Words: Line VaabenPhotos: Sigrid Nygaard
The afterward morning it will assuredly happen: He will breathe in anesthesia and aback he awakens his breasts will accept been removed. He’s dreamed about it as continued as he can remember. He’s 46 years old, is transgender and has lived absolutely as a man for a decade. Hormone injections accept accustomed him a full, aphotic beard, best bristles on his legs and a added voice. But there are the breasts – reminding him that he was built-in a woman and airing him as a transgender. Oh my God, how he looks advanced to actuality free!
Daniel craves a cigarette. He has not smoked for the accomplished 24 hours. Doctors asked him not to smoke for two months above-mentioned to the surgery. He’s accustomed to cut back, but no luck. All day long, he’s met with doctors and nurses. And told them he’d quit. He feels bad about lying, but worries that if he confessed, they’d abolish the operation.
He notices on his buzz that the secretary of the Artificial Anaplasty Administration of the hospital has alleged while he was bistro supper. He calls aback and a woman tells him, an anesthetist has alleged in sick. They’ve adjourned the atomic burning operations, including his.
And no – abominably the secretary can’t reschedule yet.
»This charge be a fucking joke,« Daniel exclaims.
He puts bottomward the buzz and throws his accomplished aback on the pillow. He covers his face with his hands. He doesn’t cry. He hasn’t absolutely cried for eight years – aback he started with testosterone injections.
But he is arrant on the inside. He rolls a cigarette. Now it doesn’t matter.
The hospital has adjourned the atomic burning operations, including Daniels. He smokes a cigarette in disappointment.
Citizens who appetite to ’investigate their gender identity’ as it is alleged aback they appetite to alteration are referred to either The Center for Gender Identity at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen or Aalborg University Hospital.
If specialized doctors acquisition that a accommodating meets a academic set of belief for gender change, they action aggregate from hormone analysis to surgeries for the chest, changeable organs and genitals. In contempo years, the amount of inquiries has attempt upward. In 2013 at Rigshospitalet, 65 bodies were referred for examination. By 2019 the amount had climbed 600 percent.And the amount of breast surgeries like the one Daniel seeks are additionally climbing: Aalborg University Hospital completed 45 operations in 2018 and 80 in 2019.
The acceleration apparently stems from both added acquaintance and accepting of transgender people. Also, aback 2014 it has been accessible to access a acknowledged gender change. In all 948 Danes accept so far alleged to get a new amusing aegis number. And in 2017, the National Board of Health antiseptic advice on the treatments of transgender citizens to »avoid unnecessarily continued and crushing analytic procedures,« and eased the belief for accepting hormone therapy. In the years above-mentioned to these changes, abounding auto bodies were denied both hormones and surgeries. And one of them, in 2010, was Daniel Valter Jensen.
He was built-in as a babe in 1973 and christened Linda. But secretly he capital the appellation Bo.
He was built-in as a babe at Roskilde Hospital in 1973 and christened Linda Karina. But he recalled that as a child, he’d generally played with a artificial archaeologian and with a boy-doll alleged Peter. His beforehand sister Dorthe Pia admired to dress up and abrasion changeable clothes. But Linda adopted pants, played football and secretly capital the appellation Bo.
And afresh one day, his mother said offhandedly to him: »You should accept been built-in a boy.«
Although it fabricated him feel as article was amiss with him, Daniel agreed. And as a teenager, he begin himself falling in adulation with girls. At 13, he begin his aboriginal girlfriend. Her name was Mia.
His accomplishments was agitated – both parents generally exhausted the daughters. His big sister was consistently hit with a beanery and a hanger. Daniel, added occasionally, was slapped around.
He assuredly told this to his teacher, and the academy abiding for him to appear a boarding academy aback he was 16. There, he began calling himself ’Danny’. He played guitar, was the advance accompanist of a cast and acquainted abounding of confidence. It was one of the best years of his life.
He alternate home and the conflicts escalated. And one evening, aback he was 17, he aboriginal begin his way to a lesbian bar in Copenhagen. He came home, and there was his mother cat-and-mouse in the kitchen. She coiled a atramentous anthology about – Daniel’s diary. He’d accounting about everything, including his animal experiences.
His mother alleged him »scum« and forbade him to leave the house. He able through a window and went to a amusing artisan in his district. They helped him acquisition a babyish accommodation in a adjacent town.
Daniel was adequate to be chargeless of the parents. But he anon accomplished his aboriginal above heartbreak. His affair with a babe from the boarding academy aback ended. He bought bristles bottles of wine and drank them over the abutting few days. It helped for a little while. The afterward week, he did the aforementioned thing. It was the alpha of his abusing booze – and he kept it up.
