If you're reading this, it's because you know and love Jessica. Maybe you appreciate her good-natured humor, her philosophical musings, her passion for art, literature and fountain pens. Or you've seen her race a bike through muddy trails on a cold, windy day. Maybe you heard her improvising a song on the piano, saw her play guitar with the band, or enjoyed one of her madcap Youtube video game adventures. No matter how you know Jess, you probably know she's transgender, because she's never been quiet about that.
Since kindergarten, Jess has been a justice warrior in her approach to the world. She's incredibly brave in many, many ways. But right now she needs our help.
When Jessica came out as a youngster, our family became immersed in the social aspects of transition. Some changes were immediate, like the matter of name and pronouns. There was the process of public affirmation via extended family, school, and social networks. In terms of health care, we were lucky to have a pediatrician who recognized what we were going through, who saw what Jessica would potentially need down the line. He introduced us to a network of gender-affirming health care. Jess was able to progress through all the benchmarks of childhood into a healthy adolescence.
We have known for quite a while that, given the option, Jessica would immediately choose gender-affirming surgery. Dysphoria - or the feeling that your body doesn't match with your identity - is very real. It can lead to depression and social anxiety. With adulthood at the door and 10+ years of knowing who she is, dysphoria is a major challenge for Jess. Research bears this out. Dysphoric individuals who access gender-affirming surgery report increased quality of life and overwhelmingly say they are pleased with the results of their medical decision. They are able to move on in ways that dysphoria prevented.
Surgery isn't for everyone, but it's what Jessica needs. We want to see our girl going into adulthood feeling strong and complete.
This is where you can show Jessica the love!
With Jess leading the way, we've done our research. There are amazing surgeons who specialize in gender-affirming procedures. The wait-lists are long. Even for adults, surgery costs can be prohibitive. If you're a minor, forget about insurance coverage!
After many emails, conversations, and consults, we chose a surgical team in New York. They follow the professionally-respected WPATH Standards of Care. They have wonderful ratings and tons of experience. Everything is falling into place. Now the challenge becomes financial.
We started this fundraiser in early 2020, knowing it was going to be a long haul. We are all in for Jessica. We don't think it's reasonable to ask her to wait 3 or 4 more years just to get on a wait list.
But. We had no idea how much it would cost. We figured, maybe $25,000 out of pocket?
When we received the first estimate, our reaction was, "Let's sell the house." It seemed the only possible way. Yes, gender-affirming surgery costs as much as a house. Realizing that we still need a place to live, we are now, humbly, pursuing multiple avenues to raising funds.
Any amount can help. Please feel free to share within your own networks, with others who are LGBTQ supportive.
Your encouragement, your support and your discretion are very much appreciated!
Educate yourself about the LGBTQ community and support the human rights of people in all our diversity! Thank you!