Robi's Surgery & Recovery


My name is Ruty, but this isn't for me. It’s for my sibling Robi (they/them), who is trans* genderqueer and has recently undergone gender affirming top surgery. If you want to skip the backstory and get to the meat, scroll down to the bold.

I was an only child, the center of attention, and the sun of the world around me. Yet, somewhere I knew something was missing. I was too young for the me of today to recall how I knew, but something was missing. I always knew I wanted a sibling.

Robi joining our family has been one of the greatest impacts on my life. Robi taught me how to care for someone other than myself, how to share, empathize, and they loved me with the enamored eyes reserved for most superheroes. Nearly always at my side, we'd roam the neighborhood on our bikes, play any sport the other kids were into, and build forts in every tree that appeared sturdy enough. We grew up in a time when kids ran rampant in the streets without fear of today's worries.

Over the years, I watched my sibling become a leader in social change and inclusion in their community. Through their activism, they helped start Girls Rock Jacksonville (GRJ), ​a music summer camp cultivating self­-empowerment and positive identity development in girls and trans* youth through music expression and community. At a time when transgender and gender nonconforming people are experiencing heightened visibility, the narrative is often misrepresented and tokenized. The silver lining is that there’s also increasing access to resources and distribution networks to help support and celebrate those on their gender journey.

I’m continuously inspired by Robi’s artistic and musical creations. Although the breadth of their practice is wide in terms of tools and genres, Robi’s work can be understood as a sonic and lyrical reflection of the emotional landscapes they have traversed as a gender nonconforming musician in the South, processing systems of love, grief, identity, and expression. Robi has devoted their time, energy, and resources to their community, and the vulnerability they share through their music is a gift. There are many ways to show support, but thanks to crowdfunding, we have the ability to ease part of the financial burden associated with such a life-affirming process.

This GoFundMe is to help with the expenses associated with Robi’s recent Double Incision Top Surgery. This surgery took place last week (1/3/2018) and Robi has started on the path to recovery. However, Robi’s insurance, FloridaBlue, doesn’t cover this. My goal is to raise funds in the neighborhood of $11,000, the bulk of which are the surgeon and hospital fees.

As a musician and recording engineer, Robi works tirelessly to support themselves and their craft. They have always been a frugal spender, never living outside their means, and this will mark the first time they've taken a leap like this and spent this much money on themselves to ensure a better life with wind on their skin. You can rest assured, if we're lucky enough to exceed that goal, every penny will be put to good use covering the additional expenses, which are broken down below.

Financial Breakdown
Surgeon: $6,500
Hospital: $2,000
Two months of rent/food/insurance/incidentals: $2,500 

In putting my money where my mouth is, I will be donating the first $1,000 (I'd cover the whole thing if I could). Any amount, anything you can spare, is greatly appreciated. 

If you don't have a GoFundMe account and would like to help through other avenues, follow along in the journey, or experience Robi's music, please peruse the options below. 

Currently available:
Venmo - RutenbergRobin
Facebook - @therealgabedarling
Instagram - @gabedarling


2018 EP Releases (up Thursday 1/11/18)
Or searchable on iTunes & Spotify (coming soon)

Keep in mind, most of these sites take a percentage, but Robi wants everyone that donates to have access to their music if they want and will send you digital copies by request, no matter the avenue. 

For donations of $1 or more, Robi will send you a single from a past project.

For $5 or more, you will have access to the new EP Broken Teeth, which is a mosaic of personalities, dipping at times into surf rock, 70s stoner rock, and orchestral movements.

And for $10, you will receive Broken Teeth plus The Sky’s a Woman, which weaves soundscapes laden with ethereal vocals, lush cellos and bassoons, saturated guitars and synthesizers.

Both Broken Teeth & The Sky’s a Woman are recent and pivotal narratives from Robi’s time sitting with and preparing themselves for this surgery. They are being released online in January ‘18.

For $40, you can unlock everything. Robi can send you their recent EPs plus their entire back catalogue, including other project albums from the past, like Four Families, The Little Books, and Insel.

Please include your contact information if you would like Robi to send you any of these options.

If you’ve followed the things I’ve done, you’ve likely heard Robi’s music during our breaks on the Dungeons & Dragons and Maze Arcana Twitch Streams. While we endeavor to advocate acceptance and community on those platforms, this is far more personal. I don't have the same resources to raise awareness, nor do I feel as though I should use those resources for something so personal. Yet, one thing I have seen is that this community holds each other aloft in times of need. So please, if you're able, spread the word. Robi has always been strong but with the support of the communities we endeavor to advocate, they can be that much closer to that ideal most of us search our entire lives to find: Self.

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Organizer and beneficiary

Ruty Rutenberg 
Los Angeles, CA
Robi Rutenberg 
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