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The Dutch Trans law

Sept. 27 and 28 2022, the House of Representatives in the Netherlands held a debate on the trans law. This law should make it easier for trans persons to change the registration of their gender. Previously, a trans or non-binary person had to get an expert statement before being allowed to change the gender on their passport. With this revamped trans law, that will no longer be the case. In addition, the age limit has been refuted. With this revamped law, young people under the age of 16 will also be allowed to have a change made, provided they go through the courts first.

The debate created quite a stir in politics. There are, of course, advocates and experts who even admit that their statement adds little to the trans person's own word. But unfortunately, there are also opponents. A few weeks before the debate took place, posters of Gendertwijfel appeared in several places in the Netherlands with a link to their website.

From this, it appeared to be a transphobic manifesto using well-known old techniques to make the "other", in this case trans and non-binary persons, the enemy: spread moral scaremongering and misinformation. This manifesto is signed by several people including doctors, Christians, "gender critical" persons and people who are anti-abortion. In short, people who want to strip and deprive trans persons of their right to bodily autonomy.

Not surprisingly, similar situations are occurring, for example, in the United Kingdom where TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists), due to the influence of JK Rowling, are gaining a lot of ground and votes. In Belgium too, we must remain vigilant and make sure that when transphobic actions are taken, there is loud dissent.

And fortunately, that quick dissent was there in the Netherlands, including the manifesto of Gender Freedom. This as a direct response to the transphobic manifesto.

However, in the Lower House itself, there were still many political parties opposed to the renewed law, including the VVD which had its doubts. Ironic and painful is this, if we remember that a few months ago the VVD did attend Amsterdam Pride with their message "Fight for trans rights."

This kind of performative, empty and empty activism of course means nothing if one does not really actively stand up for trans rights. Unfortunately, this is what still happens far too often: brands and political parties that participate in the national Pride parades in a nice way, but as soon as it really comes down to defending trans rights, they either don't make themselves heard, or they actively oppose progressive rights. Let this also be a reminder that here in Belgium, we need to make sure that political parties that participate in Pride reflect their LGBTQIA+ values in their policies and actions.

In conclusion, this is yet another example where trans and non-binary individuals had to watch their existence and self-determination questioned/questioned by a group of people with little to no connection to the community.

Discouraging, disturbing and humiliating are just some of the feelings that come to mind. All valid feelings that trans and non-binary people unfortunately experience too often. That is why we from Antwerp Pride want to give extra love and moral support to our Dutch trans and non-binary neighbors.

Your gender identity is valid and no one but yourself can decide it.

Your right to exist and self-determination should not be debated.

You are not confused or too young to know who you are.

You are loved and strong.

Hang in there and be proud of yourselves.

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