Wonder Boobs for Jade
Jade Pichette works tirelessly in their communities. Although dedicating their time and life to trans and queer folks fills their heart, it hasn't necessarily filled their pockets. Jade needs a surgery that is not OHIP covered. Jade, along with their friends, needs help funding 'top surgery' (BOOBIES!)
Some of you reading may wonder how a surgery that is seemingly elective and cosmetic is, in fact, necessary to their good health? Daily, they experience incredible dysphoria and discomfort. Many times, while home alone, they feel the most comfort in wearing a super push up bra. As their roombabe, I can tell you that they really enjoy the freedom of NO clothes at all, and the turmoil of temporary 'fixes' to their body with restrictive clothing has negative effects on their mental health.
Money raised will go directly towards the life-affirming, life-altering, life-saving surgery Jade has been dreaming of. The total cost of the surgery is $9153 and they are confirmed for surgery on March 25, 2019! Exciting! They would fund it themselves if that was possible, but that's a hefty price tag for something that should be covered and isn't. Luckily, they have beautiful communities and networks of folks in their queer & trans & religious circles - Probably that includes YOU reading this, too! Friends have outwardly encouraged and supported Jade's fundraising of this procedure, and now, we are all excited to watch the outpouring of love manifest into dollars.
Perhaps you've experienced the labour of Jade's love. Perhaps you have the means to give generously to their quest for better health and life. Or perhaps you can afford to go without a few luxury items and can toss even a few bucks to the campaign. Maybe money is not your greatest resource at the moment, but you have social currency with your networks of friends. Sharing this gofundme with your people who do have access to money is a huge contribution.
If you need further reminding of some of the organizations Jade has given so much to: They've done great things at Trans Youth Ottawa, Kind* Space, CLGA, and Pride at Work Canada. They've also travelled all over to work independently as a workshop facilitator, a panelist, a speaker, and a consultant on 2SLGBTQ+ topics, anti-oppression training, and religious teaching & leading. PHEW - that's a LOT and it doesn't even come close to all of it!
Now, what do you say? Do you think you can contribute some money to their campaign? Can you share this with your networks? Can you talk to your people face to face about the realities of body dysphoria and how you can help Jade and others like them? Let's get busy! There are BOOBS for Jade calling their name <3
I am nearly two months post-op from the Wonder Boobs. I have healed up without complications - though my fibromyalgia did result in higher pain than some. With the support of work I was able to take the time I needed to heal. I was so grateful for that time, and all those on my care team who helped me during the recovery. Many thanks to Terry, Gerry, Rya, Felix, Dani, Syd, Merissa, Brianna, Brian, Jess, the Rune Class, Jenn and of course a plethora of support by Daya.
I am so grateful for the support everyone provided me physically, emotionally, and fiscally in making my dream a reality. I have to say I never thought I'd be able to, I never thought so many people would give and so generously. From the bottom of my heart thank you.
The recovery was not all roses mind you. During my recovery my cat Serena was in palliative care, and passed on April 22nd. As I had her since I was 19, I needed time to mourn deeply. Also after surgery I went into a deep depression. I thought I had gone through all that and made a mistake. That this process was one I shouldn't have gone down, and how could I tell people that when they expected me to be so happy. Apparently this happens to a lot of people after top surgery, but few talk about it. Between the pain, opiates, change to self-image, and a radical flux in hormones it can happen.
Since that feeling has long passed, and I am happier with my body than I've ever been. My body no longer feels wrong in a way that I can't explain. I don't think surgery is a cure-all, but it has helped a part of me.
I had wanted to send individual thank yous, but with everything in my life I'm not sure I have the capacity to do so. Instead I will do what I focused the campaign on, making the world a more inclusive place where people are celebrated for their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Deepest love and gratitude,
It certainly became clear that one of my biggest challenges was my own anxiety about putting my body on display in this way. I came out at a time when it was just assumed it was okay to have trans bodies on display, for cis people to feel like they had the right to know about my trans body. The amount of times I've been asked by strangers about my genitals, or asked about my hormones, or had my body explicitly critiqued has been beyond counting. So I told myself years ago that the only people I'd answer were people I was going to sleep with, and health professionals when it was appropriate (when I have the flu and they would ask about my genitals for example not appropriate).
