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The Importance of Voice to MtF Transition Study


Dev

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Afternoon everyone!  We've been approached by a student at a UK university who is doing a study on the importance of voice in transitioning from male to female.  I'll let her words speak for themselves below to outline the scope and purpose of the study.  This is open to folks outside the UK - interviews can be conducted via Skype sessions if a telephone call isn't feasible.  The study is being run by Emily Boville - her contact information is in the text below.  Please email her directly if you'd like to be considered for an interview for her study.

 

Emily is looking to complete her interviews in January, though she may be able to accommodate some in December if there are time constraints on your end.

 

Quote

You are being invited to take part in a research study. Before you decide, it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the following information carefully. Talk to others about the study if you wish.


Ask if there is anything that is not clear or if you would like more information. Take time to decide whether you wish to take part.

 

1. What is the purpose of the study?


This study is part of my final year undergraduate research project which will form part of my degree in BSc Speech and Language Pathology. The aim of this research is to improve our understanding of the importance of voice quality with regards to your identity, and what other aspects around voice hold significance for transgender people. This can aid in the development of future speech and language therapy.

 

2. Why have I been chosen?


You have been chosen as you are over 18 and self-define as a member of the transgender community, so are able to provide insight into how your voice impacts upon your overall identity. You do not need to have received any speech therapy or medical intervention in order to participate and can be at any stage of transition. In total, approximately 6-10 people will be interviewed to try capture a range of experiences and views on the matter.

 

3. Do I have to take part?

 

No. It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you do, you will be given this information sheet to keep and will be asked to sign a consent form. You are still free to withdraw without giving a reason. Methods of withdrawing from the research are identified in section 8.

 

4. What will happen to me if I take part?

 

You will be asked to take part in a 30-45 minute interview. The researcher will ask you about your opinions and experiences of how your voice has impacted on your identity, as these are what the project is interested in exploring. You do not have to answer any questions you do not feel comfortable with. The interview will be audio recorded in order for the researcher to reflect on what has been discussed. These recordings will be stored securely to ensure confidentiality is maintained at all times, according to the data storage policies of Manchester Metropolitan University. Only the researcher will have access to the recordings.

 

5. What are the possible benefits of taking part?

 

I cannot promise the study will be advantageous to you directly, however, the information we receive may help to improve our understanding of the importance of voice to transgender people, to better shape speech and language therapy to meet individual needs.

 

6. What happens when the research study stops?

 

After the interviews are collected they will be analysed to identify common themes and experiences. This anonymised data will then be used as part of the final research project which is due for submission on the 20th April 2018. The research will then be marked by staff from Manchester Metropolitan University.
If you would like to receive a summary of the research, once completed, please email: [email protected]

 

7. Will my taking part in the study be kept confidential?

 

All the information collected about you during the course of the research will remain strictly confidential. No personal information or information which could lead to your identification will be used as part of the research project. Data will be collected through audio recording and then transcribed to allow for further analysis. Any data stored about you in the interview, including notes and recordings will be stored on password protected devices
The data collected will be stored and only handled by the researcher, however, it may be shared in an anonymised format to allow for marking by the project supervisor and Manchester Metropolitan University. There is also the possibility of the research being published, but there will be no way to identify you from the research.

 

You will be given an individual ID number with your consent form; this ID will be used in relation to all aspects of your data in replacement of any personal details. Any quotes used will be assigned a pseudonym.
Audio recordings and data will be kept securely until the research project has been presented for examination and a final mark has been awarded by Manchester Metropolitan University. After which, it will be disposed of securely. The procedures used for handling, processing, storage and destruction of your data are compliant with the Data Protection Act 1998.

 

8. What if something goes wrong?

 

If you think you may be distressed or upset by the topic of the interview, please do not take part. If you feel uncomfortable with any of the topics discussed during the interview or the topics cause some distress, you are free to end the interview at any point. For further support, the LGBT Foundation provides a helpline for advice, support and information and can be contacted on 0345 330 3030 or online at www.lgbt.foundation.
Manchester Metropolitan University has a procedure for addressing complaints from participants as to their treatment by researchers. The person at MMU responsible for receiving such complaints about this project is Dr Emma Turley (Project Supervisor). She can be contacted at [email protected].

 

To withdraw from this research please email [email protected] stating your ID number. This can be done up to the 16th February 2018, however, it will not be possible to withdraw your data after this date

 

9. Contact Details:

 

If you would like any further information about the study or have any questions, please feel free to contact:
Principal Researcher: Emily Boville [email protected]

 

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  • Admin
Carolyn Marie

Thanks, Dev.  Sounds interesting.

