Categoriearchief: Vrerigheden

Dingen uit mijn leven, die niet specifiek met (bijv) Latijns-Amerika te maken hebben.

Dag voor Trans zichtbaarheid – Int’l Trans Visibility Day

Vandaag. 31 maart. Sinds 2009.  Internationale Dag voor Trans Zichtbaarheid. Geen VN-dag (die hebben nog niks voor ons, al zegt de assistent van de Hoge Commissaris voor de Mensenrechten dat Transgender Gedenkdag wel die status van VN-dag zou moeten kunnen hebben). Gewoon uitgeroepen door een transpersoon in MIchigan, VS. Omdat er zo weinig positiefs was voor trans* mensen.

Vandaag is het dus  internationale dag voor trans zichtbaarheid. Dus voor alle trans-hoe-of-wat-dan-ook mensen, alle gender-non-conformen en gender-variante personen: HIeperdepiep hoera dat wij er zijn. Dankzij ons is de wereld mooier en raarder. Trans-zijn is Goed. Vandaag (en alle andere dagen wat mij betreft) trekken we een lange neus naar wie ons liever niet ziet: de zon is ook van ons. Wij weten dat je kunt vliegen als een vlinder.

vlinders op bloesem


Today is international Day of Trans Visibility. A 2009 Rachel Crandall invention. Already taken up in many places over this world (and maybe others?). Congrats to all of us trans*, GNC, gender variant people. Happy Day also for those who live with us and celebrate with us. Let us change this world for the better. And don’t let anyone tell you are not beautiful.

In my eternal search for phrasing alternative ways of loving people, I found this piece. A bit heavy handed, almost taking with the other hand what the first one gives, but it captures some of my thoughts and feelings. I adapted the text to be a little bit more me-friendly. For me the “you” is plural. If you find nice queer texts on this topic, let me know.

I want to love you.*

I want to love you whether you are male, female or “other”, young or old or “just right”, single or married or “taken”…

When I see you we will embrace and hold a hug long enough to glimpse some insight from each other’s heartbeat.

When we walk down the street we shall link arms, pause frequently, and turn our toes and noses towards the other to speak directly without modesty.

I would like us to share the couch together, rather than creating a “do not cross” line where we may as well be sitting on brick blocks seated four feet away. Give me your knee, your foot, your thigh—let your body dangle on top of my body so I can know you the way litters of kittens know each other.

I want to show up to you and look into your eyes instead at your eyes. I want to feel your hand and be consumed by it until the rest of the world ceases to exist. I want to be in your presence and be in want of nothing.

I would like you to leave our time together feeling loved and free and full of your most vibrant and luscious hue of you-ness.

I have no sexual agenda, as you know, because we laugh at the freedom we feel to speak to strangers for reasons other than because we have to or because we’re hitting on them.

For me, sharing sex with someone requires a certain alignment, and I do not take that lightly. My sex requires that I can possibly foresee living with a person and combining all my stuff with all of their stuff (and I mean physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual stuff—the stuff that just feels heavy if it’s not the right fit, but feels buoyant beyond imagination when it is). It is delicate, it is careful, it is not presumptuous or impulsive.

And I do not think that our connection is somehow weakened because we do not share our bodies with each other.

For love is love is love is love, and that is what I want.

I only want us to fall in love.

Now I realize that at some point, either you or I may change our minds and crave sexual expression with each other.

For I am human—as are you—and we have wants that change and grow.

But if that desire should spring upon one of us, I hope that we will talk about it, the way we talk about the universe, cultural tropes, the nature of depression, what makes a good cup of coffee, and how your day was yesterday.

I hope that that topic of conversation is no more avoided than talking about the latest episode of Doctor Who or how to effectively clean one’s mouth from Oreo breath.

I would like you to share yourself with me—every stitch of you—so that I may be warmed and nourished by your tapestry. And I would not like you to worry that some of your threading is inappropriate or uncomfortable to share with me, because I am only here to accept you exactly as you are and to take interest in the way you step through life.

So lay on me your doubts, your troubles, your faux pas, your suffering, your sadness. Lay on me your hopes, your dreams, your excitements, your curiosities, your guilty pleasures.

