Monday, 31 December 2012

As The New Year Beckons; What Awaits

As I'm typing this during the last hours of the year 2012 it's hard not to compare the situation I was in a year ago with today. The main feeling accompanying this comparison is one of exhausted, but minor satisfaction. The points where it mattered the most, such as my struggle against the Dutch hospitals and associated, as well as my personal living situation have improved considerably. My intersex condition has been acknowledged, I got my legal gender changed and I now have one of the best Dutch personal damages lawyers representing me in the case against the Dutch hospitals. This lawyer, Yme Drost, has recognized that my basic human rights have been infringed upon through the treatment by Dutch physicians and psychologists.

I am now also living on my own together with a girlfriend, Joanna, whom I love with all my heart. None of those things I could have expected early this year. So many times things seemed to be going lopsided and I can not count the number of times that I just broke down for no apparent reason and was ready to just give up on everything. My mom above all is beyond relieved that things have turned out like this, having had to support me from early 2011 on after things went so horribly wrong in January that year.

To be fair I see this period mostly as a bit of a breathing period. It's going to be a harrowing time financially next year as well as in other areas, as big decisions will have to be made and solutions found for other issues. I still have one more surgery to go, for which I haven't found a surgeon yet due to once again my unique physiology. The legal case against the Dutch hospitals will begin in earnest in February of 2013 as the first hearing by the medical disciplinary commission against the VUmc's gender team will take place in that month. The outcome of this is everything but certain. There's also the thousands of Euros kept hostage by my insurance company, Unive, which they refuse to pay to cover the expenses I have made for hair-removal due to my intersex condition. Again the discrimination also displayed by Dutch hospitals - among others - seems to play a major role here.

Intersex as a taboo in the Netherlands, and of course outside it. It's going to be one of the central items for me in 2013 and hopefully for the world media as well. With me having gained a foothold in the media with the possibility of a documentary being made about intersex featured around my story, it seems as though times may finally be changing after all of the struggles the past eight years. Hopefully 2013 will be the year that this taboo vanishes for ever.

Making up the balance, and looking back at the blog post I wrote about a year ago, I'd say that I have become more hopeful, stronger and in many ways even more mature than before. I also realize all too well that I'm at most half-way on the path which needs to be traveled in order to reach the end of this nightmare I found myself in due to the simple act of being born into a backwards, Calvinistic and intolerant society and country.

I sincerely hope that my girlfriend and I can say farewell to the country of the Netherlands before 2013 ends. My girlfriend has gone through many layers of Hell starting in her early youth, caused by her direct family and worsened by the so-called child-protection services in the Netherlands. Even now she can find virtually no support or recognition in this country for everything she had to endure physically, emotionally and otherwise. In many ways our stories are parallels of each other, featuring the same uncaring attitudes of Dutch health- and other types of care, not to mention the closed-off nature of Dutch society. It's time we started living in a country where those who do not fit into narrow labels are treated like actual human beings.

Consider this to be our new year's resolution.

Maya & Joanna

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