Transgender

He should have been a boy

He was born Linda, but ten years ago Daniel came out as a transgender man. He changed his name to Daniel Valter Jensen, got a new social security number and grew a full beard. Photographer Sigrid Nygaard and journalist Line Vaaben have followed him the year leading up to the important milestone of having his breasts removed.

Dansk | English
Words: Line Vaaben
Photos: Sigrid Nygaard
From the window of his room on the 5th floor, Daniel Valter Jensen peers out over Aalborg University Hospital – the buildings spread out under a dark evening sky. It’s a Monday in November, 2019, and Daniel checked in to the hospital a day earlier. Attendants have done blood tests, measured his blood pressure and done an EKG. He’s settled into watching the History Channel from his elevated bed. But mostly he’s waited, as he has for years already.

The following morning it will finally happen: He will breathe in anesthesia and when he awakens his breasts will have been removed. He’s dreamed about it as long as he can remember. He’s 46 years old, is transgender and has lived entirely as a man for a decade. Hormone injections have given him a full, dark beard, longer hair on his legs and a deeper voice. But there are the breasts - reminding him that he was born a woman and outing him as a transgender. Oh my God, how he looks forward to being free!

Daniel craves a cigarette. He has not smoked for the past 24 hours. Doctors asked him not to smoke for two months prior to the surgery. He’s tried to cut back, but no luck. All day long, he’s met with doctors and nurses. And told them he’d quit. He feels bad about lying, but worries that if he confessed, they’d cancel the operation.

He notices on his phone that the secretary of the Plastic Surgery Department of the hospital has called while he was eating supper. He calls back and a woman tells him, an anesthetist has called in sick. They’ve postponed the least urgent operations, including his.

And no – unfortunately the secretary can’t reschedule yet.

»This must be a fucking joke,« Daniel exclaims.

He puts down the phone and throws his head back on the pillow. He covers his face with his hands. He doesn’t cry. He hasn’t really cried for eight years – since he started with testosterone injections.

But he is crying on the inside. He rolls a cigarette. Now it doesn’t matter.
The hospital has postponed the least urgent operations, including Daniels. He smokes a cigarette in disappointment.
There’s no accurate count of how many people in Denmark like Daniel Valter Jensen, identify with a different gender than what they were assigned at birth. Studies suggest that between half and one percent of the population are transgender – in Denmark that means between 28,000 and 56,000 people.

Citizens who want to ’investigate their gender identity’ as it is called when they want to transition are referred to either The Center for Gender Identity at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen or Aalborg University Hospital.

If specialized doctors find that a patient meets a formal set of criteria for gender change, they offer everything from hormone therapy to surgeries for the chest, reproductive organs and genitals. In recent years, the rate of inquiries has shot upward. In 2013 at Rigshospitalet, 65 people were referred for examination. By 2019 the figure had climbed 600 percent.
And the rate of breast surgeries like the one Daniel seeks are also climbing: Aalborg University Hospital completed 45 operations in 2018 and 80 in 2019.

The rise probably stems from both increased awareness and acceptance of transgender people. Also, since 2014 it has been possible to obtain a legal gender change. In all 948 Danes have so far chosen to get a new social security number. And in 2017, the National Board of Health clarified guidance on the treatments of transgender citizens to »avoid unnecessarily long and burdensome investigative procedures,« and eased the criteria for receiving hormone therapy. In the years prior to these changes, many trans people were denied both hormones and surgeries. And one of them, in 2010, was Daniel Valter Jensen.
He was born as a girl in 1973 and christened Linda. But secretly he wanted the nickname Bo.
When he was first signed to Rigshospitalet and asked to have his breasts removed, Daniel told the psychologists and doctors there, that he’d felt like a boy all his life.

He was born as a girl at Roskilde Hospital in 1973 and christened Linda Karina. But he recalled that as a child, he’d often played with a plastic excavator and with a boy-doll named Peter. His older sister Dorthe Pia loved to dress up and wear girly clothes. But Linda preferred pants, played football and secretly wanted the nickname Bo.

And then one day, his mother said offhandedly to him: »You should have been born a boy.«

Although it made him feel as something was wrong with him, Daniel agreed. And as a teenager, he found himself falling in love with girls. At 13, he found his first girlfriend. Her name was Mia.

His upbringing was violent – both parents often beat the daughters. His big sister was regularly hit with a spoon and a hanger. Daniel, more occasionally, was slapped around.

