non-binary history in the Netherlands

46-year old me in 2021, photographed by Jasper Groen.
Young, 30-something, me at an early Trans day of Remembrance (2007)

A long, long time ago I was a young bisexual non-binary art student. At that time there was no word for ‘agender’ or even the non-binary identity. I had roughly heard of ‘genderqueer’ so I felt that was the most appropriate term for me. Although, frankly, I really did not care about gender identity at all. To this day I still believe one must DO gender, not BE it. And to clarify: you can also ‘do’ something by consciously NOT doing something.

I only vaguely knew my own gender experience might be different from others, and I was one of the first people to blog about it, but mostly I thought 90% of the world felt the same as me: with no particular experience of ones’ own masculinity or femininity, since those seemed such abstract standards to me. Well… was I surprised… Any way, I quite quickly found my people, first through bisexual activism, where my activism mostly consisted of organising parties and designing flyers and then through queer and transgender activism – which mostly consisted of attending parties and designing flyers… and emptying giant trashcans at queer squats in Spain. (But I also did more serious stuff, like producing and presenting the first nonbinary/genderqueer radio show in the world + initiating the TranScreen film festival + and of course being a visible genderqueer artist).

I am happy a big part of what I did was really the early beginnings of true trans pride in the Netherlands and that I was part of the very first non-binary activist group (De Noodles) in this country. Both IHLIA and Transgender Netwerk have now published the highlights of that early Dutch transgender history (all in Dutch).

When you are an activist, you just do things. But 25 years later you realise you were making history.

Oral history artikel (Nederlands):

One reply to “non-binary history in the Netherlands

  1. This is what heroes look like! Superinteressant om meer te lezen over de geschiedenis; diepe buiging voor jou/jullie.

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