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Using your new voice around old friends

trans voice Mar 21, 2022

A question I got on my Discord server was "How do I use my new voice around people who are used to my old voice?"

This is a question I get quite a lot, and I think it stems from the expectations that we feel that our friends and family and people who know us have about interacting with us. And this is totally normal! We feel the discomfort of incongruence when we know we're transgressing expectations of ourselves.

I often use the example of lipstick. If you're a person who doesn't wear makeup all the time and then decide one day "I want to wear lipstick!" When you wear lipstick or change your appearance at all, you'll go to work and all of your colleagues are like, "Woah, you look different!"

They're all going to react because people react to things that are new and strange in our environment.

It has nothing to do with whether or not your lipstick was put on correctly or if it's the right colour for you. It's just that it's new. But if you wear lipstick every day after that for a month, eventually your coworkers are not going to react to the lipstick anymore, because it's just part of how you present yourself.

It's exactly the same for the voice. You can expect people to react to your new voice. That's totally normal. But it likely doesn't have anything to do with how your voice sounds, whether it's good or bad or whatever. It just has to do with the fact that it's something new to be perceived about you. But if you continuously use your voice around people who know you, they will get used to that as well, just like they'll get used to anything else that you decide to change about yourself.

And if you can, try and let people in on the work that you're doing, like tell your parents or your friends or your colleagues, "Hey, I'm learning how to change my voice to make myself happier." You know, "Maybe you can help me by telling me when I've fallen out of my voice." Or maybe, "It would help if you just didn't mention it while I'm going through this."

Let people know that a change is about to happen so that they can manage their expectations and their reactions.

PS: My Discord server is only open to members of my e-courses so check out Trans Vocal Exploration!


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.

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