He finally told this to his teacher, and the school arranged for him to attend a boarding school when he was 16. There, he began calling himself ’Danny’. He played guitar, was the lead singer of a band and felt full of confidence. It was one of the best years of his life.

He returned home and the conflicts escalated. And one evening, when he was 17, he first found his way to a lesbian bar in Copenhagen. He came home, and there was his mother waiting in the kitchen. She waved a black notebook around – Daniel's diary. He’d written about everything, including his sexual experiences.

His mother called him »scum« and forbade him to leave the house. He escaped through a window and went to a social worker in his district. They helped him find a small apartment in a nearby town.

Daniel was relieved to be free of the parents. But he soon experienced his first major heartbreak. His romance with a girl from the boarding school suddenly ended. He bought five bottles of wine and drank them over the next few days. It helped for a little while. The following week, he did the same thing. It was the beginning of his abusing alcohol – and he kept it up.
»Poor little friend,« Daniel thinks, when looking at photoes of himself as Linda. He knows that the young woman was in pain. She felt like a man.
Daniel Valter Jensen keeps some old photos out on a table in his studio apartment. In one, young Linda Karina Valter Jensen is at a music festival. In another, she has got the arm around a college girlfriend. In January 2019, Daniel looks back at Linda in the 1990s. He studies her brown eyes and long thick, dark hair. She’s slender, with large breasts. Dressed in jeans and knit sweaters accented with a red scarf.

»Poor little friend,« he says quietly. He knows that the young woman was in pain – she felt like a man.

Daniel still wears jeans, big sweaters and a red scarf. But before leaving his apartment he tightens a corset-like vest – called a binder – inside his clothes flattening his breasts. He feels uncomfortable. He says it’s necessary because he wants to look like a man. Before the binder, he’d tried duct tape. Very painful.

He’s leaned a full-length mirror against the wall. He stays clear of it while dressing. He hasn’t seen his naked body in a few years. He especially doesn’t want to see the breasts and the hairy groin. In a way, it doesn’t feel like his. Over the binder and t-shirt, he slips on a hoodie and then a thermal jacket. He says »Goodbye Freddie,« and strokes his cat’s striped coat. Freddie purrs his response. The cat, named in honor of Freddie Mercury is Daniel’s best friend. Almost like a partner, he feels.
After a few injections of testosterone Daniel noticed hair between the breasts and in a streak down towards his navel. His voice deepened. It took a few years before he tried growing a full beard.
He calls his breasts his ’flaps’. They’ve never given him sexual pleasures. He never liked any of his partners, all women, to touch them.

He was openly lesbian throughout his 20s. Some of the relationships were violent. He also drank a lot, smoked hash, and took other drugs. He also slipped into an addiction to gambling. He was hospitalized with anxiety and suicidal thoughts. During a 2003 admission to a locked ward, a counselor wrote in his record:

»The patient says she sees a boy and a girl in the mirror and tries to look like a boy.«
Daniel’s cat, named in honor of Freddie Mercury is Daniel's best friend. Almost like a partner he feels.
In adolescence, the male hormone, testosterone, deepens boys’ voices and prompts body hair to grow – including a beard. After a hospital turned Daniel down for gender transition, Daniel located a doctor willing to prescribe testosterone for trans women. Daniel didn’t care that it wasn’t legal. He recalls the feeling after the first injection: a rush in the body that seemed like a superpower. A few injections later, he noticed hair between the breasts and in a streak down towards his navel. His voice deepened. It took a few years before he tried growing a full beard.

»You’ll soon have a larger beard than me,« a friend wrote on Facebook. Daniel felt proud.

A four-milliliter bottle of testosterone costs 1200 Danish kroner – about 200 dollars. Daniel gently draws the small bottle from his backpack and places it on the table in the doctor’s waiting room. He calls it »my elixir« and gets the injections from his GP every three months. If he delays, he becomes teary and his period returns. He’s had to delay buying his antidepressant and blood pressure medicine, and even skimping on cat food to afford testosterone.

But recently his application for free medicine was approved and he felt greatly relieved.

»Daniel?«

An elderly man in jeans, shirt and Birkenstock sandals summons Daniel into the consulting room. That’s Daniel’s doctor, Jesper Nielsen, who holds up syringe and bottle and draws back the plunger. Daniel lies on the examining table, his striped boxer shorts down, exposing his right buttock. The doctor pierces the skin with the needle and slowly injects the liquid, then pats on a small band aid.
Daniel calls testosterone »my elixir« and gets injections from his GP every three months.
»That’s it«

»Great,« says Daniel. »It doesn’t hurt too bad.«

The doctor asks how Daniel has waited for the operation to have his breasts removed.

