This project has two missions.
The first is self-explanatory. I need to raise money to pay for my medical bills. While I was in graduate school, I was able to cobble together the cash and credit to pay for several thousand dollars of hair removal, psychotherapy, hormone therapy, reproductive health care, not to mention my legal bills. I’ve been out for over five years at this point, and I’m stuck. I’ve been able to find the cash to pay for more hair removal (always with the hair removal), but like a lot of folks, I’m living paycheck-to-paycheck, and have zero credit.
Oddly enough, I have a job that will cover a decent fraction of my medical bills. (Or not) The insurance will even cover the cost of my hospital stay. This is reasonably unusual. It also means that until I get laid off or my insurance companies change their minds, it’s theoretically possible for me to afford the surgery (or as the kids who don’t know any better say, “the surgery”) that I’ve desperately wanted for some time. This would be the cuntmaking surgery (or GRS, or SRS, or whatever you want to call it). However, I still need to raise about $15,000 well over $25,000 to cover my bills. I know, right? This would pay for more hair removal (at :cough: the surgery site), for me to pay off a psychiatrist to verify that I’m a woman (:eyeroll:), for out-of-network co-payments, and for me to fly out to the surgery center with my partner and our young daughter at my side. Raising this money would also allow me to pay my surgeon in cash up front. This is actually the only option trans* people seeking surgery have (I’ll talk about this more in the future). Assuming In the unlikely event my insurance company decides to refund part of the surgeon’s fees after the fact, I’ll be donating that money to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, an amazing organization that fights for the rights of trans* people, particularly trans* people of color who live in and around New York City. There’ll be more on SRLP later.
This project also has a second, equally important mission. I want to raise awareness about the difficulties trans* people face in accessing health care. I also want to disrupt many existing narratives both about trans* people’s bodily autonomy (we should have it, yet often we do not), and about who is entitled to what health care. (Spoiler alert: I think all people should have access to all health care, including contraception, abortion, mental health care, and yes, health care related to trans*ness and gender transition.)
Even though I’m a trans woman, I want to spend a lot of time talking about (sigh) my genitals, without falling into the ancient trope that trans people are their genitals. Traditionally, trans women in particular have found ourselves forced to ignore our genitals in order to gain legitimacy in a society that won’t stop checking out our crotches. Fuck that.
My body should be simultaneously uninteresting to society, yet incredibly intimately tied to who I am. I am my body. I want to talk openly about my body as the condition of my existence, something that contradictorily is both the totality of who I am, and merely a major component of how I am in the world.
Ultimately, I hope to raise awareness of the unfortunate state of health care for marginalized bodies. While I’ll be talking about trans* people’s struggles to obtain health care, I’ll also be talking about the struggles of many intersecting groups: the poor, the incarcerated, the fat, the disabled, women, people of color. I’ll clear be focusing on trans* people’s needs, but as a group, we intersect with all of those other oppressed classes, and ultimately, the forces that oppress us stem from very similarly privileged places.