Marja-Sisko Aalto

Marja-Sisko Aalto (born July 29, 1954) is a Finnish writer of detective fiction and former minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. She was the vicar of the Imatra parish from 1986 to 2010.[1] She became notable as Finland's first openly transgender minister.[2] In 2009, the Finnish Women's Association named Aalto Lyyti of the Year [fi].[3] Since her resignation as vicar, she has pursued a career as a writer.

Marja-Sisko Aalto
Sateenkaarimessu kallion kirkossa (4757703107).jpg
Born (1954-07-29) July 29, 1954 (age 68)
Lappeenranta, Finland

Early life and educationEdit

Alto was born on July 29, 1954, in Lappeenranta as the seventh of eight children and was assigned male at birth. She entered the faculty of theology at the University of Helsinki in 1973.[4]

Clerical careerEdit

Aalto was the vicar of the Imatra parish from 1986 to 2010.[1]

In November 2008, Aalto came out as trans woman and announced her intent to have sex reassignment surgery. According to Aalto, her parents had decided to give her the name Marja-Sisko if she had been born a girl, as they had hoped.[5] She was preoccupied with the issue of gender from the age of three.[1] Although her parents had wanted a girl, they did not accept her gender identity. For example, they were angry when Aalto, as a child, asked why she could not wear a skirt when all the other girls did.[6]

Aalto's coming out as a trans woman caused a great controversy in the Church. The bishop of Mikkeli, Voitto Huotari, commented that there is no juridical obstacle for Aalto continuing as a vicar, but predicted that there would be problems.[1] In 2009, almost 600 members left the Imatra parish.[7] In November 2009, Aalto returned to the job of vicar after spending a year on leave. In March 2010, she requested to be allowed to resign, due in part to the discrimination she faced.[4][8]

She was elected the notary of diocese for Kuopio by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in 2010.[4]

Writing careerEdit

Since her resignation as vicar, Aalto has pursued a career as a writer of detective fiction. Aalto's first detective novel, Murder in the Cemetery, was published in Autumn 2013.[9] Her second novel, Deadly Snow was published on National Veterans' Day (Finland) on April 27, 2015. The work is dedicated to the veterans of the Lapland War and continues the story of the protagonist of the previous book.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

Aalto has been married twice, and has three children.[4]


Annette Savolainen seriesEdit

  • Murha tuomiokapitulissa [Murder in the Cemetery] (in Finnish). Icasos. 2013. ISBN 978-9526789620.
  • Tappavaa lunta [Deadly Snow] (in Finnish). Icasos. 2015. ISBN 978-9526789644.
  • Ikoni [Icon] (in Finnish). Icasos. 2016. ISBN 978-9526789675.
  • Korppi [Raven] (in Finnish). Icasos. 2018. ISBN 978-9526878027.
  • Timantti [Diamond] (in Finnish). Icasos. 2019. ISBN 978-9526878034.



  1. ^ a b c d Juhani Saarinen. "Kirkkoherra odotti vuosikymmeniä muutosta miehestä naiseksi - - Kotimaa". Archived from the original on 2012-10-20. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  2. ^ "Piispan mielestä Olli Aallon olisi vaikea jatkaa seurakunnan työssä". Etelä-Saimaa. 2008-11-11. Archived from the original on 2015-01-08. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
  3. ^ Unioni
  4. ^ a b c d Anttonen, Veikko. "The sacredness of the self, of society and of the human body: the case of a Finnish transgender pastor Marja-Sisko Aalto" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2020-05-08.
  5. ^ "Olli Aallosta tulee Marja-Sisko Aalto". Kouvolan Sanomat. 2008-11-12. Archived from the original on 2010-12-05. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
  6. ^ Ylen Elävä arkisto: Onnellinen Marja-Sisko Aalto
  7. ^ Juhani Saarinen (2010-01-06). "Lähes 600 imatralaista erosi seurakunnasta - - Kotimaa". Archived from the original on 2012-10-20. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  8. ^ "Marja-Sisko Aalto eroaa virastaan | Yle Uutiset". Archived from the original on 2010-03-23. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  9. ^ Anu Pöntinen, Marja-Sisko Aallosta dekkaristi,, Uutiset, 26.11.2012
  10. ^ Juho Maijala (2015-04-08). "Marja-Sisko Aalto julkaisee toisen romaaninsa huhtikuun lopussa". Etelä-Saimaa. Archived from the original on 2015-09-10. Retrieved 2015-04-09.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit