Here a short video I submitted to the New York Times today… they are doing a series of portraits on transgender people… intriguing stories and beautiful thoughts from around the world on gender identity and what it means to be human: http://www.nytimes.com/…/the-quest-for-transgender-equality… #Paralian#LiamKlenk #notjusttrans #LGBT #lovinglife #nevergiveup #beinghuman#wearethesumofourexperiences #lifejourney #goforward
Many special thanks to my friend Axel for putting together this teaser for ‘Paralian’ as early as spring 2014 (Back then my book still had the working title ‘The Fortunate Nomad’ and we thought it would be published a lot sooner as you can see from the projected launch date at the end of the video.) So now, we are finally approaching the finish line in tiny little steps… only five more months to go to the actual launch!
I am sitting at home on the couch with my two cats today, relaxing, enjoying the surprisingly warm rays of winter-sunshine and marvelling at the mighty alps spanning the horizon. At the same time, my mind is wandering and I am amazed by the rich life I’ve been privileged to lead so far. There were so many moments filling me with enough energy and sunshine to last a lifetime.
Most of those moments were directly related to people. Like this one right here, in the Maldives in 2009. The goodbye dinner with the Maldivian boat crews on the evening before my departure holds a special place in my heart. For four years we had spent almost every day together on the local dhonis. All of them had humbly shared their wisdom of the sea, never asking anything in return.
On this last evening together we laughed, enjoyed freshly caught Tuna and sang traditional Maldivian songs. The guys told anecdotes about my clumsiness and the many resulting embarrassing moments over the years which they remembered in all-too-fine a detail… like the one time I was taking a dump in the boat’s head and flushed, forgetting that some of my divers were still surfacing, my turds floating past them like a school of stinky sea cucumbers.
As the evening drew on, everyone had a good word, a kind smile, a hand on my shoulder. No matter how different our culture, religions, and backgrounds might have been, we always respected and appreciated each other. I miss them all. All of these soft-spoken, courageous men have taught me about kindness and loyalty amongst other things and by doing so have enriched my life immensely. It’s been a privilege to work with each and every one of them.
I’m longing to get back out there and venture much farther still. While I reminisce, a song comes up and here I am, humming Frank Sinatra’s Moon River, “Two drifters, off to see the world. There’s such a lot of world to see…”
There sure is. No doubt my wife and I will be on the road again in the years to come. Sometimes only for a few days, sometimes weeks, sometimes even for a few months. Who knows. We’ll see. All I am sure of is I want to stay as open as possible to new adventures, people, and possibilities.
#Paralian #LiamKlenk #notjusttrans #odyssey #lifejourney #memoir #humanist #passionatetraveller
Last week, one of you asked how I came to choose the name ‘Liam’ for myself…
For a long time, even before beginning hormone therapy, I wondered about the right name. My first thoughts were along the lines of carrying on family traditions and maybe pick ‘Karl’ in honour of my late grandfather and my father. But I soon felt, since I was given the rare chance to name myself, I should go for something to really represent my personality.
Weeks of pondering didn’t get me anywhere. Then one evening I watched ‘Blown Away’ with Jeff Bridges. I watched the movie several times, identifying with the hero he portrayed – a sensitive, vulnerable, yet strong character who doesn’t give up. Incidentally, his name in the movie was ‘Liam” and I began tasting it on my tongue like a very delicious, full-bodied wine.
Research into the name’s meaning revealed that it derives from the German name ‘Wilhelm’, which literally means ‘will’ and ‘helmet’. He is a protector, someone who shows courage and determination in the face of adversity. I liked that very much and considering all I had already survived and faced at that point, it seemed fitting. To take it literally: I was strong-willed. And while I had never worn a helmet, I had spent my teenage years wearing thick, black leather jackets to protect myself.
To my ears, ’Liam’ was a soft-sounding name lacking any harsh consonants, which also felt just right.
As a middle name I then came up with one more perfect tidbit. I soon decided on ‘Kieran’ with, I must say, a twinkle in my eye. If I’ve learned one thing in life then it’s to never take anything including ourselves too seriously. Ciarán (Irish) or Ciaran (Scottish) is a Gaelic name meaning “little dark one” or “blacky”. Since I’ve always been quite a little guy with a shock of thick, dark brown hair, this completed me rather perfectly.
So there you go, the determined little dark one with a helmet: Liam Kieran Klenk.
#Paralian #LiamKlenk #notjusttrans #odyssey #lifejourney #nevergiveup #memoir #LGBT
After many weeks of pondering the right subtitle for my book, we decided on “Not just transgender”.
Being trans has in many ways impacted my life and also shaped me as an individual. I came into this world as a little boy, trapped in the body of a girl. Until the age of 23 people perceiving me as female influenced many of my life experiences significantly.
My path has been fraught with obstacles because of being trans. This in turn has shaped me into a (I hope) mature and compassionate individual.
BUT, being trans is only a small part of who I am as a person. I have also been shaped by being orphaned and adopted, by my adoptive parents, by my many life experiences, by living and working abroad and by the many inspiring people I’ve met along the way. I am not just trans. I am Liam Klenk, a complex individual, my own kind of guy, a romantic, a worrier, someone who doesn’t believe in ever giving up, who values family and close relationships, an adventurer, a traveller, a listener, kind, compassionate, tenacious, courageous, funny, humble, impatient, sometimes too stubborn, and much more…
Above all, I don’t believe people can be labelled and put in a box. We are all far more interesting than that.
#Paralian #LiamKlenk #notjusttrans #LGBT #lifejourney #memoirs #odyssey #lovingmylife #comingsoon