Fenway Health & Butterfly Music Host Panel Discussion on Transgender Vocal Health

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fenwayhealthFenway Health and Butterfly Music will be conducting a panel discussion on caring for the transgender voice for speaking and singing on Saturday, April 11th, 2015 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Transgender vocal health is a new and neglected area of study and practice. Butterfly Music’s Transgender Chorus is pioneering the creation of a community of transgender singers and recognizes that this area is of major import to transgender people in general as well as for its own members. This event will be of great interest both to the community and to voice professionals seeking to promote transgender vocal health.

“I have so much dysphoria around my voice, and yet I need to sing, I’m just wired for it! I’ve looked for ways to make my voice conform more to how I want to sound, but resources either aren’t available or are too expensive. There are so few speech therapists with the knowledge to help someone like me, and there are questions that nobody knows the answers to, such as how does HRT affect my voice? I know vocal chords don’t get shorter, but what other changes might be associated with the medical aspects of my transition? Is vocal surgery safe?

There’s a lack of knowledge for trans guys too: what else happens as their voices change? No one seems to have very specific answers or help for us. Even here in the Boston area, with all of the medical and musical resources available, including the Voice Center at Mass General, for my community’s needs it’s like living in a desert. I’m excited for this discussion, because it feels like we’re kicking off something vitally important.” —Diane Griffin, singer, songwriter, member of The Butterfly Music Transgender Chorus, and panelist.[pullquote]Butterfly Music’s Transgender Chorus is pioneering the creation of a community of transgender singers and recognizes that this area is of major import to transgender people in general as well as for its own members.[/pullquote]

“We are looking forward to co-hosting this event with Sandi Hammond of Butterfly Music at Fenway. It is exciting to discover people with a passion and interest in the treatment and training of voices specific to the needs of transgender people, especially since this area of need has been largely overlooked in research and treatment for transgender communities.” — Ruben Hopwood, MDiv, PhD, Coordinator, Trans Health Program at Fenway Health

Presenters for this event include:

Barbara F. Worth, B.M., M.S., CCC-SLP, a Speech Language Pathologist and Senior Voice Specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, specialist in the treatment of voice disorders in professional voice users and singers. Barbara lectures Extensively at area universities and national conferences where she shares her clinical knowledge regarding vocal health and function.

John Pickering, Ph.D., CCC-SLP of the College of St. Rose in Albany, NY, where he serves as the Professor of Communication Science and Disorders and the Co-Director of the Department’s Transgender Voice and Communication Program. He is a member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. He has published numerous articles and presented on transgender vocal health and care.

Pavan S. Mallur, M.D. is an otolaryngologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an Instructor of otorhinolaryngology at Harvard Medical School. His clinical interests include vocal fold paralysis, vocal fold lesions, laser treatment for voice disorders, laryngeal stenosis, neurolaryngology, and in-office procedures for voice disorders.

[From a News Release]

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