Dutch | Dutch/German/Egyptian/Indonesian
I identify as mixed, atheist and gay. When I was 5 years old, I asked my mum why my classmates told me I'm ‘colored’. Up until then I thought I was Dutch, so therefore white. That was the childish connection I laid. The only language I spoke at that age was Dutch. I discovered that because of the colonial history of the Netherlands, I was a mix of influences. I am Dutch, Indonesian, German and Egyptian. The Netherlands colonized Indonesia until Japan conquered it in 1941. My ancestor was a Dutch/German sailor whom travelled to Indonesia through Egypt. In the harbor of Cairo, a woman gave her child to my ancestor and asked to take care of her. Eventually they had 10 kids together; one of those kids was my grandfather. He met my grandmother in Bandung, where she is born and raised. However, when World War 2 erupted, The Netherlands lost their focus on Indonesia. Japan conquered Indonesia and made the Dutch work for them in ‘Jappenkampen’, Japanese camps. As my grandfather was only partially Indonesian, they took him. He survived 4 years of terror and decided to move to the Netherlands with my grandma and three kids, two boys and a girl. One of those two boys being my dad. Therefore, my parents met in the Netherlands, where I grew up. However, Indonesians stayed under the radar. As well in newspapers they never said ‘Indo', as we were and are seen as Dutch, despite our different skin colour. My grandparents didn't even teach my dad Bahasa Indonesia, so unfortunately I don't speak it either. However, the Indonesian culture goes through food in my family. Even though my grandparents didn't teach us how to speak the language, they sure taught us how to cook like they do in Indonesia. If I grew up speaking Indonesian as well, I would've identified more Asian than I do now. When someone asks where I'm from I either say Europe of the Netherlands. By the way, I find it very surreal that anyone ever claims to be fully Dutch or fully anything. All of our ancestors connected and loved each other throughout the centuries and continents.
The only times I experienced difficulty with my identity was because of my sexual orientation. I came out when I was 16, although I knew it since I was a little kid. Whenever my sister and I played with dolls, my sister demanded to be the princess, so I had to be the prince. This was more than fine for me as I could conquer the princess. I've had discussions with mostly religious people as they told me that being gay, or anything but straight, is unnatural. However, I've had this feeling since I was a little kid, so it couldn't be more natural in my eyes. I'm just really happy to live in a time where race, gender and sexuality are becoming less important than being a good person.