When you listen (click on the picture) to Stephanie (erstwhile Simon) Hirst being interviewed by Stephen Nolan about his journey to finding freedom as a woman, you’ll hear his engaging voice. He’s currently seeing a speech therapist to produce more of a female sounding voice. Stephen Nolan remarks that as Stephanie is an accomplished broadcaster wouldn’t it be better to leave his voice alone. He says it would disturb him if he didn’t feel his voice reflected his femininity. He investigated and found that there is an operation for the vocal folds in Bangkok but he’ s uncertain about going there. I understand his concern – wouldn’t it be better for him to contact John Rubin the wise and esteemed Otolaryngologist? He would be best placed to help and advise him on available operations. As a performance trained voice coach I look at a person’s physicality and physiology. Everybody varies and it affects the voice so much. Women produce their voice in a different way to men and you can learn how to mirror that. By utilising your breath you can learn to tilt the larynx and raise the pitch of your voice. There are of course many exercises that can help and please contact me on frances@maxyourvoice for further information on any of these. Richard K Adler, Sandy Hirsch and Michelle Mordaunt who wrote “Voice and Communication Therapy for the Transgender/Transsexual Client – A Comprehensive Clinical Guide” say nonverbal communication, cultural differences and chronemics are important. Different experiences and notions of time for men and women (yes really) radically affect our movement and pace of speaking. In the end this overall experience of communicating as a woman, is what enthuses my transgender clients the most. Manners, gesture, stance, phrasing and eye contact are all fulfilling. As Simon now Stephanie says during the interview “no matter what – I am me”. I’m sure that’s why Stephanie’s gathering so much support. It’s wonderful that you gave the interview and it’s wonderful that you’re giving confidence to others in a similar position. I’m really happy that you’re happy – confident and happier people make life better.
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