Moseng Judge Christa Moseng ’96 has been an Administrative Law Judge for Minnesota since 2021 and is the immediate-past chair of MNclusive, an LGBTQIA+ resource group for state employees. She graduated with her B.A. from Grinnell College and her J.D. with Distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law. While in law school, she was a senior managing editor of the Journal of Gender, Race, and Justice. Judge Moseng has nearly a decade of experience in public utility matters and rulemaking. She is known for her technical expertise, deep commitment to public service, excellence in legal writing, and commitment to inclusion and equity, particularly for the LGBTQIA+ community.

While not leading the effort, she participated by offering legislative testimony about the legal implications of the trans refuge bill that passed in 2023. During hearings, Judge Moseng shared: “What brings us here today is a concerted effort, in other states, to deny human rights that Minnesotans take for granted—rights like the right to have a family, access medically necessary health care, and to have children with a minimum of government interference. If there’s one thing that I know that a public official can safely say, it’s that Minnesota is not Florida, or Texas, or Oklahoma, or Utah. We do not threaten to pull families apart. We do not erase trans people from public life and accommodations… Senate File 63 would protect children, families, and caregivers in Minnesota from extraterritorial laws and orders that could interfere with the right to receive gender-affirming healthcare in Minnesota… It would substantively strengthen Minnesota’s position as a human rights leader in the United States.”

Please take time to learn more about Judge Moseng and her work via the Q&A below:

Please describe your life’s work (personal and professional) today. What are you most proud of?

I try to make room for trans people to be comfortable as ourselves. I’ve done that by fostering an online community where trans and gender-questioning people can safely share joys, challenges, and information; writing and distributing a practical guide for overcoming wrongful insurance-claim denials; helping craft state-employee policy changes; and working extensively with other community members and allies. I relish anytime a trans person finds life or transitioning easier, fairer, or less stressful because of something I worked on or did.

Since 2021, I do these things mindful of my ethical obligations as an administrative law judge—and with the gravity of being Minnesota’s first openly trans judge. (The International LGBTQ+ Judges Association tells me it knows of nine of us in the entire US.) So now, in addition to faithfully performing the duties of my office, I focus on the places where trans existence—and our pursuit of happiness—intersect with the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice.

How did you get there?

My life would have been incredibly different without public and private assistance, including from MPA. I owe every part of my education to financial aid. My path through higher education also wasn’t linear—it took me eight years to finish my bachelor’s degree. I didn’t consider law school and take the LSAT until after I graduated from Grinnell then decided what was next. And I grappled with the social forces that kept me from realizing my transness for almost 40 years. I couldn’t be where I am today without the trans people who came before me, faced bigger obstacles than I have, and made room for me to exist.

How did your MPA experience prepare you for your life today? How did MPA help you dream big and do right?

Many teachers challenged and inspired me (whether or not I appreciated it at the time!). I had many opportunities to develop leadership and speaking skills that I use today. But most of all, I will never forget how supportive MPA and its community have been. For a stretch of time, at least one classmate and his parents were making sure I had food. Part of my senior year, another classmate was my only reliable transportation to and from school. My time at MPA impressed on me that nobody truly achieves anything entirely on their own. I apply that lesson when trying to bring about change today.

What’s next? Any aspirations—personal or professional—that you’d like to share?

As a judge I generally can’t publicly be an activist or an advocate. But also I take seriously my professional duty to improve the legal profession. In March, I debuted a continuing legal education course called “(Trans)Gender Bias in Courtrooms and Proceedings,” to a national audience of nearly 200 administrative court judges and staff. In October, I will present it at the Annual Conference of the National Association of Administrative Law Judges. I am optimistic about finding more opportunities to share this crucial and timely information with others in the profession. Maybe someday I’ll move from the executive to the judicial branch, but I have plenty I can do in the meantime.

Personally, I hope to get even gayer. I’m not sure it’s possible, but I am willing to try!

What does receiving this award mean to you?

I am touched and honored. MPA alumni are an accomplished group, and it’s meaningful to receive their recognition.

What impact do you hope you had on others at MPA?

At MPA (and since) I have tended to befriend people who belong to different, otherwise non-overlapping social groups. I hope I managed to bridge some differences or catalyzed some communication among people who otherwise may not have had much in common or any other reason to talk to one another.

Who at MPA had the greatest influence on you?

Ms. Conway (US History) was the right teacher at the right time for me. Looking over my report cards, many teachers noticed that I’d do great on tests, but not so well with daily reading or homework. Ms. Conway let me read “Catch-22” for extra credit. Both that book and her passionate contextualization of US history have stuck with me. They prepared me to understand significant national and global current events.

What is one piece of advice that you would share with current MPA students?

It’s okay not to know exactly where you’re headed in life, or to not completely understand yourself. Those should be life-long projects anyway.

Please share your favorite MPA moment.

Ms. Poehling taught me how to walk in heels for my role in “Naomi in the Livingroom”—a lesson the full value of which wouldn’t be realized for another 24 years.

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