»Once you make the decision, it shouldn’t take that long,« the doctor says.

Daniel nods gravely. He is so tired of being ’the man with the breasts.’ He heard a drunk say the other day as he passed by on the street. He’d consoled himself realizing that, after all, the drunk had said ’the man.’
Daniel is working as an intern in a housing project. He also spends time in a local voluntary project with focus on sustainability, where he has made a group of friends.
Daniel considers his period of homelessness, three years ago, the worst months of his life. He’d been trying to raise money for breast surgery in Germany or Thailand. It didn’t work out and a girlfriend kicked him out because he was drinking heavily. He ended up in a homeless hostel for just under a year. He’d never felt so unloved, ostracized and lonely. One day he heard another transgender tenant getting kicked around by someone who’d shouted: ’This is not a gay hotel. Get out of here.’ He learned to be really cautious hiding his breasts and felt scared constantly.

But in that period he got in contact with The Homeless Unit in Copenhagen, which has since helped him a lot. Not only did they find him his current one-room apartment, but they also helped him hunt for jobs. He had a conversation with the unit’s psychiatrist, and at last was referred to The State Hospital to have the breasts removed. The psychiatrist told him:

»You can’t live like a something in between«

He finally felt understood.

And then in April 2017, a letter came from The Plastic Surgery Department at The State Hospital. The wait was over he supposed. But months went by and nothing else happened. Emergency surgeries for breast cancer crowded him out. His binder was worn and loose. It tore, and he stitched it up with coarse, black thread. He sweated through it during the heatwave of 2018. Finally, after two years of waiting, he transferred his application to the hospital in Aalborg – at the other end of the country. The department there had a great reputation for doing good surgery. And they soon called him in for a preliminary examination.
He hasn’t looked at his naked body in years. He especially doesn't want to see the breasts and the hairy groin.
In April 2019, he clambers off at the bus station in Aalborg. It’s cold and cloudy. He shivers. He’s been on the bus for five hours without smoking or peeing. He hurries to the men’s toilet. He’d had to get used to going there when he's first become Daniel. Men stood at the urinals while peeing, everything hanging out. He’s sure he belongs to the men’s room, but every time, he is afraid of being revealed. He always heads for a stall. But what if someone notices his feet, turned the wrong way as he sits down to pee? He also occasionally has a sense of privilege because he has experienced both genders. He knows what it’s like to be an attractive girl being catcalled. And what it’s like to be a man, heeded more easily in meetings, and feared by women if he walks to close behind them in the night.

These days he hardly sleeps at night. After four years with no contact from his parents, he and his mother have begun texting. It rarely ends well. He accused her of lying about a money matter. She replied that she’d »once had a sweet daughter named Linda, but now I've got a monster instead.«

Since then, Daniel has lain in bed at night awake and sipping strong beers called Brutalis from the local drugstore. After four or five of them, he no longer feels that hole in his soul. And this morning, before getting into the bus, he’d smoke a joint. Just to take the edge off his anxiety.

Walking into the waiting room in the hospital, he sniffs at his scarf and fingers. Could they detect his cigarette habit? A young nurse with ponytail, dressed in white robes fetches him:

»Are you Daniel? Come this way.«

Inside the consultation room, a doctor measures and weighs Daniel. 69 kilos. 165 centimeters.

Daniel has taken off the binder and his many sweaters. He stands before the male doctor, naked on top. His belly hangs over the edge of his pants.

»If you loose five kilos, it will be more fun to operate you,« says the doctor. Then the doctor asks the feared question:

»Do you smoke?«

»I haven’t quite stopped«

And then comes the dreaded response:

»I can’t admit you until you’ve stopped completely. The wounds will heal poorly if you smoke. And you want a good result, don’t you?«

Daniel nods and says plaintively:

»I hope to be smoke-free in mid-May«

The doctor squeezes, lifts and measures Daniel’s breasts.

»You’re standard« the doctor says as he finishes. It only took ten minutes.

»After you’ve been smoke-free for eight weeks, just call us.«

Out in the corridor, bound up in binder and layers of sweaters again, Daniel raises both arms over his head in a gesture of victory. He is touched that they were so sweet and respectful. Walking towards the station, he is determined. Now he will quit smoking. Maybe with nicotine gum? Yes, he will buy gum tomorrow.

