Gender Affirming Voice Therapy
According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, “Individuals may seek gender affirmation services to make their voice and/or other aspects of their communication congruent with their gender identity and/or gender expression.
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) provide expertise in modifying the voice and other aspects of communication. The SLP, in collaboration with the client, assesses a variety of aspects of verbal and nonverbal communication, such as vocal pitch, intonation, voice quality, resonance, fluency, articulation, pragmatics, and vocalization (e.g., laughing and coughing).
Studies indicate that a voice that is incongruent with gender identity can negatively impact quality of life, in addition to attracting unwanted attention and greatly impacting safety (Oates & Dacakis, 2015). The SLP demonstrates cultural sensitivity and awareness in communication with the clients and their families. This includes having current knowledge of appropriate, inclusive, respectful, and nonpathologizing terminology. Terminology continues to evolve.
It is important to know your client’s name and pronouns, including when to use them depending on the setting or situation. Privacy and safety are of the utmost importance. Clinicians are mindful of potential barriers that influence the client’s day-to-day functioning and their impact on communication” (Practice Portal, n.d.).