I moved from the east coast, where I was born and raised, to the west coast in the summer of 2015. Portland, Oregon is where I have made my home. Portland is lucky to have the Oregon Health and Science University, an amazing hospital. This hospital has highly skilled surgeons who can perform bottom surgery (sexual reassignment surgery) for transgender individuals.
While this surgery is covered by insurance, the recovery is not. Overall recovery varies from person to person: for some folks, it can take up to two months to able to return to work. In the meantime, expenses such as rent, medication, food, and travel build up and require a savings. As I add up my expenses, $1640 is how much will be required to cover two months of recovery.
This money will be needed by the end of August and 2017, as it appears that surgery will be on September 21st. As a low-income, part-time employed transgender individual, living everyday can be extremely difficult and taxing, as rising rent prices and gentrification in Portland make the cost of living very high. I am afraid that I will not be able to raise the funds on my own, so I am reaching out to broader communities for assistance.
I have been a musician my whole life, and I perform in the Pacific Northwest with my banjo and guitar, playing shades of folk ranging from oldtime to punk and metal. Music is my passion, and has provided me with an outlet to deal with a lifetime of anxiety, depression, and built-up gender dysphoria.
My degree is in education, and while being a public school teacher is not for me, I've been working with children for the past two and half years. There is something beautiful about being a living, breathing eidolon of a gender non-conforming person in the presence of youth. To them, I am Ms. Sasha, and they understand and see the femininity that is strong within me.
Bottom surgery means the world for me. This is a procedure I know that I've wanted since I was 12 years old. Finding out that it is not only possible, but offered in my own city has made me determined to get the procedure. Dysphoria about my gender is linked to many things, including my anatomy that I was born with. Getting gender-affirming procedures, such as bottom surgery, will allow me to live as the person I know I have always been.