"The voice is an entity that many people take for granted until they have to change their voice to match who they are."
Rebecca Root transitioned from the male role in 2003 and had her gender reassignment surgery at Charing Cross Hospital, London, two years later. She is the only transsexual person working as a voice and speech specialist in the UK today. This background gives Rebecca unique insight when working with other transsexual and transgendered (TS/TG) people to find a voice they feel fits their gender, whether they identify as male, female, or somewhere in between.
Research has shown that certain speech patterns may be identifiably "male" or "female" through depth of pitch, inflection, articulation and timbre. Vocal adaptation to reflect a person's true gender identity is a highly desirable goal for those who change their gender. Although female-to-male transsexuals find that hormone therapy will initiate the effects of male puberty, resulting in a lowering of the voice, there remains much work to be done with this sector of the population. On the other hand, hormone therapy for male-to-female transsexuals does not affect the voice, and extensive voice training is regularly sought by these individuals.Rebecca ran the inaugural transgendered vocal adaptation workshop at The San Francisco LGBT Center in November 2008. Participants were female-to-male and male-to-female TS/TG, as well as genderqueer and questioning people who wished to explore a new vocal dynamic.
In June 2009, Rebecca held the first all-day voice training workshop for the UK's National Health Service. The speech and language therapists who were participating were all members of the National Gender Dysphoria Special Interest Group, and Rebecca's groundbreaking work represented a bridge between the sometimes disparate worlds of creative vocal arts and science-orientated speech therapy.
Rebecca wrote her MA thesis, entitled "There and Back Again: Adventures in Genderland", on the issues surrounding TS/TG vocal adaptation and the presentation of gender. She then presented it at Harvard University in March 2009, and in September 2009 it will be published in the peer-reviewed journal Voice and Speech Review (University Readers/VASTA). The editor of the VSR, Rena Cook, described it as "inspiring, personal and filled with valuable knowledge and insight."
Please see the Testimonial page for what some of Rebecca's clients have said about her work, or click here.