Over her life, Mary Ann Saunders has moved through many, often overlapping, forms of gender expression and identity—boy, man, cross-dresser, queer straight, genderqueer, girl—before settling into womanhood (with a large dollop of non-binary femme) in her late 40s. She has rested comfortably there since.
Professionally, she’s an instructor at the University of British Columbia, teaching research culture, writing, children’s literature, and transgender studies, and has presented at academic conferences on topics as various as the ethical questions which arise when citing transgender scholars, and the entanglement of her own life story with mass-market children’s books and a sewing machine. She has a particular interest in how marginalized children are represented in children’s and young adult literature.
Mary Ann is on the advisory committees of two summer camps: CampOUT!, for queer, trans and Two-Spirit youth; and Queerest and Dearest, for queer Christian families. As “Camp Seamstress,” she has run sewing workshops during CampOUT!’s summer programming.
While a (mostly) life-long churchgoer and Anglican, Mary Ann’s true spiritual awakening came with her gender transition. These days she serves in a variety of roles at Vancouver’s Christ Church Cathedral, is working on developing feminist theologies of trans embodiment, and is beginning to share this emerging theological work with faith communities and academic audiences.
Married to her partner for almost 25 years, Mary Ann is a proud and happy Dad, a title (and role) she cherishes. She took up ballet at the age of 51 and dances badly but joyfully.
Lucca and Rebecca take some time with Mary Ann to explore her incredible journey of transformation and awakening, and see what gems she has discovered along the way!
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