The differences between the city and the countryside
According to a recent study done by the Social and Cultural Planning Office, the majority of Dutch trans persons (69%) live in a highly urbanised municipality. That is more than the percentage of cis persons who live in these areas (55%). The Planning Office suggests as possible explanation that cities offer more space for diversity, more anonymity, and a better infrastructure for trans people.
Personally, I spent the first 18 years of my life in a small town in Friesland.While the people around me were relatively supportive, it was difficult to find other trans people and trans support groups near me. I did not get to know more trans people until I moved to a bigger city.
However, it is uncertain if the city life really is better for trans individuals. The amount of reports of discrimination is on average higher in urban areas than in rural ones. Accounts of transphobic violence occurring in cities are furthermore not unheard of. Finally, a study on suicidality among LGBT+ people found that considering and attempting suicide is just as prevalent among those living in cities, as it is among those in the countryside.
Based on the above, it appears that the city might offer more visibility andcommunity, but not necessarily more safety and acceptance. Therefore, urban places may not necessarily be ‘better’ than rural ones. Missing in this discussion on the differences between the countryside and the city for trans people, are the experiences of trans people themselves. That is why I want to write an article portraying experiences of diverse trans individuals from various regions of The Netherlands.
Whether you live in the city, in the countryside or somewhere in-between, I would love to hear about your experiences regarding being trans in your city or village. Do you feel accepted and safe? Is there a community where you feel at home? In short: what do you like about being trans in your city or village, and what do you dislike? Let us know by filling in this google form!