24 March 2010

Being trans in the Netherlands

A new Facebook friend, who currently lives in Little Rock but previously based herself out of Utrecht (and now is preparing to move back to Europe - this time, to Spain), asked to be my friend when I vented my 1999 Amsterdam frustrations in response to a trans-themed fanpage's "dream destinations for transgender women."

Both she and I agree - that Amsterdam's trans-friendliness is grossly overrated. While legal framework is favorable, the fact remains, as I had noted during my visit, that hate speech wrapped up in ethnic cultures is very well protected. But what she added to my observations was just as eye-opening; she says that (1) the straight world pays lip service to transpeople without really trying to address their concerns, and (2) transwomen who are not post-op reasonably fast are deemed to be casual transvestite men rather than a member of womanhood. The trans support groups are very miserable, she says, and not all that interested in making transpeople healthy and productive at all, rather keeping them miserable.

This new friend is, again, very new, and I do need to verify what she says via another source. Luckily, I know another trans lesbian, a native Dutchwoman based in IJmuiden, who has filled me in with details on the recent rise of theocracy in the Netherlands after my visit. Although she feels that I am singling out the Surinamese, she does agree with many of my concerns.

In any case, I am appalled at the politically correct people who do NOT even want to entertain the very possibility that the Netherlands, a "beacon of tolerance," is much less of a utopia than it's hyped out to be, much less the reality that the intolerance often has an ethnic origin. Similar issues have risen in the UK, and in the US as well (I will gladly talk about the Korean and Central American theocracy in the State of California, the reason why the state banned gay marriage twice).

I sincerely feel that Sarah will need to discuss this reality in a tactful way. The story, and my message, will simply not be complete without this. And honestly, she may find coming home on Flight 947 to be as much of a relief, as I had found it to be on December 9th, 1999.

No comments: