Tag Archives: #beyourself

Presentation at Zurich Insurance Group

Yesterday, I was invited by the Zurich Insurance Group to give a presentation on diversity, inclusion, and transgender, combined with reading from my book Paralian. There are no quick fixes, no recipes, no instruction manuals. But I do believe there is nothing more valuable than personal experience. So that’s what I gave, as always striving to be straightforward and honest… and simply sharing my journey whilst leaving space for people to come to their own conclusions.
It was a great evening!
The organization was superb.The audience was delightful and the questions I was asked during the Q&A session were thought provoking. Thank you so much to my awesome audience, to Zurich Insurance Group, and to the PrideZ team in particular, for welcoming me with such warmth and enthusiasm. This was definitely a highlight for me as a public speaker and an event to be fondly remembered!

Joy

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My intensity has always been my greatest strength. But it has also always been my greatest weakness. The line between passion and obsession is razor-thin…
Like recently, I finally woke up and realized I was making myself miserable by pushing way too hard to get my book out there.
I forgot to remember the most important part of this journey:
Writing Paralian had been a dream ever since I was a kid. I worked hard and made my dream come true. Writing this book was an awesome journey in and of itself. In the end, it really doesn’t matter how many people read it. It doesn’t have to become a bestseller. Many people I care deeply about have already read it – and even better – enjoyed it.
I gave it all I had. Now I’ll let nature take its course before I lose myself and become someone I am not.
I’ll keep on writing… at a slower pace. Stories about life, what it means to be human… tales that will make you laugh out loud and touch your heart when you read in the train, tears rolling down your cheeks, catching your breath, making everyone in the carriage wonder who the loony is who is riding into town with them. Or maybe you’ll never see my next books. And that’s ok, too.
I’m finding the joy in writing again. For myself. Then there is the joy of being myself. No labels. No constraints. Just the wide open sky and a whole planet – offering dreams, destinations, and a myriad of possibilities. Life is good. And art is not an emergency 🙂

Help Me Reach The Front Page!

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Look at what Bored Panda just sent me, dear friends and supporters!!! Can we try together and create one more large wave of shares of this link please?

Please take a minute to go there, SHARE on your social media pages, and click the “UP-VOTE” arrow!

We’re only a couple thousand k views and a few dozen up-votes away from landing this important post on the front page! Then millions will see it and we can make a real difference.

I already received so many emails from people sharing their own stories after they visited the Bored Panda story. Beautiful comments coming in, but also calls for help and advice. I am doing my very best to answer them all. And I’m ready to receive even more! So let’s go for it. We’ve come so far already. Thanks in advance!!!

You’re Not Alone!

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At the moment I am sharing this story on Bored Panda to reach as many people as possible – with your help. Can you please share this link, and also go on the page and give it an “up” vote?

We got about 3’000k views so far and many good responses. I’ve received emails from people with all kinds of backgrounds, including trans people and parents of trans kids. I was touched to hear their personal stories and they told me my post helped them during a difficult time and gave them hope. So I hope we’ll be able to reach out even further.

Thanks so much for all of your support already! Truly couldn’t do it without all of you xxx

If you want to give yourself a chance…

… at happiness, there is really only one option…

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We’ve come so far. At least we like to think so on most days.

But then, members of the LGBT community are questioned on how they feel about society and about living openly as who they are. The answers are nothing short of stunning (and terrifying). Out of 1’000 people in the UK who were questioned lately, 74% said they feel a need to hide their gender identity or sexual orientation. They are afraid of how they will be perceived, how they will be treated…

My father is seventy-five now. He’s been gay all his life, yet like so many others he was always afraid to live his identity openly. He married, adopted a child – me – and tried to fit in as best as he could. Ten years into his marriage he began sneaking off into the bushes with other married men who were also secretly attracted to the same sex. To this day he hasn’t openly come out to anyone but me.

I am transgender. And I have chosen a different path. It took me until the age of twenty-one to fully understand why I felt so homeless in my own body and why despair followed me like an ever-present, looming cloud. When I realized that I am (and always was) a boy, a man, trapped in the wrong body, I knew I needed to take action.

As I describe in my book Paralian-Not Just Transgender, “Pondering the best course, I understood it all came down to two simple choices: I could stay within the uncomfortable familiarity of what I had and resign myself to being unhappy in the wrong body for the rest of my life, or I could risk everything I had and everything I knew. Maybe in the process of doing so, I would at least be able to solve one problem in a life that had consisted of a complex web of daily problems.”

I began seeing doctors, asked for advice, talked with other trans people. I was scared out of my wits, but never once doubted that taking bold action was the only possible way to survive. It was clear being trans wasn’t like catching the flu, and if I just waited long enough it would pass. This was here to stay, and so was I.

“It didn’t matter how gruesome a picture the gender specialists painted. I accepted the risks and consequences. No matter how scared I was, there was only one possible way to go, and that was forward.
Apart from preparing myself for the physical complications, I also braced myself to face losing all my friends and acquaintances. There was no way of knowing how they would react. I feared they would all start screaming, arms windmilling wildly, and run out of the room, never to be seen again.”

They didn’t. That’s the thing about coming out. It never ends. You’ll have to do it over and over again. And you’ll never have any guarantees on how people will react. But so many will surprise you with immediate acceptance, kindness, and compassion.

“In the months following my decision to come out, my faith in humanity was restored many times over. Almost all reactions to my revelations were entirely, and sometimes surprisingly, positive. Many of my friends and acquaintances simply smiled a knowing smile when I told them, and confessed they had always taken me for either a hardcore butch or a transgender person. My behavior seemed to have given me away for years. People had known who I was, long before I myself had re-awakened to my identity.”

Keeping secrets is hard work. Even more so if it means that you have to live against your very nature. Above all we need to be kind to ourselves and cherish this one life we’ve been given. And yes, people will know. Those closest to us will feel who we really are. We owe it to them and to ourselves to be genuine and not hide from each other.

We’re bound to always make bad experiences. It may feel safe if we don’t reveal our “otherness” but, if we don’t dare to step up and say “Hello world, this is me!”, then a great many good experiences will be lost forever.

Just the other day, a fourteen-year-old student interviewed me. She had to write a paper on “being different”. One of her questions was “So what does being different mean to you?”
I had to ponder that for a moment and then I smiled and said, “To me there is no “different”, no “other”. The human species is incredibly diverse. We come in all shapes, colors, and sizes as well as a myriad of different social backgrounds, ideologies, mentalities, and personalities. As much as we’d like to pack everything in nicely labeled boxes, no two people are alike. We are all different. We are all “other”. And that’s the way it should be. Diversity is a gift, a privilege, not a threat.”

So go out there. Give yourself a chance. You most definitely deserve it.