“I assumed that you do not hire a teacher who is going through a transition”

After 9 years of working for himself, Tess Kooistra started teaching better training again. At the same time she began a gender transition. The crux is to actively involve people within the technique, she says. She did no longer revel in any problems in her surroundings. “The head of department said: we are absolutely in the back of you.”

Tess Kooistra and Erica Schaper – Photo: NHL Stenden
Last week, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences obtained the Transzoen from Transgender Netwerk Nederland for trans-friendly employership. Chairman of the Board Erica Schaper obtained the prize. “The Transzoen actually appears like a reputation for our inclusive NHL Stenden community. We want all and sundry to be visible at this university and to emphasize that even greater, I also signed, together with the municipality of Leeuwarden, the Declaration of Dordrecht for trans-pleasant employership. ”

All bears from the road
The nomination for the Transzoen got here from lecturer in Civil Engineering Tess Kooistra. In 2015 she started her transition. Kooistra changed into a teacher at NHL from 1994 to 2006. “Then I failed to feel adore it anymore. It become all a meeting whilst I desired to engage with students. I left on the time, because I additionally have my own organization next door and it became too much. ”

In 2015 the college requested her to come back back, they urgently needed a instructor along with her specialization. “I wanted to talk about that. I only work at my business enterprise and I loved having colleagues again. All my demands have been met at the interview. Meeting turned into now not necessary, it was particularly teaching, and the salary turned into no trouble at all. So I would begin on 1 September. ”

They did not know that at that second Kooistra had doubts approximately a gender transition. “I turned into afraid that there would be issues, that my complete environment might fall over me. That I might lose plenty of humans and customers. My organisation is in civil engineering. It’s about foundation, soil. Really a man‘s world. My customers are the province, municipalities, different engineering corporations and plenty of contractors. ”

A psychologist pulled her over. “He said: if ten of the hundred clients drop out because they no longer need to work with you – and that might be a lot – is that bad? No, I said. Then I sooner or later have some peace again. That way he shot all bears off the road. Also closer to my family. He endorsed me to first tell people around me that I even have feminine feelings and to peer how they react. I didn’t have to mention that I might stay on as a girl. ”

Are there any questions?
Then it all at once went very quickly. “I told about forty human beings in fourteen days. They all replied positively! They stated: if you stay the same in character, please go after your emotions. Then I wanted to move for it. ”

Kooistra assumed that coaching would no longer continue. “I had already assumed that you are not going to lease a instructor who’s currently going via a transition. I went there and thought: I am now not coming, I just tell it well after which I move home. But matters went a little differently. The head of department stated: no you may come! We would like to have you, whether or not you are getting in transition or no longer. If you need to train as a girl, you decide, we are completely behind you. ”

One extra time she went to university as a man dressed. “That felt better for me. I had learned: as a transgender you higher inform the story as you are, and then make the switch, rather than the different manner around. Because in any other case they communicate to a stranger. I did that in my neighborhood. I walk around the community with a dog, and I told everybody I frequently met with a picture: after the holidays I look like this. Then you should not assume that someone else is taking walks with my dog. Then you get very high-quality stories back, and a whole lot of understanding. ”

“That’s how I did it at school. At the cease of the lesson I stated: I will return as a female subsequent week. Put on a few fake knockers and a wig, and you just have to address it. Are there any questions? “She laughs.

“Isn’t that private?”
“I appeared into the lecture hall and saw all the ones mouths falling open. And a scholar says: yes, I actually have questions! ”And more got here. “Whether I changed into at the hormones, whether I fell on girls or men, whether or not I become going to do all the operations, how lengthy I had had it. They dared to ask something and I just gave an honest answer. A number of colleagues said to me: isn’t always that private? But I desired to open up. Such a transition system is new to maximum human beings. ”

The following week, Kooistra went to the classroom as a female, and that wasn’t simply exciting for her. “I had already heard from a colleague, his daughter was in my class, that the students have been all very curious approximately how I would look. I consider I placed on a dress, I don’t even know anymore. I started out to complete my lesson. “

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