My name is Louis and I am a queer 29-year-old trans man living in Brooklyn NY. I am a sex educator by trade, and an active union member at the sex-toy store I work at. I live with my dog, I play Dungeons and Dragons, and I have a huge community of friends and coworkers that I wouldn't trade for the world.
As a trans man, I experience gender dysmorphia. In layman's terms, its a feeling of hurt, frustration, sadness, and disbelief when people see me as a woman. It feels like people are unable to see me the same as they can see other people. I've been on hormone therapy for a little less than a year now, and have had great results treating my gender dysmorphia with physically transitioning via hormone therapy. I can now "pass" for a man most of the time with most people. I look like a man, I wear men's clothes, I have a voice that people hear as masculine and I am so much healthier and happier then I was before coming out.
Up until this point, my being a man has included wearing a binder every day to constrict my breasts into a flat shape, and always wearing ill-fitting clothes. Binders are, by definition, uncomfortable, hard to breathe in, impossible to exercise in, and are not a viable option for me indefinitely. Especially due to the size of my very large chest.
Binding keeps me away from normal, everyday activities. I would like to be able to go to the gym to maintain my health. (Before I started binding I would often bike to work and was making fantastic progress in my weightlifting goals.) I would like to be able to fit into men's clothes. I would like to breathe easily. And most importantly, I would like to live without fear that someone will see a bit of cleavage pop out, and I will have to diffuse a potentially dangerous situation.
Binding has been worth it so far, as when I do not bind, I am read as a woman. However, getting top surgery is a viable permanent treatment option that I have chosen to pursue. Top surgery for me would be surgically removing my breast tissue. I don't just want top surgery for aesthetic reasons. Top surgery is going to allow me a huge lifestyle change, treat my gender dysphoria, and literally allow me to breathe.
I am getting gender affirming surgery (top surgery,) on September 17th, 2018. In medical terms, that is a double mastectomy with nipple grafts. I am getting top surgery as a treatment for gender dysmorphia, in conjunction with hormone therapy. However, I need a bit of help. I cannot afford to fully cover the cost of my top surgery by myself. The health insurance that I receive as a union benefit, is covering most of the cost of surgery. But as a sex educator, I simply do not make enough money to cover the rest of it.
In my gender journey, I have often relied on the support of my community. The first people to start using my new name and my new pronouns were my friends from playing Dungeons and Dragons and my coworkers. My first binders were hand-me-downs from friends, as I was too scared to buy one for myself at first. I am relying on my community again with this fund, to help me get my gender affirmation surgery.
In my work, I make a warm and welcoming environment for folks when they come into the shop, regardless of their gender (status,) sexuality, age, ability level or race. My job isn't limited to speaking to folks about sex, but I also teach about body positivity, safer sex/harm reduction, consent culture and nurturing masculinity. I first became a sex educator to help make spaces for marginalized folks to be comfortable getting resources, and soon realized I was also making space for myself to transition.
I am asking for your help personally. Maybe you know me from a DnD game, or you have worked with me. Maybe you are a proud union member, or maybe you are a member of the multifaceted sex-positive/body-positive/LGBTQueer community here in NYC. Whether you are a family member who has known me for years, or if we have never met before, you can have a big impact on my life just by sharing this crowdfunding campaign on your social media. Every dollar contributed is going directly to paying my medical bills from the surgery, or paying my rent as I need to take time off from work after the surgery. Please give what you can, and share this on your feeds or amongst your network.
Thank you for contributing!
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