I want to see you how you see yourself.

And while you tell me all of this and more, I would like to rest my eyes upon your eyes, and take my hand upon your back, and laugh up to the ceiling as you divulge, because it is in these moments of pure exposure that I bask in the ever-so-specific you, and I become the ever-so-specific me, and even though you’ve never stepped into the tides of the pacific and I’ve never ridden a skateboard, I am more sure than I’ve ever been that we are the same.

I don’t care if I see you everyday or if I see you only just the one time when I happened to be in that coffee shop and you happened to be making my drink (which was delicious, by the way, and thank you for not rolling your eyes when I asked if your only non-dairy milk was soy)—I want to be your lover.

And I will have the lover whom I share a bed with, and it will be none the less—on the contrary, that love will be all the more—because I take on another million lovers.

So if you’re ready, let me see you and let me love you.

My insides, my arm, my couch, my laugh, my eyes, my toes are all for you.

I hope that is enough.

(Adapted from Elephantjournal, original by Brental Schellenbach)

I wear it just for you

I have a tattoo, on my left arm. It symbolises the vortex of gender. The design is from the French artist Monoïk who made it for the then existing trans organisation Caritig. For some reason the Dropkick Murphys’ song “A Rose Tattoo” sprang to mind a couple of days ago and in day and nightly dreaming a fantasy starts developing. Lees verder

Another year gone by

Another year passed by. Another year older and deeper in debt as the song goes. Another year wiser also. These non-days at the end of the year are good for looking back, not in anger. Starting with a broken ankle but ending with the biggest gathering of queers and LGBTI people I’ve been part of. Not bad.

I have not paid very much attention to my private weblog lately. Much energy went into creating and starting Vreerwerk, my way of trying to make money while doing what I do best: trans and inter* and queer advocacy on an international level. The Netherlands is too small and too narrow minded. A Dutch (as in based in the Netherlands and Dutch speaking) queer movement doesn’t exist. Any form of intersex movement is absent also. A trans movement exists neither. But that is very Dutch.

In the meantime I have been busy, not only work-wise. Although … almost all new friends have some connection with activism and work. I do not know many queer/trans*/inter* people that are not somehow active changing their life, their environment, their body.

This year again I made fabulous new friends, or got to know some people better so they became fabulous friends. Thinking back to some important moments and how they influenced me, I must acknowledge that although escaping every time I can, I am definitely also a product of the mainstream society and morals I grew up with. I see it in my expecting comments or frowns when I tell people that also my relationships are strange. That some people mean so much to me and I to them, in their way, that I call them my loves. Although to most people it might look like another fad, it is not. Sometimes I wish we met more frequently, other days I just live happily musing about these great people in my life. I suspect everything in our relationships, our contact, is queer. Sometimes I feel an uneasiness (in me) but still also then I feel loved. And not being a poet, these things are not easy to put into words. Being someone’s very best queer and Dutch friend, hearing that going early will make someone else happy, in capitals, constant mutual flirting, being virtually polygamous, feeling the energy, the love … it makes me very happy.  Well, hardly a thing with me is traditional so I guess this construction is only fitting ;o)

As a longtime chat and beer friend recently pointed out, in a way I don’t do holidays, even when I am on vacation. When cycling in Latin America I visit queer communities in La Paz, Rancagua and Osorno. In Barcelona I slept in Barrilonia, the Vrankrijk of Barcelona, sadly evicted some months ago. I go to a queer, feminist cafete. Meet up with queer/trans  friends. I go on a safari with in total three trans people and a local (cis) gay man. And a very religious driver. I picnic in an Istanbul park with a bunch of trans people.

And lately I found a new tribe. When in 2011 I went to the First International Intersex Forum under the auspices of ILGA and ILGA Europe, I was cautiously happy, as an outsider. Now, with meeting old and new faces at the Second Forum in Stockholm, I am actually delighted. Meeting with so many great people, of who I sometimes maybe knew the names, not the faces, work and life. Some old, some new; all great, with all of our differences. We all come from different backgrounds, have different reasons for our being there and then, but still: all with a strong wish to change the world, for the better, in again another aspect. Herms, merms, ferms, querms, wotevers, I love you. We’ll make a fabulous movement. Those to come will stand on the shoulders of giants, as we do. Happy to be your transqueer sibling.