One experience that I particularly remember about my body being critiqued was visiting a Pagan Pub Moot (that no longer exists). At it this couple decided to pick apart my body and specifically pointed out my small chest as evidence "I was really a man." Something tells me a cis woman wouldn't have had the same experience.
I've also had people gossip after seeing me naked about my "real gender." Telling others, and these were folks I thought were allies. So one concern of these fundraising as well is of people after surgey being like "well they are actually fake you know." If you hear people say that please stop them. Thank you in advance.
As I told someone who asked just last week if I was done "the transition": I will never stop transitioning. Life is transition. Life is constant change. There is no end, to that change, just major moments along the way.
Thank you all for being part of this one.
The next part of my trans story is PTS. PTS, was started the year I was born by some amazing gay liberation activists who had been parts of the Gays of Ottawa. Over the years it changed from Pink Triangle Services, to PTS, to its current incarnation Kind Space. My first experience with PTS was in 2003, when I went to the youth group and had some transphobic experiences, which resulted in the formation of Trans Youth Ottawa (the last story). When TYO ended however, was also a transitional point in my life, in 2010 I graduated from Carleton with a Bachelor of Social Work, Highest Honours. I then needed to find a job.
I landed the part time position at PTS as the Creating Safer Spaces Coordinator, this quickly became the full-time Education Programs Coordinator role. The role let me do what I love, which was educating, but with some pay (I say some because small charities are not exactly the best paid jobs). I was responsible for a number of programs including Creating Safer Spaces, which focused on supporting LGBTQ youth make their schools more inclusive, and to changes attitudes to be more positive of LGBTQ people overall. We did a lot of LGBTQ 101 workshops, but also workshops on how to address bullying, and make active change. In the role I got a volunteer team of amazing youth to work with. I am constantly astounded when I see where some of them have gone since, some are social workers themselves now, some are working on political campaigns, many of them have truly soared. I don’t know if I had a role in that, but I hope that I at least had a small footnote in their stories.
I also became in charge of the Queer Women’s Mental and Sexual Health program, and TransAction, a trans-inclusion program. Through both of those programs I got to go talk to community groups, educators, students, and even medical professionals. There are a number of doctors, social workers, and related health professionals working in Ottawa today, that the first time they received any trans training or queer women’s health training was from me.
We had moments of amusement and joy at PTS as a team. We were more intimate as coworkers than in many cases. One amusing moment was as a result of a fundraiser where I and others got painted blue (I did it twice once for AIDS Walk, and once for Pride). We also had really hard moments, like the memorial to Jamie Hubley, a gay child of a City Councillor who completed suicide. One particularly hard moment for me was the No More Apologies Conference.
In 2012 after the first No More Apologies: Trans and Cis Women Coming/Cumming Together happened in Toronto for the launch of Brazen the trans woman safer sex guide, we decided to hold one in Ottawa a few months later. This was a joint effort of PTS, Planned Parenthood Ottawa, and some committed community volunteers to actually discuss transmisogyny in queer women’s communities in regards to relationships and sex. As a result of being the lead organizer and an out trans one, Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs) decided to attack me with a hate campaign. I was doxxed, put up on many hate sites, had every single social media I had (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr etc) bombarded with hate messages and death threats. I had to be put on suicide watch by friends and lovers of mine, and almost didn’t make the conference itself. I did however, and had a large showing at Jack Purcell Arena. I was grateful the event itself went off quite well.
After two years at PTS, I decided it was time to move on in order to go back to school and get my MSW, which is where Toronto enters my story...
As a note Kind Space has stayed open over the holidays and is a charity, so if you are unable to give to my individual campaign, but need a tax receipt from a charity before the end of 2018 you can donate to them here: http://kindspace.ca/donate/