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  • Okay, so, let me start with this.

  • When I was 5, I wanted to be nothing more than a Disney character.

  • I used to walk around the living room draped in old curtains

  • pretending I was the Evil Queen fromSnow White”.

  • I mean, the Evil Queen just because she's more fabulous than Snow White, obviously.

  • My heroines were Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella and probably

  • my most favorite Disney character of all time was Ariel, the Little Mermaid.

  • Now as I was 5, I think her character kind of spoke to me

  • because she had this long, luscious hair and those big, sparkling eyes.

  • But as I look to it now, her story might actually also relate

  • a little bit to my own story, because she was a girl

  • who needed to change her body in order to be herself and I am a transsexual woman,

  • which means that I was born biologically as a boy,

  • but as you might see, that didn't exactly turn out the way it was supposed to.

  • So, actually this started when I was very young,

  • my earliest memory, probably, is when my mom was driving me home

  • from a birthday party of a girlfriend of mine and I remember telling her that

  • "You know, mom, that pee-pee of mine, I'm going to cut it off someday."

  • Since then gender has become sort of a mystery to me.

  • I remember looking to the world and seeing all these people

  • who fell so naturally into either one of two categories,

  • you know, male or female, and I remember being so intrigued

  • and feeling so astonished at how comfortable everybody always felt

  • with their allotted place in the world.

  • As for me, gender always seemed like a big insider joke

  • that everybody else but me seemed to get.

  • So, on the topic of gender let me ask you a couple of questions.

  • What makes a person male or female?

  • You know, is it just that one person has a penis and the other one has a vagina?

  • Or is there something more to that?

  • And I think, in general, the answer would be,

  • Yes, the body does matter in determining what gender you are.”

  • I think if I would do a little experiment with you guys, where I would ask you

  • to put your hand on the part of your body that determined

  • if you were a male or a female,

  • most of you guys would go ahead and put your hand in between your legs,

  • but I think we can also look at other examples.

  • For example, women who undergo breast augmentations,

  • and say about that, that it would make them feel so much more feminine.

  • Now, does that mean that, you know, women with bigger boobs

  • are more feminine than women with smaller boobs?

  • I don't think it does, but I think this shows us

  • that there is also a realm of feeling involved when it comes to gender.

  • I feel that we all have a voice inside of us that tells us

  • whether we are male or female, no matter what,

  • and me, I never really had that voice, I never really had something inside me

  • that told me what I was, or what I was supposed to be.

  • So, during my process of transitioning from a boy to a girl,

  • I actually kept wondering about these questions

  • of what the body mattered to my gender and in the end I found out

  • that I actually wouldn't be able to say this about myself

  • if I didn't actually experience it, if I didn't actually change my biology.

  • So I underwent gender reassignment surgery,

  • and that was 3 years ago.

  • And, as I woke up from my surgery, I mean, I was in a hell of a lot of pain,

  • obviously, because my pee-pee had gone bye-bye.

  • I was left with a heavily bruised and brutally tortured vagina.

  • I will spare you guys the gory details, but imagine that it looked a little bit

  • like 2 stone-cold, raw hamburgers just slapped together and stuck to my body.

  • (Laughter)

  • But as I started my recovery, the bruising went down

  • and all of a sudden my life seemed to pick up where it had left off

  • and seemed to continue as normal.

  • And in this period I kept wondering to myself, you know,

  • Why don't I feel different? Why aren't the questions

  • about gender magically answered?" And then it hit me.

  • I can cut off anything I want to from my body

  • but that doesn't mean that it's going to change anything inside myself.

  • Now as we look at Ariel, you know, the Little Mermaid,

  • and I'm sorry I keep using her as a reference point, but there we are,

  • she threw her fishtail in the trash

  • and she grew a pair of beautiful, slender, pale legs.

  • But it didn't actually change her, you know, inside she still was

  • the Little Mermaid that used to swim through the ocean.

  • And now, of course, just like in Ariel's case

  • my surgery gave me a way to live my life the way I wanted it,

  • because all of a sudden to the world my body seemed to match the image

  • that I presented of myself to the outside world.

  • So, to the world I seemed figured out, but to myself I wasn't figured out at all.

  • I had no idea, and the questions that I had remained hovering

  • in and out of my mind as it did before.

  • But does that mean that I regret getting my gender reassignment surgery?

  • No, the answer should be definitely, “No.”

  • If I had to make the decision again, I would in an instant.

  • You know, it might seem strange that in order to understand

  • that there is no such thing as being a woman, I had to become a woman.

  • But that way, my surgery became, not a way of getting in

  • on the big insider joke, but of creating a little insider joke,

  • for myself, for me alone.

  • And that was probably the point where I just gave up

  • on trying to figure out gender and try to answer questions

  • that I knew I couldn't answer.

  • And I started focusing on what I did know about myself,

  • and what I found out, kind of shocking, actually, I found out that that was happy,

  • I was so happy with who I was.

  • So gender actually didn't really matter anymore to me.

  • You know, whatever label you would put on me,

  • male, female or transgender or whatever, I would always be myself.

  • You know, I'm actually kind of proud to stand here before you

  • and be able to say that about myself,

  • you know, that despite everything, despite this entire process

  • of trying to figure out gender, which started off with me as a little boy

  • playing with Barbie dolls and progressed into

  • a very heavy gender reassignment surgery,

  • I can now stand here before you and say about myself, that no matter what,

  • I will always be myself.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

Okay, so, let me start with this.

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【TEDx】TEDxAmsterdam 2012 Valentijn De Hingh - Why Did I Choose?

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    阿多賓 posted on 2014/05/06
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