Hello, my name is Tem, and I need your help getting something off my chest.
I'm a 26 year-old transgender roller derby referee living in Scotland, and I've been pursuing top surgery via the National Health Service for many years now. Unfortunately, I am no closer to achieving this goal than I was when I started out. I'm autistic and suffer from PTSD as well as depression and anxiety, and this combination of neurodiversities has made it impossible for me to jump through the medical hoops required to access gender-affirming medical treatment via the state-sponsored health service.
I have been told by my doctors that I will not be referred for surgery until my mental health improves and is 'stable' enough for my decision to be considered an informed choice, but as I spend more and more time being denied these services, my mental health only gets worse.
I've reached the point now though where my physical health is being seriously compromised too, and it's for this reason that I've finally been persuaded into starting this fundraiser. As an internationally elite-level roller derby referee, I spend an average of 20 hours per week roller skating hard in circles round a track in sports halls all over the world and my dysphoria is such that I CANNOT do so without wearing a binder.
Chest binding in a long-term way even just in day-to-day life has serious impacts on spinal, muscular, and respiratory health, and any reputable sources about binding will stress that exercising while wearing a binder is dangerous. I have suffered broken ribs, slipped discs, muscle spasms, bruising, and respiratory issues during games due to the pressure of my binder, but not wearing it is simply not an option.
These physical issues are getting worse and worse, and I am approaching the point where I may have to stop skating altogether until I get my surgery.
That's where this fundraiser comes in - roller derby has saved my life so many times over the years, and my mental health would be nonexistent without it. I cannot face the prospect of not skating for however long it might take for the medical establishment to decide I am sane enough to be referred. It has been four years since my first appointment and I am no closer.
The costs of accessing top surgery privately are estimated to be £6000-£7000 for the surgery itself, and ~£200 per consultation required.
I don't at all expect that this fundraiser will raise that entire figure, but any amount at all that I can gather will bring me closer to realising this vital element of my transition. If you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so, it would be a genuinely life-saving act. If you're reading this, and care about this, and are not in a position to donate financially - I totally understand that thing - If you do want to help in some way though, please consider sharing this around, the more people who see this, the more chance we have of chipping away at that terrifying total figure...
Thank you so much for reading this, chances are you've probably helped me more than you'll ever know. <3
Photo credit to the wonderful Preflash Gordon