The night before Christmas 2019, Daniel has not had a drink for six weeks. Not since the days just after they’d cancelled his surgery in mid-November. The lapse had been a heedless reaction to the feeling of injustice. He’d emptied the bottles and sucked in the smoke like a fish gasping for air on shore. He’d gotten back on the track right away, and now he had a new date for surgery: January 7, 2020. Just around the corner.

It feels nice not to be hungover. He still smokes a few joints every day. They soothe that feeling of emptiness, when it comes creeping into him, in the evenings. He has been told that »it is quite normal if you are borderline.«

He’d gotten that diagnosis a few years earlier. And during the coming year, he’s been assigned to group therapy. He hopes that will help him understand himself better.

Daniel flips four tablespoons of sugar into a coffee cup, pours in boiling water, some Nescafé and milk. Freddie jumps up on the table and waves his tail into the candle. The living room smells of burnt fur.

»Do you want some treats, baby?« Daniel coos. Freddie trails him into the kitchen. Daniel draws an old glass from his cupboard in which he’s stashed bits of dry cat food that he spreads on the floor.

His finances have improved because of the grant for free medicine he got with help from The Homeless Unit. Some months earlier, he’d been so low on cash, that he’d shoplifted cat food for Freddie. He was caught, and now he can’t shop in that supermarket anymore because the employees watch him closely. For Freddie, he’s also snuck out at night and brought home sand from a playground for the litter box, because he couldn’t afford to buy any.

Being poor is climate friendly, he tells himself. Out on the apartment’s tiny balcony he grows beets, kale and peppers. It often ends up in a pot of two-dollar ready-made curry from the supermarket.

Once in a while, he still receives bills from a loan he’d taken out way back in the 1990’s, when he sold an apartment with an economical loss. Other bills are parking fines for not having paid the fare on trains. They always arrive addressed to Linda Karina. He tells himself the letters aren’t really for him.
The night before travelling to Aalborg, Daniel didn’t get much sleep. On the bus he falls into a deep sleep.
So he is finally back, standing in the darkness outside of Aalborg University Hospital a cigarette in hand. It is January 6, 2020 – he’ll be operated on the following morning. He keeps saying to himself that it will probably be canceled again, so he won’t be disappointed if it is. He has only slept three hours, because he is so excited. On the bus trip over, he’d looked at pictures of transmen, who’d had had top surgery. They’re on the site of a Facebook group called ’We are Transmen Bodybuilders.’ He’d studied the pictures of men with full beards and bare, well-muscled torsos.

This is how he would love to look. He regrets that he won’t ever become the fitness type. He worries that the surgery will leave him with round, curved scars. He has seen those on the net, and he think they look like breasts.

At the patient hotel, a friendly nurse shows him into room 104. Daniel tells her that his surgery was canceled in November.

»So you’ve been waiting for two months? « she asks sympathetically.

»In fact, I've been waiting for ten years« says Daniel.

In the room, he checks his cellphone. He pulls his binder off and sighs. How he longs to never wear it again. He lays down on the bed and clicks on the television. He misses Freddie, who usually lies on his chest in the evenings. That makes him feel guilty – the cat is home all alone. He sneaks outside, smokes one last cigarette and falls asleep.
Daniel isn’t afraid of the surgery, just that it would be cancelled again.
He awakens at 6.15 am. It is still dark. He has slept restlessly- He wasn’t afraid of the surgery, just that it would be canceled again. He takes a bath in the tub room down the corridor, then runs back to his room, shivering, with a towel around his body. He dries his breasts. This may be the last time he touches them. In a way, he feels pity for them – nobody ever really liked them. Before he leaves the room, he catches sight of his binder hanging on a rack behind like a gray cloth. He debates abandoning it – but he’d better take it with him. You never know...

At the Plastic Surgical Section of the hospital an attendant assign him a single room. A nurse hands him hospital clothes and chats about the surgery. It will probably be at 11 am.
The plastic surgeon Marie Louise Skærlund Christensen has a long measuring tape around her neck, like a taylor. She is friendly and direct.
He waits for a few long hours. Finally, a young woman in camouflage trousers, tight T-shirt and well-trained arms enters the room. It is the plastic surgeon Marie Louise Skærlund Christensen.

»We need to draw on you, Daniel,« she says.

