Thursday, 25 April 2013

Citizens Suffer Flight Delays; Feds Spend $152K on Transgender Voice Study

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Sequestration is the watchword in Washington these days. Because of the minuscule mandated budget reductions, Americans are now being subjected to air travel delays and national park closures, among other inconveniences. Yet somehow the federal government managed to come up with $152,000 to study how to make males who think they’re females sound like the fairer sex when they speak.

To “inform and provide new directions for transgender (TG) voice care, thereby improving the lives of TG people who feel their voice is a great obstacle to living as their preferred gender,” the National Institutes of Health (NIH), courtesy of U.S. taxpayers, ponied up the cash in 2012 — a time when the sequester was not yet in effect but when the need to save money was quite clear.

“Incomplete gender presentation can negatively impact the TG individual’s job opportunities, relationships, and social acceptance,” states the project description. The two-year study, it says, “will inform voice therapy clinical protocols for transgender speakers who face discrimination when their voice does not match their preferred gender presentation, which limits their ability to contribute to society and live healthy, safe lives.”

In other words, instead of helping these poor, confused individuals come to terms with their biological sex, the NIH wants to further confuse them — and everyone else — by helping them change their voices to conform to the sex they want to be.

The NIH awarded the grant to George Washington University, where the project is being led by assistant professor Adrienne B. Hancock, whose “primary research addresses transgender voice and communications,” according to the school’s website. “She has examined transgender voice physiology as well as the psychosocial influence of voice and communication skills for transgender speakers.”

The study will examine male-to-female transgenders (MTF) to “determine how the passing MTF voice achieves a female-sounding voice with biologically male anatomy,” according to the project description. The hypothesis is that MTFs whose voices pass as female have “physiological distinctions” in their larynxes that enable them to change their voices.

One hundred people, not all of confused sexuality, will listen to “speech samples from male, female, and male-to-female (MTF) speakers” and decide which ones sound male and which sound female. The MTF speakers will then be divided into two groups based on whether their voices were perceived as male or female. The groups’ glottal (larynx) measurements will be compared to each other and to those of the non-transgender speakers. The data from this experiment will be used “to develop a comprehensive model useful for predicting confidence that a speaker will be perceived as their preferred gender.” This, in turn, will be employed to help those MTFs who still sound male to achieve the female-sounding voices they desire and complete their supposed transition to the opposite sex., which reported on the grant on April 23, asked the NIH for comment on the grant. Its request was greeted with a boilerplate statement: “NIH research addresses the full spectrum of human health across all populations of Americans. Behavioral research will continue to be an important area of research supported by NIH. The details of the specific grant that you are inquiring about, including funding amounts and project start and end dates, can be found on NIH Reporter.”

Of course, since the NIH itself is an unconstitutional agency, one can hardly expect it to feel the need to justify its spending. It might, however, be worth asking one’s congressman why the government is frittering away $152,000 on such a project, which would still be unconstitutional even if one agreed with its objectives, while Washington inflicts needless pain on the very people whose taxes enable it to make these ludicrous giveaways.

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