This is an awkward post to write, so I hope you'll bear with me and read it through to the end.
I'm thirty-one. I help support my disabled mother, who lives in the downstairs unit of my duplex, which needs a new roof this year (and which my roommate and I are working on financing in more traditional ways). My day job pays for as much of this as it can, my writing pays for as much of the rest of it as I can manage, and the rest is occasionally terrifying.
Typical artist scenario, really.
I'm also a Female-to-Male transgender man. I've been out and living as male full-time since 2006, and have been on testosterone for a few years. My insurance doesn't cover my transition at all (save that my hormones are in their formulary, so I pay $7 a couple of times a month instead of $20-30), so all of the medical end of my transition -- endocrinology and surgery -- has to come out of pocket.
Chest masculinization surgery -- aka "top surgery" as it's more commonly called -- is expensive. The alternative, which I've been doing since I came out, is binding my chest using a strong spandex tank-top called a binder. A binder smooths things out, and then I can layer with outerwear, but it also limits my range of movement and compresses my ribs and trunk. Uncomfortable is putting it mildly, but I'm well endowed enough in this particular area that going without really isn't an option.
About a week ago, I had really excellent opportunity to have top surgery basically appear out of nowhere. The surgeon is local, he's knowledgeable and kind, and he thinks I'm a good candidate for surgery. This is, frankly, amazing news.
The trouble is, this surgery costs about $9200, which is nearly fourteen of my regular paychecks. My financing options are limited right now -- fixing the roof is likely to tap out my ability to really take on debt -- but if I can raise at least $6k, my surgeon is willing to work out some financing options with me. The more I can scrape together, though, the better.
If this wasn't a really fantastic opportunity, or if I could do it all by myself, I wouldn't be writing this. It is, though, and I know lots of us have offered contributions for this kind of thing for other folks in this position. My goal is to have the funds by October 31st so that I can schedule surgery before the end of the year (when operating room and anesthesia costs will rise again).
So. Here's how you can help me make this happen:
- Share this link with folks who might be willing to assist. I'm not shy about my trans status, and I'm a writer, so my identity isn't a secret. Shouting from rooftops (using appropriate safety apparatus) is perfectly okay.
- Plain old donations via PayPal. Does what it says on the tin, and you'll have my gratitude all the same. Anyone who donates at least $30 should share their mailing address with me so that I can send something special (probably a Hold Something-style story or other shiny object) once I've met my goal.
So yeah! PayPal button. Gotta love the PayPal button.
- Buy (and if you like it, recommend) my short story, "Finished" (which previously appeared in the now out-of-print LGBTQ issue of Crossed Genres) at Smashwords. It's a story about someone a bit like me, if I also happened to be an intergalactic art thief who can fight like Jason Statham. It's only 99 cents, and I'm quite proud of it.
- Bid on my eBay auctions. I'm harvesting books and other various things from my boxes and shelves, and will have new items up roughly every week. Shipping is via USPS Priority Mail, so this is really mostly only works well if you're in the US.