How to develop a female voice

Truth be told... I can't pass on the phone and guess what, it doesn't matter, But I have raised the pitch and reduced resonance with practice so some cisgendered women are deeper than me and I speak more quietly. As women get older their voices deepen some because of smoking.  Some cisgender girls tell me they are "Sir'd" too. When people see me they may recognize the obvious depending on their "transdar".  I was a guy and now I am not. No problem. It may actually promotes understanding of transpeople.

When I go to the store, I am very well received. The other day one person gave me a big hug. WOW, I have so many friends now. I never expected this.  SOooo, I guess voice is one more thing I don't need to think about. Friendly attitude and presentation are important for me.

  You can be very passable in your appearance, but if you speak in a masculine voice you've just outed yourself . . .

 It amazes me how many transsexual women speak in a masculine-sounding voice, even post-ops. They'll spend thousands on hormones, electrolysis, surgery, etc. but won't make the effort to retrain their voices.  If you don't mind getting sir'd on the phone, or even in public, go ahead and talk like a man. But if you want to pass as a woman your voice is important.

Another reason to speak in a female voice is, whether we like it or not, we're all ambassadors for the trans community. People will often base their opinions of us on first impressions. If you speak in a male voice, not only will there be incongruity between your voice and appearance, but it will tend to make people relate to us more as drag queens and crossdressers—an image we need to get away from.

 Any male voice can be retrained. Don't be discouraged if you're starting with a baritone! For proof that your voice can be changed, try talking in falsetto. Obviously, it sounds silly and I don't recommend talking in falsetto, but it shows even the deepest voice can be raised.

Just like your walk, you're unlearning years of doing something in a masculine way. You're retraining your throat muscles. It was two-and-half months before I started getting ma'am on the phone and it may take a year, or more, before your voice sounds good in all situations, like yelling.

Will hormones make your voice higher? Unless you started HRT at the onset of, or early, puberty before your voice changed, hormones will have no effect on pitch, though estrogen will tend to soften the voice.

What about vocal surgery? That's an option and can take the worry out of whether you'll get clocked when you speak. I know three trans women who've had vocal surgery. Two sounded good and one didn't, she sounded raspy (I guess two out of three ain't bad). As with most surgery, the outcome of voice surgery isn't certain. Explore your options and educate yourself about vocal surgery before deciding. If you don't want surgery some voice training is usually required.

Vocal Feminization: Surgery - Experimental and risky

Some have said it is better this way.  I am accepted and have more friends than before.
manners, attitude and presentation seem more important

ARTICLE: There are several surgical methods of vocal cord alterations being performed.
I do not recommend existing voice surgery techniques based on results I've heard. To date, I have met or spoken to 14 people in person who have had vocal cord surgery. Of these, 12 have what I consider poor results. Two have acceptable results, and of these two, one has very good results.
How unacceptable?
One woman I know sounds like slightly deeper version Minnie Mouse, or maybe Michael Jackson. On the other end of the spectrum are two women who sound like a hoarse Bea Arthur, or Marge Simpson's sisters Selma and Patty. Most don't sound much different than before surgery.
Katherine writes:
I, too, looked into "voice surgery", just before my SRS two years ago.  After speaking on the phone to about 6 people who had had it done, I was scared off it forever. They all had the weirdest, squeakiest voices, and one said that after about half the day, her voice would give out altogether. AND all told me that they could no longer sing -- the end of the subject for me! I'd as soon give up singing as most men would give up their penises.
JulieAnne is an ENT (ear, nose and, throat) surgeon who writes:
Differences in the way people heal will affect the eventual outcome and this is something the surgeon often has no control over. I hope any surgeon would discuss this with their patient so they can make an intelligent decision about proceeding with this type of surgery.
A reader sent this comment in June 2005:
Hello again, I wanted to send you a short note to "follow-up" with my experience with voice surgery, as you had an entire page dedicated to it.  After having the CTA surgery July 2004 in Portland, I can confidently say it isn't in any way a cure-all procedure.  My voice was not masculine to begin with, but it was at a level (I thought) sounded like a 16 year old feminine gay guy.  CTA helped me a very small bit, especially being able to raise my voice to someone across the room or laugh, but it wasn't a miracle.  Along with changing my speech patterns I was able to improve a great deal on my voice.  So what many people have said about voice surgery still remains true ;^). Hopefully someday they'll come out with something better surgery-wise!

Tom Waddell Health Center Transgender Protocals

The Tom Waddell Health Center is a center in San Francisco operated by the Department of Health. They have a clinic specializing in transgender care.
The Transgender Clinic of Tom Waddell Health Center has been in operation since November of 1993 and is committed to providing quality, integrated health care in an atmosphere of trust and respect. We are a multidisciplinary primary care clinic focusing primarily on the needs of underserved populations of inner city San Francisco. Primary care means we treat your whole body, not just your gender issues. Being multidisciplinary means we address all your concerns, not just your medical problems. We have nutritional, mental health and social services, and we work closely with community organizations.

Read the Tom Waddell Protocals