and think you'll sound fine.
Men tend to speak in a flat-footed or monotone way, not vary- You'll miss things. Hearing how others hear you is essential.
ing their tone much and saying as much as they can in one Sometimes it boils down to just one phrase or word that
breath. Women modulate, or vary their tone. In other words, needs improvement.
their pitch will go up and down during a sentence. For example, It's exciting to hear a woman's voice played back and know-
a woman would say, "Oh, my dear [pitch up]. How are you- ing it's you!
u?" [pitch down] Men have larger lungs and can speak longer
without taking a breath, whereas women have less breath ca- Listen to and imitate
pacity and tend to take more breathes when speaking. A way to women on TV. Note their
practice this is to read something and every time you see a
cadence, modulation and
comma, take a breath. Try it with the following sentence, taking
phrasing
a short breath at every comma: "I went to the store and bought
lipstick, eye shadow, blush, and mascara."
Pronunciation
Men and women pronounce words differently. The main differ-
ences are women often pronounce one syllable words as two,
and sometimes their voices go up at the end of sentences, like
when asking a question. For example, a man would say: "I'm Melanie Speaks, Part three
going out the back door," whereas a woman would say "I'm
going out the back door-or." The classic female greeting of "hi- Continued from page 2
eee" is another example. A good way of practicing this is to I drove home, and Mary said, "How was your day?" I re-
speak in a Southern accent. If you saw the movie "Tootsie," (If plied, "Fine", but it wasn't Dave's voice, it was Melanie's
you haven't, I recommend you do since Dustin Hoffman did a and Mary threw a fit!
good job of imitating a woman's voice) you may remember "What's wrong with your voice?!", she demanded. I ex-
when Mr. Hoffman was Tootsie she spoke with a southern ac- plained what had happened and how I got stuck. She told
cent and didn't when he was a man. That's because a southern me I had better figure out how to get my old voice back
accent is one of the easiest to speak in a feminine voice. People before the kids woke up in the morning. Over the course of
from the south pronounce one syllable words as two (for exam- an hour or so, my voice relaxed and the old voice came
ple bray-yed instead of bread) and the southern drawl gives back. I worried that I couldn't get the new voice back again.
your voice a natural feminine quality. If you don't know how to It happened by accident, and I really didn't know what I had
do a southern accent rent a movie with a female lead who done. At first, I DID lose the new voice. But then, I found it
speaks with a southern accent, like Fried Green Tomatoes and again, and practiced and practiced going in and out all the
imitate her. rest of the night.
Women hiss! The next morning, the first thing I did when I woke up was
OK, not like a snake! When women talk they make a hissing try to find the new voice again, and there it was, mine to
sound when they say words with the letter 'S' in them. You can command! Over the following months, I worked on the fine
do this by putting your tongue at the roof of your mouth just points, adding all the elements that affected not only the
behind your front teeth. It's like talking with a lisp. Try putting sound, but the manner in which I spoke. And now, over four
your tongue in that position and say, "Girls make a hissing years later and two years after SRS, I can report that my
sound when they say words with S's in them." new voice is fine. If I choose I can slip in and out of it at
These are the basic mechanics of a female voice. Keep re- will. This voice has been crucial in my career advancement,
cording and critiquing your voice. The worst time to practice is relationships and best of all, my female voice has helped
in the morning after you've just gotten up. Your throat muscles developed my sense of self as Melanie.
PAGE 6 INNE RV IE W V OLUME 2 2, I SSUE 5

