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Trans man chooses death after botched surgical transition

After a childhood of neglect, a Belgian man said he 'did not want to be a monster' before asking a doctor to euthanize him
Nathan Velhelst, a 44-year-old trans man from Belgium, has chosen death after a botched surgical transition.

A trans man has chosen to be killed after his body rejected surgery to complete his transition.

Nathan Verhelst, 44, from Belgium, said he had ‘unbearable psychological suffering’ and asked a doctor to euthanize him.

On Monday afternoon (30 September), he died from a lethal injection.

Back in 2009, Verhelst started hormone therapy and had a mastectomy. Last year, he underwent surgery to construct a penis.

But when he looked in the mirror, his body was rejecting the surgery.

‘None of these operations worked as desired,’ Verhelst told a Belgian newspaper, hours before he went to die.

‘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 new penis had symptoms of rejection.

‘I did not want to be a monster.’

The man who carried out the lethal injection was Professor Wim Distelmans, a controversial figure who last year ended the lives of deaf twins who were going blind. Euthanasia is legal in Belgium as long as certain conditions are met.

Verhelst informed his family of his decision to die in a letter. ‘I had happy times, but the balance is on the wrong side,’ he said.

He recalled how his mother had loved his brothers, but appeared to hate him because he was born in the body of a girl.

‘While my brothers were celebrated,’ he said, ‘I got a storage room above the garage as a bedroom.

‘My mother complained, “If only you had been a boy”.’

Verhelst’s mother confirmed she had not wanted him.

‘When I saw [Nathan’s birth name] for the first time, my dream was shattered. She was so ugly. I had a phantom birth. Her death does not bother me,’ his mother told Het Laatste Nieuws newspaper.

‘I will definitely read the letter but it will be full of lies.

‘For me, this chapter is closed. Her death does not bother me. I feel no sorrow, no doubt or remorse. We never had a bond.'

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