Let's Build A Bridge Together

Yvo Manuel Vas Dias

Yvo Manuel Vas Dias was born on 11 June 1960 in Amsterdam. Yvo a trans man, comes from a Portuguese-Jewish background. He is a Buddhist and a student of Tibetan Lama Ringu Tulku Rinpoche.

About Yvo

What was life like?

Even as a child, Yvo felt that he wanted to build bridges between different cultures and religions. In the 1980s he was educated as a social worker and specialized in working with migrants and LGBT people, as well as bereavement counseling.

After several years in social work, he worked for various LGBT, Buddhist, and cultural organizations in public relations, frequently organizing conferences, book presentations, festivals, and Buddhist programs. Through years of meditation, mantra practice, and retreats, Yvo was very well supported in his transition by his Buddhist teachers.

0 +


0 %


0 +

Years TransAmsterdam


I felt a feeling that I was accepted

I went to the Esnoga – synagogue in Amsterdam, put on a kippah, and then I had a deep feeling that I was accepted by my grandfather and God. Then I could go on with my transition.” -Yvo

Transgender Today

Transgender Lives: Your Stories

Psychologically I had been a man for a lot longer — always, actually — but I kept putting off my transition because I wanted to find peace within my spiritual self first. Both my Jewish background and my strong interest in spirituality posed additional challenges for me.

Raised as a girl, I was a solitary child, mostly spending time in my room. I liked to hang a small notice board on the door that read ‘Do not disturb.’ A romantic at heart, I liked to daydream visualizing myself with a guitar under a balcony, wooing a beautiful lady above. I was in love with the girl next door, as well as the school nurse.

My outlook was colored by melancholy.  The outside world, after all, continued to see me as a girl, which hurt me and made me aggressive. When I was 25, I started to dress and  , and I changed my name.

Buddhism not only helped me t ; it also taught me how to bring together the pieces of masculine identity I had within me and  weld them into one whole.” With the teachings of the Buddha, meditation, reciting mantras, and many retreats, my transition has been a good one.

Through Art, we can meet and empower each other.

Art is the connection. Connection with our own identity, with each other, and also with society. Art allows transgender people to express themselves and show who they are. In addition, through art, we can meet and empower each other, the other. Ensuring a more inclusive and trans-friendly society.

About Yvo

About Yvo's history

During his education as a case manager, Yvo founded the Working Group on Transgender, Religion, Philosophy, and Ethics, with the aim of making connections with various religious and philosophical organizations. As part of this working group keeps in contact with a great number of religious and LGBT organizations, religious leaders, universities, academies; he also continues to carry out research and give lectures on transgender issues.

One study Yvo carried out, “A helping hand,” shows that when someone is emerging in their community as trans and/or when they are transitioning, it can be very difficult for them to access help from or through religious organizations.   Within Christianity, the religion most represented in the study, it was reported that there is very little openness toward sex changes or toward people who do not feel entirely male or female. In fact, the unwilling attitudes of religious leaders can often seriously delay the process of change for trans folks, bringing yet more difficulty and suffering into the lives of vulnerable people. This study shows the need for more research on and dialogue around transgender issues and religion.

What happend over the last years?

Going International

Over the years, Yvo has been in touch with an increasing number of foreign LGBT organizations, began giving advice and lectures. 

In 2014 – 2015 he became the founder and chairman of TransAmsterdam. TransAmsterdam is a transgender organization for art, culture, and lifestyle. TransAmsterdam offers transgenders, cis-genders, and artists a cultural and art stage for their creative outlet. They organize a variety of activities and theme gatherings for and on behalf of transgender individuals. TransAmsterdam has the pleasure of working with; artists, fashion designers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, poets, composers, musicians, writers, actors, directors, museums, students, and arts & culture organizations. They organize a Trans and Friends café InClusion, TransPodium, and set up a Trans Art School.