Feminine Voice Techniques

Introduction sound. You need to try to find a 'semi-whispering' posi-


This is a collection of practical suggestions and ideas for self- tion that eliminates the fully-voiced sound with heavy
help in the feminization of the voice, developed by a group of resonance in the chest, and imparts a breathy quality to
male-to-female transsexuals within the Looking Glass Society. the voice.
Neither hormones nor genital surgery will 'un-break' a male 6. You can hear the difference between voiced and
voice, and voice-changing surgery is widely regarded as inadvis- unvoiced sounds by comparing S and Z sounds (say 'sss'
able, in addition to being at best only a partial solution. Thus, and 'zzz' , and feel how your vocal cords vibrate on the Z
speech training is necessary in order to produce a satisfactory but not the S). You're trying to find a midpoint between
'female' voice. an unvoiced (whispered) sound, and a fully-voiced
At first, it may seem hard to concentrate on all the different facets 'male' sound.
of producing a feminine voice, and lapses will happen. The only 7. Try saying the word 'hay', and pay attention to how
solution is to practice and practice again until it gradually be- you change between the unvoiced H sound and the
comes second nature. voiced A sound: say it very slowly ( 'hhhhhaaaay' ) and
The Methods feel the change in the vocal cords as your voice slides
1. Sing! To loosen-up the voice box, extend your pitch from the unvoiced 'hhh' sound to the voiced 'aaa' vowel
range, and help develop good control, it can be very helpful sound. Then try to stop before you reach the fully-voiced
to choose a female vocalist that you like, preferably one with point, and you should be producing a soft, breathy
a relatively deep voice, and sing along. The musically- (feminine) 'aaa' sound.
minded may also wish to perform singing exercises, such as 8. Then try to learn to always use that half-open posi-
singing scales. tion for all voiced sounds. This is simply a matter of
2. Raise the position of the laryngeal cartilage : up raises practice.
your voice pitch and decreases the characteristic male reso- 9. Place emphasis with pitch, not volume : Upward
nance. (The laryngeal cartilage is the 'movable' piece of car- intonation places emphasis. Men place emphasis in their
tilage that you can feel rising if you place a hand on your speech by varying the loudness, but keep their pitch
throat and sing a rising scale ( "doh, re, mi, fa, sol, lah, ti, within a very narrow range; on the other hand women
doh" )). The point of this is to try to gain a higher 'baseline' tend to keep their loudness much more constant but vary
pitch than you have previously used, and then increase the their pitch a great deal to express emphasis.
pitch further when placing emphasis. 10. Speak slowly, enunciate clearly : Especially conso-
3. For example you might decide that if you pitch the nants at the beginning and end of words. Don't mumble;
"doh" as your baseline male pitch, raising your basic pitch to clear voice requires fairly big lip movements. On the
about "fa" or "sol" would be sufficient. But do not overdo the whole, women enunciate much more clearly and pre-
pitch-raising: a squeaky, falsetto voice sounds very inappro- cisely than men.
priate on an adult woman. The pitch adjustment is a compro- 11. Pace your speech carefully : Start and end sen-
mise --- for the technically-minded you should aim for above tences slowly and gently; do not sound clipped. Do not
160Hz; if you have access to a musical instrument that's 'swallow' pronouns, articles or other 'little words' at the
about the G below middle C. beginning or end of sentences. Male speech tends to be
4. Of course, everyone starts out with a different original characterized by what speech therapists call 'hard attack'
voice and some will be able to raise it more than others with- --- the first syllable is pronounced very hard, and
out sounding squeaky. You might find it slightly tiring on quickly. Women usually start a sentence more softly.
your voice-box at first, as you are unused to speaking in that 12. Use appropriate content : Men and women tend to
register, but it should become comfortable with a little prac- talk about the same things in different ways; what you
tice. If it does not, then you are probably trying to force your say contains gender cues, just as much as how you say it.
pitch up too high. Women tend to concentrate more on thoughts and feel-
5. Partially open the glottis when speaking : The posi- ings, while men concentrate on objects and actions. Men
tion of the glottis controls how much air passes over the vo- generally use more 'short cuts', colloquialisms and bad
cal cords. When breathing rather than speaking, when whis- language, too.
pering, or when producing an 'unvoiced' sound (where the 13. A simple illustration is to imagine someone asking a
vocal cords do not vibrate, like 'hhh' or 'sss' ), the glottis is friend if they are going to go for a drink after work. A
fully open and all the air bypasses the vocal cords. With the male might say something like 'Coming down the pub?' :
glottis firmly closed, all the air is forced over the vocal rather abrupt, using the minimum of words and concen-
cords, producing a fully-voiced and typically male voiced trating on the desired action in a rather impersonal way.
V OLUME 2 2, I SSUE 5 INNE RV IE W PAGE 7

