Saturday, 30 April 2016

Why the EU is awesome for LGBTI people

For years now there's been a lot of grandstanding by political and other parties in the Netherlands as well as other European countries about how great it would be if they could just leave the EU, lock down their borders and do everything themselves again.

The simple truth is that if the Netherlands were to leave the EU, I would post-haste seek to obtain German citizenship, rescinding my Dutch nationality if need be. To me the EU has been, and still is one of the few bright points in the harsh reality that comes with not being part of the imaginary sex and gender binary. If anything the Netherlands is complicit in making me realise the benefits of this Union.

From gaining easy access to the healthcare systems in other EU countries with full coverage, to easy migration between member countries, to a single currency. There are many reasons why the existence of the EU has made life for me as an intersex EU citizen much easier than it would have been otherwise.

From being able to hop borders to get an MRI scan (illegal in the Netherlands), to getting surgery (also illegal in the Netherlands). From getting a job offer and permanently migrating in a matter of months, to only having to go through a simple registration in my new country. It's hard to say which of these things made my life the easiest.

Maybe the biggest positive point is that courtesy of the EU, EU citizens are free to escape the grasp of conservative or regressive societies, such as in Poland, Greece and the Netherlands. Finding a job elsewhere is easy. Renting or even buying a place in another member country is easy. I'm hardly the only one who has escaped the Netherlands, for example, to find a better life in Germany or elsewhere.

Of those whose stories I know, some were raised in the Netherlands, then found out that they were transsexual and - after a few years of unpleasantness at the same Amsterdam hospital which I went to - decided to abandon the Netherlands and find a more humane and respectful life in Germany.

That to me is what the European Union represents: freedom. The freedom to choose, to decide one's own fate instead of being forced to submit to whichever culture one has been born into. It's an idea which literally takes away borders and shows a tantalising glimpse into a future where all of us can respectfully live together, regardless of any and all characteristics of our bodies and minds.

At this point in time such an ideal has not been accomplished, as evidenced by the struggle for basic human rights for some groups within European countries. Yet at the same time it also gives people like me hope. Hope that some day everything will be different, and the borders between people will be gone, too.



BearinOz said...

Absolutely ! Those who want to leave the E.U.,must be the predominantly small-minded, nationalistic types, who rarely leave their own town, or limited mindscape. I DO hope these referenda, when the results are in, produce a huge "NO" to leaving.If I wasa much-younger man, I think I may well have moved onto the European Mainland, rather than emigrating to Australia. I was amazed, when I went back on a visit, to find a German lady teaching in Wales ; people who specifically looked for Polish names in the phone book, when they needed a plumber or other trade, due to their reliability ; Welsh surfers I knew moving permanently to France, Spain or Portugal. The multi-gender issues just one of a LOT of good things about the freedom and mobility of being in the E.U. I hope it doesn't fall apart. That would be huge backward step in a continually unstable world !

Maya Posch said...

@BearinOz - Absolutely agreed. Diversity and openness are strength, not the opposite :)