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!

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