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28 October 2008

Veronique Renard (1965 - ) writer, Buddhist, activist.

Renard was born in Utrecht, in the Netherlands, to a business family, she socially transitioned at age 17, and had surgery 18 months later from a team including Dr Auke de Boer and led by Dr Louis Gooren at the Free University in Amsterdam. She was the youngest person in the Netherlands to have the surgery, and at that date possibly the youngest person the world.

After college she worked as a business manager, and was also a competitive rower. In 1995 she was the bow rower of the first female crew to complete the 220 km Friesland Rowing Marathon. An accident shattering her upper right arm ended her rowing career.

In 1997 she gained a PhD in Dutch Literature. She also wrote several novels but was unable to get them published.

In 2000 after depression and considering suicide, she quit her job and went to live in Dharamsala, India with the Tibetans in exile. She became a Buddhist and took the name of Pantau (=to be helpful in Tibetan, and a small peach in Mandarin). In 2002 she took her Bodhisattva vows as a layperson.

She edited Lobsang Yonten’s The Fire of Hell: My Life under Chinese Rule, and became involved in the Tibetan struggle. She published the book book Pantau in India, about living with the Tibetan refugees. After several phoned death threats, she was beaten by two thugs who knocked her unconscious and threw her off a remote mountain road. However she was found by monks who took her to the Tibetan hospital in Dharamsala. It took a year for her wounds to heal.

She then hid in a Tibetan settlement in south India. After seven years in India, she resettled in Thailand. She decided to come out of stealth living, and with the aid of Andrea James, published her autobiography where she talks about her gender change. She currently lives in Bangkok, and is married to a Chinese professor, Chan Hao.
  • Veronique Renard. Pantau in India. iUniverse, 2007.
  • Veronique Renard, edited by Andrea James. Pholomolo: No Man No Woman. iUniverse, 2007.    EN.Wikipedia.


    1. Veronique Renard certainly had an interesting life and I applaud her work on behalf of Tibetans, but she wasn't the youngest person to receive SRS. Just in my wanderings on the Internet, I've read accounts from at least 2 others who were contemporaries of hers who received SRS when 16. Remember that people who had (have) the full support of their parents were (are) able to transition at much younger ages and stay in stealth. I hear this "world's youngest TS" title repeated over and over again, and it's almost always untrue. Rather curiously, I've read recent statements by Ms. Renard stating that, if she had to do it over again, she wouldn't have transitioned and would have tried living as a gay boy/man (but not that she wants to detransition). Certainly, she has a right to her feelings and perspective but it points out careful screening of young transitioners is still important, and that a number of the people who later expressed regret about MTF transition were highly passable, gay-identifying boys who were fast-tracked because of their looks and their attraction towards men. Maybe a function of the gender biases of the time?

    2. The claim was "at that date possibly the youngest person the world". Did your counter claimants transition in or before 1982? Most of us are aware of Kim Petras who transitioned at 12 in 2004. I agree that claims such as 'world's youngest TS' can easily become fatuous, and I was very conscious of adding the word 'possibly'. However Veronique is certainly a candidate. For other claimants we need age at and year of surgery.

      Re your second point. I missed her expressions of regret in my research. Could you send me the references please. Thank you.

    3. One of the transwomen was referenced on the Second Type Woman website on this page:
      Look in the section under adoption and it discusses Michele who had SRS at 16. She used to have her own web site which repeated this fact. If she's in her 40s now and had SRS when 16, it must have been '82 or earlier.
      As to the other question, if you like I could send you the URL but I don't wish to post it publicly. She discusses it in a number of posts. Btw, thanks for the blog, a lot of the stories are very compelling.

    4. Please note that Ms. Renard herself never claimed to be the youngest person in the world to receive SRS. And does it really matter? It's not a competition, is it?
      Also, please note that personal information on a particular transgender forum that appears to be posted by Ms. Renard under her alias, has actually been posted by someone other than Ms. Renard, and this person has been banned by that forum for impersonating Ms. Renard. Ms. Renard does not post any information on any website other than her official website and her News and Media Page. Most of the info on that forum on Ms. Renard is fiction.


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