Transphobia is affecting Holland as well

Update: HVO-Querido rectified their article as requested. This rectification can be found by clicking here. This means that the information below is outdated and is still available for educational purposes only.

After the stigmatizing name of Boys Project in Belgium, I received a message that in Holland there is happening a familier thing. Again, a health organization HVO-Querido (including P&G292) is abusing the stigma of transsexuals to fight for a different stigma. As you can read in Dutch here.

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Therefore I sent this letter below in response to that. I will keep you updated on this if there changes anything.

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Translation:

Through a connection of mine I was notified about your online article called “Sekswerkers op Canal Parade” of February 17, 2017.

After reading this article I noticed that you stigmatize transgenders and also abuse (possibly unknowingly) the stigma on transgender to fight your own stigma. That’s the reason I file this complaint to your health organization and I would like to explain this below.

Since a long time transgenders (people of whom their physical gender didn’t match their inner gender at birth) are being stigmatized. Very often their gender identity is not being recognized or are seen as a ‘third gender’, instead of being a women or men.

During my work experiences on one of the locations I work, there are frequently tours offered to tourists in a red light district. Very frequently the tour guides hear from these tourists don’t see the sexworkers with a transgender background are not seen as women – while they actually really are women.

Apart from that I also hear my own clients often ask me ‘what I am’. When I ask to be more specific they usually answer ask of I’m a women or a man, or something like that. Clients often say that transgenders are not women or at least not entirely. They often also behave like they have the right to know whether a sexworker has a transgender background. Often it seems to be rude or inappropiate to ask if a (cis) women had for example a breast surgery or had their womb removed. However, when it comes to a transgender history then “it is OK” and “normal” to ask these questions and to know that. Even if they can’t see or notice it in any other way.

Knowing the situation and facts, it´s inappropiate and wrong to call transgenders and men under one term – without (cis) women. This strongly suggests that transgender are not (entirely) women. Of course it’s fine to have a boat just for men (possibly with transvestites), but without transgenders. Or to have a boat for everyone, including women.

I hope your organization will rectify your article and will no langer stigmatize transgenders. Thank you.

Transphobic beliefs at health organizations

At one day when I was in the office of my activism work, I was shocked to find some cards of Boysproject. It’s one of the organizations which claims to help men and transgender sexworkers. You may wonder what is wrong about it, but their ‘help’ to transgender prostitutes is highly stigmatizing.

If you don’t know what transgenders are: transgenders are people who have from inside the experience and feelings (gender identity) of being a different gender then their physical gender at birth. They often choose to dress accordingly to their gender identity and many take medical treatments as well to correct their bodies to their gender identity.

During their life time transgenders usually suffer great rejection, abuse and discrimination. At homes, schools and not rarely even health organizations. If you do a Google search on transgenders, it is not hard to find these stories. Therefore it usually takes a lot of courage to reveal your true self to others.

However some of these women choose to start working in prostitution. One of the common reasons is to earn enough money for their transition, but also because they experienced too much discrimination and rejection within other jobs. Or they are dealing with so much rejection and abuse that they are craving for acceptance of their gender identity and their bodies. All these reasons may attract them into any form of sexwork.

So, how are health organizations or health professionals aiming at men and transgenders supposed to help that group? We’re not talking about cross-dressing men here, but about women with a transgender background. As a matter of fact they stigmatize and (indirectly) deny their gender identity again, the exact same reason why they started with sexwork in the first place.

So if you are a health professional, please only focus on transgenders if you don’t work with men or if you’re also working with women. It’s not that hard to understand. Transgenders are just as women as other women.