She has a long measuring tape around her neck, like a taylor, and a black marker in her hand. She’s friendly and direct.

»You have to stand straight with your arms out to the sides. Just like that. Yes please.«

She squeezes and folds. She draws mirror-image fine lines and numbers on and around his breasts. As she does, she mutters to herself.

»I’ll try to make it as symmetrical as I possibly can. But you have a lot of volume. The greater the volume, the greater the risk of getting excess skin in the middle when I sew. And we don’t want that, do we? «

Daniel shakes his head. He stays silent. She looks like a rock star to him.
The waiting time before the operation is long. Daniel is still worried about cancellation.
During surgery, she tells him, she’ll cut out his nipples and stich them on to the new flat chest. She’ll place them further out to the sides and higher, locating them properly for men, not women.

»There is always a risk of the nipples being lost. But we have made 129 top surgeries and only lost four,« she says. She reminds him that smoking is strictly prohibited. It reduces the oxygenation in the blood and prevents the skin from healing up well. And smoking is especially damaging to the nipples.

Daniel falls asleep. He awakens only when the porter comes to push his bed over to the operating room. Daniel rides through the gray, neon-lit hallways and feels excited and overwhelmed.

This is it. Finally. Now.

He sees many people in the operating room: two anesthesia nurses, a medical student and the operating nurse. They’re covering the operating table with sterile paper.

»Are you a little nervous?« the anesthesia nurse asks.

Daniel nods silently.

»Most people are. But we must make sure you do not wake up or fell pain along the way.«

A nurse puts a mask on to Daniel. They turn up the anesthetic.

»Now sleep really well«

Daniel is gone.
The anesthesia nurses, a medical student and the operating nurse make everything ready at the operating table.
He doesn’t notice the tube inserted in his throat or the respirator breathing for him.

He doesn’t notice that the attendants undress him and swab him with yellow disinfectant liquid.

And he doesn’t notice when Marie Louise Skærlund Christensen snips off his left nipple and drops it into a small bowl.

The room smells of cooked steak as the doctor and nurse wield an electric cauterizing knife that slices through the pale white skin and yellow fat layers, scorching and sealing small blood vessels as they cut. They work on removing one breast, then the other. They draw the skin together, sealing in incision and sew it together. There is almost no blood. And after an hour-and-a-half, it’s over.
The doctor and nurse work on removing one breast, then the other.

The attendants slowly decrease the anesthetic. Daniel wakes up, immediately glances down his chest and yells, »Yes!« with vigor. He tries to celebrate by waving his arms.

»Fuck! That hurt«

The nurses fold his arms down again. He must not pull the skin, they tell him, where it has just been stitched. Daniel is still groggy. He looks around, confused. His voice sounds blurry:

»I am so happy. Thank you so much. A thousand thanks,« he says, holding the nurses’ hands in turn.

»I've been waiting for ten years,« he says. Tears roll down his cheeks into his beard.

»That really is far too long,« says the anesthesia nurse.

Daniel says he is terribly thirsty. In the recovery room, a nurse offers him a red and yellow ice lollypop.

»Everyone is so kind to me.«
Daniel is still groggy and looks around, confused. He thanks everyone around him again and again.
They wheel his bed back to his room. He just can’t stop crying. Finally, he is able to call his sister.

»Hi sis. It’s Daniel. It is over«

»Oh, how wonderful,« she says.

He resumes sobbing.

Hours pass. His head clears. He texts a few friends. He texts his supervisor from The Homeless Unit. And a lot of hearts and smiley tumble back at him. Four years earlier, when he was homeless, he’d felt completely alone in the world. But now he feels the love and care of so many people.

He’s still feeling the anesthetic, so everything makes him cry: When another text message dings. When the nurse carries in a plate of meatballs. When he hears Bee Gees’ ’To Love Somebody’ in the background of a car commercial on television.

He’s not sad. Simply overwhelmed. It’s been a long time since he’s cried that much. Years come to think of it. Perhaps it’s release from the frustrations of a lifetime that now flow out of him. Again and again, he pats his hands along his chest. The breasts are gone! He’d had to wait so many years and then, it only took an hour-and-a-half.

