Mattie's Grand Ol' Hoo-Hoo Hootenanny
To those reading this, my name is Mattie, and I am a fun-loving hippy. I am a photographer, a writer, a musician, and, oh yeah, I'm trans. I was born male, but now I'm not. I'm female, and my message is that I'm just like everyone else"”or as much like everyone else as I can be. I try.
My message is not one of despair and sorrow. I have a family who loves and supports me, friends who have been amazing through this process, passions and dreams, and a heart full of love. During my transition I received the best advice I've ever been given: feeling lonely and needing to make new friends in my new identity my mother told me, "Do what you love to do and you will make friends and they will love you for who you are." This is soooo true, and just by doing what I love--music--I've met so many amazing people that I'm just forever indebted to. While I've certainly faced my share of heartache and adversity, I'm so fortunate that my experience has been mostly positive and I've been blessed to have been able to touch so many lives just by being me and showing people that being trans doesn't make me different from anyone else.
It's been a long process. Estrogen is a hell of a drug. There was a point where my body was changing from week to week, and sometimes I would wake up and not know who I was. Those times have passed, however, and I feel that things are starting to return to normal, and I'd like to get on with my life, but there's just one thing keeping me from that: my, err, umm:.thing:.
Some consider sexual reassignment surgery, or "SRS" to be cosmetic, that I don't need it, but it's so much more than that. It's the difference of being able to wear a bathing suit, or shower in a women's locker room, or have honest sexual relations with my partner. My brain already thinks I have a vagina, and so surgery is a way of lining the body up with the mind and soul. It's the final step in my transformation, and while this process is totally about being comfortable with my body, and learning to love my body, having my body completely line up with the way I feel is the difference between being trans and being a woman ready for the world. This is not a matter of feeling more or less feminine, it's a matter of being granted my womanhood.
This surgery is a line-item exclusion on most company's insurance policies, including the college I used to work for. That means that it is up to me to raise $20k if I want surgery to fix what is essentially a birth defect. Research shows that transgender women's brains are wired like genetic women's, even though they are phenotypically male. If I were a genetic female and my womb were broken I would certainly go get it fixed, and insurance would likely pay for it. Why won't they pay for mine? 90% of transgender persons are un- or underemployed, while at the same time being, on average, more educated than the general population. I'm one of them. So not only will my insurance not pay for my surgery, but I have more school loans (to match my almost-four college degrees) and am barely employed enough to get by, let alone save $20k.
If this were something I didn't have to worry about I would spend my time and resources starting a non-profit that would do outreach for trans and queer youth, as well as educating college students on gender and sexual identity, as both an advocate and ambassador. Women like me need more role models, and I hope to be one. However, to do so, I need to complete my journey, to be able to look back and tell the story from start to finish.
So please help. Every penny counts, and not only supports me, but sends the message to all the other girls out there that their bodies don't have to be a lonely death sentences. I love you all, and thank you in advance!