Evelien's HomepageHomepage
Evelien's DiaryDiary
Evelien's Search engineSearch
Evelien's Theatre pageTheatre
Evelien's Acorn pageAcorn
Evelien's BookmarksLinks
Evelien's CVCV
Evelien's BBS emulationBBS

Use this link to subscribe to my PodCast:


The Ugly Duckling 

Click here to listenWhen I was a child, I often felt very lonely and unhappy. I felt I was somehow different from the other children. That was why they often teased me and wouldn't let me play with them. I didn't have a clue why I was different or in what way and neither did my parents.
My mother often tried to console me by telling me the story of the Ugly Duckling. You must have heard of that one, or have you?

Once upon a time a mother duck was breeding on her eggs. After a few weeks six of them hatched and out came six beautiful little ducklings. The seventh egg was slightly bigger than the other ones and it hatched a little later. Out of it came a very ugly duckling. It was too large and it was the wrong color. Mother duck was first afraid it may not even be a duckling; maybe it was a turkey? But when she saw this duckling could swim, just like her other children, she was reassured. This was probably just a phase and her child would grow over it. She lovingly accepted him as one of her own.

But the other ducklings were not so tolerant. And the other animals on the farm didn't accept him either. After several miserable weeks the poor duckling fled from the farm. He went to a nearby moor and asked all the animals if they had ever seen a bird like him, but nobody had. One day he saw a flock a very beautiful, white birds. These were swans of course, but the young duckling didn't know that. And somehow he felt towards them as he had never felt for any other bird in the world. He deeply wished he could be as graceful as they were, if only for one day! The beautiful birds flew away to the south, because the winter was beginning.

The winter was a very harsh time for this poor, lonesome bird. He almost ended up in a cooking-pot, he nearly froze to death and he felt more and more miserable.
Then, when the spring began he witnessed the return of those beautiful, white birds. He wanted to go near them, ugly as he was. He humbly approached them, bending his head down towards the water. But then he saw his own reflection! He saw he had grown into a beautiful, young swan! He was now just like the birds he had admired so much! He was lovingly accepted amongst the swans and people said he was the most beautiful of them all!
Of course the swan was very happy. But he never became vain or conceited. He always remembered how it felt to be despised and teased, and he was very sorry for all the creatures who are so treated merely because they are different from those around them.

It is a beautiful story with a happy ending, but it wasn't very consoling. I knew I was not a swan and I didn't see how I could ever live to see a happy ending like he did. Little did my mother and I know what was to happen to me many decades later in my life...


Pro Choice 

Click here to listenRecently conservative people in the USA have been saying some very offensive things about the Dutch medical profession. We could even hear it on this side of the ocean! They said in Holland newly borns can be euthanized if they have a little birth defect. If a child is born with only four fingers, the parents can say: "Oh, this child is not perfect. We don't want it. Please euthanize it!"

Well, that is not the way it works! It is amazing that the "Pro life" movement resorts to such horrible lies to keep the people from taking a more liberal point of view. They make it sound like "Pro choice" leads directly towards Sodom and Gomorra, just like in the Netherlands.
Well, let me tell you that in the Netherlands the doctors do everything that is within their power to preserve life of people of all ages. Julia's grandson was born with a serious heart defect and he would not have lived for a year if nothing was done about it. So the doctors performed an open heart surgery on him when he was only a few months old! And by now he is a happy little toddler.
It is true the rules for euthanasia are more liberal in the Netherlands. In our country it is possible to stop the feeding of a patient who is in a coma for a long time without hope of recovery. It is possible for people who know they will soon die in a slowly and painful way to ask their doctor to speed up the process and help them avoid this needless suffering. Such decisions are never made without consulting another doctor.

Speaking about the medical profession: There is another misunderstanding I have often heard. Some people think that in the Netherlands the government will pay for sexual reassignment surgery. Well, they don't! I do not have to pay for my surgery myself, because it is covered by my health insurance.
People also say it is quite easy to get an approval for a sex change in the Netherlands. Well, it is not. First of all, there is no free choice in where to get your sex change. There are only two hospitals that perform this surgery. And in these hospitals the same Harry Benjamin Standards of Care apply as in the USA. As a matter of fact the rules are even more strict than those in the Standards of Care. We have a Real Life Test period of 18 months. We do not have the requirement of two letters of recommendation from mental health specialists for surgery, but instead we have a whole team, specialized in gender issues to make the decision.
I thought I could do without such a long real life test, since I had been living full-time as a woman for two years before I was diagnosed. The Standards of Care do leave room for such an exception, but the rules of the hospital don't. The Dutch gender team is very careful to avoid any mistake.

So the next time a conservative is trying to scare you out of a "Pro Choice" point of view by referring to the apocalypse we are heading for in the Netherlands, you can explain to him that the doctors in the Netherlands are just as conscientious as those in the USA.


All in the family 

Click here to listenDo you remember the TV-series "All in the Family"? Do you remember Archie Bunker?

Boy the way Glen Miller played,
Songs that made the hit parade,
Guys like us we had it made,
Those were the days,
And you know where you were then,
Girls were girls and men were men,

Why does he sing that? Is he referring to transgendered people? Oh no, he's not! He is merely annoyed because in the sixties some boys liked to grow long hair, just like the girls. He is annoyed by anyone and everything that doesn't share his narrow view of the world. And there is a lot that doesn't fit in that view: Women's rights, same-sex marriage, abortion etcetera.
Archie has never even met a transgendered person. I wonder how he would react to that!

In the Netherlands the "Archie Bunker"-type is not that wide-spread. But they are among us! There are Archie Bunkers among my colleagues. There are Archie Bunkers among my relatives. There are Archie Bunkers out on the street.
The problems started soon after I began to live full-time as a woman. A few weeks later Julia, my spouse, celebrated her birthday. Full-time is full-time, so naturally I was dressed as a woman when we received our guests. I wore a black, ankle length, pleated skirt, a shiny green pullover and black shoes with one-inch heels.
It was quite a start to my parents. I had been preparing them for this moment by dressing androgynously and a little bit more feminine every time I met them during the preceding year, but they never seemed to notice. They have a tendency not to see things they don't like as long as possible. Well I can understand their problem. It is not easy to see your son behave as a daughter for the first time. But they were very reasonable about it.

But there was another relative who didn't take it so lightly. After the party he called Julia and told her he didn't want to be confronted with me in this way. He demanded Julia to come to his house and explain the matter.
Who does he think he is? We do have the right to determine what happens in our own house! Julia refused to come unless I could come along with her.

And so we went there together. This special occasion was the last time I put on male clothing, just for his sake. We had a long discussion that seemed to end well when I had managed to explain to him that I was not a transvestite, but a transsexual. Transsexuals usually meet a little more understanding in our society than transvestites do. People find it easier to understand if someone 'was born in the wrong body'. I think he should have accepted me if I were a transvestite as well, but it was difficult enough already. I really thought I managed to explain it all to him and I had the impression he understood.

But now, more than two years later, I am not so sure he has accepted me. It would be more accurate to say that he is tolerating me. Recently a little inducement was all it took to start a flaming email debate. My condition is causing him nervous headaches and sleepless nights, his wife said. Poor guy!

© 1985-2005 E.G. Snel

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?