Hi I go by Jay, I’m 23 years old & I identify as a trans male but I haven’t always been so sure of my identity. Since I was a kid I always had a hard time feeling like I fit in, I always tried to put myself in a box to accommodate to societal norms. I didn’t want to be an “outcast” or a misfit. So I thought I was gay turns out I’m not gay I didn’t understand that identity and sexuality are two separate entities because growing up they always intertwined. When I was 16 I questioned my gender identity but I had so much going on that I didn’t give myself to explore that, I thought those feelings would eventually go away. They didn’t go away and it got worse and worse. My gender dysphoria progressed to the point of not being able to look at myself in the mirror. I know I’m beautiful but the image of myself never aligned with my physical body. I started to suffer major depressive disorder and panic disorder due to the traumas I dealt with growing up. I lost my care giver/guardian at a young age I was 17. These things forced me to grow up really fast, I had to figure out how I was going to live my life without parental support and it hasn’t been easy. My father doesn’t support my identity and hasn’t been around, my mom doesn’t completely agree she tries her best. I have the support of my chosen family my two close friends that I love dearly. In November of 2021 my panic attacks were getting so severe It triggered a disassociation episode I could barely recognize my hands I had to quit working and seek psychiatric care. After waiting for a few weeks I saw my doctor and started to medicate myself for my depression. It was rough at first but it helped clear the fog from my mind. The longer I stayed sober the longer things started to make sense. I would use to get outside of myself, I couldn’t stand my skin. In January I relapsed and unfortunately it was the worst run of my life I lost my mind and went into a drug induced psychosis. So I looked for a treatment center with the help of my friends that would take my insurance, and I did. Ever since then I’ve been in intensive trauma therapy, dialectical therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy as well as psychotherapy. I’ve learned how to cope without the use of drugs and today I’m still sober since April 27th, I live in a sober home in west palm beach as of June. What I discovered through therapy was my identity. I came to terms with the fact that I am transgender and I don’t feel ashamed or guilty of that anymore after months of trying I am on HRT ( hormone replacement therapy ) and medically transitioning my next step would be top surgery or chest masculinization surgery. Slowly but surely I’m starting to recognize myself in the mirror and today I can say that I love myself, I take care of myself. So I’m asking for help of fellow brothers in sisters in the trans community, and Allies that want to help me fund my top surgery to me this means that I’ll be able to feel complete when I look in the mirror. I don’t want to hide anymore, I want to experience life as the man that I am. I believe that I was always meant to live the experience of a trans-man. I’ve never felt so liberated from the chains of societal norms. I love you all who took the time to read this you are helping out just by reading this. Anything helps. I hope to share my strength and hope with younger lgbt kids and young adults so that they know that we are not alone anymore the world is changing yet we still fight for our rights. Unfortunately transgender care and gender affirming surgery is not covered by insurance in Florida. I want to freely express myself on the outside as I see myself on the inside today I love my vessel. I had a consultation with doctor Garamone a cosmetic surgeon and he suggested that I have double incision surgery with nipple grafts since I do have a large chest that will most likely also need liposuction to remove any extra fat around where the chest will be reconstructed. This type of surgery takes longer about 2-3 hours a procedure that shouldn’t be rushed. The financial side of it comes down to about $14,000 for the surgery and $300 for the pathology fee. It is not covered by Medicare and I would have to pay some out of pocket. I’ve been researching other options and dr.Russell does double Incision surgery for about $8,000 including all fees so I have time to think about this decision Ideally I’d like to have this surgery within a year , but I know it will take some time for me to raise money and save some on my own considering that I am on my own and pay all of my necessities. I’ll also need to have money saved up for the recovery period where most likely a close friend will take care of me. I would also need a letter of approval from my doctor and therapist stating that I am in fact transgender and that the dysphoria makes it difficult for me to remain with my breasts and that I am mentally stable enough to have this surgery. I think it shouldn’t be so difficult but it is what it is in this state trans care just isn’t as accepted and that’s okay. It’s stories like mine that will change this for the younger trans kids that will come after me. Lately I’ve been binding and using trans tape to help with my chest dysphoria but it hurts after a few days but if I don’t bind I feel like hiding in my room, I feel like people will not perceive me as a man and I understand that I shouldn’t care about how people perceive me but it also important to me to feel affirmed in my gender expression. Help me make a difference and share my story . I’m an open book at this point of my life and I want to advocate for this community.
West Palm Beach, FL