Kat’s Top Surgery

$1,103 of $3,500 goal

Raised by 50 people in 2 months

We all have one life to live (or at least that we can remember & experience at the present!)- I am taking the steps I need to take to be my most happy and genuine self in this body & in this lifetime. I am so happy to be sharing this decision with all of you on my 25th Birthday- love & thanks to you all- looking forward to growth and happiness in the years to come!
Long story short- I am 
hoping to get top surgery before 2020 and would be so grateful for any financial assistance you feel you can share to help me with the expenses of this venture. I will also be having a cabaret sometime in August for my 3 year mark in NYC/for fundraising & celebratory purposes. 

Please know I have thought long and hard about this, and that I do not take asking others for financial help lightly. I am very aware that there are others who need support more than I, so even if all you can do is share this and/or send a kind thought my way- that would be wonderful!

If you are interested in hearing more about my journey to this decision please read below, if not, no worries- thanks for clicking at all!

Story time!

At some point during my Junior or perhaps Senior year of High School (2011/2012)
I remember growing so unhappy with my chest that I put a lot of research into breast reduction, how much it would cost, if it was possible on someone with only a B cup, etc etc… I did not have the language to voice what I wanted- I was only just figuring out my sexuality at the time, I was not thinking much about my gender identity and I definitely was not aware of top surgery as an option.
I don’t think I became fully aware of nonbinary (which has existed in various terms since the dawn of time!) identity until I moved to NYC almost 3 years ago.

On December 18th 2016 – 5ish months into my first year in NYC I posted a Facebook status in regards to my name and my new preference of going by Kat instead of Kathryn:

“So, the name Kathryn easily lends itself to many a nickname and I've never really cared what people addressed me as, I always just responded to whatever that individuals name of choice for me was BUT I have made a decision that I would much prefer to be referred to as KG (@college friends that still use that) or Kat than Kathryn at this point. Those nicknames just feel more true to who I'm becoming as a person, as someone who enjoys androgyny & gender ambiguity. So yeah!”

This was my first step into trying to become comfortable in my identity, which I previously believed to be taken care of simply by knowing I was gay… It has taken me a long time to fully understand that my identity is not who I am attracted to- that IS a very important aspect of my identity- but I was often so lost and unhappy because I wasn’t finding completion in my identity as queer- because that is about other people more than about myself. I still needed to come to terms with who I was- beyond who I was attracted to. 
Around this time as well I pretty much all but stopped wearing any other type of bra outside of sport bras- I just was not comfortable and did not like how I looked in under garments that did not flatten my chest. I recall a coworker making a comment as we walked to work one day- "You check yourself out a lot in store windows!" I replied with some joke and we moved on but in all actuality I was/am acutely aware of my appearance 24/7 and my concern with how prominent my chest appears in whatever I'm wearing- and out of habit I had begun constantly looking at myself anytime the opportunity was presented- my eyes immediately drawn to that area of my body, checking to see how flat I looked in the reflection/adjusting my clothing accordingly/or simply mentally noting it.
There was nothing much else I could do- or so I THOUGHT. (buh buh buhhhhhh)

On December 16th 2017 I did a cabaret that was meant to be marketed as an all-queer female cabaret. Throughout the rehearsal process for the show and for months after I became very depressed- I thought that was finally going to be my moment, I was going to meet gay women in theatre and find my people. Everyone involved was warm and lovely but I still felt like such an outsider in the room- it was such a different outcome than I had expected and I knew something was wrong.

On March 15th 2018 I drove all the way to Virginia from NYC for a local EPA (an audition)- The artistic director of that theatre at the time connected me with Ring Of Keys- an organization for queer women and TGNC (Trans and gender non conforming) Professional Theatre Artists. Through becoming involved with this group (I serve as one of the social media managers now- follow our insta!) I met the team of NYC’s Trans Voices Cabaret.

On May 5th 2018 I performed with TVC for the first time- and not without GREAT anxiety because I was not sure it was a space for me. I was scared of taking away a performance slot from a “real trans performer”, I wasn’t sure of my identity, I was only semi confidently using nonbinary as my gender identifier at this point and so May 5th 2018 was a big tipping point for me… For the first time at the sound check, backstage during the show, on stage, and at the bar after… I felt like I was with people who were like me.
From that moment on I knew I had finally found my people. Through Ring of Keys and Trans Voices Cabaret I continued to network and become involved in other projects new friends had going on and I felt like I was starting to understand who I was and where I fit in. I started paying more attention to AFAB (assigned female at birth) nonbinary people, I followed Asia Kate Dillon, Lachlan Watson, and Ash Hardell and realized who THIS is the type of artist I am. I started adding more stereotypically male audition songs to my book, I confidently presented myself as a genderqueer, nonbinary performer and it helped move me forward in my career. I got an agent, I booked my first full show, I was getting asked to perform in gigs regularly. It all started to click.
In May 2018 I fully shaved my head- nothing special going on there my hair just really needed a fresh start.

