A 44-year-old transgender man in Belgium chose to end his life this week after his gender reassignment surgery left him disfigured and heartbroken.
Nathan Verhelst told Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws “I was the girl no one wanted” just hours before his state approved death was concluded.
In 2009 Verhelst began taking hormone therapy drugs in the hopes of transforming himself into a fully functioning male. Verhelst underwent several reassignment surgeries but he explains, “I was ready to celebrate my new birth. But when I looked in the mirror, I was disgusted with myself. My new breasts did not match my expectations and my penis had symptoms of rejection.”
In 2002 a new law in Belgium made the country one of only three in the world to legalize euthanasia. Following his botched surgeries Nathan Verhelst applied for euthanasia and was granted his request. Verhelst was euthanized in a Brussels hospital on Monday.
From 2010 through 2011 more than 2,000 citizens have applied for and been granted Euthanasia.
The practice of euthanasia in Belgium is not taken lightly, applicants must be of sound mind and the right age for approval. Once approved doctors inject a lethal dose of drugs into a patient. The drug causes a loss of consciousness within seconds and then patients fall into a coma and die approximately five minutes later.
Patients who apply for euthanasia in Belgium must be suffering from an incurable condition that causes continuous and unbearable suffering. Both psychological and physical conditions are considered. Lawmakers in Belgium understand that the psychological effects of pain can often be as severe as actual physical pain.
A 2012 report revealed that Verhelst’s case is rare. Less than 10 percent of all euthanasia cases in Belgium involve non-terminally ill patients.
A new bill is currently being considered in Belgium that would allow for minors to be euthanized with parental permission. Experts are split on the law because of the psychology behind a child making that decision and the effects it could have on their parents who must approve the procedure.
Do you agree with government approved euthanasia in the case of a transgender man whose surgeries left him both emotionally and physically scarred for life?