I was assigned-female-at-birth (AFAB) and began hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with testosterone when I was 39 years old, about 15 months ago. Every other week I’d draw the viscous liquid into a 3 cc syringe, wipe my thigh with an alcohol swab, insert the needle, and slowly push the plunger down. I started with only half of what is considered a “normal” dose and took about ten months to work my way up to a dose that brought the levels of testosterone (T) in my blood to within the typical range for cisgender men. This gradual approach was intentional, to allow the changes in my body to happen slowly, especially the changes in my vocal folds. I love singing, and while I don’t do it to pay the bills, preserving my ability to sing is very important to me. (For more on my decision to take T, see this post.) I started noticing some shifts in my singing voice about five months after I began taking T. Since then my voice has continued to evolve, often in unexpected ways. Before I get into details, please note that the effects of testosterone and the timing of changes can vary a lot from person to person. What follow are my experiences singing through the first 15 months of testosterone therapy. While I don’t think my voice is done changing, this is what’s happened so far.
I was invited to give a PechaKucha presentation (20 slides x 20 seconds per slide) on the theme of “Fate”. I focused on the interaction between biology and fate in describing how my voice has changed in the first sixteen months of testosterone therapy. There are even a few clips of me singing to demonstrate how my voice has changed. Watch the video below!
PechaKucha Night Calgary (March 12, 2018 – Martha Cohen Theater)