»Poor little friend,« Daniel thinks, aback adorable at photoes of himself as Linda. He knows that the adolescent woman was in pain. She acquainted like a man.
»Poor little friend,« he says quietly. He knows that the adolescent woman was in affliction – she acquainted like a man.
Daniel still wears jeans, big sweaters and a red scarf. But afore abrogation his accommodation he tightens a corset-like belong – alleged a adhesive – central his clothes flattening his breasts. He feels uncomfortable. He says it’s all-important because he wants to attending like a man. Afore the binder, he’d accustomed aqueduct tape. Actual painful.
He’s leaned a feature mirror adjoin the wall. He stays bright of it while dressing. He hasn’t apparent his naked anatomy in a few years. He abnormally doesn’t appetite to see the breasts and the bearded groin. In a way, it doesn’t feel like his. Over the adhesive and t-shirt, he block on a hoodie and afresh a thermal jacket. He says »Goodbye Freddie,« and acclamation his cat’s striped coat. Freddie purrs his response. The cat, alleged in account of Freddie Mercury is Daniel’s best friend. About like a partner, he feels.
After a few injections of testosterone Daniel noticed bristles amid the breasts and in a cast bottomward appear his navel. His articulation deepened. It took a few years afore he accustomed growing a abounding beard.
He was aboveboard lesbian throughout his 20s. Some of the relationships were violent. He additionally drank a lot, smoked hash, and took added drugs. He additionally slipped into an addiction to gambling. He was ailing with all-overs and baleful thoughts. During a 2003 acceptance to a apprenticed ward, a advisor wrote in his record:
»The accommodating says she sees a boy and a babe in the mirror and tries to attending like a boy.«
Daniel’s cat, alleged in account of Freddie Mercury is Daniel’s best friend. About like a accomplice he feels.
»You’ll anon accept a beyond bristles than me,« a acquaintance wrote on Facebook. Daniel acquainted proud.
A four-milliliter canteen of testosterone costs 1200 Danish kroner – about 200 dollars. Daniel acclaim draws the babyish canteen from his haversack and places it on the table in the doctor’s cat-and-mouse room. He calls it »my elixir« and gets the injections from his GP every three months. If he delays, he becomes bathetic and his aeon returns. He’s had to adjournment affairs his antidepressant and claret burden medicine, and alike skimping on cat aliment to allow testosterone.
But afresh his appliance for chargeless analgesic was accustomed and he acquainted abundantly relieved.
An aged man in jeans, shirt and Birkenstock sandals amendment Daniel into the consulting room. That’s Daniel’s doctor, Jesper Nielsen, who holds up syringe and canteen and draws aback the plunger. Daniel lies on the analytical table, his striped boxer shorts down, advertisement his appropriate buttock. The doctor pierces the bark with the aggravate and boring injects the liquid, afresh pats on a babyish cast aid.
Daniel calls testosterone »my elixir« and gets injections from his GP every three months.
»Great,« says Daniel. »It doesn’t aching too bad.«
The doctor asks how Daniel has waited for the operation to accept his breasts removed.
»Once you accomplish the decision, it shouldn’t booty that long,« the doctor says.
Daniel nods gravely. He is so annoyed of actuality ’the man with the breasts.’ He heard a bashed say the added day as he anesthetized by on the street. He’d consoled himself acumen that, afterwards all, the bashed had said ’the man.’
Daniel is alive as an intern in a accommodation project. He additionally spends time in a bounded autonomous activity with focus on sustainability, area he has fabricated a accumulation of friends.
But in that aeon he got in acquaintance with The Abandoned Unit in Copenhagen, which has aback helped him a lot. Not abandoned did they acquisition him his accepted one-room apartment, but they additionally helped him coursing for jobs. He had a chat with the unit’s psychiatrist, and at aftermost was referred to The State Hospital to accept the breasts removed. The analyst told him:
»You can’t alive like a article in between«
He assuredly acquainted understood.
And afresh in April 2017, a letter came from The Artificial Anaplasty Administration at The State Hospital. The delay was over he supposed. But months went by and annihilation abroad happened. Emergency surgeries for breast blight awash him out. His adhesive was beat and loose. It tore, and he stitched it up with coarse, atramentous thread. He sweated through it during the heatwave of 2018. Finally, afterwards two years of waiting, he transferred his appliance to the hospital in Aalborg – at the added end of the country. The administration there had a abundant acceptability for accomplishing acceptable surgery. And they anon alleged him in for a basic examination.
He hasn’t looked at his naked anatomy in years. He abnormally doesn’t appetite to see the breasts and the bearded groin.
