Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Danish Girl And Me

2007 liam getting haircut

Have you seen “The Danish Girl”? Go see it!
I loved the sensitivity, the subtleness, the clarity, the not-so-in-your-face way of it. Never have I seen a transgender person portrayed with more love, sensitivity, and acceptance. “The Danish Girl” makes you really FEEL what it is like to be trapped in the wrong body. There was nothing extreme, nothing overly colourful, no over-obvious wow-effects, no capitalizing on the exoticness of it all… and yet, the movie gripped me through its profound humanity and through allowing me to understand the crushing extent of loneliness, lost-ness, and pain Lily was going through.
It was truly truly amazing! Beautiful.
I see myself so much in that movie. And I love how Lily was accepted as who she is by her closest friends. Just as I have always been accepted as who I am by those closest to me. Lily’s friends were there for her and treasured her the way she was. But like I did, Lily needed to find a way to live life out in the open, to be perceived on a daily basis as who she really was, and to get rid of a body that wasn’t hers. After her second operation, at the brink of death, she said with the most beautiful, heartfelt smile what I had felt too after my second operation: “Now I am finally, truly myself.” You could see it was worth it, even if it might mean she had to die that very instant.
With tears of happiness in my eyes, I remembered how terrified I had been of dying while still stranded in the wrong body. Nothing had felt more horrifying than to end up being buried in a body not my own. To be remembered with a tombstone, saying, “Miss Stefanie Klenk, beloved daughter of…”. I had hoped all along I would make it to the other side, so I could at least die happily in the knowledge of being buried as who I really was, always had been: “Mr. Liam Klenk, beloved son and husband of…”.
I think, most profoundly, “The Danish Girl” shows just how important it is to transgender individuals to be able to live life like everyone else. Lily’s happiness to be able to get a simple job as a perfume sales lady with a group of other women was heartbreaking.
See, the truth is, even though people like to think of us as exotic creatures, the majority of us aren’t colourful butterflies. We are just people who have been dealt a very screwed up deck of cards. And there are so many of us out there. We are everywhere, and always have been. Always will be.

I hope I’ll find a way to become a strong advocate and fighter for transgender people on a global scale. But when I do, I want to be there for others in the admirably sensitive way in which the movie “The Danish Girl” presents itself. Subtle, yet very powerful, clear, and very very personal.

I am glad we live now, in a world where people like Lily and I are not being locked up, subjected to radiation “treatments”, electroshock “treatments”, or killed anymore – at least most of the time that is, depending on where you live. Many trans people still can’t afford to come out in great style or even begin steps to become whole, because in the countries or areas they live in they’d be shot or beaten to death in an instant.
But still, we now live in a world where many people who had the good fortune of being born in the right body are at least beginning to understand a tiny little bit that being a trans man or woman means just the same as being a man or woman like everyone else out there. It’s this INCLUSIVENESS I want to highlight most of all. Not any kind of exclusiveness.
Plus, I want to help make clear to any of my contemporaries who are afraid, just how important it is to be yourself. How important it is to never let yourself be defined by only one element of your existence. You’re the sum of your experiences. You’re the soul within. Never let anyone tell you different or tell you who you are supposed to be. You know best who you are!

Paralian now available for pre-order!

Yay! Paralian is now available for pre-order on waterstones.com and amazon.co.uk (the other ‘Amazons’ and WHSmith following soon). How amazing is that! Honestly, it feels quite surreal. I hope I’ll stay this excited and enthusiastic every time one of my books comes out (since I am planning to write many many more).

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Paralian-Just-Transgender-Liam-Klenk/dp/1785891200/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1454056948&sr=8-1&keywords=paralian

https://www.waterstones.com/book/paralian/liam-klenk/9781785891205

 

Paralian launching May 28th, 2016

2004 liam on kuredu

Only four more months to go until launch (I’m so excited!!)… and here a little taste of what’s to come:
“Marcello felt a delightful wave of heat and energy rushing through his body just as the fifth car reached its final destination – Sandra’s bedroom wall. It impacted in a cacophony of noise and falling debris. Instead of pulling away from her, he instinctively wrapped his arms around his girlfriend in the hope of shielding her from danger.
So. This was it. This was my moment. Marcello’s sperm cells hurried to my mom’s egg cell… and without even knowing it yet, an innocent teenage couple were on their way to becoming my parents.”

