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PhD scholarship for Transgender Foster Youth

$2,722 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 67 people in 5 months
Created February 14, 2019
Fundraising team
on behalf of Charles Ledbetter
I am sponsoring this gofundme for Charles Ledbetter. I have known Charles for 15 years, while he was in high school. Charles never let me know about his experiences at home or in Foster care in Orange County. I just figured he was a bright, intense and highly opinionated teenager with a very amazing creative energy.

This is the pitch for funding in his own words. I hope you understand, Charles is very dear to my heart. His struggle to get and complete an education and to fulfill his many gifts, is something I stand in awe of, and support fully.

Please if you don’t support a transgender transition, don’t comment. You can privately express your thoughts on this struggle, just don’t hurt my friend Charles. He is a very kind, sensitive soul and has already experienced quite a bit of bigotry. I will delete any nasty comments so please just walk away if you feel the need to vent on this page.

Here is his story:

My name is Charles and I’m a transgender former foster youth. Because of my gender history, and parents who couldn’t take care of me, it was unlikely that I would ever go to college. However, I worked hard through my English Literature B.A. at UCLA—graduating summa cum laude with honors—and now I’m doing a PhD in Germany. Until now, my studies have been supported with a scholarship from an Orange County-based non-profit for former foster youth.

The scholarship has allowed me to do some wonderful things as a researcher, particularly as an advocate for transgender people:
● Visiting Fellowship at the Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria, Canada.
● Taught my university’s first seminar on transgender studies. My students have told me that this has literally saved their lives.
● Presented my research at three international conferences, with another two pending.

However, I’ve received unexpected and devastating news that the foundation does not plan to fund my final year. Normally, if a student isn’t failing their course, they can renew the scholarship on a pro forma basis. But when I ask why this has happened, I don’t get a consistent answer—other than the obvious. The donors are vocally conservative and I’m their only openly-transgender scholar. It’s an irony of being transgender that you learn how to love and accept yourself more, while at the same time encountering more prejudice from others.

People who have experienced the foster care system often find it difficult to ask for help. However, the people who love me have suggested that I reach out to the community to help support the final year of my PhD.

Donations would also help me to “pay-it-forward” for others. With my final year, I plan to publish a book on Transgender Science-Fiction. When there is so much ignorance about transgender people, it is vital for literature to represent and validate transgender peoples’ experiences. Also, because these novels so often focus on equitable and sustainable societies, they offer valuable solutions for the deep challenges facing the world today. I also plan to become a professor. I owe a lot of my success to mentors, so I would like to be a mentor for the next generation of young people who, like me, beat the odds by making it to college.
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Conference Presentation at University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) went very well! Talked about how the history of transgender medicine from 19th century-present is paralleled in vampire fiction. Was fun, but also socially-relevant. If we look at contemporary fiction written by trans writers, we see arguments for better access to gender confirmation medicine and for doctors to take the autonomy of trans people seriously.
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We have almost met 10% of the goal! I am so amazed at the generosity and interest.
And thank goodness I have not had to delete a single comment so far. Maybe people are nice sometimes? Thanks everyone, please keep sharing.
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Charles is so encouraged by the support of this campaign. It is truly shocking that he is denied his scholarship only due to his gender identity. I hope we all support him and that justice somehow will happen here.
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Here is a link to a YouTube video which shows what Charles is working on,and how his work has resulted in awards!
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1xgdUF0FQzk
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$2,722 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 67 people in 5 months
Created February 14, 2019
Fundraising team
on behalf of Charles Ledbetter
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$20
Shyam Morjaria
1 month ago
EA
$20
Ey Allison
2 months ago
JM
$50
Jonathan Marinaro
2 months ago
EM
$20
Elisabeth Maaskamp
3 months ago
$50
Anonymous
4 months ago
$20
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4 months ago
$40
Anonymous
4 months ago
$10
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4 months ago
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$25
Kristina Jackson
4 months ago
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