Feminine Voice Techniques Voice Feminization


Part two
Continued from page 6 "It's funny that almost all speech therapists that help male-to-
rather abrupt, using the minimum of words and concen- female transsexuals tend to be female - next time you see your
trating on the desired action in a rather impersonal way. speech therapist ask them to sound like a convincing man. If
A woman might say 'Do you feel like going for a drink they are Male - Jackpot! - see if they can sound convincingly
tonight?' : concentrating on her friend's feelings and de- female and watch them cringe! Then you could seriously say
sires, personal, and not abbreviated. they are all talk!"
14. Pay attention to tongue position : The tongue is Introduction
higher and flatter for female than for male. This gives Voice quality plays an essential role in speech communication.
'dental' sounds (ones that involve the teeth, like T and D) You accent can be an advantage or disadvantage for example a
a softer, breathier, almost sibilant quality in the female. voice of Caribbean origins may be deeper in pitch than that of a
Say 'tttt' in male mode, then 'ssss'; find the halfway posi- European counterpart this can be an advantage for black trans-
tion, that is the female position for the letters T and D; gender people. A welsh voice can sound more 'sing-songy' and
likewise for a TH sound, etc. Use plenty of air to get a be slightly higher by force of habit and dialect. So pitch and
breathy sound. strength of voice can be very different yet sound feminine. And
15. Hold your mouth in the right shape : A slight regional variations also apply.
smile helps, and is the 'resting' facial expression for a Other influences
woman anyway. 'Rounder' lips (a slight pout), and good Smoking and medication can also affect the voice
lip movement, help produce a clearly enunciated voice. Loudness of the voice will also have an effect on perceived voice
16. Develop head resonance : One of the biggest prob- quality.
lems facing TS women is, after learning to produce a Physiological, cultural and linguistic factors may operate inde-
soft, feminine voice, to then learn how to speak loudly pendently, and voice quality can be modified to meet social
when necessary without the voice returning to a mascu- needs.
line sound. Women gain loudness by using the cavities Taking female Hormones will not return your voice to a prepu-
inside the head as a 'sounding box' whereas men use the bescent state - unlike the notable masculine-izing effects that
chest. male hormones with female-to-Male transgender people have!
17. To gain a louder feminine voice, develop head reso- SRS (Surgery) will not affect the voice either. The best way to
nance rather than chest resonance --- open your mouth a improve the femininity of your male voice is by vocal exercise
little more, use more air, and 'push' your voice up into and practice.
your head. Techniques:
Use Feedback : Record samples of your voice and listen to Pitch Shifting
yourself. Read a passage of text, listen to yourself and keep Singing scales - La la la la la la LA! LA LA LA LA la! Shifting
practicing. It can be helpful to actually read these notes your pitch up and down!
aloud, practicing each point as you read it. Then listen to The Larynx (voice box) can be felt shifting up and down as you
yourself and successively refine your voice. sing your scales. Place your hand gently against your Adam's
Apple (Trachea). Now sing again!
Feel it moving up and down? Ok now place your hand there
again and as you sing your scales attempt to keep your Adam's
Apple up.
If you have access to a sound editing software and microphone -
cool edit for example - then you can try and hit the pitch exactly.
Between 150-300hz or about the G middle C. Goldwave is a
good free software package. Goldwave.com
You could also try software created by This Voice Recording
Software by Becky Rose at Bansheestudios records your voice
and plays it back, nothing special in itself, what is though is that
by simply pressing and releasing the space key it allows you to
work much faster, and focus on your voice rather than the inter-
face of a complex sound program.
http://www.bansheestudios.com/tranvoice.zip
(http://www.bansheestudios.com/tranvoice.zip)
Breathing over words -slightly!
Continued on page 9
PAGE 8 INNE RV IE W V OLUME 2 2, I SSUE 5

