Blog // Jamal Erbilir on identity, reality and love

Plein Theater and Zehra Handan Aydin present the series Amsterdam Talks Sex! Intelligent conversations about Sex and everything you may not have known, but hoped for!

In the (online) talk shows, Handan sheds light on different sides of sexuality by interviewing different experts with their views on this topic. At the QUEER COMMUNITY edition on March 26, guests include: Jamal Erbilir!

In a Dutch-Turkish-Indian family, Jamal Erbilir grows up in a special ethnically mixed family. He himself indicates that he feels like a child of the world, and he feels at home in many places in the world. From the Turkish side a special family line, during the Ottoman Empire the male family members consisted of well-respected Sufi masters. It is therefore the mystique of the world that appeals to him as the only family member with a Buddhist faith. From a young age he travels the world, and in 2015 ends up in an earthquake in Nepal. Where he stayed with the monks of the monastery, he is confronted with death; he realizes that we must enjoy life in a meaningful way. Not only does his study Graphic Design he looks at the world colorfully, creatively and intensively. Jamal is now working on the inclusivity and diversity project for the LGBTIQAPC community on behalf of The School of Life.



'Are you from the other side?' a man asks

I sigh. Do I actually feel like this? I certainly don't have to prove myself. After all, I have had conversations like this before. On the other hand, he may be somewhat ignorant, and his question is unhappy. Maybe I'm too naive.

"Depends on which side you are on" I answer

He gives me a glassy look.

"I mean, you are not the bitches," he says

'Women' I answer.

Already a tiring conversation. Why are we so different? Goes through me. Aren't we both men? You would even think apart from my sexuality that we would understand each other better.

'It doesn't matter to me, man he says it's all fine for me. Do you believe in love? '

It's all fine for me, I repeat in my head. Sometimes I wonder if certain heterosexual people really think we are waiting for their approval. As if it's some kind of blessing when the straight person accepts me.

'Yes I believe in love, the most magical thing there is to me is' I answer

"Real love can only be between a man and a woman," he says

Remember that one sound from Windows 95? In which your computer boots? You know: Dun redun dun dun. I think my brain went offline for a while and online with comments like this I lose hope of a good conversation.

I quit

'Have a nice evening' I say to him, and walk away

I light a joint and my thoughts go back to the past.

As a teenager I grew up with an idea that I had to prove myself. Not only to my parents and the rest of my family, but also to these kinds of random people in society. The idea that I had to prove myself really a guy, that I pretended to be more tough so that I wouldn't be bullied at school, or get into a fight with boys.

In addition, I was also looking for a place where I could be myself, but the problem was that I did not yet know what that meant. There was only one obvious place where this should have been: Regular cross street, windscreen then.

I walk to the bar

'Hi, what do you want to drink? the bartender asks

Actually I don't like alcohol, in advance I don't like bitter flavors so beer actually falls off. And wine wasn't my cup of tea either. Then just a coke? No I think, don't I look like a child?

'Just do a Heineken' - I answer

Yuck, but at least it gives me a stupid sense of self confidence.

Someone is looking at me.

'Hi how are you? a boy asks

'Yes, well, thank you. For the first time here '

'You look good, are you top or bottom? '

Oh yeah. I am now entering the shallow conversation of the other sexualities spectrum. But this question is important, because it allows me to find out if we "fit together". I am -

I blow out the smoke from my joint, my thoughts come back to the present, I smile. Much has changed since then, and nothing has changed.

Sometimes we end up in conversations that we experience as uncomfortable, a conversation that we never want to have or have chosen a confrontation that we would rather avoid.

As I get older I learn to communicate better and I have been lucky enough to come into contact with Buddhism. From the age of 16 I have learned a lot about myself because of this. About my emotions, my thoughts, how my consciousness works.

Now more than 10 years and many insights and experiences further, there are many things that I have learned. Three questions have helped me enormously. I am happy to share them with you and I hope it helps you too!


What is my identity?

What is my reality?

How do I see love?

Do you want to find out who you are or who you are not? What does or does not limit you? Then do it according to these “3 floating steps to spiritual Kum Bah Ya liberations” Just kidding, a little self-mockery should be possible, but really give it a chance.

1. What is my identity?

Self-identification is a way to find out what you feel connected to. Gender identity, sexuality, your interests, your beliefs, everything you feel connected to and get energy from in which you find a piece of yourself becomes a piece of your self-identification. Self-identification is the lens through which you perceive your world and reality. This is unique, therefore also subjective and can change from moment to moment. Instead of looking for a feeling that really defines us as human beings, we can also see ourselves as a collection, nothing defines you and nothing limits you. You create your own uniqueness.

2. What is my reality?

Because we create our own reality through the lens with which we perceive the world, there is a good chance that we will see, understand and judge something incorrectly. In fact, it is much more likely that your judgment about someone you do not know is more often incorrect than correct. This is because we believe that what we perceive is reality, but your reality is not absolute reality. Reality consists of countless possibilities, every living being on the planet has its own reality. Try to be open to a new perspective, this will enrich your awareness and activate stimuli for development.

3. How do I see love?

Love, like any other emotion, is a form of energy. We humans have given a word to this energy, we do this so that we understand what we are talking about, that is so easy. But with that we also seem to limit what this energy can entail and mean for you.

We do a little exercise, focus on the emotion of love, let your body fill up with everything that means to you and hold this attention, now you are trying to transform this energy into a form that will make everything you feel from the love towards your mother until your goldfish defines the earth or something or someone else. Try to compress it almost, you can only choose 1 shape which defines that.

Did you manage without feeling like you have to compensate for something or someone?

Probably not.

This is because energy, your own emotion, has no limitations - unless you create it yourself. Consciously or unconsciously.

Because love is possible, it will manifest. This is a scientific explanation of sexuality. Because it is possible, it can be there.

We are all in our own process. Give yourself a little space and be patient with yourself. The next time you start a conversation. then try to listen objectively without judging. Try to stay away from labels like pleasant or unpleasant, positive or negative. So start the conversation openly. Look at yourself and the other with love. If you can embrace your own imperfection, you can also understand the imperfection of the other.

Of course, that does not mean that by definition you just have to accept, support or make endless time for everything.

Because reclaiming your time, is totally legit.


Jamal Erbilir

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