Hi, my name is Carolyn, and this is me with my son Connor*. Connor just turned 17, and is an extraordinary young man. He lives with gender dysphoria, meaning that his gender doesn't match that which was assigned to him at birth.
The dysphoria affects his confidence and the way he presents himself to the world every day, and it's his greatest wish to have top surgery, so the way he looks and is treated by the world can match the way he feels inside.
So I'm raising funds to help him get the top surgery he needs. Top surgery is removal of breasts and creation of a masculine chest. That will mean, along with the testosterone he has already been taking for a year, Connor will be able to convincingly present to the world as a man.
It will mean he can buy men's clothes and have them fit properly, and he can walk down the street without feeling like everyone is noticing him.
We've seen a wonderful surgeon who is ready to operate when we are, and Connor cannot wait to make this happen. Unfortunately Medicare and private health insurance only cover a tiny percentage of the cost of this surgery, so we've got some big medical bills to cover.
Connor is just finishing his year 11 studies and he is keen to get into film school when he graduates. I'd love to be able to make this surgery happen for his asap so he can focus on his year 12 studies in a body he finally feels at home in and get on with living his life with just the regular stresses of a high school senior.
Those that know Connor know that he is incredibly intelligent, kind, creative, funny and bizarrely gifted at retaining trivia (ask him anything about sharks or musical theatre!). He plays guitar and is a talented actor and writer. But he also suffers from anxiety and sensory issues, and he sometimes struggles to move about in the world without feeling self conscious and overwhelmed.
Coming out as a trans person at the age of 12 was a tough road for Connor and he's been through an incredible amount for someone so young. And the world has been a cruel place at times. Self harm, suicide attempts, hospitalisations, a lot of therapy, bullying, being called cruel names by 'friends' and strangers - including adults who should know better.
It's been tough to watch such a beautiful person suffer so much just for being himself, but through it all, he has stayed true to who he knows he is and I couldn't be prouder or more grateful to be on this journey with him.
We are also lucky enough to be surrounded with loving friends who recognise what a great young man he is.
All Connor wants is to live comfortably and get on with his life. That's the gift I'd like to be able to give him, and I'd love your help please.
If you have networks where you could share this, or have any ideas on how we could spread the word we'd love to hear about them. I know this will mean the world to Connor, and I'll move whatever mountain I need to in order to make it happen. Thanks for reading, we really appreciate your support!
*Some of you will know Connor by another name but Connor is the name he plans to move forward in his life with.