edit: the surgery date has been changed to May 23.
I'm having a bilateral mastectomy and chest reconstruction, also known as top surgery, on April 25. These funds are to help offset the cost of health insurance co-pays and make the healing process a little easier.
For anyone reading this who doesn't know, I've been going through treatment for gender dysphoria including hormone replacement therapy. I'm currently in the process of what's known as a non-binary transition. I identify as non-binary, or gender non-conforming. I ask that people use "they/them" pronouns when referring to me. My relationship to my gender and presentation has always been difficult for me to articulate and sometimes even to be certain of, but I've wanted this surgery for a long, long time.
Especially since I starting performing on stage, about 20 years ago, I've been extremely conscious of the dissonance between how I identify and how I present myself. I've talked about this some publicly, and in print, but I don't know that I have or really can convey the psychological toll it's taken. I've been binding (wearing an undergarment that flattens my chest) on stage for a few years now, which helps with presentation but is also very restrictive and has made singing...difficult.
I'm very fortunate to live in a city that's now home not only to an incredible trans community but also to the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health, and have been greatly helped by the team of people working there. I also have medical insurance thanks to the Maryland Health Connection and Obamacare, and that will cover most of the costs involved.
After the surgery, I'll have limited use of my body and need someone living with me for a couple of weeks. Part of these funds will pay for that person's travel and help with living expenses, theirs and mine, for that time. Recovery for this surgery requires one to sleep on their back, which I've never done in my life that I can recall, so this will also help with the purchase of a cheap recliner and a gravity blanket to hopefully help with that.
I don't currently know what my insurance co-pays will be, and one can't really know what additional costs will inevitably crop up, so I'm setting this relatively low for the time being and will raise the goal if needed. In the event there is money left over, it'll go to my band's existing fund with the local community foundation and/or taking my godson to Chuck E Cheese as a way of making it up to him for not being able to hang out with him for a few weeks.
I know not everyone will have anything to contribute to this and I appreciate you just reading and being a part of my life.
If you have more questions related to transgender anything, please follow this link: https://www.glaad.org/transgender/transfaq