LYNN SHANE

Welcoming trans and non-binary singers to your chorus

Transgender and gender non-binary people face higher rates of discrimination, stigma, violence, and harassment than any other LGBQ group.  As a result, transgender and gender non-binary people experience higher instances of unemployment, poverty, homelessness, depression, and suicide. Studies show that almost 50% of the transgender and non-binary population has considered suicide as compared to only 4% of the general population. However, studies also show that, with support from parents, teachers, and other community leaders, transgender and non-binary students are more resilient, enjoy higher levels of life satisfaction, and achieve more academic success than their unsupported peers.  

Singing in a chorus brings many people great joy.  For transgender and non-binary individuals, however, singing, and the voice in general, can be the cause of much anxiety.  Our voices are a very personal part of our identity and many transgender and non-binary singers feel extreme distress if their voice range or quality does not match their desired gender expression.  This distress is complicated by social factors such as feeling victimized or unwelcome, conflicts with being “out” or remaining “stealth,” and managing physical presentation issues.  Music directors, therefore, need to address all of these issues in order to help transgender and non-binary singers feel comfortable and successful in their art.

This session is designed for music directors who wish to learn more about the vocal needs of transgender and non-binary individuals and who wish to create open and supportive choruses for all singers. The session focuses on terminology and the gender spectrum as well as vocal pedagogy and supportive practices for transgender and non-binary singers in choral settings. It features a lecture/discussion format that includes recorded interviews with members of the Butterfly transgender chorus and other musical leaders of the trans community.  Content includes terminology and a discussion of the gender spectrum, transgender vocal pedagogy, effects of hormone therapy, voicing and other choral considerations, inclusive choral practices, and helpful resources.