The Moment

2016 pushka in winterwonderland

Have you ever read “The Hours” or seen the movie? It’s one of my all-time favorites, making me cry — with sadness as much as happiness — every time.
One scene in particular always stays with me:
In a very intimate moment towards the end of the movie, Clarissa says to her daughter, ”I remember one morning getting up at dawn, there was such a sense of possibility. You know, that feeling? And I remember thinking to myself: So, this is the beginning of happiness. This is where it starts. And of course there will always be more. It never occurred to me it wasn’t the beginning. It was happiness. It was the moment. Right then.”

As I look out the window of our little eagle’s nest overlooking the beautiful city of Zurich I breathe in deeply. My wife is working today. We had a cozy, slow breakfast together. She just left a few minutes ago and I already miss her with every fiber of my being.
Pushka, our fluffy Persian, is looking out of the open window, her eyes sparkling, seeing snow for the very first time.
Our other cat, Nacho, is sitting on his cat tree, every so often pawing the window pane, trying to catch a stray flake through the glass.
And on the table behind me, the final typeset of my book is waiting for me. The next three days will be busy… reading through 450 pages once more to check if all final corrections I made a few weeks ago have been implemented. I’m looking forward to finding that last hidden typo…

It keeps snowing. I’ll start soon. Just a few more minutes of gazing out the window…
Clarissa was right. It is the moment. Right now.

LGBT History Month: Not Just Transgender

And here right away another press release from LiterallyPR (thanks so much Helen, Sam and Diana) this time focussing more on the transgender/LGBT side of things…

literallypublicrelations

Press Release
LGBT History Month: Not Just Transgender

London, United Kingdom, Thursday 14thJanuary 2016: Liam Klenk’s powerful, distinctive memoir Paralian: Not Just Transgender takes a holistic approach to recounting his tumultuous life that includes his identity as a transgender man, a child of adoption, scuba diver in the world’s biggest aquatic show and an international traveller. This LGBT month (February 2016) he is ready to celebrate the greater inclusion of transgender people in society whilst questioning how much we are ready to see transgender people as individuals.

[image]Paralian: Not Just Transgender covers in depth his journey from being born a girl to becoming a man in his early 20s, the process by which, when he was a young adult, he found out he had been adopted at five months old, his journey around the world working for performance groups in and out of the water, and ultimately how…

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The Legacy of Adoption

A press release from Literally PR concerning my memoirs ‘Paralian’ (launching soon!). This release focussing on the adoption side of things…

literallypublicrelations

[image]

Press Release:
The Legacy of Adoption

Paralian: Not Just Transgender

London, United Kingdom, Thursday 14thJanuary 2016: Liam Klenk’s innovative memoir, Paralian, will initially strike most as a transgender man’s story despite the title strapline ‘notjusttransgender’. In reality, there are many elements within Liam’s life that are equally as defining as being a transgender man. Just as important to his identity in 2016 was the late revelation, in 1992, that he had been adopted at just five months.

Conventional wisdom suggests that adopted children should be made aware of their biological parents as soon as possible but Liam did not find out he was adopted until the age of 21, and then it was because of legal papers associated with a rather complicated marriage and divorce. He explains in his memoir, due for release by Matador on May 28th 2016:

In Zurich once again…

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Needle Work

2016 needle work

Every twenty days or so I need to help my body along with a little testosterone. The needle is a good 4 cm long and also not the thinnest kind. Rather a McDonalds straw as opposed to a thin reed if you know what I mean. It needs to be that big because the large amount of hormonal fluid to be injected into my muscles is gelatinous and quite immovable. Supposedly, the more relaxed my muscles are at the moment of injection, the less it’ll hurt.

So every three weeks I sit there, syringe in hand, moving my leg this way and that, willing my thigh muscles to relax. I can’t help but wonder “What if I hit bone?” or “What if I accidentally inject the fluid into a vein instead of muscle tissue?”

In the end, pushing all dramatic scenarios out of my mind, I put on music, talk to my wife, to the cats, or to myself, and think of relaxed hours in a turquoise-blue sea. Still, just looking at the gigantic contraption continues to make my muscles tense in anticipation.

But it has to be done, so relaxed or not, I jam the needle in as deep as it’ll go, and accept the pain.
It’s part of what needs to happen so I can live my life as who I really am. It’s definitely worth it.