By August 12th 2018 I felt like I was in the swing of it. I had found my people within the NYC theatre scene- and it’s about time right??  That was my 2-year mark in NYC.
But then something new happened- I started becoming more and more unhappy with my physical appearance. From August 2018 to January 2019 you could feel it. I was less social, less friendly, less engaged, more withdrawn, less motivated- A lot of this had to do with other factors of life, career frustrations, etc-

-But sometime in October/November 2018 I got my first binder – it’s like a tight sports bra that compresses your chest to give you a flat appearance (see Go Fund Me photo). 
I would wear it to auditions, to bars, to parties, anywhere I wanted to feel good- never on the train where I feared  I would be stuck underground in it if we stalled and never for more than 5 hours or so at a time- I LOVED how I looked in it but after a while my back would ache and I would be short of breath, I would have to change into a sports bra and just be SO unhappy with my appearance after the euphoria I could experience from the aesthetic a binder could give me. I obviously very quickly realized that this could not be a permanent fix.
December 2018 I started researching top surgery- watching vlogs, following people online who had done it- SPECIFICALLY nonbinary people who did not intend to take testosterone/who did not identify as male. Because that’s where the disconnect was for me- I did not/do not want to take testosterone, change my voice, grow facial hair, use strictly he/him pronouns- none of those things were/are for me so I assumed for a long time that neither was top surgery- until I found other people like me who had done it. I started talking to people online via fb messages or insta chat- both people I knew and people across the country who'd I'd never met! I found articles from nonbinary people on their experiences, I started emailing potential surgeons/checking out their websites some of which actually had whole pages specifically on top surgery for nonbinary patients.
I went on like that from December 2018- To February 2019 when I finally started vocalizing my desire for top surgery to my family and to my closest friends.
And now on April 17th 2019 – My 25th Birthday- To you, dear reader.

This is where you come in!

I can plan and schedule and research until my hearts content but unfortunately I cannot reach this goal without financial support. I also cannot wait another year or beyond for this life affirming step that I need to take. My mental health has been suffering greatly over the past few months, I am just not myself- and to be able to live my life in a body I feel truly belongs to me will be an amazing step in restoring my happiness and optimism. Therefore I have made the decision to reach out for help from anyone willing to give it!

Top Surgery can cost anywhere anywhere up to $10,000 – I’m sure some folx have had experiences even outside that range. Currently I do not think the insurance I am on under my parents will be helpful- but I am continuing to look into this and if anything changes I will adjust my GoFundMe goal accordingly.
I am estimating around a $6,000 cost not to mention the extra expense for travel if I go to a surgeon outside of my home in NYC/PA- Which I am heavily considering as it is very important to me that I choose someone I am 100% comfortable with and confident in.

I am an actor (Making my OffBway debut at Classic Stage Company this Summer!)  https://www.classicstage.org/shows/2019/05/play-on/ & I work side hustles as an usher, and a photographer in NYC. I spend a lot of time volunteering for LGBT organizations and participating in artistic endeavors that of course do not pay many bills- I am also moving apartments in June/July so the majority of my income will be assisting with that process.
Anything you can donate to help me meet my goal of crowdfuding half the costs of my surgery would be eternally appreciated.
No donation is too small and all will be accompanied by private messages of thanks if I have the ability to reach you on social media.
I am planning a cabaret in August of 2019 for my 3-year mark in NYC as well as for fundraising purposes. More info on this will be coming along around July but I am very excited to hopefully have as open, engaging, collaborative, and celebratory a fundraising process as possible- as I am SO thankful to each and every one of you reading this and potentially donating- the idea of a face to face fundraiser alongside this online campaign sounds wonderful and will give me the opportunity to properly thank all of you.
Stay tuned for more info on that!

- Kat

GoFundMe photo credit/and major thanks to Haley Jakobson Photography     
TGNC resources: https://www.katgriffin-actor.com/hire-us
Nonbinary Top Surgery Vlog from a popular youtuber: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59jnV_15vSM
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Exciting News Folx!!!
Thanks to all of you I was able to put down the $1,000 deposit to schedule a TOP SURGERY DATE!!!!!
*airs horns, confetti*
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart- this process would have never come to fruition as quickly (one month after announcing on my Birthday!!) as it has without all of your love and support.
I am eternally grateful.
I have begun planning my 3 years in NYC anniversary/TS Fundraiser cabaret for August to hopefully raise a little more to help with the costs of travel/stay/and the remaining surgery fees.
I will also publicly announce my surgery date at my cabaret so stay tuned for more news on that in the coming month(s) or so!
I am going to leave this campaign up for the chance of further donations - I am still really hoping to raise about $2,000 more - I will probably share it again as It gets closer to August, and if anyone has an extra $5 or $10 to throw my way- anything and everything is so immensely helpful- OR just book a photo session with me if you live in or are visiting NYC! :) - but really I don't like asking all of you insanely wonderful & generous people for more than you have already given me- so THANK YOU- Its HAPPENING before 2020 and I am SO excited.

So much love & thanks
- Kat
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$1,103 of $3,500 goal

Raised by 50 people in 2 months
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