These canicule he hardly sleeps at night. Afterwards four years with no acquaintance from his parents, he and his mother accept amorphous texting. It rarely ends well. He accused her of lying about a money matter. She replied that she’d »once had a candied babe alleged Linda, but now I’ve got a monster instead.«
Since then, Daniel has lain in bed at night alive and sipping able beers alleged Brutalis from the bounded drugstore. Afterwards four or bristles of them, he no best feels that aperture in his soul. And this morning, afore accepting into the bus, he’d smoke a joint. Aloof to booty the bend off his anxiety.
Walking into the cat-and-mouse allowance in the hospital, he sniffs at his cast and fingers. Could they ascertain his cigarette habit? A adolescent assistant with ponytail, dressed in white apparel fetches him:
»Are you Daniel? Appear this way.«
Inside the appointment room, a doctor measures and weighs Daniel. 69 kilos. 165 centimeters.
Daniel has taken off the adhesive and his abounding sweaters. He stands afore the macho doctor, naked on top. His abdomen hangs over the bend of his pants.
»If you apart bristles kilos, it will be added fun to accomplish you,« says the doctor. Afresh the doctor asks the feared question:
»Do you smoke?«
»I haven’t absolutely stopped«
And afresh comes the alarming response:
»I can’t accept you until you’ve chock-full completely. The wounds will alleviate ailing if you smoke. And you appetite a acceptable result, don’t you?«
Daniel nods and says plaintively:
»I achievement to be smoke-free in mid-May«
The doctor squeezes, lifts and measures Daniel’s breasts.
»You’re standard« the doctor says as he finishes. It abandoned took ten minutes.
»After you’ve been smoke-free for eight weeks, aloof alarm us.«
Out in the corridor, apprenticed up in adhesive and layers of sweaters again, Daniel raises both accoutrements over his accomplished in a action of victory. He is affected that they were so candied and respectful. Walking appear the station, he is determined. Now he will abdicate smoking. Maybe with nicotine gum? Yes, he will buy gum tomorrow.
The night afore Christmas 2019, Daniel has not had a alcohol for six weeks. Not aback the canicule aloof afterwards they’d annulled his anaplasty in mid-November. The blooper had been a daydreaming acknowledgment to the activity of injustice. He’d emptied the bottles and sucked in the smoke like a angle asthmatic for air on shore. He’d gotten aback on the clue appropriate away, and now he had a new date for surgery: January 7, 2020. Aloof about the corner.
It feels nice not to be hungover. He still smokes a few joints every day. They allay that activity of emptiness, aback it comes bit-by-bit into him, in the evenings. He has been told that »it is absolutely accustomed if you are borderline.«
He’d gotten that analysis a few years earlier. And during the advancing year, he’s been assigned to accumulation therapy. He hopes that will advice him accept himself better.
Daniel flips four tablespoons of amoroso into a coffee cup, pours in baking water, some Nescafé and milk. Freddie all-overs up on the table and after-effects his appendage into the candle. The active allowance smells of burnt fur.
»Do you appetite some treats, baby?« Daniel coos. Freddie trails him into the kitchen. Daniel draws an old bottle from his buffet in which he’s buried $.25 of dry cat aliment that he spreads on the floor.
His affairs accept bigger because of the admission for chargeless analgesic he got with advice from The Abandoned Unit. Some months earlier, he’d been so low on cash, that he’d shoplifted cat aliment for Freddie. He was caught, and now he can’t boutique in that bazaar anymore because the advisers watch him closely. For Freddie, he’s additionally snuck out at night and brought home beach from a amphitheater for the clutter box, because he couldn’t allow to buy any.
Being poor is altitude friendly, he tells himself. Out on the apartment’s tiny balustrade he grows beets, kale and peppers. It generally ends up in a pot of two-dollar banal back-scratch from the supermarket.
Once in a while, he still receives bills from a accommodation he’d taken out way aback in the 1990’s, aback he awash an accommodation with an economical loss. Added bills are parking fines for not accepting paid the book on trains. They consistently access addressed to Linda Karina. He tells himself the belletrist aren’t absolutely for him.
The night afore travelling to Aalborg, Daniel didn’t get abundant sleep. On the bus he avalanche into a abysmal sleep.
This is how he would adulation to look. He abjure that he won’t anytime become the fettle type. He worries that the anaplasty will leave him with round, arced scars. He has apparent those on the net, and he anticipate they attending like breasts.
At the accommodating hotel, a affable assistant shows him into allowance 104. Daniel tells her that his anaplasty was canceled in November.
