Abstract

This study examines the role of voice in creation and negotiation of gender identity in trans women by carrying out a comparative analysis of the acoustic features (speaking fundamental frequency, formant frequency, loudness, breathiness, intonation and stress pattern) of the voice of trans women with the voice quality of cishet (person identifies as the gender they were assigned at birth) individuals. The analysis of the acoustic data shows that trans women have the measures of fundamental frequency and formants similar to cishet-men since they had similar biological characteristics of voice as male at birth; hence, they have lower pitch. Thus, trans women change vowel duration, intonation and stress pattern on syllable level to sound feminine. The interview data show that trans women use some vocal strategies to adjust their voices according to the expectations of gender roles in the society. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), this study explores experiences of trans women with their voice and the use of different vocal strategies in creating a trans woman identity.