To Sound Like A Woman


Part two
(Continued from page 1)
utes, and build up gradually. The focus of articulation should
For female they selected: be at the tongue tip and lips to move the emphasis away from
chest resonance.
• High pitch Slight breathy quality which is made by not quite bringing the
• Wide pitch range vocal cords together, can feminize the voice. This requires
• Gentle speech careful monitoring so that the voice does not degenerate into a
For males they selected: whisper that cannot be heard.
4. Intonation.
• Low pitch Women use a wider range of intonation patterns than men.
• Loud voice Men use more falling than rising tones, while women use
• Forceful speech more rising tones, giving the illusion of a higher pitch, men
Voice changes may be accomplished in several ways: often talk in a monotone
1. Relaxation and Breathing. 5. Voice Quality.
It is impossible to practice voice exercises without being relaxed On the whole, women enunciate more clearly and precisely
and using deep breathing techniques. Breathing must be from than men. They talk slower than men, with a softer delivery
the level of the diaphragm giving maximum lung capacity. which involves breathing out slowly in a controlled way, dur-
Without taking a deep breath it is impossible to do voice exer- ing speech. Vowel sounds tend to be longer. Male voices on
cises without running out of breath when working on pitch, reso- the other hand, have powerful staccato attack, and men gener-
nance, and intonation. ally speak more loudly than women.
2. Pitch. 6. Vocabulary and subject matter.
Men have a larger voice box than women with thicker, larger The best advice is to listen to the way women speak and the
vocal cords, which gives a lower pitch but, as has already been vocabulary they use. Women tend to concentrate more on
noted, the pitch range of males and females overlap. Females thoughts and feelings, while men concentrate on objects and
use a wider pitch range than men and are described as being actions. Men talk in a more direct manner. A simple illustra-
more expressive and melodious in their speech. Pitch range can tion is to imagine someone asking a friend if they are going
be extended by singing. It may be helpful to sing along with the for a drink after work. A man might say rather abruptly
radio or a CD - any way that will loosen up the voice box is use- "Coming down to the Pub?" using the minimum of words and
ful. Exercises to produce a musical note that can glide up and concentrating on the desired action in rather an impersonal
down on supported breath should follow, then speaking the song way. A woman might say " Do you feel like going for a drink
using the same breath technique as for singing. Each phrase tonight?" concentrating on the friend's feelings and desires,
should be finished with a deep breath as in singing. personal and not abbreviated. Women help themselves by
Pitch can be raised by making a falsetto ('ah'), and bringing the being able to talk about their problems, and thinking about
pitch down as low as possible without breaking the voice and their feelings. Men are more reticent about these matters.
practice talking in a monotone on that note and gradually start to It is said that men speak in a more aggressive blunt authoritar-
vary the pitch as you become comfortable with this pitch. This ian manner, but women speak with a clearer enunciation, cor-
lowering the pitch can be combined by making a gargling sound rect grammar, politeness and tend to talk about trivial topics.
which will automatically tighten up the throat, and the voice can This may be changing as women are taking a more prominent
be brought to the front of the mouth. The voice will resonate position in society but these points still apply to some extent,
from exactly the same place with the lowest falsetto or the gar- and transsexuals must be aware of them as they must empha-
gling. size all aspects of femininity.
However increasing pitch without a change in resonance will not Summary.
produce good female voice, and special attention must be given • Women use more evaluative adjectives than men, e. g.
to the way a person coughs, laughs, and clears their throat. 'lovely', 'delightful' but not to the extent that they might
3. Resonance. be mistaken for being "gay."
Resonance is perhaps the most important aspect of voice
• Women are better listeners.
change. The aim is to develop head rather than chest resonance.
This can be done by feeling vibration in the chest by humming • Vocabulary is characterized by more words implying
and slowly raising the sound into the throat and into the mouth feeling and psychological state.
and nose. Changing resonance gives the illusion of raising the • Women talk more slowly.
pitch. It is not where the voice is pitched, but what can be done • Men interrupt more than women.
with it. It is important not to strain the voice and damage the
vocal cords. The client should start by practicing for a few min- (Continued on page 9)
V OLUME 2 2, I SSUE 5 INNE RV IE W PAGE 9

