Exploring the vocal satisfaction and self-perceived vocal masculinity of transmasculine individuals
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Linguistics
Minimal research has been conducted on transmasculine individuals due to the prevailing belief that exogenous androgen hormone treatment lowers the f0 to a satisfactory masculine-sounding voice (Van Borsel et al., 2000; T’Sjoen et al., 2006), but it has shown a gender-conforming speaking fundamental frequency does not equate to a gender-affirming voice (McNeill et al., 2008).
The current study explores the vocal satisfaction of transmasculine individuals by employing a global online survey. It identifies psychosocial and communicative effects that may impact this diverse population and aims to place them into the conceptual framework developed by Azul et al. (2017) as feasible in an online survey. The dimensions of the framework include demographic information (e.g. gender identity, binding, smoking etc.), vocal and communicative impacts (e.g. personal, physical, socioeconomic etc.), acoustic measurements (e.g. mean and mode f0), and testosterone history, and self-perceived vocal masculinity.
The current study had methodology-related goals as well, namely to test the efficacy of using acoustic tools such as Language and Brain and Behaviour Corpus Analysis Tool (LaBB-CAT; Fromont & Hay, 2017) and Robust Epoch And Pitch EstimatoR (REAPER; Talkin, 2015) within a clinically applied area of research. The following research questions were explored as part of the study: 1) What are the acoustic correlates of masculinity and the socio-cultural construct of the male gender identity? 2) What is the relationship between the transmasculine individuals’ voice and their quality of life? 3) How satisfied are transmasculine individuals with their speech? The current study found that the vocal satisfaction of transmasculine individuals is not directly predictable from self-perceived vocal masculinity, or from the central tendency measures of the speaking fundamental frequency. Participants’ self-perception of both their vocal satisfaction and vocal masculinity was mediated by the individual’s self-assigned gender identity label.