My name is Rae O'Neil. I am a 36 year old trans woman who's been out close to 3 years now as of writing this.
Undoing the effects of the 'wrong' puberty in my youth has been difficult and expensive. I've spent about 2 years and over $9000 on hair removal alone so I don't wake up to a thick beard shadow every morning in the mirror.
I've underwent a 'vaginoplasty' which basically reconfigured my genitalia and am halfway through the recovery period for that one. Thankfully, the bulk(but not all!) of that process was covered by provincial insurance.
These procedures are not simply cosmetic. Since having my facial hair removed and my bottom surgery, I've gained the confidence to try dating for the first time(at 36!!) and I have way fewer crying fits triggered by a glimpse in the mirror.
Issue is, my face is still a big trigger for me, even without the beard. Some days it feels like looking in the mirror is confronting my jailer of sorts. The prison that was my body for 34 years.
Testosterone has an impact on the skull. Going through teenage with it in my system pronounced and thickened my brow region, narrowed my eyes, thickened my nose, etc... All traits I likely would not have developed had I had the benefit of modern sensitivities and puberty blockers.
There are procedures specifically for trans women to reshape that region of the face. It's known as "facial feminization". It's a form of invasive plastic surgery, and there are very few places that are competent at it. None that I know of in Canada provide the type of brow restructuring I would need. None in the US would be accessible at a realistic price.
Really, after much research and asking around various communities, I landed on a centre in Spain called "FacialTeam " who specialize in this very form of work. I've seen the results of their work both on their site but also from social media mutuals and even a local friend and it's impressive. They seem to be the best 'bang for the buck' in terms of having a really good competence for this as well as not being inaccessibly priced.
Having said that, the quote I got from them is at nearly $25K CAD. And no room or travel expenses are covered during a mandatory stay in Madrid for myself and someone to help me, making the total closer to $30K CAD if I remain frugal.
Not exactly pocket change.
But I am trying my best to save for it. It will take some time, years likely. But due to the expenses already incurred during my transition and my old self's past with debt, I can't currently afford to take out another loan or line of credit to cover it to speed things up any.
For that reason, and for the reason that I am gainfully employed with a good support system, I am conflicted about even starting this GoFundMe. It's hard for me not to think there are far more deserving people than I with far more of a need for your money.
But after numerous appeals by friends I have decided to swallow my pride and start this up.
But please, do not spend money on me you could use better for yourself. And our friendship is not contingent on anyone being able to, really.
Some day, some how, I will get this surgery, come hell or high water. This is just to reduce the amount of time during which I will struggle with my bodily dysphorias.
But thank you for everyone who so truly wanted to help.
- Jen Schwetje
- Robin Ess
- Lorissa Sengara
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