Jess is a trans man and has a mental disability

Role models

I love singing and lip-syncing a lot. I have lip-synced as a man since I was fifteen. Back then, nobody saw or noticed that I was actually a man. That is a pity. I also did not notice. Or know trans existed either. Nowadays you see a lot of trans and non-binary people in the media. Like Thorn, who was in Spangas. It’s nice that they are visible.

This is me

I discovered I was trans six years ago when I saw the TV programme Hij is een Zij (He is a She). That was when I knew: this is me. I am a man. I started talking to people about it. I had very nice conversations with my GP. I really connected with him. He told me to think it over carefully. Unfortunately, I no longer have that doctor. I cannot communicate well with my new GP about being trans. She did refer me to the gender clinic at the VUmc in Amsterdam. I am glad about that because with the help of the VUmc I will finally be able to be myself.

You have to be patient

I have been on the waiting list at the gender clinic for a long time now. And recently, I received a letter that it will take longer because of corona. I have to wait at least two more years. The woman on the phone did advise me to start speech therapy in the meantime so that I could talk more like a man. I thought that was a good tip. There is nothing else you can do while you wait. You cannot start with hormones. You have to be patient. That is very frustrating.

Trans cafe

In the meantime, I started working on setting up a trans cafe for people with disabilities together with others. And with remedial educationalist Jessica Maes, I gave a webinar about being trans when you have an intellectual disability. It is nice to do these things, but it does not make waiting any less hard.

New name

I notice that supervisors do not always have enough knowledge about LGBTI people. Once a mentor did not want to use my new name. While I am thinking: why not? If I want to be called Klaas or Piet or whatever, that is not a problem, right? There is also little knowledge of tools that trans people can use. Like binders for a flat chest and penile prostheses.

Discuss sexuality

If mentors know more about the LGBTI community, they can also help people to come out. Mentors should also be able to discuss sexuality better. That is still a taboo. As if people with disabilities do not have sexual needs. If you can talk about sex, you can also talk about your boundaries. That is very important.


Jess is 51 years old and does creative daycare