“Oh! Based on Voice, Assigned Female at Birth”: Transmasculine Voices and Gender Construction


  • Adrian Dunkerson University of Victoria
  • Anelyse Weiler University of Victoria




transgender, transmasculine, nonbinary, voice, transnormativity, gender


The physical voice is one of the most noticeable gender signifiers utilized in everyday social interaction. For trans people, their voice can be a medium through which to affirm and assert their gender, or a source of dysphoria which regularly ‘betrays’ their identity to others. Because of the effects of masculinizing hormone replacement therapy (HRT), transmasculine people tend to have an easier time changing their voices to their desired pitch than transfeminine people. However, even when on testosterone, transmasculine people may feel pressure from both inside and outside their own communities to sound a certain way due to transnormative narratives that gain traction in mainstream media and online transmasculine spaces like Tumblr and YouTube. Transmasculine people who are nonbinary face further challenges asserting their identity through their voice due to having to frequently operate within the gender binary when it comes to gender membership. Through qualitative semi-structured interviews, I explore how two transmasculine participants view the relationships between their voice, gender identity, and the social world. I identify that trans people face pressures to sound a certain way from both cis- and transnormative lenses. I find that nonbinary transmasculine people particularly struggle with these pressures as having too high of a voice results in constant misgendering, and fears around both safety and keeping community arise with the threat of the “T-voice.”