My name is Mykell Hatcher-McLarin and I’m a 20 year old transgender male trying to fundraise for top surgery. Currently, I am a senior at University of Maryland, College Park majoring in Sociology with a LGBT Studies minor. My life’s work involves creating more opportunities for people in marginalized communities to build themselves up and reach their dreams. I mostly focus on creating dialogues about social and political issues connected to their identities as well as getting involved in different actions to instill changes in legislation and further personal development.
While staying true to my work for others, I am taking time to promote and build myself by fundraising for top surgery. The surgery I’m going to have is important to me because I have been socially transitioning since I was 16 years old and am taking initiative to further my physical transition. I have been on testosterone for over a year, which puts me past the 6 month requirement for top surgery, and have been living full-time as male for at least 2 years. As I continue to transition, my anxiety worsens and I experience body sores (including back and rib pain) from constantly binding my chest. Unfortunately, to help with my anxiety I have to bind my chest which in tunes turns into a very vicious, unhealthy cycle. Therefore, the best solution in dealing with my anxiety, avoiding further body damage, and an increase in my ability to continue my life’s work at full capacity is to get top surgery.
With your contributions to my campaign/fundraiser, I will be able to kick my anxiety to the curb, develop healthier body fitness (since I wouldn't have to bind my chest anymore), and keep me on my game in creating a more equal and just society.
What I Need & What You Get
The keyhole top surgery costs $7,500 and is going to be performed by Dr. Beverly Fischer in Timonium, Maryland preferably on August 28, 2014. All the donations I receive, even if I don't reach my entire goal by the end of this campaign, go directly into my savings account where I have about $2,500 saved up for my top surgery fund ONLY. Not including outside fees (like transportation, food, and so on), I need to save up $5,000 more in order to ensure I get my surgery. At the moment, I have enough for the $2,000 down payment to lock in my surgery date but without the rest there is no possible way I can actually get the surgery. She doesn't take insurance, nor does my insurance cover any type of gender reassignment surgery, therefore your donations are extremely important to my overall success.
Due to the incredible importance of your donations, I want to give my contributors different tokens of appreciation. When you all donate, you receive a gift from me (and my friends who are helping make these gifts). The lowest amount you can donate to receive each gift is listed below (and on the side of this page):
$1: I will hand-write you a personalized thank you note addressed to the name you provide when you donate.
$10: Handmade beaded friendship bracelets with your name spelled out (will be possible to request one color).
$25: A care package of a variety of baked goods.
$50: I’ll take you out to lunch in the Baltimore, College Park, or DC area (10 claims)
$100: I'll design something for you.
$200: I will paint you a picture of the transgender symbol with the message “Raising for Realness” (5 claims)
$500: Crocheted blanket (2 claims)
All gifts will be amalgamated, meaning that based on the funds you donate you will receive additional gifts (depending on your request). For example, if you donate $37 - you will receive a care package of variety baked goods as well as a friendship bracelet and a personalized thank you note. If you request not to receive additional gifts then you will solely be given the gift that is designated with the lowest donation amount.
After I get top surgery, I would be able to more effectively and confidently continue my advocacy work for LGBTQ folk. As I do my work, I have to balance invoking change and battling my diagnosed anxiety due to my gender dysphoria, a conflict between a person's physical gender and the gender he or she identifies as. This surgery would help combat my anxiety since a large percentage of it is direct relation to my chest construction.
As I began socially transitioning, I canvassed for Equality Maryland in support for Marriage Equality and Trans Non-Discrimination Act and was able to help the marriages of same-sex couples be recognized in Maryland. As I entered college, I began leading numerous discussions centered on LGBTQ awareness and the importance of promoting non-discriminatory practices in housing and throughout campus. Early this year, I lobbied on Capitol Hill for Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) with the National Center for Transgender Equality and Trans People of Color Coalition in order to bring attention to Congressman Elijah Cummings, Senator Benjamin Cardin, and Senator Barbra Mikulski on the issue of employment discrimination surrounded around gender identity/expression. Currently, I am a part of the National Coalition for Transgender Equality and we’re trying to rally support around the Fairness for All Marylanders Act which will ensure legal protections for transgender/gender non-conforming folk against being denied healthcare, housing, and employment as well as the acknowledgment of hate crimes and legal recourse for public harassment. As a volunteer, I lead phone banks designed to recruit other volunteers to rally, fundraise for the coalition, and canvass at local events in order to gain support.
The work I do is extremely important to me and to the larger LGBTQ community that is constantly fighting for equality and recognition in the eyes of the law. So I really want to be able to put my best foot forward and do the work that needs to be done without feeling the struggle of feeling real.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you are unable to contribute, I just ask that you spread the word and share this link with those you know through any avenue you can imagine. Also available are Indiegogo's share tools provided under the video.
Team on This Campaign:
leads the campaign, creates some of the perks