Helping Trans People Find Their Voices | Cosmopolitan

Helping Trans People Find Their Voices | Cosmopolitan


I want transgender people to not… …deal with any bullsh*t. *Laughing* That just came out! Okay, Angel, it’s been a while so I think we should do a sample of your voice to check your pitch. – Yeah, absolutely. Read the yellow part whenever you’re ready. – When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air they act as a prism and form a rainbow. The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colors. Okay, let’s check the pitch. Oh, 192, very nice. Remember the chart? – Right. Remember where you started? It was 134. And then 186 last time in August. – Right. And today it’s 192. And 192 is as close to the target that we’ve always worked on. Best pitch so far. – Awesome. My name’s Christie Block. I’m a speech-language pathologist specializing in voice disorders and transgender voice. I’ve been helping transgender people with their voices for over ten years and I plan to do it forever. – One, two, three, four, five. Good. Fiiiiiive. – Fiiiiiive. Yeah, there you go. Hooooahhh. – Hooooahhh. *Ascending pitch* More, more, more, mooore. – *Ascending pitch* More, more, more, mooore. *Louder* More! – *Louder* More! Yes. More open in the mouth. In anything in life, if we’re supported and encouraged by others, then, we do better. I think when I work with trans people, a lot of people are ready to take a risk to sound different and, uh, to try out something new like that. But they’re afraid to make that step. In that sense, if I’m compassionate, and encouraging, and supportive, they’re much more willing to take a risk. Expressive, that’s the name of the game. Stretching. – You’ve got to be kidding. – Hi! How are you? I don’t think I could have done it without Christie. She was so… good and thorough and she knew exactly what to do. It’s like she dug it out of me. She dug out my voice. She helped me find my voice. When people first come in, I have them read and talk. And then I say, “Okay. Speak more feminine.” Or, “Read this in a more masculine way.” And I get: *Gasp* And then, they do it. And then I say, “Look how much you know already.” For me, voice is like, a physical expression. It’s becoming more authentic. My previous voice, my old voice, it reflected a lot of my old personality. A lot of trauma, uh, a lot of heartache, a lot of difficulty, and lack of confidence. It’s done more than just simply be reflective of particular gender traits, it’s actually empowered me. My family and friends are very proud of me. They’re so very proud of me and I think they’re the ones who pushed me to become who I am today. They helped me just find myself and be comfortable and supportive. They’re amazing. So amazing. I feel beyond happy when people tell me I’m beautiful. I mean, I try not to show it but it… it… it definitely strikes a chord. I mean, I don’t even know how to explain it. All the time. I help people who want to change their voices. That doesn’t mean how they sound doesn’t look like how they look. Who cares, if they don’t care? I feel like when somebody takes advantage of what they’ve learned, and they embrace what they’ve accomplished, and use it to have a better life, that’s… that’s what really makes my job worth doing.

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