‘Monster’ sex-change man opts to take his life

Nathan Verhelst: Suffered mentally and physically.
Nathan Verhelst: Suffered mentally and physically.

A 44-year old man, who was born as a woman, underwent euthanasia in Belgium after he said surgery had left him with the appearance of a “monster”.

Nathan Verhelst, born as Nancy, decided to end his life following a failed sex change operation.

“I was the girl that nobody wanted,” Mr Verhelst told Het Laatste Nieuws newspaper in the hours before his death. “My mother complained ‘if only you had been a boy’. I was tolerated, nothing more.”

His family only learned of his death yesterday morning via a farewell letter.

“I had happy times, but the balance is on the wrong side,” he said.

“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 do not want to be... a monster.”

Dr Wim Distelmans, who provided counselling ahead of the euthanasia, said: “He was suffering both mentally and physically”.

In what was described as a “farewell interview” Mr Verhelst said: “When I looked into the mirror after the first operation I was filled with self-loathing.”

Both the breast removal operation and an operation to modify Mr Verhelst’s sexual organs suffered complications. He described his chest as “mutilated”.

“Instead of starting a real new life I was incarcerated in a body that I did not wish. It was wrong when I was born as a girl. As a boy I got a body that I didn’t want.”

Dr Distelmans, the Free University of Brussels physician who counselled Mr Verhelst and carried out the euthanasia said: “This was a case that clearly met the conditions for euthanasia demanded by the law. Nathan underwent counselling for six months.”

Dr Distelmans is the same doctor who last December gave lethal injections to twins Marc and Eddy Verbessem, 45 — the congenitally deaf twins who feared they were also going blind.

“The choice of Nathan Verhelst has nothing to do with fatigue of life,” said Dr Distelmans. “There are other factors that meant he was in a situation with incurable, unbearable suffering.

“Unbearable suffering for euthanasia can be both physical and psychological. This was a case that clearly met the conditions demanded by the law.”

Belgium had a record number of 1,432 cases of euthanasia in 2012 and is considering opening the laws further to allow the mercy killing of children.

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