To Sound Like A Woman Voice Feminization


Part three Part two
• Men talk in a more direct manner. Continued from page 7
• Men demonstrate a greater sense of humor in speech. This can be a useful technique, if you do drag then you can go
for it! But realistically you must just apply this ever so gently
• Men have a predominance to discuss subjects such as
to your speech. It is essential you avoid whispering but at the
sport, politics, and business. Women are more concerned
same time that tinge of whisper can soften a voice considera-
with people, relationships, and clothes.
bly!
The importance of non-verbal behavior should not be forgot-
Voice quality is a multi-dimensional component of fluent
ten. Male body language can be as big a give-away as a male
speech determined both culturally and physiologically. Fe-
sounding voice.
male speakers have breathier voices than men, with a ten-
• Women use more eye contact than men dency for increased breathiness at higher pitches. And breath-
• Women nod and touch their hair and clothing more than ier at the higher end of their fundamental frequency ranges in
men connected speech.
• Women smile more than men Vvoice quality varies with social situation and speaking task,
and the correlation of breathiness with fundamental frequency
• Women use more gestures than men may be task-dependent. In particular, sustained vowels may
• Women walk with smaller strides, swing their hips and not hold when connected speech is examined. Shorter contact
tuck their elbows in ratios correlate with breathy voice quality.
• Women cross their legs more than men The tongue is higher and flatter for female than for male. This
gives 'dental' sounds (ones that involve the teeth, like T and
• Men are more relaxed and expansive when sitting down,
D) a softer, breathier, almost sibilant quality in the female.
generally positioning their arms, and knees wide apart
Say 'tttt' in male mode, then 'ssss'; find the halfway position,
and holding their arms away from their bodies.
that is the female position for the letters T and D; likewise for
• Men are more restless than women, exhibiting more pos- a TH sound, etc. Use plenty of air to get a breathy sound.
tural shifts and foot movements. Marilyn Monroe's breathless speech can if toned down really
• Men take longer strides and walk by swinging their help feminize speech listen to her here Listen to a
shoulders Marilyn Monroe sound file here!
• Men put their hands in their pockets, women do not. (http://www.transgenderzone.com/library/uz/monroe.wav)
There are a number of minor points, such as using your fe- Raising the end of a sentence
male name when answering the telephone, and waiting until a Although this is context specific (and accent dependent) rais-
salesperson is facing you before speaking in shops. ing your pitch at the
Where appearance and mannerisms are concerned, it is not end of a sentence is
how the public perceives a client but how the person per- a good habit for M-
ceives themselves. If the transsexual is satisfied with their T-F transgender
appearance, voice, and mannerisms, they will be a success in speakers. It also
their preferred role. 'lightens' your deliv-
The role of a Speech and Language Therapist is multi-focal, ery tending to make
firstly to achieve acceptable voice and body language, sec- you smile more.
ondly listen and advise about any problems that may arise to
help the transsexual gain self confidence in their preferred
role in society.

A transsexual sums up their


change in this way:
"Opening the bottom half of
a stable door with the top
half already open . . . . it lets
you walk into the sunshine."
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Top Tips
Avoid the camp voice - Julian Clary is a nono
Concentrate more on thoughts and feelings, whereas men con-
centrate on objects and actions. Men generally use more 'short
cuts', slang and swear.
Avoid sounding like Mickey Mouse
Avoid looking bashful and staring at your feet!
Avoid whispering - although a semi-whisper maybe all you can
www.tgforum.com get to sound feminine - remember if people can't hear you they
will concentrate more on you rather than you speaking a bit
deeper and moving on quickly.
Keep you mouth less open - ahhhhhhhhh! Becomes ohhhhhhhhh!
Don't Shout! You can speak loudly, but anger is a dead give
away!
Slow down the speed you speak a little - this not only gives you
time to think it also sounds more considered.
Mix Body Language with the way you speak
Start and end sentences slowly and gently
Push your speech up into the top of the throat away from the
chest.
Record yourself speaking or ask friends to comment - don't be
offended if they say negative things - this will take time to get
right!

June:Acceptance