Me on the left, best friend Devon on the right
I'm Emma, and I'm a queer, transgender woman (she/her pronouns), and animal advocate working out of Minneapolis. I recently opted to leave my PhD program in geochemistry with a master's in order to focus more on what I feel is my calling in life: effectively reducing suffering wherever I can.
In line with this, I recently started a job working for Mercy For Animals (MFA) as a campaign specialist. I help run pressure campaigns that push corporations to ban practices that are abusive towards chickens and other farmed animals in their supply chains.
All of that said, my life and work is often held back by gender dysphoria that is at times debilitating. Specifically, bottom dysphoria can shut me down, making it impossible to be the best advocate that I can. I can't count the number of times that I've been hindered by my need for bottom surgery. I've had too many close calls with feeling the need to end my life. This is not only because of bottom dysphoria. However, the need for this particular surgery is a large factor in my current difficulties.
Gender dysphoria can describe the intense psychological discomfort one has with the characteristics of their physical body, or it can describe the discomfort with how others interact with and perceive you. People experience dysphoria in a wide range of ways, and it can be deadly. It's not something to ignore, and I think that we as a society must do everything we can to ensure that transgender peoples' medical needs are met. Hopefully, this will allow us to move towards preventing the higher rates of suicide amongst trans people.
On a practical level, I'm also an ultrarunner and triathlete. I haven't been able to feel comfortable swimming for a long time, and as I move through my medical transition, locker rooms have become a source of intense discomfort. My dream is to one day complete Ironman Wisconsin again, along with other ultra-endurance races, but with others perceiving me as who I am, while feeling at home in my body. Additionally, I want to spend my life advocating for queer and trans people within endurance sport communities.
I'm well aware of my incredible privilege as a white, able-bodied trans woman with reasonable access to information and resources in the Twin Cities. I don't ask for donations and support without the acknowledgement that throughout my life, I want to to use my privilege to advocate for black and brown, disabled, and/or more economically disadvantaged transgender people. I never intend to be "stealth" in my life (e.g. "passing" as cisgender without my immediate workplace and friends being aware of my history). I choose this route because I believe that visibility, especially for privileged trans women like myself, is important. My immediate safety is not always as much at risk, compared to folks who are members of one or more of the above marginalized groups. A lot of this can be tied directly to white supremacy.
Thank you so, so much for anything you're able to contribute. Know that any amount is appreciated beyond what you might expect!
Original post: 3 March 2018
Latest update: 17 November 2018
- Lawrence Cuneaz
- Tim Hennigan
- Mikael Nielsen