Raymond Starren’s alarm clock goes off at four fifteen on the morning of November 11, 2019. Even for a morning person like Raymond, that’s early. To get ahead of the commuter traffic between where he lives, in Almere, to where he works, at APG in Amsterdam-South, he usually gets up at five o’clock. On this particular Monday morning, however, he needs more time to get ready for the workday. His coworkers at Asset Management are going to meet ‘Evelien’.
After showering and shaving, he carefully applies his make-up. Then it’s time to get dressed. He has multiple pairs of trousers, turtleneck sweaters and suits hanging in his closet. Today he will be choosing a different outfit. Two weeks ago, he went shopping with some female friends to find a suitable outfit for this special day. He ended up choosing a long, black, floral-print dress and a black cardigan with the same colors. Classic and business-like: that best describes the style. And he got a pair of No Stress black heels. Once he has put on his wig (shoulder-length blond hair), he is ready for the drive to work. Today, Raymond’s APG coworkers are going to meet Evelien for the first time. He’s not that nervous. Come what may, she thinks, as she gets into the car.
Raymond must have been around 3, when he first began to suspect that he was “different”. “I already liked certain girls’ things at that age. I liked dressing in my mother’s clothes, which were much too big, of course. But although some kids know that they were born in the wrong body early in life, for me that was less clear. I also had a boyish side: I liked roughhousing and enjoyed playing soccer.”
Once puberty hit, those feminine feelings kept coming more to the foreground, though. But they did not lead to a clear “this is what I am”. There was still a lot of doubt. At the time, simply denying those feelings seemed like the easiest path. “And that’s what I tried to do, literally for decades.”