Many GALA choruses include individuals who identify as transgender, cross-gender or spanning both male and female genders. The resources on this page offer information about gender experience, voice transition and gender language.
Want to make your rehearsal and concert restrooms inclusive and safe for all individuals? Click here for inclusive restroom signage from My Door Sign.
GALA offers a discussion group for transgender individuals and allies interested in conversations regarding trans experience, gender language and helping to create a trans-friendly community within GALA choruses. Send a request to subscribe.
Voice Range Transition
Singers who take testosterone as they transition from female to male (F2M) will experience a voice range transition much like the transition that occurs for boys during puberty. A singer may transition from a soprano or alto range down as far as a bass range. The vocal folds both lengthen and thicken for boys that experience voice transition in puberty thus lower the voice pitch. An F2M individual that takes testosterone as an adult will experience only the thickening of the vocal folds which lowers the pitch of the voice but their vocal chords will not lengthen with this transition.
Singers transitioning from male to female (M2F) have a different experience since Estrogen does not reverse the thickening of vocal folds. Many M2F individuals are able to train their voice to speak at a higher pitch and some singers are able to train their voices to sing in falsetto although this is much more challenging and requires a skilled singer and voice teacher. Here is an example of a male-born singer utilizing his falsetto range.
This article contains more detailed information about general vocal fold function.
Since many transgender individuals in GALA choruses simply sing in their own vocal range it is important that choruses and conductors are sensitive to gender awareness and utilize inclusive gender language within chorus sections. See below for Gender Neutral Language Guidelines.
Transgender Voice Training
Regular vocal health is important during gender transition especially for singers taking testosterone. Hydration, rest and gentle use of the voice will help a singer to transition smoothly.
Veronica Grace offers some simple daily warm-ups for individuals in vocal transition.
Therapist Shelagh Davies describes the process of vocal transition in this outline of her training workshop.
Check out GALA's Singer Voice for more warm-ups and vocal care tips.
Gender Inclusive Language - Conductors & Choruses
Many GALA choruses include individuals who identify as cross-gender or spanning both male and female genders. Choruses also have singers of varied genders that sing within a single vocal section. For example, a chorus tenor section might have singers who identify as male, women who happen to sing in the tenor range, transgender individuals or singers who identify themselves as "two-spirit" - spanning both genders.
For this reason, conductors and choruses should refer to voice sections in all rehearsal settings as soprano, alto, tenor bass rather than "women" or "men" as a way of honoring the diversity of genders that may be present whether visible or not.
GALA Choruses has adopted a gender-neutral language statement for all events, rehearsals and concerts in order to model language that is inclusive of multiple genders. We encourage leaders and presenters in the GALA community to not make assumptions about individual gender based on voice section or by appearance.
GALA member choruses are encouraged to adopt their own statement to include in singer handbooks and in contracts with guest clinicians and guest artists. See the right side-bar on this page for GALA's Gender Neutral Language Statement.