Born with a body that is neither specifically female or male

Picture courtesy : Raymond Bruins _Studio040
Picture courtesy : Raymond Bruins _Studio040

Being born in a body that is not specifically male or female. It happened to Geert de Vocht 63 years ago. He grew up with breasts and a micropenis. “Some said if I were like that, I’d hang myself.” The crucial reason for him to participate in an exhibition about intersex is to break the taboo.

One in ninety Dutch has a body with both male and female characteristics. Yet talking about it has been ‘not done’ for a long time; observe the people portrayed in ‘Intersex – 1 in 90’. Geert’s twin brother used to have a thriving love life, but Geert was left behind.

“It was terrible for me” Geert looks back emotionally on his younger years. “I didn’t dare to date. A kiss, but nothing else. Because I was too afraid that someone would discover what I had.”

Last one out of the dressing room

That fear of being discovered haunted him all his life. “When I went swimming, I was always the last to change. Also, I always jumped in the pool first to prevent them from seeing my penis.”

Eventually, his feminine forms would come to light while playing football. “At a certain point, I started developing breasts. Then someone who stood in the line said: “Is that a boy or a girl? So you saw that people discovered that you were getting breasts. And then I immediately stopped playing football because you want to keep it hidden.”

Suicidal tendencies

As a result of all the negative reactions, Geert lost the will to live. At one point, he even wanted to commit suicide. The initiator of the exhibition, Lara Aerts, and Geert, want to prevent other intersex people from having to go through a similar hell in the future.

The travelling exhibition with 21 portraits and their stories should help bring awareness because a lot is still unknown about intersex people.

Unknown phenomenon

“Almost nobody knows about the phenomenon. Especially in earlier generations, it was said to be quiet about it. And it turns out that living with such a secret is problematic and causes trauma,” she explains. Geert also hopes that it will be negotiable.

“I hope I reach people who have the same condition as me. And that they see I’m not alone, and I can approach someone with whom I can share my story.”

The exhibition can be seen until July 19 at the Lichtplein in Eindhoven.

Are you thinking about suicide, or are you worried about someone? Talking about suicide helps and can be done anonymously via the chat on or by telephone on 113.


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