To peruse a commercial text:

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things 

And in the meantime I hang out, sing, fight, cry, pray, laugh and admire. All in all I think it has been a good year for me. So I bring out a toast. To a queer world! Where we may flourish and be happy!

Thank you for being there, for being you.


Laatst zag ik een bericht van Hivos dat ze met Human Rights Watch een groot project morgen gaan doen voor  het bestrijden van homofobie in (sub-Sahara) Afrika. En ik zag dat diverse vrienden/collega’s op St Lucia zaten om te werken aan het versterken van LGBTI bewegingen. En ik zit thuis. Lees verder

Let the whirlwind blow!

Happy new queer! Or new beer, or new year, or new life. Or whatever. My wish to all of us is to let the whirlwind blow. Because I saw what was the winning side, but still I joined the other. The order has no sense of history! We will win! Thousandfold! Marichi weu!

I felt a shiver in the heat-haze: the waiting time is over
Strange tongues on the airwaves as the voices call from distant lands.

Let the whirlwind blow! Through the ice, the melting, melting snows
Let the whirlwind blow! Across the freezing skies and the tiny lights below

And so we shutter up the doorways as the ripples move towards us
For a moment stop breathing; she wakes and stirs beneath our feet
I saw which was the winning side but still I joined the other
And I’m in love with every strange unfolding day as the storm begins to break cover.
The order try to stand their ground while every battlefront is shifting. Well, they still believe that they can hold the reins but then they’ve got no sense of history!

Let the whirlwind blow
Through the ice, the melting, melting snows
Let the whirlwind blow
Across the freezing skies and the tiny lights below

Let the whirlwind blow
The waters seething, bubbling out of control
Let the whirlwind blow
Come on take my hand and we’ll dive!

Huiselijk geweld

De laatste tijd wordt mij steeds duidelijker dat ik zelf ook relationeel geweld heb meegemaakt. Vijfentwintig jaar geleden startte het. Het duurde een jaar of vijf.

Door het heftige relationele geweld dat een vriendin tot een jaar geleden gedurende anderhalf jaar meemaakte en waar ik indirect getuige van was, zijn bij deze ervaringen ook weer naar boven gekomen. Mij betrof het vrijwel uitsluitend emotionele mishandeling en ook niet eenduidig bewust en opzettelijk. Maar het was er wel. Meest tot de verbeelding sprekend zou kunnen zijn dat ik met griep en al zonder geld en sleutels naar buiten ben gestuurd en afhankelijk was van haar genade om mij een aantal uren later binnen te laten. Ik was op een of andere manier een stoorzender voor haar, een zuigende concentratieverstorende aanwezigheid. Of bij de verbouwing van haar huis moest ik ’s nachts daar slapen en sliep zij in mijn huis. En ze kon met een permanente donderwolk rondlopen en me daarin ernstig kleineren. Nu kijk ik er op terug met grote verbazing.

Ik zat zelf in die dagen ook niet lekker in m’n vel. Ik wist van boven niet dat ik van beneden leefde. Ik had ratio maar emotioneel was ik een chaos, een vat vol ongeformuleerde vragen en angsten. Niet heel uitzonderlijk voor iemand van halverwege de twintig. Daardoor heb ik lang gedacht dat veel van wat gebeurd is, van wat impact op mij had aan mij zelf lag of minstens ik daar een sterke bijdrage aan leverde. Bovendien was het doorgaans beduidend subtieler dan het plaatje hieronder aangeeft.

Het al vrij vroeg meemaken van een deel van wat mijn vriendin gebeurd is en zien wat het met haar deed, hoe het haar langzaam afbrak, dat heeft bij mij de zaak ook weer naar boven gebracht. De eerste telefonische scheldkanonnades en vernederingen waarvan ik het resultaat zag en hoorde riepen bij mij ook de herinnering op aan uren durende gesprekken, in levenden lijve dan wel per telefoon. Waarin zij ‘uitlegde’ wat er niet klopte, wat ik deed volgens haar en met haar. Waarin ik gedwongen werd eventueel ook in aanwezigheid van publiek luidop te zegen wat ik had misdaan, een bekentenis af te leggen aan de telefoon. Eerder liet ze me niet gaan.

