The long read: A classical presenter transitions from female to male

The long read: A classical presenter transitions from female to male


norman lebrecht

September 09, 2016

Some years ago we received an article from Emma Ayres, an ABC Classic FM breakfast presenter who had been working with young musicians in Afghanistan.

Emma is now Eddie Ayres. The journey to Afghanistan was a revelation in more than one sence.

The extraordinary story is told in this weekend’s Sydney Morning Herald.

But the hardest thing for Ayres in Afghanistan, after 15 years of denial, was being recognised every day as a woman. Ayres was surprised how much the kids constantly singing out “Miss Emma” affected him. He began to despise his headscarf. “I’d weep at being stuck in this female body, it just wasn’t me,” he says. “I’d weep and I’d try to let it go, move on with my life.”

Ayres’ housemate in Kabul, Jennifer Moberg, once told Ayres that Afghanistan “holds a mirror up to you” – that living there is so stressful that you learn who you really are. For Ayres, Afghanistan made him finally confront being transgender.

Read the full article here.

Photo: Andrew Quilty



  • Jerome Hoberman says:

    Emma Ayres was a terrific person — a fine musician and violist, radio presenter, teacher and colleague, whose charismatic teaching had her young students waiting for her to roar up on her motorcycle for choir rehearsals. Freed from such conflict, no doubt Eddie will rise higher and higher.

  • David Osborne says:

    One person the like of whom classical music needs so many more of. Wonderful, often hilarious communicator on radio, very talented musician and someone who ‘gives back’ far more than most in this business would ever dream of.

  • Richard Gibbs says:

    I suppose going on an assignment to somewhere as tough as Afghanistan gives you the balls to makes changes in your life.

  • Lars Rezzort says:

    She can have her breasts and reproductive organs mutilated and get jazzed up with all the testosterone she wants, but it won’t change an X chromosome into an Y.