Digital Transgender Archive

Interview with EJ Olson

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EJ Olson was 37 at the time of the interview and was assigned female at birth. They identify as genderqueer, gender non-conforming, and gender fluid and grew up in Empire, Michigan. They are the oldest of four siblings. Their family didn’t make much money with their mom being the primary decision maker of the house. Olson got a BMX bike as a kid and got their first mullet afterwards. While in grade school, they came out when they were 15 resulting in trauma and difficulty making close friends and intimate connections. They’ve struggled a bit understanding their non-binary identity. Olson is from a religious family and grew up going to church and wanting to be a minister. Their dad told them they were going to hell after Olsen came out, and they were sent to Christian counseling to fix them. Olson’s siblings now accept them, becoming LGBTQ champions and advocates. Olson went to Chatham College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, an all-women’s college. There they experienced riot-girl feminism in 1997 and became a performance artist after receiving a theater scholarship. They couldn’t finish their undergraduate degree until years later because they didn’t have the money. Olson now also has a master’s as well. In 2008 they started therapy to obtain a letter for transition and then had a hysterectomy and top surgery. They worked on many campaigns for trans equity in several different states. They volunteered for a LGBT Task Force campaign in 2008. When they lived in Brooklyn, New York they first worked for Garden State Equality and then worked at Callen-Lorde in New York City in 2009. Then, along with their partner, Olsen moved to Washington, DC and worked at the LGBTQ Center in DC managing the HIV Programs. They were then offered the opportunity to educate providers in the health care system around LGBTQ inclusion with Rainbow Health Initiative in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 2016 they started working at Family Tree as the Clinical Operations Director managing the Trans Hormone Care Program. They’ve only dated people who identify as female. They married almost 8 years ago and now have a home here in the Twin Cities.

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