Hi, I'm Jenne. I'm 43 years old, and four years ago I realised something big about myself. Having struggled with oversensitivity, painful weight and the feeling that my boobs were always in the way my whole life, one afternoon in September 2017 the thought, "I would feel so much freer without boobs," popped into my head. The utter relief and calm that washed over me, the sense of "this is right" was a watershed moment for me.
My whole adult life I have hated my over-sensitive nipples. Barely touching them causes an "electric" type tickle, and this is very disturbing and upsetting. I pushed through this to breastfeed my son, but it wasn't easy. I can't be touched there, even accidentally, and this means I spend a good portion of my day protecting the area and pushing away those closest to me so I don't get "zapped".
After realising that the boobs needed to go, I went into a deep research dive (my favourite thing!) as I still thought I was cis when I first went to my GP seeking help. I joined a facebook group that I learned of through a friend who had a prophylactic double mastectomy due to having the breast cancer gene. This gave me good information about what scarring could be like, and what recovery could be like, but it wasn't quite right, as the women there had to have a much more intensive surgical intervention than I was looking for. Many of the women there were angry at me for "not having any health reasons" for seeking bilateral mastectomy, which made me feel horrible.
Someone on the group messaged me and told me that there are groups for trans*men who had top surgery, and I realised that was definitely a better fit, so I joined one. It certainly was, because no-one there had to have lymph nodes removed, so I could have a much clearer understanding of what surgery and recovery would be like.
Not long after I joined, I happened to notice a group advertised for non-binary top surgery, which seemed an even better fit, even if I didn't quite understand what that meant. I looked up "non-binary" to get a better handle on what that meant and saw the word GENDERQUEER, which I had always felt drawn to. BAM! It was like a light bulb going off in my head. Everything suddenly fit. I thought I was cis because "I'm not a man," but I've been gender non-conforming and politically and socially active around trans issues, and it suddenly occurred to me that although I've been saying "gender is a spectrum" for years, I hadn't applied that to myself.
I still want top surgery, and I'm coming to this from a much clearer place than when I first went to my GP.
Now we get to the part about why I need to raise funds for this. Three years of seeking support from the NHS, I have resigned myself to the knowledge that gender care on the NHS is nearly nonexistent. The official maximum wait time for a first appointment at the only clinicians that the NHS will accept surgery recommendations from (Gender Identity Clinics) is 18 months, which sounds good. However, not one of the 7 GICs currently accepting referrals has a wait of less than 30+ months, for just the first appointment. It can take a year between the first appointment and the appointment where surgery could be recommended.
I don't have that long anymore, I can't wait. I need help to be able to move forward with my life and stop protecting my body and to live as my true self.
The surgery will cost just upwards of £7000, and I will be seeking a loan to cover what I don't raise through this.
If I manage to get more than I need, I will donate the excess to other trans folk needing financial assistance.