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Voice and Communication Services for Transgender and Gender Diverse Populations

The scope of this page is limited to discussion of services provided to individuals seeking to modify their gender expression and who require voice services to better align their voice and communication with their gender identity presentation.

Individuals may seek voice and communication services when their voice and/or other aspects of their communication is not consistent or congruent with their gender identity and/or gender presentation. These individuals include those who identify as transgender, gender fluid, gender diverse, gender nonconforming, or other gender identities. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) provide expertise in safely 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. Terms and pronouns are unique to each individual, and the terminology continues to evolve. It is important to know your client's name and pronouns, including whether they use more than one pronoun or set of pronouns depending on the setting or situation. Clinicians are mindful of potential barriers that influence the client's day-to-day functioning and their impact on communication.

Content Disclaimer: The Practice Portal, ASHA policy documents, and guidelines contain information for use in all settings; however, members must consider all applicable local, state and federal requirements when applying the information in their specific work setting.