Newswise — In the Voice Modification Clinic for Transgender Individuals at The University of Texas at El Paso, speech language pathology student April Gutierrez is helping Andi Tiscareño find her feminine voice.

For two years, the clinic housed in UTEP’s Campbell Building has provided free vocal modification services to transgender clients such as Tiscareño, who choose to change their voice as part of their transition.

“Whenever I’d go through drive-thrus or I’d be on the phone, I’d be called ‘sir’ rather than ‘ma’am’ and it would always depress me,” said Tiscareño, a UTEP mechanical engineering student who has been living as a woman since 2016. She said the therapy has helped. “I’m hardly ever misgendered anymore.”

Tiscareño is one of 18 clients served at the clinic since it opened. It is the only clinic in El Paso that offers voice modification services to transgender men and women. 

In the clinic, 16 graduate students from UTEP’s speech language pathology (SLP) program work with Patricia Lara, Ph.D., speech language pathology assistant professor in the College of Health Sciences and director of UTEP’s Voice Brain and Language Lab, and Clinical Supervisor Deena Peterson to develop treatment plans and provide one-on-one voice modification. Both are certified speech language pathologists. The goal is to help clients raise or lower the pitch of their voice to match their gender identity.

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