You’ve probably thought long and hard about the ways in which you might want to transition.
As a trans man, there’s a lot to think about when researching transition options.
You might have already looked into things like hormone replacement therapy and surgery.
You might also have explored more mundane things, like going shopping for clothes that make you feel good, or getting your hair styled.
You might also have thought about speech therapy for transgender men.
Here at District Speech, we have speech therapists who have experience working with transgender clients.
Our speech therapists are compassionate and have a deep understanding of the voice-related issues that trans men often face.
If you’re looking to learn more about what speech therapy is and how it could play a role in your transition, this is the article for you.
Why Should Trans Men Get Speech Therapy?
Just like many transition related processes, there’s no obligation to get speech therapy.
Choosing to get it or not doesn’t make you more or less of a man.
It’s an incredibly personal choice that no one should feel pressured into.
If you’re comfortable with your voice as it is, that’s wonderful!
But not everybody feels the same way and we are aware of the need for speech therapies specifically for trans men.
From our experience working with trans communities, we’ve identified some of the main reasons why trans men might consider speech therapy.
Let’s take a look at them in more detail.
1. To Help Deal With Dysphoria
You may or may not experience voice related dysphoria, but a lot of trans men do.
If your voice is a source of dysphoria for you, voice training for transgender men can help with it.
2. To Improve Self Confidence
If you feel like your voice doesn’t match who you are, it can be difficult to feel confident.
It might stop you from making meaningful contributions in verbal conversation, because you don’t like the sound of your voice.
You absolutely have important things to say, and if your voice is holding you back, adult speech therapy for transgender men may help build the self confidence you need to express yourself to the fullest.
3. To Protect Yourself
Today’s society isn’t always kind to transgender people, and trans men are no exception.
For many trans men, “passing” as a cis man can help lessen dysphoria, but there is also an element of safety involved.
If a cisgender person reads you as trans, they may become hostile and express transphobia in devastating ways.
It’s been great that we have seen an increase in trans visibility in recent years, but it’s not always something that everyone’s prepared for on a daily basis.
Tips For Training Your Voice For Transgender Men
If you’d like to check out some exercises before you decide whether you want to pursue speech therapy for trans men, here are some techniques that you can try.
1. Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy
Although there’s no reason that trans men need to go on hormones, many choose to because they help bring their body in alignment with who they are.
The most important components of the perceived gender of your voice are pitch, resonance, and intonation.
RELATED: The Parts Of Speech: Intonation
Unlike with transgender women, who have zero changes to their voice through estrogen therapy, one of the effects of testosterone is that it thickens your vocal folds.
For trans men, the effects of hormone replacement therapy on voice are numerous.
If you take testosterone, it might take some getting used to, and you might want to consider speech therapy to help adjust to the changes and cultivate the voice you want.
If you’re wondering about testosterone and its possible effects on your voice, consult with a medical doctor to find out if it’s right for you.
Whether you take testosterone or not, however, we offer speech therapy solutions that can work for you.
2. Speak With Your Diaphragm
Using your diaphragm can help lower the pitch of your voice.
This involves imagining that you’re using your chest to make sounds instead of your head or throat.
If you’re not familiar with diaphragm breathing, there are breath exercises you can start with if you’d like.
You lie on your back with one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach, and breathe in slowly though your nose and feel the hand on your stomach rise with your breath.
Keep the hand on your chest where it is.
When you exhale through your mouth, let the hand on your stomach fall.
Speech therapy exercises might feel awkward to start, but if you keep it up, that’s the best way to change a routine into a habit.
Try humming in a lower voice than you would normally, and then try making it gradually lower and lower.
Eventually, it will become second nature to you and you won’t have to make a conscious effort anymore.
And if all else fails, speak to your speech therapist for tips on how to practice your voice techniques.
Make sure to balance your practicing time with rest in order to avoid problems arising from overuse, such as vocal weakness.
4. Work On Your Posture
It’s easy to underestimate the power that your posture has over your voice.
Nonetheless, small changes like how you stand can help deepen your voice.
So, why not use your posture to your advantage?
Assume a strong and typically masculine posture with your chest out and your chin up.
This makes it easier to project your voice.
Book An Appointment With District Speech
There’s so much involved in speech therapy, such as your vocal tone, how you space your words out, the way your voice varies in volume, and your speaking pace.
Our speech therapists are available guide you through these things, and more.
They can chat with you through speech teletherapy so that you can experience the benefits of speech therapy from your own home.
No matter whether you’re looking to take the next step in your transition, or if you just want to explore your options more, we’ve got you covered at District Speech.
When you book an appointment with us, we’ll chat about your transition goals and come up with a plan tailored for you so that you can meet them.
1300 I St NW, #400E,
Washington, DC 20005
District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.