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Lesser known facts about voice masculinization: behaviour vs. physiology

degendering the voice masculinize your voice without testosterone trans voice Mar 13, 2023

I'm currently working on creating a course called Masculinizing Your Voice Without Testosterone and it's got me thinking a lot about the difference between physiology and behaviour.

A lot of people who want a more masculine voice think that the only way to accomplish it is through taking testosterone. We know that testosterone has a masculinizing effect on the physiology of the voice, but what I really want to share with you is this quotation from Voice in Communication Therapy for the Transgender/Gender Diverse Client: "Even if two speakers identify as the same gender, are of the same height, and speak the same language, ie. their physiology would predict near identical resonance systems, the two speakers are able to agentively shape their respective resonant systems in a manner that reflects other facets of their identity."

There have been a lot of studies, specifically the work of Keith Johnson from 2006 and 2007 that finds that no two cultures express gender in the same way. So, even among people who are speaking the same language, like for instance, New Zealand English versus Californian English, we find major discrepancies in how gender is expressed in these two dialects. This is not because of physiology, this is really because of behaviour. We hear how voices are spoken around us and we imitate that.

All this to say, I'm making this new course because I believe there are a lot of ways to modify your behaviour to masculinize your voice, even if you're not able to take testosterone for any reason. Maybe you can't get it without your parents permission, or you can't take it for medical reasons, or you don't want to take it because you don't want the effects of testosterone except for the voice effects. There are lots of reasons to take testosterone or not and it's extremely personal. Even those people who take testosterone sometimes want to do voice masculinization because the learned behaviour of the voice has had such a major impact on the perceived gender of the voice, sometimes even more than physiology.

I wanted to share this quotation with you because I think it's really important that we talk about the different ways that the voice is masculinized. There are lots of options when it comes to masculinizing your voice and testosterone is not the end all/be all, although it can be very important for a lot of people. I hope this information can help empower people choose what feels right for them!

If you want to be notified when the new course drops sign up here!

Hi, I'm Renée! (they/them)

I'm a queer, nonbinary, and disabled singer, songwriter and gender-affirming voice teacher. 

I've been a voice teacher for over twelve years, I have four full-length albums out, and I have degrees in physics, jazz, and songwriting.

I love creating, I love figuring things out, but most of all, I love helping people.

Learn more about me

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