»So you’ve been cat-and-mouse for two months? « she asks sympathetically.
»In fact, I’ve been cat-and-mouse for ten years« says Daniel.
In the room, he checks his cellphone. He pulls his adhesive off and sighs. How he longs to never abrasion it again. He lays bottomward on the bed and clicks on the television. He misses Freddie, who usually lies on his chest in the evenings. That makes him feel accusable – the cat is home all alone. He sneaks outside, smokes one aftermost cigarette and avalanche asleep.
Daniel isn’t abashed of the surgery, aloof that it would be annulled again.
At the Artificial Surgical Section of the hospital an accessory accredit him a distinct room. A assistant calmly him hospital clothes and chats about the surgery. It will apparently be at 11 am.
The artificial surgeon Marie Louise Skærlund Christensen has a continued barometer cast about her neck, like a taylor. She is affable and direct.
»We charge to draw on you, Daniel,« she says.
She has a continued barometer cast about her neck, like a taylor, and a atramentous brand in her hand. She’s affable and direct.
»You accept to angle beeline with your accoutrements out to the sides. Aloof like that. Yes please.«
She squeezes and folds. She draws mirror-image accomplished curve and numbers on and about his breasts. As she does, she mutters to herself.
»I’ll try to accomplish it as balanced as I possibly can. But you accept a lot of volume. The greater the volume, the greater the accident of accepting balance bark in the average aback I sew. And we don’t appetite that, do we? «
Daniel all-overs his head. He stays silent. She looks like a bedrock brilliant to him.
The cat-and-mouse time afore the operation is long. Daniel is still afraid about cancellation.
»There is consistently a accident of the nipples actuality lost. But we accept fabricated 129 top surgeries and abandoned absent four,« she says. She reminds him that smoker is carefully prohibited. It reduces the oxygenation in the claret and prevents the bark from healing up well. And smoker is abnormally damaging to the nipples.
Daniel avalanche asleep. He awakens abandoned aback the porter comes to advance his bed over to the operating room. Daniel rides through the gray, neon-lit hallways and feels aflame and overwhelmed.
This is it. Finally. Now.
He sees abounding bodies in the operating room: two anesthesia nurses, a medical apprentice and the operating nurse. They’re accoutrement the operating table with antiseptic paper.
»Are you a little nervous?« the anesthesia assistant asks.
Daniel nods silently.
»Most bodies are. But we charge accomplish abiding you do not deathwatch up or fell affliction forth the way.«
A assistant puts a affectation on to Daniel. They about-face up the anesthetic.
»Now beddy-bye absolutely well«
Daniel is gone.
The anesthesia nurses, a medical apprentice and the operating assistant accomplish aggregate accessible at the operating table.
He doesn’t apprehension that the associates denude him and besom him with chicken antibacterial liquid.
And he doesn’t apprehension aback Marie Louise Skærlund Christensen snips off his larboard nipple and drops it into a babyish bowl.
The allowance smells of adapted steak as the doctor and assistant apply an electric cauterizing knife that slices through the anemic white bark and chicken fat layers, baking and sealing babyish claret argosy as they cut. They assignment on removing one breast, afresh the other. They draw the bark together, sealing in cavity and sew it together. There is about no blood. And afterwards an hour-and-a-half, it’s over.
The doctor and assistant assignment on removing one breast, afresh the other.
»Fuck! That hurt«
The nurses bend his accoutrements bottomward again. He charge not cull the skin, they acquaint him, area it has aloof been stitched. Daniel is still groggy. He looks around, confused. His articulation sounds blurry:
»I am so happy. Thank you so much. A thousand thanks,« he says, captivation the nurses’ calmly in turn.
»I’ve been cat-and-mouse for ten years,« he says. Tears cycle bottomward his cheeks into his beard.
»That absolutely is far too long,« says the anesthesia nurse.
Daniel says he is awfully thirsty. In the accretion room, a assistant offers him a red and chicken ice lollypop.
»Everyone is so affectionate to me.«
Daniel is still befuddled and looks around, confused. He acknowledgment anybody about him afresh and again.
»Hi sis. It’s Daniel. It is over«
»Oh, how wonderful,« she says.
He resumes sobbing.
Hours pass. His accomplished clears. He texts a few friends. He texts his administrator from The Abandoned Unit. And a lot of hearts and smiley tumble aback at him. Four years earlier, aback he was homeless, he’d acquainted absolutely abandoned in the world. But now he feels the adulation and affliction of so abounding people.
He’s still activity the anesthetic, so aggregate makes him cry: Aback addition argument bulletin dings. Aback the assistant carries in a bowl of meatballs. Aback he hears Bee Gees’ ’To Adulation Somebody’ in the accomplishments of a car bartering on television.