Met dat alles is het niet alleen kommer en kwel geweest. Wel overwegend. Ik heb er veel van geleerd waar ik nu wat aan heb, Zoals wat ik “psycho-mechanica” noem. Het snappen hoe veel psychische processen, mechanismes werken. Bij mezelf en bij anderen. Mijn geroemde solidariteit met anderen gold toen niet met mijzelf. Zoals vaker: Als je er niet in het begin een eind aan maakt. Sleept het je met zich mee. In het begin was ik ook materieel afhankelijk: had geen dak boven m’n hoofd. En het huis dat ik bemachtigde later was niet om over naar huis te schrijven qua mogelijk woongenot. Dat kwam pas na de verbouwing na aankoop door de woningbouwvereniging.

Ook heb ik een forse upgrade qua politieke scholing gehad toen: kennis en inzicht in radicale politiek en radicaal feminisme heb ik in die periode aardig wat opgedaan.

Ik zeg als ik het er over heb vaker wel dat alles behoorlijk gemengd werd opgediend. Dat is een behoorlijk understatement. Nu zou ik zeggen dat ik kennelijk genoeg kracht had om er niet helemaal aan onderdoor te gaan en meer en meer m’n eigen weg in het leven te zoeken, te worden wie ik zou worden. Maar wel tegen een hoge prijs.

Het was verontrustend en beangstigend genoeg om er nu bij vlagen nog nachtmerries van te hebben. Vooral na gesprekken over het geweld dat m’n vriendin is aangedaan, of als ik een bijeenkomst heb bijgewoond over huiselijk geweld, anti-lesbisch geweld .. Laatste keer ging ik na de presentatie van onderzoek over anti-lesbisch geweld in de OBA weg met een gevoel alsof mijn rug werd beklemd. Angst, verontrusting.. daar duidt dat gevoel op. Ik voel het groeien nu ik er over schrijf.

De moraal van dit verhaal: als het niet goed voelt, is het niet goed. En dan kun je er maar beter wat aan doen, hulp zoeken of minstens je er aan onttrekken. Ten derde male heb ik mij er definitief aan onttrokken. En ik bemerk dat ik nog steeds de neiging heb ook mezelf te incrimineren, ik ben niet vrij te pleiten – wel van fysiek geweld, dat stopte meteen toen ik instinctief terugsloeg. En dat nuanceren van je eigen rol is precies wat bij het slachtoffer hoort. De dader doet dat nooit, denkt daar nooit over na, leeft geheel naïef hierin. Die heeft nooit wat gedaan, wat er gebeurde is altijd onze schuld.

Ik ben me goed bewust dat mijn problemen historisch zijn en niet actueel. De herinnering wordt soms getriggerd en ik zet mijn ervaring om in solidariteit met wie er actueel last van heeft. Ik ga verder met mijn leven, ben druk bezig allerlei dingen op te bouwen ook. Ik haal genoegdoening uit de veroordeling van die ander.

Degene die mijn vriendin een half jaar in een Blijf-van-mijn-lijf huis heeft doen belanden wordt binnenkort berecht eindelijk. Ze heeft al bekend dus ze komt er niet straffeloos van af. Dat werkt. Naast nu mijn eigen verhaal neerschrijven.

Update: die Zilla is veroordeeld veroordeeld voor relationeel geweld, opzettelijk geweldgebruik, 40 uur werkstraf (of vervangend 20 dagen zitten) en een boete van 1000 euro. Dat heeft bij mij ook rust gebracht, dat er gerechtigheid is.
Mijn eigen verhaal is zoals het hierboven staat: veel grijstinten maar daarin ook veel uitroeptekens van wat echt niet goed was. Er weer op terugkijkend zie ik dat er vaak geen opzet was maar wel effect en resultaat van emotionele en mentale chantage en mishandeling. En dat telt. Nu des te vastbeslotener en scherper door met m’n leven.

Unconsented intersex surgery seen as torture?

