My name is Leah and I am 14 years old from Australia and I am hoping you can help me to help my mum.
So why am I seeking your help?
Well my mum was born with a rare form of a genetic condition called Mosaic Chromosomal Disorder *(MCD) that has impacted on her all of her life. In fact, she has had to endure a lot ridicule by others and several medical complications over the years including extensive and dehumanizing surgeries. In 2017 she was diagnosed with cancer in her throat and neck and in that very same month was fired from her job as a Social worker and Children’s Psychotherapist, all due to her boss illegally finding out that she was intersex and deciding that this made her somehow unnatural and, in his eyes, a bad person. She was assaulted, stripped of her dignity and in the process, we were forced to flee our hometown in the middle of the night to escape the public attacks by those who found out and wanted to hurt us.
What is Intersex?
Intersex: is a general term used to describe a variety of genetic and physical situations in which a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't fit within the boxes of “female” or “male.” In many cases doctors perform disgusting surgeries on intersex babies and children to make their bodies fit their own notions of “male” or “female”. This leaves many of these children scared both physically and emotionally for their whole lives. In many cases these children end their lives long before adulthood due to complications from surgery and social pressure to conform to the medical communities' standards.
*links below explaining condition
What is my mums' story?
Well she was born with a rare form of mosaic chromosome's and this has meant she has been on several medications and had to undergo surgical procedures in her life to correct issues. When she was born the doctors did not understand her condition and so she was raised as a boy despite have XX chromosomes. However, she always knew something was not right. When she was a teen she was forced onto testosterone to help her finally develop physically. As the years pass, she started to feel worse and the overwhelming emotions began to impact on her daily life, including wanting to hurt herself and sadly she attempted suicide several times before I was even born and even since then.
She was born in Northern Ireland during a time of immense sectarian violence (*this means violence between different ideologies or religions within a country). Her earliest memories were those of armed soldiers, shootings, bombs, unrelenting fear and daily persecution. In the early 1990s she immigrated to Australia with her mother, brother and sisters to escape the violence. Sadly, with all that occurred she developed something called ‘Post traumatic syndrome’ (PTSD) which only further added to her problems.
In her early twenties she began a new course of medications along with testosterone to help her be able to have “ME” and my brother. She also needed the help of another person to carry us in their tummy, so it was not an easy process. After we were born, she attended University fulltime as a single parent, studying late at night and caring for us without any support. When she graduated, she began working with young children and teens that had been abused or facing medical issues of their own. In 2017 she developed cancer and could not get the help she needed in Australia so she was forced to go overseas. This meant getting bank loans and using all our savings to pay for the treatments. I am not sure how much it all cost but I think it was more than 100 thousand. In 2018 we moved to a small country town to be near my grandmother for support, but this did not end well. My mum explained to the whole family she wanted to transition into a fully female due to her intersex condition, and not everyone was supportive of her. This sucked as she cried a lot and lost everyone she loved (accept me as I love her heaps). Around the same time people in our small town found out my mum was intersex and transitioning, after someone stole her birth certificate and ID. A few days later our car was vandalized and our home too. They did $10,000 in damage to our family car and spray painted the walls and windows with death threats. This has continued almost every day since then including being assaulted and having graffiti on the walls say they will kill her for being different. Right now, I am living in my granny's house as it is not safe there and my mum is living there alone facing all the abuse. It has gotten so bad she had her story published in several newspaper and websites
Newspaper link to her story
What do I want to raise the money for?
Due to past medical complications growing up in an attempt to make her look like a boy she now has to undo the damage done to her. This means complex surgery to return her to a girl again. There is a specialist in America, who can do the corrective operation to help her. He is trained to help both intersex and transgender people with a surgery called sex reassignment surgery (SRS). He also corrects issues for intersex people like my mum who have endured female/male genital mutilation! But it is expensive and something my mum could never afford in her lifetime, not with all the debts for her cancer treatment, a loan to fix our car and raising us as a single mum. So, I want to do it for her by asking people to help me help her please. At the moment she does not know I am doing this with the help of my big brother and I want it to be a surprise.
A story about the major operation our mum will need
How much do we need to raise?
A lot. She will need three operations and each one is more expensive each time. In total it would cost us $120,000 Australian dollars to undo past damage and rebuilding her reproductive area. But instead of trying to raise it all at once I hope to raise the cost for the first stage which is $20,000. This would allow her to have the damage corrected and help her to begin to heal. It would also get her out of the dangerous situation she is in with all the violence directed at her. It would mean we could live together again and not be separated in a new city or town where she can get support :(
If we raised anything else it would mean she could start to look at seeing the specialist in America to complete everything. I love my mum and seeing her happy for the first time about who she is means everything to me and my brother which is why we choose to do this and we just hope people will read our story and maybe help share it or donate, so we can save our mum further pain.
This is my very nerdy mum :)
This is a bunch of links that explain things :)
What is intersex
What is MCD
Intersex genital mutilation