Monthly Archives: May 2018

Looking Forward to ‘Sticks & Stones’

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On June 2nd, if you are in Berlin, come to the Sticks & Stones career fair. I’ll be giving a presentation about my life and about what being transgender means to me. In short, I don’t believe in labels. We are all the sum of our experiences. I don’t ‘identify’ as anything. I simply am. I am Liam, the boy, the man I always was, regardless of outside appearances. For me, it’s all about being human. About inclusion. About respecting everyone around us no matter what their background. About loving and embracing life. And about letting go of outdated societal stereotypes that have nothing to do with who we really are. I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts and putting myself out there once again. I am also hoping for an engaging Q&A session after. I do not want to lecture people or tell them what to think. My aim is simply to share a few experiences, build bridges, and encourage as best as I can. I hope to see some of you there! Grab me for a beer after!

Time Traveling

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Just spent an inspiring and heart-warming weekend visiting relatives. In between vivid conversations and laughter, I also took some moments to time-travel through their extensive family photo library. It was wonderful to dive into old family history as far back as 1908. To visually follow the path of my grandma, see how she lived her life… from huddling in bomb shelters in 1942 to attending christenings and weddings of the next generations throughout the years. I also saw my dad growing up in these photographs. His kind personality already shining through on the yellowed photographic paper…

At times, I miss my grandma so much (even now, 18 years after her death) it becomes hard to breathe. Frida had so much strength. She gave without boundaries. Her genuine laughter brought sunshine and happiness to everyone around her. No matter how tough her life was at times (and it was damn tough, believe me), she gave her heart to everyone around her. To this day, she is the source of my strength and my greatest inspiration. My uncle told me this weekend that Frida used to say “If I had cried every time I decided to laugh instead, I’d have been in deep trouble.” I still need to mull this sentence over for a while… for there is some profound truth in her simple words.

In the years to come, I am planning to write at least one book about Frida’s life. I copied a good portion of my relatives’ family photo archive. It will help me to remember my grandma more vividly, not just through my eyes but also through the eyes of others… and to weave all the things I’ve heard about her into a story you and I both will enjoy reading and remembering.

Home Is Where The Heart Is

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Last weekend, I visited the town I grew up in. It’s an idyllic place as you can see. Well, the old part of town is. The surrounding suburbs, on the other hand, are rather drab and depressing. Over the years, I am amazed to find I am never homesick. I miss nothing about this place, this community. Even though I made good memories here as well, they do not connect me with the geographical location, but rather with the people. And the two people who were most important to me – my grandma and my dad – are no longer there.

It’s amazing how this little town of 40’000 souls hasn’t changed at all during the last 25 years. All buildings and shops are still where they always were. The atmosphere is the same, the scents, the air, and the gossiping ladies who populate the benches and give all outsiders a thorough once-over. Even the plants in the park seem to be at precisely the same spot, in exactly the same size, sporting the same array of colors.

I only stayed one day, yet, like being caught in a vise, with every passing hour invisible walls seemed to steadily close in around me. When I was able to drive away in the evening, I breathed a deep sigh of relief, heading onwards, singing along with John Denver playing on the radio while passing through meandering valleys, wine yards, and forests, dreaming of wide open spaces, change, and new horizons.