Many intersex children (children born with a “Disorder of Sex Development”, DSD) undergo genital surgery soon after birth or the first years of their life. Because their genitals “don’t fit”, don’t look like they should. Their size or form is too big, too small, too different from what the doctors (and the parents) expect. We are talking at least one or two in every thousand births. The UN just commented on that with some strong recommendations. Lees verder

How transphobic is Alice Dreger?

On her blog Uncommon scents Natacha Kennedy, London based scholar on trans children and activist for trans positive education engage in a ferocious, rabid attempt to knife bio-ethicit and intersex-as-DSD advocate Alice Dreger down on the ground that she publishes an article “Transadvocates” in which she argues the problem with trans kids is not the kids but the parents and the cis system (my word). Dreger does this with the use of some dangerous analogies that makes Kennedy highly indignant.
But how transphobic is this writing actually? Is it intended to be so?

Two important things on which I agree wholeheartedly without reservations: it is 99% cis people that push apparent trans children in a certain role, be it forcing them to be trans or to behave like “a real boy/girl”. And second:  I do agree with Dreger’s conclusion just like Kennedy. But putting Dreger in the transphobic bucket of Janice “Transsexual Empire” Raymond and Sheila Anti-pornography Jeffreys … that is some steps too many for me.

Dreger choses a weak and suspect analogy of a boy wanting to be a train “Actually this child—let’s call him Thomas—believed he was a locomotive”. And “I had already met a surgeon interested in using his craft to provide people with wings“. Definitely very dubious, suggestible imagery. Reason enough to be sceptical because when people use this kind of examples they usually do not engage in sincere discussion. But Dreger does, in my opinion.

However what she says is also realistic on many points. Peggy Cohen’s (VUmc gender team, orfessor on transsexulism) first hand research corroborates that many at young age apparent trans choldren grow over it, find other ways, may still end up genderqueer, but not -directly, apparently – transsexual (for what the term is worth). I’d like to define that term for now as feeling the need to physically transition into another gender/sex.

And here Kennedy is absolutely right to say that it is an even worse suggestion to say that trans people may want trans kids to transition asap. That would be plain stupid. For one reason because only later on one can be reasonably sure that they themselves really feel and need to physically transition. No need to put that way ahead in the future, but I really would be inclined to indeed have these kids live the gender role they want (maybe cautiously slow).
Second: keep those ‘good willing’ cis people off their backs. Many portray exactly the lack of priority for the child’s wishes Dreger accuses many people of. Natacha Kennedy found out in research that many of these chldren know early on of their being different and in this cis and straight normative society have to live conscious of their difference without being to do anything about it usually. Which contributes to stress, gender stress even.

I side with Natacha that the ‘common sense’ Dreger indicates that most trans children grow up non-trans and happy about that, is all but solid evidence. Personally I have met several people who in their early youth or puberty were defintely transgendered but found a way to deal with it somewhere on the edges of the trans spectrum, by being gay/lesbian. And only by working or living with other trans people started to realise this. How htis would have been without all the pressure, if they would have grown beautifully transgedenred or something else, we cannot tell. The “growing up cis” part of Dreger I believe, the happy part is where I’m sceptical about. In some cases we do know how the children grew up when left to their own devise with parental support. Not all of them grow ‘heavily’ transgendered.

I am inclined to tell Dreger that for a scientist of her standing and experience, she should be more consious of her own writing. She ought to know better than use such analogies, be more precise in what she refers to. You owe that to being a scientist. But transphobic .. not consciously, I find too little proof of that. And I know that people can even when living near the smithery may make bad horseshoes. I suspect Dreger to such a scholar.

The problem I guess: we cannot know how it would be without cis pressure.  Even seemingly idyllic environments have their restrictions and their problems. Same applies for aforementioned Dutch trans children. A dutch poem says “Between dream and act, stand laws and moral objections” and nightly gloom. Let’s keep stimulating these kids to use their inventiveness to find ways to be true to themselves, let’s keep educating – with all means possible – the parents, neighbours, teachers, scientists, politicans, shrinks and doctors. many of them just need good education whcih can take quite some effort and may not give the result wished for. And maybe – I may be way too hopeful but still – also Alice Dreger grows in the right direction.