Use Your Voice: Music Therapy with Trans and Non Binary People

During the pandemic our Music Therapist, Alice, ran two online music therapy groups for trans and nonbinary adults to explore voice and identity and the links between the two. This supported group members’ voice development functionally for people going through medical or social transition, and also empowered them to use their voice metaphorically, as people of marginalised genders who are often not heard.

Music therapy can help people who are transgender, non-binary or gender-non-conforming (GNC) in a variety of ways – most obviously with supporting physical changes to voice for those transitioning, but also to provide emotional and mental wellbeing and opportunities for exploring one’s voice in a judgement-free environment. Music therapy for GNC people differs from transgender vocal coaching, where the object is to transition one’s voice away from the assigned gender; music therapy can work across the whole gender spectrum and in the space in between the gender binary, using the voice in new and different ways. Music therapy groups for GNC people also provide a supportive network where clients can help each other and share experiences which they may not feel able to do elsewhere.

Music therapy with LGBTQ people is an undeveloped area in the UK and trans and non binary people are often overlooked for access to therapies and to creative outlets when actually they're often people that need it the most.

Our Music Therapist, Alice, shares more about their work in this area:

I had an inkling that music therapy could help with dysphoria around voice, if nothing else, and maybe help to break new ground in therapy avenues for trans and non-binary folk. The Changing Voice group that I ran, was a 6-month pilot, using music therapy as a new way to explore the concepts of voice, identity, gender, and authenticity, and how they are linked. It ran from March to August 2021 online, and helped the participants to explore their relationship with voice and with identity, giving them an opportunity to do so in a safe environment. It was funded with grant money from the National Lottery during the pandemic; the feedback from group members was that the group was a great space to explore and helped people realise they weren’t alone in their gender journeys.

Want to learn more? We currently run a Gender Awareness in Music Therapy training. Check our training page to see if there is a training coming up soon.

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