Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Hearing Against Unive: Discrimination Against Intersex

Tomorrow I'll be attending the first hearing against my insurance company Unive. The SKGZ organization will be presiding over the hearing, as they prepare to lay down a ruling in this case. At stake is whether or not Unive should fully cover the electrolysis therapy I'm undergoing in order to remove excess facial hair growth. As I pursue a female role in daily life I feel very uncomfortable with this hair growth. Now that I'm officially registered as a female, and the cause of the excess hair growth is medically proven to be due to my intersex condition, i.e. hormonal, I fall under regulations for both transsexuals and regular women with hormonal issues.

So far Unive has declined to give a reason for why they refuse to fully cover electrolysis in my case, merely saying that their medical advisers say that intersex doesn't qualify because it's 'very different'. It's going to be interesting to see and hear how they'll respond now. I'm very curious about who else will be present at the hearing, whether it's from SKGZ or from Unive. I'd like to see the latter try and say to my face that I do not qualify for full coverage because my case is so different from transsexuals and regular women. The suspicion of discrimination is hard to suppress.

I just hope that SKGZ will rule that Unive has to fully cover the therapy so that I can get back the nearly 6,000 Euro I have spent on it so far over the past years. It'd be money I could really use, both for myself and for the intersex cause.


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Pride Photo Award Pitch Won By Intersex

Last time I wrote about 'De Donkere Kamer' ('The Dark Room') photography event in Amsterdam, which was organized together with Pride Photo Award. During this event three pitches were presented by photographers aimed at getting money from the public for their project. I was present at this event as well last Monday from 8 PM until 10.30 PM. A recording of the entire event can be found here on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxKCJrEnsyM (Dutch spoken). Short summary: Eric Brinkhorst with his pitch to get me money for the surgery I need as well as to promote the intersex cause won first place. Total amount won is a few hundred Euro, the total amount I'll hear later. All of this will go towards the intended goals. I'll still need help with finding the surgeon for this controversial surgery, though. Germany is my first pick right now.

Now that I have money for travel and such expenses, I'd really appreciate help with finding said surgeon. There's supposedly a good clinic near Berlin, but it's pretty stressful for me to establish contact with any potential surgeons, worsened by the language barrier with relatively few German people speaking good English. Maybe I should start offering a monetary award for helping me find a surgeon after previous failed attempts :)


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Still No One Gets The Intersex Tragedy

Two days ago, on Thursday August 18th, me and my girlfriend appeared on TLC Netherlands' new show 'TLC Over...' ('TLC about...') with my story as part of an episode on taboos. In the run-up to this show's airing and the recordings over a month ago, there was the strong suggestion by those I talked to including the producer of the show, Saskia Elings, at Palm Plus Media, that they'd really cover my story and had a lot of interest in it. During the recordings the host of the show, Birgit Schuurman, even mentioned repeatedly how important she thought that covering the need for me to get that final surgery which would open up my female side was. To me she said that she hoped the broadcast would help me get said surgery, itself being impossible in the Netherlands due to outdated protocols and morals. In the end, though, the episode was about 80% filled with a prostitute trying to convince her mom that her way of earning money was just fine. There was also this guy with a cast fetish and finally as the smallest segment there was my part, summarized as me having a hard time, but now I finally found love and everything is fine now. Not a word about the surgery, or the other big issues I am still dealing with. The intersex tragedy was merely glossed over.

After swallowing some more bitter disappointment I sent the producer the following email (translated from Dutch):

"After having seen the episode I can say that I have no interest whatsoever to put it on my site. Literally only 10% of the episode was spent on my topic, or even less. It quickly skimmed over my problems and after that that I am now supposedly happy because I have found love. Everything I have told about the surgery I still need and such weren't included. Even though Birgit (ed: host of the show) and the others during the recordings indicated that they found this to be very important. During the recordings my partner and I talked a great deal about this subject due to this.

