Being transgender in Germany05 Jan 2017 – 3 minutes to read
My daily routine starts with coffee. In a way I am in a automatic mode before I had my first cup. Especially winter mornings are tough. The darkness seems to crawl through the windows and tells me: “go back to bed, it is still night!” If I didn’t have my wife and my kids, I’d most likely listen to it. But the family schedule forces me into my daily routine.
Hello, my name is Nina and I am transgender. Being trans isn’t really unusual, but being trans in a small town is very different. And we live in a German small town. Well, to be precise: we live in the train station of this small town. If you have never seen a German small town, try to imagine Stars Hollow having a train station. It is a three storied brick-stone building. Every hour a train passes through, stops to drop students, workers and a few tourists and returns a few minutes later to pick up passengers to the next major town.
There isn’t such a big difference between living in a station and a normal house. Except that there is always lots of people in front of the train station. Every morning, when I go to the bus with my sons, we have to pass through strangers. Honestly, I usually think about a lot, when I leave the house. What should we have for dinner? Did I fill the lunch boxes? Did I forget my keys or wallet? But I hardly ever think about being trans, until other peoples reactions remind me.
It might be hard to understand, but most the time I do not think about gender at all. That was way different, when I had my coming out. In the first months and years it felt new to go out into the public, without hiding in my male costume. But after several years living full time, a lot of it became daily routine.
A lot of things became easier, when my name and gender were legally changed. It was quite a lot of bureaucracy I had to face about two years ago. It all became complicated, because I am still Austrian citizen. One would think the medical certificates I already had, would be enough to get the birth certificate changed. But it was way more trouble. I had to go to a psychologist – specialized on working with transgender – to get an expertise, sent it to the Austrian Embassy with a whole bunch of papers and then I had to wait. It took some months till I finally got my papers and my legal name change.
For me it was never a question to leave the small town. My kids go to Kindergarten and school here, their friends and my friends life just around the corner. A lot of people have an illusion that small towns were less tolerant and maybe in a way this isn’t so much an illusion at all. But whenever I have to go to a big city I realize: people aren’t really more open, tolerant or accepting, they’ve only seen enough odd things, so they don’t notice me as very unusual. While this avoids certain conflicts, it is in fact just a form of ignorance.
My family and I are kind of famous in our town. We cannot really go anywhere without being noticed. Yes, we’re outstanding. A transgender woman, her wife and their kids will always attract attention. But most of the people got used to us. After a while they realized that we are just a family like all the others. It was a lot of gossip a few years ago, but after a while a certain routine took over. We’re a not so normal family living a pretty ordinary family life.