Being creative helps you answer questions about yourself.

Evo Manuel Vas Dias


Image source:
Lottie Dale

“I was a dreamy, curious child. When I hit puberty, the big questions started: Do I like boys or girls? I started experimenting and discovered I liked girls more. That’s how I ended up in the lesbian scene. I also started playing with clothes. I started wearing men’s clothing. Totally in Three-piece suit, neat.I was in my late twenties then.

My maternal grandfather was an inspiration. He was Jewish and married to my grandmother, a German woman of all things. They met when I started working with the Jewish people in Amsterdam. Unlike the rest of his family, he made it out of the camp alive after the war. I never knew him, but he intrigued me. More and more I began to get to know men and it became a kind of fulcrum. I’m not his granddaughter but his grandson, that’s how I felt.”

Breaking taboos

“In the book and the actors I found an example and the topics they discussed helped me to examine myself. For example, Sidney Poitier, who was not only very charismatic but also constantly broke taboos, especially for black actors. And Viktor Frankl, the Jewish psychiatrist, who He survived Auschwitz and wrote very beautifully about his experiences. In particular, turning victim into strength. This really appealed to me.

Prince Claus was also a role model for me, because of his commitment to development cooperation. And it was a little strange. Like me. Anyway, I was looking for people with passion and ambition, who also want to make life better for their fellow human beings. And oddities, I like that. Being different makes you stronger. You consciously begin to investigate things that are self-evident to others. I myself did not follow the calibration path.

Fortunately, I have felt free to develop my life throughout my life. Since I was 12 years old I have been secretly going to Chinatown for nature walks in Bakkum camp during the summer. I am from the sixties, but my parents were not very stiff. When I was seventeen, my father accompanied me to a David Bowie concert in Ahoy.

Navigate through all the boxes

“When I was in my early thirties and in social work I decided to change my name. Then I wrote a letter to everyone: From now on, my name will be Yvo. However, there was no transition at all. She was playing and exploring, like when I was young. In the lesbian community, I also found a wide variety of genres so that there was room for everything.

Pretty amazing: I’ve mentored many Moroccan men and women, they never shake hands, but I do. They still feel some kind of masculine energy. Didn’t mention it, I was just a Yvo social worker. But I noticed. I was one of the men This made me feel good.

At some point, I created a group of fellow sufferers with some friends called “The Boys’ Hour.” Some felt a little man, others felt themselves. There were those who went to the medical path. I wasn’t ready for it myself. I still have a lot of questions. I felt like a man, but what kind of man? Of course you were not raised as a boy, you have to investigate that yourself.”

Evo Manuel Vas Dias

Evo Manuel Vas Dias


Image source:
Lottie Dale

Finally feel myself

“When our group was founded, we did a ‘draggings’ workshop. There we had our picture taken, entirely in dapper men’s clothing and with fake beards and mustaches. When I saw myself young again, it felt so familiar. Finally I could be myself. We still see each other, though We are no longer children.

Over the years I became a Buddhist. It has helped me incredibly on this journey. I went on retreats and talked to teachers, but meditation in particular brought me great insights. See, you can manipulate a psychologist or psychotherapist with your data, but on this meditation cushion, you’re only sitting with yourself — and you can’t make a fool of yourself. You are learning to listen to who you really are. Thanks to Buddhism, I was able to find all the pieces of the man I was and fuse them together into who I am today.

As a trans man, I’ve consciously chosen to be open about this. I think it’s important to set an example. Especially in these times with so much polarization and misinformation doing so much harm to the trans community.”

Art is freedom

“In 2014, I founded TransAmsterdam, through which we focus on art and culture for the transgender community. With Trans Art School we organize creative workshops, among other things. Whether you’re writing, drawing, or performing on stage, it helps to be able to express yourself. Creativity means a sense of freedom. It does not have to fit into a specific framework. Anyway, you are more than your gender or being transgender.

I benefited a lot myself from making art when I was going through a physical transition. The effect of these hormones is very strong, at first an incredibly primitive feeling arose and I had to release that energy. Then I continued to draw huge leaves, which are a welcome outlet.

By making art you build yourself up and gain self-confidence. This helps you to adjust better to the outside world. Creativity helps you understand your identity and answer questions you have about yourself and your role in society.”

Find a connection

“My greatest wish has always been to be the head of a family, at the head of a long table with all kinds of people from different backgrounds. In fact I do now. It’s in me, the search for connection. Maybe it has to do with my Jewish background and missing family. It gives a sense of responsibility.”

Our organization, both team and members, is incredibly diverse. One thing I see always coming back is the love that pervades our gatherings. Perhaps these are the things that really matter: freedom, love and creativity. If we share that, we’ll go a long way. We really are more alike than we think.”

Take a look at the TransAmsterdam website and meet like-minded people at the Trans and Friends café InClusion.

We participate in Transgender Awareness Week. You too? Raise your awareness, read testimonials, and talk to and support transgender people. join.

Mental health care for everyone!

who am I? Who do I want to be? Sometimes you just can’t get out of here on your own. You can contact a spiritual advisor with these types of questions. Unfortunately, spiritual care is not available to everyone. That must change.

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