Beyond the Binary: Analyzing Vocal Pitch of Non-Binary Celebrities

Megan Fu, Rowan Konstanzer, Erin Kwak, and Kimberly Gaona

Examining the speech of nonbinary individuals allows a better understanding of how different speech acoustic features such as vocal pitch, quality, and tempo are used to help construct gender identity. By investigating the speech acoustic features of non-binary celebrities, this study investigates whether coming out would cause their vocal pitch, tempo, and quality to be more divergent from cis-female and cis-male speakers. This was done by analyzing the celebrities’ pitches in their neutral interviews both before and after they publicly came out. It was hypothesized that the nonbinary individuals’ pitches would fall between the cis-female and cis-male pitches based on prior studies and research. Though this was supported by the data, a concrete conclusion was unable to be found as the differences were minor. However, an important takeaway was that a person’s pitch did not necessarily correlate with their gender identity and that there can and should be more research that includes the nonbinary community.

Read more