This piece should have been about the Putin documentary that was broadcast onCanvas on Sunday evening, Putin master of the game. Russian oligarchs andAmerican ministers and French politicians (including French PresidentHollande) tell what drives Vladimir Putin: revenge. Revenge on the West thatdespises him. He is neither a strategist nor a chess player, he wages war asif he were playing black jack. Unpredictably ominous.
But just before I switched on the Belgian channel, I just caught up StudioSport on that Feyenoord captain Orkun Kökçü had refused to wear the rainbowband. All Premier League captains would wear one this weekend for the annualNational Coming Out Day. Small gesture, big effect. But the reverse is alsotrue: such a band not putting it on immediately makes a huge statement. Inany case, there were religious objections between Kokcü and the coloredcaptaincy. Just put something in there.
With that in mind, I immediately packed up and went to _changing the game_watched (KRO-NCRV), a documentary about three American teenagers. They are topathletes and transgender. It certainly wasn’t the first time I’d watchedrunners, skiers and wrestlers struggle, literally, with their gender.Apparently, in sports, all the unfairness and emotion surrounding genderdysphoria coalesces. We see wrestler Mack from Texas, who would rather fightagainst men, but for the wrestling association his gender counts at birth, sohe is obliged to work all women against the mat in the women’s competition.The hatred that will be poured over this child if he wins again. wow. Not fromadolescents, but from adults who shout from the stands that ‘he is not a realhe’ and that ‘it’ better ‘kill itself’.
Luckily he has a bad ass Granny, Republican, deputy sheriff in Dallas withtons of guns around her hips. No, she had never heard of transgender peopleuntil she had a grandchild who is one. She’s willing, she says, to step on alot of Republican and religious toes to get Mack in the right place. How theworld looks at her grandchild forces her to look at the world differently.
It started to look like a theme evening, because late in the evening the EOcame with the first episode of a new series Do you know me? Micah (30) andBram (58) are coupled together. Micah, formerly Marco, is a bi-gender person.“A non-binary transgender person who feels both male and female.” Bram isgender fluid. He is a married man who wants to dress as a woman.
Both have to go to great lengths to explain themselves to others. Micah andfather Theo wash the campervan together, they go camping. Father Theo sayshonestly that he finds it uncomfortable to answer the camping owner with whomhe will come later. “Do I say: with my son?” And then surely Micah gets out ofthe camper, in a dress? But once at that campsite, they ask each otherquestions that seem simple, but are difficult. Micah to father: “Why was Ionly allowed to change in my room in the past?” Father to Micah: “How did youfeel when you got dressed.”
Micah was “accepted” by his church, and then he wasn’t. They wanted to prayfor his healing. Bram was allowed to be after coming out continued to attendchurch, but he had to relinquish his spiritual duties. His brother Harry wentin search of what the bible says about Bram’s ‘identity’. A man in women’sclothes is not the intention, is his preliminary conclusion.
Micah and Bram have no problem with God or their faith, they say. They caremore about people. “The people of god”.