Current military policy forbids trans* people from serving. After over 7 years of service, my friend Jake has decided to leave the military in order to take the next steps in his gender transition, namely top surgery.
Jake, whom I cannot identify further in order to allow him to leave the military on his own timeline, is a full-time student, involved in research and advocacy for the trans* community.
As a doctoral student with a limited income whose insurance doesn't cover any of the surgery costs, Jake is planning on taking out loans to cover his expenses: 11,264 dollars plus the 2,000 he's already saved (breakdown below).
I'd like to help him with as much of this price tag as possible. Jake works around the clock to help others and is involved in very meaningful and impactful change efforts; I think this is an opportunity for the community to help support someone who has long supported it.
We are still developing this page, so more funding options will become available in the next week or so. Jake is hoping to have surgery as soon as possible in 2014. When I asked Jake if I could create this page for him, he agreed on the condition that I make available non-financial opportunities to support him. This transition is more than just the surgery - it is about getting in shape and it is also about transitioning out of his military career. So in addition to the "funding levels" through this page, we'll have "supporting levels" equivalent to donation levels. To donate one of the non-monetary contributions, please email [email redacted]
$5.00 - Everyone who donates will receive a thank you card from Jake. If you contribute before December 25th, you'll get a special Holiday Card from The Dude Ranch. (Donors at any level receive this card)
$25.00 - This level gets you a personalized and hand written thank you letter from Jake in addition to the thank you and/or holiday card.
Jake's First Paycheck - Jake will donate all of his first paycheck as a professional psychologist (post-gradschool) to the NPOs you choose! This donation will happen in 2017 or 2018, depending on his career trajectory and the paycheck will be distributed in full across the NPOs chosen by donors at this level and above (each donor gets an equal cut). Jake reserves the right to veto an organization if it engages in discriminatory/oppressive practices and/or does not support social justice. Here are some great organizations that Jake recommends:
The Wounded Warrior Project
The Fairness Coalition
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project
Transgender American Veteran's Association
National Center for Transgender Equality
Cheer Jake Up - This isn't going to be an easy process. If you want to support Jake in a non-monetary way, consider taking him out for a beer. This is equivalent to the $50.00 level and gets the same perks! Email [email redacted] if you'd like to contribute this way.
$100.00 - Individuals at this level get a special invite to the party celebrating Jake's recovery and transition out of the military (date, location TBD) and a free drink! Additionally, donors at this level can choose from one of the $25, $30, or $50 level rewards.
Work Out With Jake - Jake has set a goal to lose 10-15 pounds before his surgery and really get in shape. If you're local (or want to travel), consider being a work out buddy and consistently joining him in lifting weights, running, etc. This is equivalent to the $100 level and includes those perks. Email [email redacted] to set this up.
Take Care of Jake's Cats - A week of feeding and litter box duty goes a long way when you have three cats at home and are working on such a big transition / changing the world. Equivalent to the $100 level, come over to The Dude Ranch twice a day for a week (while he's gone for surgery or as needed) and take care of our cats! Email us at [email redacted] to set this up.
$500.00 - I (Sebastian) will DJ for you up to 4 hours at any sort of function (as long as it is determined to be safe for me). This does not include sound equipment or travel, but does include 240 minutes of booty-shaking tunes and professional-level mixing and entertainment. My DJ name is Blanche Devereauxx - contact [email redacted] for more information. This includes the $100 level perks.
$1000.00 - This amazing donation gets you millions of thanks, all of the gift options from lower levels, and a home-cooked meal prepared by Jake. He is known for his fried chicken and southern specialties but vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options will be available upon request. For a community feel we will all feast together at The Dude Ranch or individual appointments can be made (this perk does not include travel expenses). Contact [email redacted] for more information.
Breakdown for the cost of surgery:
Travel for Jake and his dad: $1400
8 days hotel stay with recovery ward/nurse: $1300
Surgery: $7500 + $2000 fees
Recovery: $500 (incl. surgical vest, prescriptions, wound care, scar care)
Subtracting the $2000 Jake has saved, and including the 5% that goes to this gofundme page, the total is: $11,264
Cost estimates are on the high side but any funds raised in excess of $11,264 and/or residual funds will be donated as seed money for an emergency relief fund benefiting actively serving trans* military service members. Many veterans struggle financially during the transition to civilian life, but trans* vets often face additional challenges, including familial rejection, difficulty finding work, etc. Often trans service members who involuntarily discharged have no where to go or no way to pay their bills. Similar to the Army Emergency Relief fund, this money will help ensure that these service members most basic needs are met during this difficult transition.
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