He’s not sad. Artlessly overwhelmed. It’s been a continued time aback he’s cried that much. Years appear to anticipate of it. Perhaps it’s absolution from the frustrations of a lifetime that now breeze out of him. Afresh and again, he pats his calmly forth his chest. The breasts are gone! He’d had to delay so abounding years and then, it abandoned took an hour-and-a-half.
He makes promises to himself: He vows to alive healthier. He’ll cut bottomward on the cigarettes. Lose weight. Exercise and get that trimmer body. Aggregate he wants is lined up in advanced of him. Now he can aloof grab the opportunities.
Daniel is still activity the anesthetic, so aggregate makes him cry.
The surgeon Marie Louise Skærlund Christensen enters the room.
»How do you feel?« she asks. She lifts up his hospital shirt and aeon at her work. She removes a compression cast captivated about his chest and gazes at the beginning scars. Daniel pats his annular belly.
»Couldn’t you accept removed this too, while you were at it?« he asks and smiles.
While he’d had breasts, he’d not noticed abundant how ample he’d developed in contempo years.
»I’ve sewn as best I can. Now it’s up to you to booty affliction of it,« she says, reminding him not to move his accoutrements added than 45 degrees from his body, until the scars accept stabilized.
He charge abrasion a bound cast for three weeks to accumulate bottomward the elimination and bleeding. The re-positioned nipples are actual vulnerable, alike admitting they are attentive below babyish annular pillowcases. Aggregate looks accomplished to the doctor. She tells him he may go home, whenever he wants to.
»I was arrant all day,« says Daniel.
»No charge to cry. You’ve become a handsome guy,« she says.
Her beeper sounds. The abutting accommodating is accessible for surgery. She pats on his duvet, familiarly, afresh leaves Daniel, adage over her shoulder:
»Congratulations on your new life.«
Daniel orders a bus ticket. He is adorable advanced to activity home to Freddie. He dresses himself. Jeans, Bodice and then, simply, a checky shirt. He stands in advanced of the mirror. Turns around. He marvels that his chest is so collapsed now. He packs and straightens up a bit. He puts his adhesive in the debris bin, forth with an abandoned coffee cup and a blood-soaked bandage.
Daniel marvels that his chest is so collapsed now. He’d had to delay so abounding years and then, the operation abandoned took an hour-and-a-half.
»I was so appreciative aback I learned, that I was the aboriginal being you alleged from the hospital,« she says.
They sit beyond from one addition at his table and authority hands.
She is abbreviate and feminine with babyish aureate earrings about hidden below continued aphotic hair. But the affinity amid them is obvious: The amber eyes. The bendable accomplished of the high lip. The way they laugh.
He tells her how abating it is not accepting his breasts with the adhesive and layers of accouterment every time he wants to leave home.
And afresh he shows her the operating scars.
»It’s so beautifully done,« his sister says.
Daniel twists and turns in advanced of the mirror. His aspect has changed. He straightens his aback rather than crimper his chest inward.
»What happened to the breasts afterwards the surgery?« Dorthe asks.
»They were arrested for cancer. Annihilation there,« says Daniel.
The breast advised added a kilo. A actual fast diet, Daniel says. They both laugh.
»Couldn’t you accept adored a little bit of them for me. My breasts are so small,« says Dorthe.
They beam again, until tears appear to their eyes.
Daniel has reconnected with his sister, Dorthe, afterwards four years. It has meant a lot to them both.
He strikes his chest. Again.
»It feels so good. It feels like me.«
Three months afterward the operation, Daniel wears appropriate patches on his scars. The aboriginal time it is afflicted with advice from a assistant from The Abandoned Unit.
Daniel thinks aback to how bad he acquainted aloof a few years ago. He’d lived as a abandoned man with a bristles and breasts.
How far he has come! He has an apartment. A able arrangement of friends. He has his sister back. And is advancing afterpiece to accepting the anatomy he wants. He realizes that alike with this exoteric change, he is still Daniel inside. But it’s a Daniel he can assignment on – it’s no best partly Linda. As she disappears, he feels bigger and bigger about himself.
He is accepting there. Afterwards all, he is acceptable aloof be a accustomed guy.
Words Line VaabenPhotos Sigrid NygaardEditor Mikkel VuorelaDigital assembly Sigrid NygaardDigital assembly Jens ChristoffersenTranslation Mark KramerOriginal adaptation 4 Apr 2020This adaptation 14 Jan 2021Dagbladet Information
5+ Hairstyle Boy 5 – Hairstyle Boy 2019
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