Nathan Verhelst died on Monday.
The physically healthy 44-year-old was injected with a lethal substance by Dr Wim Distekmans on the grounds that he no longer wished to live due to “unbearable psychological suffering”.
Nathan used to be Nancy.
Nancy was born as the only girl child of parents, who showed a clear preference for boys. When explaining his choice to end his life via euthanasia, despite not suffering from a terminal illness, Nathan said of his childhood:
“I was the girl that nobody wanted… While my brothers were celebrated, I got a storage room above the garage as a bedroom. ‘If only you had been a boy’, my mother complained. I was tolerated, nothing more.”
In 2009, aged 40, Nathan began undergoing the hormone therapy required to become a man. This therapy was followed by surgery to construct a penis and remove his breasts in 2012.
Unfortunately though, the surgery was botched and the outcome was far from what Nathan had desired. He told a local Belgium newspaper:
“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. “
Euthanasia, where carried out by a doctor at the request of a patient is legal in three European countries, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Beligum. So the procedure that Dr Wim Distekmans carried out was perfectly legal, even though there was no immediate threats to Nathan’s physical health.
Dr Distekmans agreed to conduct the procedure on the basis of what he believed was ‘incurable, unbearable suffering’. He explained in the UK’s Telegraph: