On being a trans artist

I have been a practicing artist and writer since 2013, working on all sorts of projects from live performance to installations to publications. And the biggest part of the way you present yourself as an artist, aside from the quality of your work, is you name. For 6 years, I practiced, performed, and wrote under my birth name, closeted and struggling with my identity.

Coming out in 2019 was one of the most liberating things I could have done for myself and I believe has strengthened my qualities as an artist and writer. However, that doesn’t diminish the work I’ve done before I worked under the name Emmett. That’s why as you peruse my website and enjoy my work, you may occasionally see a different name listed before MacMillen. While I have done much to change my name wherever it appears, I was firmly cemented in my creative community under my birth name before coming out and that is something that will always exist.

All I ask is that when you share and talk about my work with others, whether it was from before or after 2019, I ask that you use the name Emmett, regardless of what appears on the page or in the credits. It is enormously difficult to transition as a public facing artist, and it is simply a fact that my birth name will appear in my earlier work. I choose not to erase those 6 years and instead ask that we all enjoy the work while correctly naming me.

This is not a choice all trans people make. But I put my trust in you, as reader and viewer, to hold my birth name gently in your hands. It is not a secret, but it is quiet and of the past, to be tucked away safely in the memorabilia box in the back of our closet. So I thank you for taking care, and for enjoying my work.