As a trans woman, Louisa was not prepared for life after transition

I was sure I was a woman

When I was about eighteen, I announced that I wanted to be a woman for the first time. Or actually that I am a woman, born in a man’s body. Through Google, I ended up at Humanitas, a voluntary organisation, where I had nice conversations with a trans man. To him, I expressed my fear of transitioning. I was sure that I was a woman, but I was afraid for my safety if I were to start living as a woman.

Fear of violence every day

That fear became reality. As a trans woman, I get a lot of negative attention on the street. Once, on a night out, I got a knife to my throat and was kicked by a neighbour. And then there is the name-calling and shouting, that happens a lot. Fear of violence is my daily reality. I am also very mindful about the route I take: I avoid places with loitering youths. That’s what I really take a detour for.

No pot of gold

Nevertheless, I am glad that I transitioned. I am happier than before. But the idea that this operation is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is not true. I received good care from the gender team at the VUmc, but I was not prepared for life after the operation.

Difficulty finding a partner

For example, as a trans woman, it is difficult to get into a serious relationship with a nice straight man. Men just want sex, but want nothing more. You never see footballers, kickboxers, actors or politicians married to a trans woman. There is a real taboo on that. And sexually, too, it’s not all sunshine and roses either. Often, trans women have a narrow vagina and sex can therefore be painful.

Breast prostheses

Right now, I feel painful ridges in my breasts. The GP has referred me to a special team at the VUmc that is investigating whether my prostheses are leaking and need to be replaced. I would like that because I am afraid they will make me sick. I have been turned down for a replacement operation. Together with my GP, I am now investigating whether I can still get the operation reimbursed. I would think that is fair. I cannot choose to remove my prostheses, because I will have nothing left. Aside from this, I have mainly had positive experiences in health care.


Louisa is 34 and works in a clothing store