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On Being: “I Like That About Me.”

Born a boy, Emeri Burks always wanted to change that


From time to time, BU Today asks members of the BU community to share their personal hopes, fears, and joys. This week, we present a five-part series on the beauty, the pain, and the rewards of being who we are. These stories ran during the 2007–2008 school year.

Most children dream of possessing the magical ability to fly, to be invisible, or to talk to animals.

But as a young boy growing up in Jefferson City, Mo., Emeri Burks wished only to be a girl. “I prayed every day for the body that would fix things, that would make everything right,” recalls Burks (CAS’08). “More than anything, I wanted to be anatomically and biologically female.”

It wasn’t until sophomore year of high school that Burks learned of a word that explained the feelings he had wrestled with for years: transsexual. “A transsexual is someone who identifies with the opposite gender of his or her born sex,” Burks says. “For me, it means that in spite of what my body, my doctors, my teachers, and society have told me, I am — and always have been — female.”

Last summer, Burks underwent sexual reassignment surgery, and today she has the body she wished for as a child. In the video above, she describes her transition from a deeply depressed boy to a much happier young woman.

“At last,” she says, “I am whole.”

Robin Berghaus can be reached at berghaus@bu.edu. Vicky Waltz can be reached at vwaltz@bu.edu.

This story originally ran March 20, 2008. 


4 Comments on On Being: “I Like That About Me.”

  • Anonymous on 06.12.2008 at 5:34 am

    I like that about you too!

    Very positive and clear. I like that about you too!

    I think the future is wonderful and hope it gets here soon :)

  • justjoeindenver on 06.12.2008 at 11:53 am

    Labels Labels Labels....

    When all we really need is one. “Happy”. I am pleased that you have found the label that fits you the best, in spite of so many that you have had to endure that did not.

    You seem to be a confident, intelligent person who is in touch with what you need in order to be you. Congratulations on adapting your exterior parts to fit with your healthy, positive, and inspiration inside parts. Namaste.

  • Louis on 06.12.2008 at 9:36 pm


    I admire your determination to change what you could and to accept what you couldn’t. Would enjoy meeting you someday.


  • Vanlevy on 06.12.2008 at 9:59 pm

    Wonderful presentation

    This was a thoughtful and inspiring presentation.

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