Man Who Chose Euthanasia After Failed Gender Reassignment Surgery Doesn't Deserve Judgment

Nathan VerhelstLast week, Nathan Verhelst, a man whose gender reassignment surgeries failed to meet his expectations, chose to end his life via euthanasia. Verhelst lived in Belgium, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002, and a few hours before his death, he uttered the heartbreaking words, "I was the girl no one wanted."

Nathan was born a female but, like many transgender individuals, felt that he was living in the wrong body. In an interview after the procedures, he stated that he felt like a monster. "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 penis had symptoms of rejection." Nathan was, to put it simply, extremely depressed.

But should this give a government the right to end someone's life?

The criteria for getting euthanized is strict. In order to file a request, applicants need to be of age, mentally competent, and suffering from an incurable condition that causes constant, unbearable suffering. Typically the people who are euthanized are between the ages of 60-79 and are suffering from a physical disease, such as terminal cancer. But psychological diseases are eligible, too. Applicants must go through numerous consults with their doctor to make sure they're not making an impulsive decision, and at least a month must pass between the time they apply and the procedure (several months had gone by in Nathan's case). The doctor must consult with a second independent physician, and in cases of mental diseases, a third doctor has to be consulted.

So, no. It isn't like Nathan just walked into a hospital and was euthanized. Medical professionals (three of them) all came to the conclusion that this was the right thing to do for him.

It sounds intense and, at first glance, maybe even unethical -- euthanizing someone whose suffering is psychological. But it's more nuanced than that. To give you a little idea of what Nathan's background was like, here's what his mother told reporters after he died: "When I first saw 'Nancy,' my dream was shattered. She was so ugly. I had a phantom birth. Her death does not bother me ... For me, this chapter closed. Her death does not bother me. I feel no sorrow, no doubt or remorse. We never had a bond which could therefore not be broken."

Changes things a little bit, doesn't it?

Chances are, if the government didn't administer Nathan a lethal cocktail at his request, he would have, at some point, taken his own life himself. Yes, the concept of euthanasia is a strange one to internalize, but it isn't one that's taken lightly to either professionals or the people who choose to have it done. It gives people living with unbearable pain -- and a ticking clock -- a little mercy. And in the case of someone like Nathan an end to a miserable life that was filled with little more than suffering. He, in a way, died with dignity.

And after everything he endured while he was here on Earth, how could anyone deny him that?

Do you believe in euthanasia?

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Movie... Moviebuff

I do believe in it.

nonmember avatar blh

She didn't need gender reassignment surgery. She needed therapay. If you're a miserable person getting a new dick or new boobs isn't going to just magically make you happy. And I'm not saying I agree with it but why wouldn't you just kill yourself instead of dealing with the hassle of getting doctors to approve.

keelh... keelhaulrose

I watched two grandparents literally waste away until their bodies have up. I wish euthanasia was a thing here.


My heart goes out to Nathan...I am hoping that someone out there will be sad that he is gone...I didn't know him, but I am sad he is gone.

ollie... olliespunkma

I think anyone who has watched a love one suffer would want the option sometimes the alternative is much worse

the4m... the4mutts

I believe in euthanasia. Nobody should be made to suffer in a life that is full of pain, whether that be an incurable disease, or terrible mental illness that makes your life, and the lives of those around you unbearable. I feel terrible for all involved in this story.

peanu... peanutsmommy1

we will euthanize pets who are suffering, yet we don't allow patients and doctors to come to the same decision. Makes no sense to me

nonmember avatar Trisha

Have you ever heard someone screaming, begging, and pleading for God to end their life? The last 2 weeks of my father's life were miserable because his cancer had caused his brain to rapidly grow into his skull .. his spine hurt so much that he couldn't even lay still. Morphine, oxycontin, local amnesia .. nothing came to close to working. Whenever I think about my dad I always remember those last 2 unbearable weeks. ..

amazz... amazzonia

It's pathetic, it's just suicide, but without even the guts to take his own life, he had someone else do it for him, it's murder and suicide, just REVOLTING! I always believed that God would forgive everyone's sole...but people like this I don't think they deserve any kind of forgiveness. I usually never judge anyone, but this is just bad, and no one can justify an act like this.

Jespren Jespren

A mentally ill woman deserved better than mutilation.

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