Transgender Middleboro Vet Shares Journey, Advocates Acceptance November 9, 2017

Emma Morgaine Croft spends most of her days lost in a cloud, in a very literal sense; for the past 15 years, she has worked for nationally recognized firm Dun & Bradstreet as a Cloud Ops technician, and lives in Middleboro, Massachusetts. It was while working with this company that Emma began to live as the woman she’s always known herself to be, and she says she was overwhelmed by the acceptance her colleagues and superiors showed her.

“When I officially came out at work after my name change had gone through, I was blown away,” she said. “They totally accepted me for who I am. My CEO called me into his office to tell me he was so proud of me and that I impressed him. He also promised that the company was working with the Human Rights Campaign to get our equality score up to 100 on their index, and that we would begin offering transgender health care as soon was we were able.”

Although Emma says she is very happy with where she is in life right now, she acknowledges that it has taken her quite a journey to arrive there. As a child, she lived in a volatile environment. When Emma was a teenager, and began to use her voice, her father told her when she turned 18 she would need to find a new place to live.

“I hate to say, but I pretty much expected it, knowing who was going into the White House. I feel that entire group over there is so against the LGBTQ community.” —Emma Morgaine Croft, Air Force veteran

To that end, after her 18th birthday, Emma enlisted in the Air Force, assigned to Little Rock, Arkansas in the 314th Combat Support Group: Services Division, where she would serve for four years and work her way up to the rank of Sergeant. So when she heard that the Trump administration was placing a ban on transgender people serving openly in the military, she was confused and upset.

“I hate to say, but I pretty much expected it, knowing who was going into the White House. I feel that entire group over there is so against the LGBTQ community,” she said.

I knew a lot of people who were gay or bisexual—I had no problems with them and neither did anyone else. That’s why I never understood Don’t Ask Don’t Tell—we already knew. We had it figured out.”

During her time in the military, Emma said there was a definite understanding that gay people were among those serving, and that it didn’t affect morale or operations in any way.

“We accepted it, it was no problem,” she explained. “I knew a lot of people who were gay or bisexual—I had no problems with them and neither did anyone else. That’s why I never understood Don’t Ask Don’t Tell—we already knew. We had it figured out,” she laughs.

After leaving the Air Force, Emma says in the mid-90s she began to think about transitioning for the first time, and actually started the process. When she came out to her now ex-wife, she says the marriage immediately dissolved, her family alienated her, and she eventually lost her job, which sent her into a spiral of depression. Seeing no other way out after 6 months of unemployment, Emma made the difficult decision to go back into the closet. “I felt I had to go back and conform…to be the person I ‘used to be,’” she said.

“This [opposition] is trying to scare everyone. As soon as it hits 2018, I’m doubling down. I’m still writing and I’m still speaking out. We’ve got to keep driving the message that this is discrimination pure and simple.”

Eventually, Emma remarried, and after some time, decided that she was ready to truly move forward with transitioning. A couple of years ago, Emma came out to her wife, who immediately sat with her and said, “We’re gonna do this.” Last July, Emma’s name change became legal, and she was able to change all her government documents. Today, she is part of a counseling group that helps LGBTQ people come to terms with their self-acceptance, and that of those around them, often hosting events at her own home.

One of the things Emma is grateful for is the law in her home state, that protects transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. She says that after the transgender military ban was announced, she made sure to try and spread the word to her friends:

“What I kept saying to my friends was, ‘At least we have protections here in Massachusetts. Here, we’re okay.’”

“What I kept saying to my friends was, ‘At least we have protections here in Massachusetts. Here, we’re okay.’”

Unfortunately, those protections are being challenged by opponents of transgender equality. In 2018, the people of Massachusetts will go to the ballot to defend our Commonwealth’s non-discrimination law protecting transgender people from discrimination in public spaces like restaurants, retail shops and hospitals. For Emma, these basic protections are a no-brainer, and she cannot understand those who do not want them in place.

“This [opposition] is trying to scare everyone. As soon as it hits 2018, I’m doubling down. I’m still writing and I’m still speaking out. We’ve got to keep driving the message that this is discrimination pure and simple.”

For her part, Emma works to continue to educate and inform people about this issue – joining with Freedom for All Massachusetts in the historic campaign to uphold MA’s transgender-inclusive non-discrimination law. One way she tries to help is by being a public advocate, and familiarizing people with what it means to be transgender.

“For a very long time, I did a lot of work with the Freemasons – I was in leadership at one point, and I got to know a lot of people. Now that I’ve transitioned, those people have a face to put to the issue. It’s allowed me to use my profile. I’m reaching a lot of people and getting this message out, and they’re sharing it. More transgender people are coming out and awareness is going up.”

“You have to believe that we are striving to evolve ourselves to be a better society, a more open society, a more accepting society. We just need to let people be who they are and accept them, plain and simple.”

“There was a saying I had years ago,” she continued. ‘Get to know as much about me today as you can, because tomorrow I’ll be a new person.’ That’s all about evolving who we are. You have to believe that we are striving to evolve ourselves to be a better society, a more open society, a more accepting society. We just need to let people be who they are and accept them, plain and simple.”

Working toward full equality for all is a goal that Emma shares with so many other people across the Bay State, and she knows that if they all pull together, they will succeed. For Emma, at the end of the day, it’s simply about allowing people to be themselves, and not be frightened to do so.

Click here to read more stories like Emma’s.

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