UI speech-language pathologists aim to improve quality of life for dozens

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The U of I Speech-Language Pathology Clinic is helping dozens of transgender women improve their quality of life.

The clinic offers voice-training for transgender women who want higher-pitched, feminine voices.

Speech pathologists say retraining things like vocal tracks, lips, and the larynx is not an easy task.

It can take anywhere from four months to a year to achieve.

Pathologists say this type of training is usually only found in big cities, and creating more access to it is crucial.

Pathologist Clarion Mendes first started this work when one woman approached her with this request. It’s taken off from there.

“The world is not a very safe place for a lot of gender minorities. We fortunately have a pretty welcoming community here in Champaign, but having a voice that matches with their identity and appearance can make living and working in our society much, much safer and easier for them,” says Mendes.

The clinic says this type of program is just one step in addressing the discrimination the transgender community experiences in health care. So far, the clinic has helped about 50 women.

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