Voice Parameters That Result in Identification or Misidentification of Biological Gender in Male-to-Female Transgender Veterans

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The objective of this study was to examine the voices of male-to-female (MtF) transgender veterans and biological females that can result in identification or misidentification of biological gender. Twenty-one MtF transgender veterans and 9 cis-gender females were enrolled. The interaction of speaking fundamental frequency (SFo) and formant (resonatory) frequencies in gender discrimination was investigated. The results indicated that an average SFo above 180 Hz and maintaining a speaking pitch range of approximately 140 to 300 Hz appear to be the most powerful acoustic features or markers in the perception of a female voice in a biological male (M. L. Brown & Rounsley, 1996). An SFo of approximately 170 Hz appears to be the lower limit that would result in a biological male being perceived as having a female voice by most listeners. A slight elevation in the second (F2) and third (F3) formants was noted but does not appear to have a significant influence in the perception of a female voice in biological males. Female voices appear to be perceived as male by most listeners if average SFo is at or below 165 Hz, the low SFo is below 130 Hz, and a low F3 is exhibited. No evidence was found that jitter (frequency perturbation) and shimmer (amplitude perturbation) affect the perception of a female or male voice in a biological male. The results support previous research that elevated pitch is the strongest acoustic marker in the perception of a female voice in biological males.