Hello! My name is Sal (@thesalamanderchicago on Instagram), and I'm an Asian-American trans woman living in Chicago, IL. I work to provide free HIV testing across the city and gender-inclusive sex education in educational settings. I also work with Trikone Chicago to foster safer spaces for LGBTQ folks of South Asian heritage and their loved ones. I'm raising money for my first set of gender affirming surgeries, scheduled for January 29 in San Francisco and could use all the help I get!
One of the reasons the surgeries cost as much as they do is that I have to undergo them in the US. I have specific medical conditions (Crohn's, to be specific) which would make being abroad for major surgery and thus fully outside of my primary specialist's supervision inadvisable.
Unfortunately, while I do work in an LGBTQ-centered organization, our work health insurance does not cover this particular set of procedures. I am an immigrant, and I support myself and my father, who lives back home in Bangladesh, financially. Thus I have not much by way of savings and nothing in terms of inherited wealth. $31,000 is a sum of money I have never encountered in my life, to be honest. But this set of gender affirming procedures, commonly known as FFS, will make a tremendous difference to my mental health and quality of life, and I don't want to give up on it out of fear. Navigating the world as a trans immigrant of color feels very often like hard work, although I am fortunate to have numerous kinds of joy and support (specifically chosen family) in my life. Gender affirming procedures such as these ones will make that labor feel more tolerable, I believe.
I fully understand that a lot of you who will encounter this campaign are in similar financial straits as I am and are unable to contribute much, although you may have great empathy for me. Others may feel that, given how much marginalization trans women of color (specifically black and Latina trans women) face in the United States, you'd rather direct your financial support to the most needy. This makes so much sense to me, and I have been tentative for a very long time about asking for support in this way out of the fear that I will be displacing the needs of those more marginalized than me. If these are concerns you have, I encourage you to support me by sharing my story and campaign with people who have more resources at their disposal. 62 rich uncles/aunts donating $500 each gets us to my goal! Or 1240 friends from all of our social media follow lists put together donating $25 each!
But whatever you're able to do -- whether in the form of a contribution or a share on social media -- is deeply meaningful and significant to me. Thank you so much.
(tl;dr - I’m raising money for gender affirming procedures scheduled in January and appreciate