“I was so insecure that I couldn't see the confirmation I was looking for”

Published on: 17 October 2022

Coming out. Two words that sound so easy on paper can be extremely difficult to execute when it comes to yourself. Two people who have taken the step outside are APG colleague Evelien Starren and former Wushu top athlete Tim Sastrowiardjo. On Coming-Out Day they told there story.


At first glance they look so different. The Dutch transgender woman Evelien has built up a great career, is married and has two children. Homosexual and bicultural Tim graduates from Eindhoven University of Applied Sciences and is slowly picking up his top sports career again. And yet they share a very personal, poignant story. They both came out, he as a teenager, she after she almost past fifty. And they still come out of that almost daily. Because, as they say in this interview, you don't come out just once. Tim: “Making myself vulnerable is one of the hardest things I've done in my life.” 

APG's Proud network, together with the LGBTI organization COC Limburg, has organized this conversation between Evelien Starren and former Wushu top athlete Tim Sastrowiardjo.  APG director of Shared IT Services Eric Helsloot interviewed the two.

Tim Sastrowiardjo
The top athlete (26) from Maastricht talks openly about his coming out and his struggle with self-acceptance. But that hasn't always been the case. Coming out had a big influence on his daily life and in his sport. For example, he says that he was so insecure that he could not see the confirmation he was looking for from others. 

A highlight of his sports career has been the Youth Olympic Games in China, where he won a bronze medal in 2014. In addition to his Communication studies, he is involved in Psychology and helps others with their personal development as a mental coach.

Evelien Starren
She is Expert Risk Manager Operational Due Diligence at APG. She recently set up the Proud network within APG together with Erik van Dam. Evelien goes through life as a woman for a significant part of the time and has already talked about this in an earlier interview.

Eric Helsloot
The director of Shared IT Services, is a big supporter of diversity and inclusion and tries to express this at SIS. For example, he uses the insights and experiences of unique individuals in his team. Eric spoke earlier about how he does that and why.