"This while especially the SM fetish got a lot of attention with also a bit of cast fetish. The result was a relatively weak episode which brought very few taboos to one's attention. For what calls itself 'the Learning Channel' this was a downright humiliation. The required surgery for me is exactly what this taboo is about since this surgery can simply not be done in the Netherlands by surgeons exactly because it is a taboo. The Netherlands is a heavily conservative country.

"I do not regret cooperating on this show, but it was a major disappointment and will ultimately mean nothing to me or other intersexuals. This is a huge missed opportunity. The next time that I'll get an offer like this for an appearance on a show I'll look at it much more critically before I'll sign up."

Considering that I'm still trapped in a country where politicians, physicians and psychologists alike deny the existence of intersex, or that these are individuals with their own human rights instead of toys to be used at their leisure, I'd hardly say that I'm in a happy place yet. In fact I'd say that the nightmare I have been stuck in for decades has lessened in severity, but the moment I relent in my efforts it'll still be game over. The VUmc's gender team and the other physicians and psychologists I came into contact with still want to save their own skin and will gladly sacrifice me to accomplish that. They will deny that they made any mistakes in my case, and that they're doing anything (morally) wrong in the case of other intersex individuals, including infants who can not even fight back. This are still the trenches in a long, exhausting and very dirty war.

After the mess at the Dolhuys museum and this TLC fluffy reality show it's hard to really put one's faith into any more public events. One possible exception which I hope will work out is an event called 'De Donkere Kamer' ('The Dark Room'), which is organized together with Pride Photo Award. As the brochure states: "Monday evening 22 October 2012 a special edition of De Donkere Kamer will take place, made in cooperation with Pride Photo Award. This special edition of De Donkere Kamer looks for three photographers who feel inspired by the theme sexual- and gender diversity and who want to pitch their project in three minutes with as goal to collect money for realizing their project. The public determines how the entry money for the evening will be divided over the three projects. Pride Photo Award is an international photo contest about sexual- and gender diversity. They fight for a more nuanced image of homosexuals and lesbians in the international view. Go for more information to the website of Pride Photo Award: www.pridephotoaward.org"

The photographer who took the pictures of me for the article in the AD newspaper earlier this year, and whose pictures also appeared in the NRC Handelsblad newspaper with the article on me, contacted me in relation to this event. This photographer, Eric Brinkhorst, submitted his pitch to the contest involving helping me get that surgery I mentioned earlier and promoting the intersex cause. His pitch got accepted and last Thursday we took the pictures of me (and my girlfriend, of course) which will be shown during the pitch on Monday. I'll be present there as well.

I think that people like Eric are the people who actually get the intersex tragedy and will help to bring it to the attention of people. Naturally this event isn't without benefit to him, but it's also an example which shows that one can do proper journalism and still gain something from it. Fluffy reality shows are for the mindless public. Journalism is for those who want to expand borders and right that which is wrong while making their name part of history.

Here's to hoping that Monday's event will somewhat restore my faith in things after this last series of less than pleasant happenings.


Sunday, 14 October 2012

Abandoning Reason In A Make-Believe World

Last Thursday it was time for me to appear in court regarding the vandalism case where I had supposedly knowingly and willingly broken a few items at a family doctor's place, despite suffering horrific psychological and physical trauma as a result [1]. After a 2.5 hour delay thanks to the previous cases taking much longer, including one I followed involving someone who regularly beats up people and still hasn't received any real punishment, my case came for the judge. It was then quickly discovered that my lawyer didn't have some documents. Now it'll take another few months before anything happens in the case again. I do know that I am going for complete dismissal of the case against me now, though. I'm not even going to relent and pay up any money, or accept any kind of guilty verdict.

