January 30, 2023
The Colorado State University Health Team is hosting voice workshops with the Pride Resource Center for Transgender and Non-Binary Students from January 31st through February 2nd.
January 31st will focus on vocal feminization, February 1st on vocal neutralization, and February 2nd on vocal masculinization. The workshops provide an option for transgender and non-binary students to learn how to change their voice to better match their identity. Students who wish to attend do not need health insurance that is compatible with the CSU Health Network.
“We talk about the different vocal characteristics that make the listener perceive the voice as more feminine or masculine, or in that kind of gender-neutral range, and then we break it down into parts. So (that means) learning about the difference between average pitch and pitch variation, and the different patterns of prosody and intonation that lead to a voice being perceived as more masculine or more feminine.” – Annie Schubert, clinical director and speech therapist at the Center for Speech and Language Stimulation
Maggie Hendrickson is the director of the Pride Resource Center and is also on the Transgender Health Team.
“We really don’t want people to think that they have to be on hormones, or so advanced in their transition, or out, or other precursors to come to the workshop,” Hendrickson said. “It’s just another way for people to feel more comfortable in their bodies.” Many people simply think of transition as hormones and surgery, but there are many other ways to transition socially, culturally, or non-medically. It’s really (for) people (who) are interested in voice training or have any kind of dysphoria that they think it might help. That’s who the audience is for, and it’s just another tool for people to explore gender and how they’re perceived by others.”
Annie Schubert will be the workshop facilitator. She is a speech pathologist and clinical director at the Center for Speech and Language Stimulation and has worked with transgender and non-binary patients for 6 years. Schubert said many of the voice services for transgender and non-binary people are often not covered by insurance, so she facilitates these workshops to help better serve those communities.
“We talk about the different vocal characteristics that make the listener perceive the voice as more feminine or masculine, or in that kind of gender-neutral range, and then we break it down into parts,” Schubert said. “So (that means) learning about the difference between average pitch and pitch variation, and the different patterns of prosody and intonation that make a voice come across as more masculine or more feminine.”
The workshops will provide advice for participants to start their own program at home to practice changing their voice to more closely match their desired voice.
“We also focus on vocal hygiene and some basic principles for a good and healthy voice,” Schubert said. “(This is to) make sure that when you’re doing any voice practice at home — and especially when you’re trying to change your voice — that the participants can learn how to make sure that we’re doing it in a safe way that doesn’t leads to strain or, as in, vocal injury.
More gender-affirming resources available on campus include the Pride Resource Center, which hosts the Lavender Cabinet, which has several gender-affirming items, and the CSU Health Network’s Transgender Health Team, which helps students , who are interested in medical transition research.
Contact Barnaby Atwood at [email protected] or on Twitter @Barnaby_Atwood.