I’ve always known that I’m transgender male.
By age 12 I was terrified that something was wrong with my body. I insisted that my mom to take me to the doctor so I could ask him about the abnormal growth on my chest. He assured me that I was going through the normal phases of breast development. It was around then that I started to experience daily panic attacks brought on by my changing body.
I grew up in a rural area with almost no access to the Internet, or to any other LGBTQ+ individuals. At the time, I knew as much as any other queer kid on the outskirts of the city: I felt different, and if I had any chance of surviving, I’d keep it all a secret. I didn’t know a “female to male” transition was possible until I was already in my mid-twenties. By then, I realized I had to leave my hometown if I was going to live. When I moved to the city, I pursued hormone therapy. I received my first prescription at age 26. Finally.
Life Right Now
Since receiving this therapy, however, I’ve never passed in front of someone who doesn’t intimately know me. That is, people can’t tell I’m a guy unless they ask, or I inform them. For me, this causes severe gender dysphoria. It debilitates my daily life, and impacts my future. I was a teaching assistant in 2019, and I had to leave the position because I couldn’t handle the stress of being so visible in front of a class. On the campus where I worked, there was a series of vandalizations that stood against transgender people using the washrooms. Out of fear, I started to avoid going to the bathroom at work.
Everyday, I bind my chest, which restricts my breathing and results in chronic neck and shoulder pain. As well, I have asthma, and the chest restrictions result in shortness of breath that make this condition worse. On more than one occasion, I’ve fainted due to binding. Most mornings, I struggle to leave the house, because I have to encounter my body before I leave. I have to shower, and get dressed, and there are days where I can’t without severe distress. I have nightmares, panic attacks, and “shut down days,” where I feel completely incapable of continuing on living in this body.
I want to get back into teaching. I want to wake up, and throw on a T-shirt. I want to walk with my shoulders upright. I want my partner to be able to lay her head on my chest. I need this surgery, and it will be life-saving.
The surgery I need is a called a “double incision with grafts.” It will remove breast tissue, re-position the nipples, and masculinize the surrounding skin and muscle. Where I live in Canada right now, the waitlist for an experienced surgeon is 2 years. I simply cannot wait this long. I’m almost 28, and the thought of spending another year like this, even another 6 months, is excruciating. My only option is to pursue surgery out of province, and pay privately. I’ve had 3 consultations, with different surgeons, and the best surgeon to meet my body’s needs is located in the U.S.A.
The Cost (USD)
Surgery: $ 9,000. 00
Surgery Centre Fee: $2, 275.00
Pathology Fee: $300.00
Flights for me and my support person (I’m not able to be alone for 24 hours after surgery): $800
After-care & Accommodation Fee for 2 weeks: $2,000
The rest of my goal goes toward rent and living expenses for the time I’ll be out of work, and in recovery. I’m expected to be out of work for 8 weeks total.
How You Can Help
It’s very scary to ask for help, but I’m truly at a point of desperation. I’m trying to meet my fundraising goal, and arrange surgery as soon as possible. If you wish to help, you can do so by making a donation of any size (anything helps). It’s also a huge help to share this fundraiser with other folks who may be interested in my cause.
In the Future
I’m passionate about supporting the transgender community, and I’m currently doing a research project involving trans people and the Internet. I want to create a better world for the queer and trans youth of the present and future. I hope to write, teach, and support the community throughout my life. I want to move forward into these goals, and I need this surgery to do it.
I’m so grateful to you for reading. Thank-you in advance for any additional help. Trans-care is notoriously full of barriers: financial accessibility being central. This means so much to me, and my family. I cannot thank-you enough for your generosity. I hope you know that you have saved my life, and that I will continue to pay it forward to other community members. Thank-you.
- Francesca Bradford
- Kristina Greco
- Francesca Bradford
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