I just want to thank all my friends who contributed toward my total goal of $18,000. We have reached the on-line goal, and I was able to borrow the final $2,200 to go toward my surgeries. I will see the doctor on January 9th. Thank you for your help.
As I write my campaign has come to an end. But in fact it is not over. Aside from the fact that it will take a couple of months to get scheduled for my surgeries, I am committed to working for transgender health justice until all barriers are removed.
My campaign was always about much more than raising money for my own surgeries. I said from the start that I think it is terrible I should even have to ask for these contributions; these surgeries should be covered by Medicare and all other insurance companies.
Those barriers and others that prevent transgender people from receiving the health care we need must end, so I will continue to work for these changes long after this particular fund raising campaign is over, long after my surgery heals. I don't want anyone else to have to go through what I have; the laying your private life vulnerably open, getting your hopes up, and for many transgender people having them dashed again and again; having some of your most basic health care needs be subject to whether you are well enough known, have the personal relationships that I am blessed with or even just being in the right place at the right time.
I worked for 30 years at good paying jobs, paying my Medicare taxes gladly because I believed in the system. And now, when I need it most, that system has let me down. I don't see that situation changing any time soon. The country as a whole is occupied with the recession we are just coming out of, with the fiscal disagreements in Congress and with the war in Afghanistan, including bringing needed assistance to our wounded veterans from that and other wars, as it should be. These are important issues, and our country needs to address them.
But as usual, in the mean time, people in a minority that has been and still is discriminated against are basically told to wait. So, after decades and decades of being denied health care we will wait, or try whatever we can to provide that health care ourselves or with the help of friends.
I'm not worried for myself. By hiding for so long, painful as it was, at least I ended up with a modest pension to help out with my Social Security so I'm not homeless or living totally on the edge of homelessness. Does that mean I was motivated by fear or self protective good sense? Or perhaps a little of both? Others who came out at earlier ages face housing or job discrimination and may not end up with even the modest retirement I have. Does that make them brave or foolhardy? Or maybe both? And what does it say about our society that we would force people into having to make these horrible choices?
No, I am not done with my campaign even after 6 months and countless hours of work. I will continue working for justice for transgender people until the injustice ends.
Imagine that the one thing you need to complete a personal transformation is available but beyond your reach. My name is Emily Newberry and I am in that situation. I ask you to help grant my wish.
Born in the 1940’s as Sterling, I grew to understand I was trapped inside the wrong body. I knew myself to be a woman. My attempts to suppress my true self as society demanded only led to deep depression and lost relationships.
As a transsexual woman, in 2005 I began my transition, including changing my body. I live in emotional pain, as I’m reminded of my condition every day. I have a modest income yet spend any spare cash on making the irreversible physical changes I can afford.
There is a well-known and successful medical procedure that would correct this situation, but Medicare and my healthcare provider won’t pay for it because of outmoded beliefs about transsexuals. This will end when I get the medically necessary gender-affirming surgery with the generous support of you and others like you.
What I Need
I am raising $18,000 between Indiegogo and a paralell campaign in my home town.
$17,500 is the cost of the gender confirming surgery (known colloquially as bottom surgery),
$500 will go toward paying the fees that Indiegogo collects and helping me with voice coaching so I sound more feminine over the telephone.
You can help by:
1) Clicking on the “contribute now” button on this web site. It offers several ways of making a contribution, including PayPal. No amount is too small, or too large.
2) Holding an appetizer party. Invite your friends over and show the video from this web site. If you are in the Portland, Oregon area I will try to come and do a poetry reading at your party. Write to me at transformingemily AT gmail DOT com to set up a reading.
3) Sharing my campaign on your social media sites and asking other people to contribute as well.
4) Sending a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius calling on her to tell Medicare to stop denying this surgery.
Thank you for your support.