Funds for my college tuition

Hello, my name is Cynthia. I'm a first-year student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. I am also in the Longhorn Band - I'm a member of the SOBs (Society of Baritones) - and plan to continue to be a member of LHB for every year of attending college at UT. Whatever I do with my degree, I want to help the world become a better place and push technology to benefit more people in the world.

Currently, I am unable to fund for my education and personal expenses out of pocket and must take out loans to continue my education because my parents refuse to pay for my education because I do not wish to come home, the reason for which is that I do not want to deal with endangering my safety by coming out to my parents again as transgender in physical proximity.

I indentify as female and use she/her pronouns. I first came to terms with my gender identity when I was around 13; this was also when I first tried to come out to my parents. Unfortunately, my parents were not accepting of who I am, physically and emotionally abused me (with their parental authority and responsibility to "fix" me as their justification), and threatened to kick me out of the house. Forced into a corner, I went back into the closet and waited it out for a long 5-6 years of my parents still emotionally abusing me to make sure I remained "fixed" until I graduated high school. Now, I could have some physical distance away from my parents to finally come out in a safer environment and explore who I am, not only as a trans person but as a person in general. I met many people who accepted me for who I am, both in my classes and in the Longhorn Band, and who I can be comfortable around.

However, despite the physical distance between me and my parents, my parents still find ways to reach me. They constantly call my phone and text me with the premise of "seeing how I'm doing", only to end with a beration of my existence and my inability to fulfill my duties as their child. While I tried to minimize this interference with my life as much as possible, it affected my concentration by creating stress that I didn't want or need. Moreover, my attempts to minimize the interference intensified my parents' abuse, as they felt that I was being less of an ideal child who didn't love them.

They were right. I couldn't "love" them. The 18 years of living under them had worn down any sense of love I may have had for them to dust, and all their attempts to bring it back by demanding that I love and respect them when they have done nothing to earn it has slowly blown all the dust away to leave nothing for my parents.

As winter break approaches, this escalated to my parents demanding that I come home (because they are "concerned" about if I've deviated from their ideals) or else they will cut me off and not pay for my tuition. They have even threatened to personally pull me out of the university because they believe that I don't deserve to have an education if I can't conform to their ideals of what a child should be (outside of being trans).

Because of this, I have filed a Dependency Change Appeal to the University of Texas of Austin so that I may be allowed to borrow enough money from federal loans to pay off tuition and still be able to attend UT Austin and be part of the community I am building.  I have also applied for jobs, none of which I have heard back yet, so that I can have a source of income, at least for medical and personal expenses.

In an ideal situation, I would be able to pay off all of these loan - or even not need to draw out loans at all - and all my medical and personal expenses. However, I know that this is not realistic. I also have medical expenses to pay - hormone replacement therapy (HRT), electrolysis hair removal (for facial hair), and bottom surgery (also called Gender Reassignment/Confirmation Surgery), just to name a few. Therefore, I have currently set a goal of only $1000. Depending on the success of this GoFundMe, I may adjust this amount later in the future.

In terms of how the money raised will be used, these are my current priorities:
1.) Early/minor medical and personal expenses. In the worst case scenario, I will graduate with all of my tuition (sans the first semester) as student debt. While this is not ideal, I plan to get a job after college and pay these debts off if it comes to this. However, early/minor medical and personal expenses (such as hormone replacement therapy, or HRT) are more important to pay off early, as their time dependence is shorter (ex: While student loan debts can be paid off after I graduate in a few years, hormones must be paid for before receiving it, like all other medication). Therefore, I will prioritize these expenses, but also keep this to a minimum to relay much of the money as possible to my next priority:

2.) College tuition. In order to minimize the amount of student debt I have, I will minimize the first priority and put as much money as possible into paying for my college tuition so that I can graduate with less student debt.

3.) Major/Late medical and personal expenses. Any remaining money after paying off Priorities 1 and 2 will be saved up for major medical and personal expenses, such as surgery. Of course, this is only in an ideal situation.

I appreciate all donations, big or small, made to this fundraiser. Any amount, no matter how small, will make a difference to my life and lessen any financial stress so that I can focus on school and band and help the world when I graduate college.
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Cynthia Cho 
Austin, TX
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