During the introduction to Girl, that Arthur will provide at the request of SG, tonight and the two following nights, he will not reveal much about the movie, but will talk about himself. He started at the TU/e as a 17-year-old Biomedical Engineering student. Now he is a third-year student, a member of Compass (on which more later on), a U-Council member for the Eindhovense Studenten Raad as well as pending the diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
Arthur was hardly concerned with his gender during his high school days. "I was busy with school work and side jobs. Only when I was 17, a good friend of mine came out of the closet as a transgender. My image that these types are ubermasculine was thereby changed. I realized that not every man is a bodybuilder."
Arthur started the questioning process, one of the phases that transgenders go through. "Doubts arise here. Who am I really? Am I a FTM, a female-to-male?" A subsequent phase is the social transition in which transgender people take on a new name and a new look.
Arthur always wanted to have short hair, but he never went for such a haircut because of people who said it wouldn’t look good on him. When he took the step a year and a half ago, not only the long blond hair fell from his shoulders, but also a load. "I recognized myself for the first time: 'hey, this is me'."
He then went on to experiment with clothes for the first time, which were mainly provided by his mother during high school. He is very happy with his brown suede men's shoes. "The penny fell: this is correct." There came an end to a search that wasn’t long timewise, but was heavy in difficulty.
Because how do you tell your parents? Fortunately for Arthur, he was lovingly cared for at home. "But also at TU/e and with friends people were understanding. In the media you mainly see people with negative experiences. I want to show the other side. Look at how well I’m doing: I am a student, I’m a member of the UC, and I will become a scientist. I still see myself as a boy, but I’m becoming a man."
Together with his brother, he searched for a suitable name on a names website. "Because I did not want to introduce myself to, for example, TINT or other new groups of people, with a name I did not like." His new name is based on that of the writer Arthur Japin whom he admires for his language use and stories.
At the moment Arthur is in a diagnostic process. This is a period in which many conversations with a gender therapist take place with the aim to diagnose (or not) gender dysphoria. This gives the person the prospect of medical follow-up. This starts with administering testosterone.
Arthur is looking forward to that. He looks masculine, even though he’s not lucky with his height and at the moment his voice is still quite high. "That will change within a few years," he says hopefully.
The T of LGBT+
Arthur has colored the T of TU/e's LGBT+ community that goes by the name Compass. "Compass and the U-Council have achieved in 2018 that the Education and Examination Regulations (abbreviated as OER in Dutch) became linguistically gender neutral." Since January Arthur has been representing the ESR and on the day he’ll give his introduction to the movie, he’ll also have his first meeting.
To the people who won’t go see the movie Girl, Arthur wants to say the following: "Engage in the dialogue about this theme. Ask questions respectfully, and keep doing so. Gender issues are worth discussing."
In 2016 Cursor interviewed transgender TU/e student Sophia. Read her story here.