"What does your identity have to do with horses?"

Q: On which moment did you realize you were looking different than you were feeling?

A: The moments that I realized that I was looking different than I was feeling go back to my very first memories.

It's very strange to say that it's only when you grow older that you become aware about the fact that you are different. When you are little, life is like paradise. The whole world is at your feet ... ready to be explored!

It's only when you start to compare yourself with others and peer pressure is coming around the corner that challenges arise.

On the age of 24 years old, I still remember standing in front of the mirror, looking at myself and repeating the sentence I had just heard:

The eyes are the mirror of the soul.
— Paulo Coelho de Souza - Brazilian Writer of the Bestseller 'The Alchemist'

“The eyes are the mirror of the … Oh!”.

At that moment I recalled that I did indeed have two different eyes. So … I laughed out loud, ran downstairs and yelled to the first person whom I saw that I must have two souls. For the colour of each eye is different. That explains it!

I found this quite hilarious. Yet it touches on a very sensitive topic in modern society: How free is our choice of identity? Biologically I was born as a woman but deep within me a masculine spirit has been concealed for years. In the course of my life I have grown ever closer towards that role but it is only now that I have started to take practical steps towards changing my physique to become the ‘man’ I am.

Q: Can you describe the process you have been through?

A: This process is like crossing a great ocean.
I see many people rushing as they start to swim, urging themselves on from the island of their birth to the next, from one physique to another. It cannot go quickly enough, simply because there is so small a place available to them for the physique that they have in between. It is in between when they are most vulnerable! In our society we have a 'place' for a man and another for a woman.
But what about people like me? What about transgenders? Right. There is nothing ...

Q: What is the exact definition of a transgender?

A: A transgender is a person who expresses themselves as someone of the opposite sex, neither or both (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgender).

I prefer to refer to myself using a different term, since I feel I will always carry the feminine part of me throughout the process of becoming a man. This brings me to the “two-spirit people”, a modern umbrella term used by some indigenous North Americans for gender-variant individuals within their communities (sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-Spirit and http://www.trans-spirits.org/spirit_of_transgender.html).

Q: How do people reflect you being a transgender?

A: Expressing your identity is not always the most intelligent thing to do. The past shows us that it can even cost you your life but it is certainly the only way that will encourage a global change.
As Mahatma Gandhi once said:

We must become the change we want to see in the world.
— Mahatma Gandhi - Spiritual Father and Leader of India (1869 - 1948)

Yes, the world is changing and I believe that we have to be that change. Be that change!
For the love who I am must be bigger than the fear of what others might think.

Q: Did you always feel like this?

A: It used to be different. A lot different.
There were times when I did not feel at home, neither in my self-image nor in my expression or the way people reflected me. Later on, when I met others who shared the same feeling, I came to understand that we were all individuals in search of a home. All of us.

Showing your true identity, as a man in a woman's body, does cut two ways ... If I would choose to be myself, I had to be ready to loose the security of a normal everyday life. 

But then I suddenly realized: 'normal' was never my strongest suit.

Many, many times, I have seen people making decisions based on fear, the fear of losing their security. I have even seen people sacrificing themselves out of fear, the fear of losing their 'present life'. Well, I can tell you one thing: fear has nothing to do with life. And it is true: you can “survive” with apparent acceptance from your surroundings. You can “survive” with a good income. You can “survive” in your day-to-day routine, because you know exactly what will happen when and how. And you know exactly what you have to do to maintain this apparent acceptance!

In fact, you are cutting off a part of yourself or in the worst case, sacrificing yourself completely … simply to survive! But you will never thrive. You will never truly live the life that is meant for you.

Do you survive or thrive? Let us thrive! Let us run towards the next adventure! Let us be the kind of person that runs to life, like children running in search of Easter eggs: full of wonder.

Q: How do you think other transgenders experience this 'struggle for life'?

A: Many transgenders experience a loss of income from the moment they reveal their true identity.
There are people that have great difficulty being respected on the work floor and from the moment they go public, humiliation by others is sneaking in through the back entrance. Some lose (a part of) their family and others don't see any other way than to take their own life. These are just a hand full of experiences that you come across from the moment you truly listen to the stories that are surrounding our daily lifes.

I choose to be free. I choose to thrive and therefore I choose to express my true identity. It is a choice in favour of accepting my true nature, within me and beyond me. And with climate change lurking in the background and various social issues arising, the question, “Who are we?”, has never been so relevant.

Why? Because every decision in our daily life is unmistakably connected to our identity!
“Why do you do it?” is a question that is very closely linked to “Who are you?”.

Q: What does your identity has to do with horses?

A: As in all arts of life, 'The Art of Horsemanship' brings you in touch with the wisdom of life so you can discover in each moment the most beautiful version of ourselves.

Step by step, I could develop my physical, mental and spiritual well-being in ways that I never thought were possible!

From the moment I started to explore the fascinating world of horses and learn to read their language … I became able to understand the message of the horses.

What is the message of the horses? It is YOU!
The horses show you who you truly are.

Q: How can we call you?

A: From the moment I talk about experiences
before my transition, I refer to myself as
Jasmijn Anne-Marie Wauters. You know ...
I have come to love this part and I will cherish this feminine part in me, forever."

But now, now you may call me a man with a highly developed feminine touch, a man who will listen to the name of Jason Alexander Wauters.

— Jason Alexander Wauters
- Founder & Teacher of EDEN

Photography by Yvonne Jansen

— Yvonne Jansen
- Artist & Actrice (the Netherlands)