Not having more than a few scattered memory fragments of the event in question plays a strong role here, as I can not see myself as guilty when I do not have any recollection of causing the damage in question, or what the reasoning behind it may have been. All I know is that I was under an impossible amount of stress at the time, desperate to finally solve the medical mystery of my body after systematic denial of help by Dutch 'specialists' for over six years at that point, and in a less than stable emotional state after having attempted to commit suicide about two months earlier. My psycho-therapist has diagnosed me with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder and Chronic Stress Disorder, all resulting from the excessive stress I had to endure thanks to Dutch physicians and psychologists. These disorders all can lead to moments of complete or partial blackouts, during which the person in question can act in a manner inconsistent with that person's primary personality and portray aggressive, depressed or other excessive traits.

Yesterday I also received message from SKGZ, the organization dealing with my case against insurance company Unive regarding the full coverage of the electrolysis therapy. This basically involves me receiving therapy to get rid of the facial hair I developed as a result of having an elevated testosterone level due to my intersex condition. For both regular women with a hormone imbalance and for transsexuals this therapy is covered fully by insurance, yet Unive claims that for intersex individuals this is not the case, and that I will have to pay it myself, despite the costs having passed five-thousand Euro a long time ago already. Wednesday the 31st of October I'll attend a hearing about this. Hopefully I can sway some minds there.

All of this keeps reminding me how much alike this is to kindergarten where children keep coming up with their make-belief stories which they act out in full conviction. Here too so-called adults have created this make-belief world in which people have to act in a certain way and where things are defined and governed by specific rules and regulations. Their reality is shaped by this system. I know very well that what Dutch physicians, psychologists and politicians did to me over the years is horrific and morally wrong in every regard. I know that what happened during that vandalism incident last year was due to me having been bullied again and again until something broke inside of me. I know that Unive is wrong on this count, that they should just pay the full amount as I am more female than any male-to-female transsexual, wish to live fully in a female role and suffer a lot due to having facial hair.

And yet due to the make-belief world of rules, regulations, traditions, insurance policies, managers and other assorted systems, none of this matters. I'm a mere toy to this faceless, vicious entity. What I know to be right and the simple truth is irrelevant. That it makes me feel horrible and suicidal is irrelevant. Nothing I do matters to this inhumane collection of insanity. I do trudge on in the hope that things will turn out better soon, but only by constantly pushing away thoughts of despair can I continue living. There's absolutely nothing enjoyable about being alive.

'Hope' is such a small thing to live for.


[1] http://mayaposch.blogspot.com/2011/05/taking-nightmare-notch-further.html

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Losing Sight Of The Point Of Things

I'm pretty sure that the most difficult part of working for any company or organization is that it's hard to feel fully aligned with its goals and purpose of existence. In the end it's in a way a somewhat degrading experience, where management in a sense controls those who applied for a job. Not to say that it's a complete hell or anything. In the end it's the mutual interaction between employees and managers which determines the atmosphere within the company. As far as my current job goes, I think that its management is in some ways still stuck in the past which causes some friction. Fortunately attempts are being made now to revitalize the department so that things will become a lot more efficient. I can't wait to see those being implemented and take part in this process. If only to display my true skills.

In the end I'd like go back to working full-time in my company, Nyanko. It'll still take quite a few months before it'll generate enough revenue to sustain me financially. Right now all of the projects I'm working on alone or with Trevor will still take a few weeks at least to be finished, are finished but not selling well at all, or are in such an early stage of development that it's not worth investing any hope in them. This includes possibly revolutionary projects such as the HLA-AI project of which the initial prototype should result in an artificial intelligence with the language skills of about a 1-3-year old, and subsequent prototypes should exceed human intelligence. There's also the FPGA/ASIC hardware simulator and board simulator Lilium which I'm still working on as well.

With all that I know and am capable of I am pretty sure that I could do pretty much anything, as long as I keep getting offered the challenges needed to keep me motivated. All together I really hope that Trevor and I can soon turn Nyanko into a profitable company, starting with the release of our first game, Baublez, later this month at the earliest on Steam. All I'd like is for us to be given a chance at showing what we both are capable of.