 

Carolyn Marie

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  • Forum Moderator

It does sound interesting and i may volunteer.  I wonder how my accent might detract.  After all i speak proper english without the funny accent British folks have.:)

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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  • Admin

Ol' Foghorn Ellie here has already taken part in a couple of these research surveys and I hope this person finds them and cites them.  I have found that it is more speech patterns, vocabulary and the non-verbal communication elements than the pitch of the voice that make our transitions go more smoothly, and some of that is fascinating when you realize the complexity of the elements that go into why my in-person voice is taken as feminine at about 98% certainty.  My telephone voice has other factors that go into a less than 55% feminine identification rate, but most of those are concerned with prejudices of the phone callers, faulty cold call scripts and ancient history contact names on the phone lists.  It has improved over the last six years as people see my Vicky name, anticipate a female and get one on the phone.  The ones calling my dead name and who anticipate a male have a helluva time getting my gender right.

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  • Forum Moderator

The issue I find with many of these surveys, this one included is the small sample size (approximately 6-10).  They do not seem to have a true representative slice of the population.  

 

I have to agree with your statement.  I know many (cis) women with deep voices who's gender is never questioned. 

4 minutes ago, VickySGV said:

I have found that it is more speech patterns, vocabulary and the non-verbal communication elements than the pitch of the voice that make our transitions go more smoothly,

 

Jani

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/4/2017 at 1:30 PM, Charlize said:

It does sound interesting and i may volunteer.  I wonder how my accent might detract.  After all i speak proper english without the funny accent British folks have.:)

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

 Hi Charlize

 

There's no need to worry about your accent! My research isn't looking at each participants' voice specifically but their perceptions of feminine voice, the impact this has had on transition (if any) and opinions on voice therapy.  If anything I'm more concerned about my accent as I'm originally from the North East of England so it isn't your typical British accent! If you do choose to participate I'll make sure I tone it down as even my fellow Brits often struggle to make out some of the things I'm saying :D

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On 12/4/2017 at 5:54 PM, VickySGV said:

Ol' Foghorn Ellie here has already taken part in a couple of these research surveys and I hope this person finds them and cites them.  I have found that it is more speech patterns, vocabulary and the non-verbal communication elements than the pitch of the voice that make our transitions go more smoothly, and some of that is fascinating when you realize the complexity of the elements that go into why my in-person voice is taken as feminine at about 98% certainty.  My telephone voice has other factors that go into a less than 55% feminine identification rate, but most of those are concerned with prejudices of the phone callers, faulty cold call scripts and ancient history contact names on the phone lists.  It has improved over the last six years as people see my Vicky name, anticipate a female and get one on the phone.  The ones calling my dead name and who anticipate a male have a helluva time getting my gender right.

 

Hi Vicky

 

This is exactly the sort of information I'm looking to gather. Much of the speech and language therapy techniques for trans voice at the moment, tend to focus on pitch. I'm hoping this research will help to open up the field to consider things such as conversation context, intonation and body language in therapy.

 

As part of the research project I have to complete a literature review so I have read a lot of professional journals and current research on the subject of transgender voice, but if you have any details of the survey's you have participated in I would be very interesting in hearing about them.

 

Kind regards,

 

Emily 

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On 12/4/2017 at 6:10 PM, Jani423 said:

The issue I find with many of these surveys, this one included is the small sample size (approximately 6-10).  They do not seem to have a true representative slice of the population.  

 

I have to agree with your statement.  I know many (cis) women with deep voices who's gender is never questioned. 

 

Jani

 

Hi Jani

 

 

I agree that the sample size is not a very representative sample. However, as I am still only an undergraduate student and not yet qualified speech and language therapist, I'm unfortunately not provided with the time or funding to complete a larger study.  I hope that the findings of my research will help to give more insight and understanding into the deeper considerations necessary for successful and meaningful voice therapy for the Trans community. This foundation may also allow me to develop the study further once I do graduate.

 

I hope this gives you a bit more background as to why the study is so small!

 

Thanks

 

Emily

 

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  • Admin
Carolyn Marie

I did participate in Emily's study, and found it interesting and enjoyable.  Her accent requires some careful listening but isn't a majpr drawback.  I would suggest not having Metallica playing in the background while you talk.  :P  I think the study will be worthwhile.

 

Carolyn Marie

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  • 10 months later...
On 12/4/2017 at 12:10 PM, Jani said:

The issue I find with many of these surveys, this one included is the small sample size (approximately 6-10).  They do not seem to have a true representative slice of the population.  

 

I have to agree with your statement.  I know many (cis) women with deep voices who's gender is never questioned. 

 

Jani

Sorry for slight off topic, but the trick is to use tone for emphasis rather then volume levels and learning how to control your voices resonance. It’s very difficult what helped me was my experience playing the clarinet in middle school which helped in getting used to use my mouth rather then my chest for how the for where the voice is resonated. Then like everything repetition is key. Don’t try to go super high pitch because your voice will crack. Although with practice you can raise your octave some.

 

George Washington University has a great program where you can work with students there who where in my experience very good. It was worth every penny. If anyone is in the DC area I highly recommended them.

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