He makes promises to himself: He vows to live healthier. He’ll cut down on the cigarettes. Lose weight. Exercise and get that trimmer body. Everything he wants is lined up in front of him. Now he can just grab the opportunities.
Daniel is still feeling the anesthetic, so everything makes him cry.
The following morning, a shaft of light from the hallway bisects the dark room where Daniel sits up in his raised bed, still sleeping. He’s forgotten to remove his glasses. The sound of the nurses’ clogs reaches him from the corridor. Daniel opens his eyes. He has no pain. The first thing he does, is to run his hands down his chest again. It wasn’t a dream. They really are gone.

The surgeon Marie Louise Skærlund Christensen enters the room.

»How do you feel?« she asks. She lifts up his hospital shirt and peers at her work. She removes a compression bandage wrapped around his chest and gazes at the fresh scars. Daniel pats his round belly.

»Couldn’t you have removed this too, while you were at it?« he asks and smiles.

While he’d had breasts, he’d not noticed much how rotund he’d grown in recent years.

»I’ve sewn as best I can. Now it’s up to you to take care of it,« she says, reminding him not to move his arms more than 45 degrees from his body, until the scars have stabilized.

He must wear a tight bandage for three weeks to keep down the seepage and bleeding. The re-positioned nipples are very vulnerable, even though they are guarded beneath small round pillowcases. Everything looks fine to the doctor. She tells him he may go home, whenever he wants to.

»I was crying all day,« says Daniel.

»No need to cry. You’ve become a handsome guy,« she says.

Her beeper sounds. The next patient is ready for surgery. She pats on his duvet, familiarly, then leaves Daniel, saying over her shoulder:

»Congratulations on your new life.«

Daniel orders a bus ticket. He is looking forward to going home to Freddie. He dresses himself. Jeans, T-shirt and then, simply, a checkered shirt. He stands in front of the mirror. Turns around. He marvels that his chest is so flat now. He packs and straightens up a bit. He puts his binder in the trash bin, along with an empty coffee cup and a bloody bandage.
Daniel marvels that his chest is so flat now. He’d had to wait so many years and then, the operation only took an hour-and-a-half.
In late February, his big sister, Dorthe, comes to visit. It means a lot to him that they have reconnected, and she seems to feel the same way.

»I was so proud when I learned, that I was the first person you called from the hospital,« she says.

They sit across from one another at his table and hold hands.

She is slim and feminine with small golden earrings almost hidden under long dark hair. But the similarity between them is obvious: The brown eyes. The soft arch of the upper lip. The way they laugh.

He tells her how relieving it is not having his breasts with the binder and layers of clothing every time he wants to leave home.

And then he shows her the operating scars.

»It’s so beautifully done,« his sister says.

Daniel twists and turns in front of the mirror. His posture has changed. He straightens his back rather than curling his chest inward.

»What happened to the breasts after the surgery?« Dorthe asks.

»They were checked for cancer. Nothing there,« says Daniel.

The breast weighed more a kilo. A very fast diet, Daniel says. They both laugh.

»Couldn’t you have saved a little bit of them for me. My breasts are so small,« says Dorthe.

They laugh again, until tears come to their eyes.
Daniel has reconnected with his sister, Dorthe, after four years. It has meant a lot to them both.
In the weeks following the surgery, he was completely euphoric, Daniel says. Then came a period of steadier joy. And afterwards he has also had days again, he says, when he's felt discouraged. But all in all, he’s happier than ever.

He strikes his chest. Again.

»It feels so good. It feels like me.«
Three months following the operation, Daniel wears special patches on his scars. The first time it is changed with help from a nurse from The Homeless Unit.
Daniel looks forward to making his arms flexible again. It’s part of the recovery. And there is another thing he looks forward to: bathing in the sea. For many summers, he sat in the shade watching others jump into the water. This next summer he will be out there with his friends, in bathing trunks, feeling the sun on his body. Oh, freedom.

Daniel thinks back to how bad he felt just a few years ago. He’d lived as a homeless man with a beard and breasts.

How far he has come! He has an apartment. A strong network of friends. He has his sister back. And is coming closer to having the body he wants. He realizes that even with this exterior change, he is still Daniel inside. But it’s a Daniel he can work on – it’s no longer partly Linda. As she disappears, he feels better and better about himself.

He is getting there. After all, he is becoming just be a normal guy.
Words Line Vaaben
Photos Sigrid Nygaard
Editor Mikkel Vuorela
Digital production Sigrid Nygaard
Digital production Jens Christoffersen
Translation Mark Kramer

Original version 4 Apr 2020
This version 14 Jan 2021
Dagbladet Information
Gunnar Sørensen

God artikel.