Gender-Affirming Voice and Communication Change for Transgender and Gender-Diverse People

At times, people may want to change the way they talk and sound. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can help with these changes.

You may feel that your voice does not represent who you are. You may want to change the way you speak so that your voice or communication style is more aligned with your gender. There are different options that may help you with this.  

You may choose to have gender affirming services with an SLP. This may involve working on your voice and overall communication. An SLP with specialized training can work with you to explore (a) the ways that your voice and communication can represent you and (b) how you express yourself in different settings. The SLP will also talk to you about vocal health, which is important for anyone using their voice in new ways.

Some people may also choose to work with a doctor to have surgery and/or hormone treatment, which may change how their voice sounds. An SLP can help you train your voice before and after surgery to restore your vocal health and meet your voice goals. Your SLP will work with your care team and providers.

The following are some of the things you may choose to work on with an SLP:

  • pitchor how high or low your voice sounds
  • intonationor the rise and fall of pitch in your speech
  • resonanceor the quality of the sound of your voice
  • the rhythm of your speech
  • rateor how fast or slowly you speak
  • volumeor how loudly you speak
  • nonverbal communicationsuch as your body language and facial expressions
  • languageor the words you use
  • speech sound productionor how you say sounds
  • pragmaticsor the social rules of communication, such as how to adjust your voice for different situations, how to express different emotions, and how to express yourself across different languages and cultural situations

It can take some time to change your voice and the way you talk with others. SLPs can help you communicate in a way that feels authentic.

Other Resources

To find an SLP near you, visit ProFind (select “Transgender Voice” in “Areas of Expertise” on the left side of the page) or the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Provider Directory Search.

ASHA extends its gratitude to the following subject matter experts for their review and feedback on this content:

  • Tallulah Breslin, MS, CCC-SLP
  • Kimberly Dahl, MS, CCC-SLP
  • Ali Heitzman, MS, CCC-SLP
  • Sarah Love Penzell, MA, CCC-SLP

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