A Journey with Ja’briel: Raising Funds for Transgender Surgery and a Transgender-themed Children’s Book
Welcome, and please join me on this awesome campaign ride to raise money for my gender-confirming procedure(s) and my transgender-themed children’s book, “Apple of My Eye!”
My name is Ja'briel Walthour, and I am a trans woman of color, advocate, community organizer and author residing in Hinesville, Georgia-- a small, military community located outside of Savannah. I've been twice denied coverage for my gender-confirming surgery, because most insurance policies contain a specific “exclusion clause” which denies coverage of all medical procedures related to a person’s transgender status. In addition, it’s been extremely difficult navigating the intersections of race, gender identity and expression, and poverty all at once.
Currently, I am employed as a public school bus-driver for special needs students. Needless to say, my wage from this job isn’t nearly enough to move me forward on my journey to share my story with the world. I honestly feel that I must use my voice to amplify those who cannot speak, to include others who experience injustice and have been banished or bullied into the shadows. You can help me achieve this goal.
According to ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao-tzu (604 BC- 531 BC), “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” As part of my first steps toward achieving a life-long dream, I have created my very own Indiegogo campaign to fully fund my gender-confirming surgeries, and to support the publication of my children’s book series and resource guide. The book, entitled "Apple of My Eye!," follows the home and school life of Jacob, a 10-year old, African-American boy facing issues pertaining to gender identity. My hope is that educators, counselors, parents, religious leaders, etc. can use the book and guide as a tool to spark dialogue with young people who may be experiencing a conflict at the intersection of race, gender and self-image.
I do believe your contribution, whether great or small, will have a huge impact on my life and divine purpose. By publishing my book, I will be sharing the kind of story that too often goes untold, and giving encouragement to those who most need to hear it.
Together, we need to raise $25,000 to cover gender confirming surgeries, travel, recovery costs, and fees associated with self-publishing.
Please be advised, it may be more prudent to contribute directly through a credit card to avoid paying additional PayPal fees. In addition, Indiegogo is allowed 4% of all proceeds obtained, if the campaign is a success, and 9% if it is not.
Your contribution to my campaign is paramount to the course of my journey. Not only will I be able to have my gender-affirming surgery and publish "Apple of My Eye!," with your help, I will also be able to apply for a medical waiver and possibly commission into the United States Air Force or Army Reserves. These are just a few of my post-surgery dreams.
As an advocate, I’ve been named one of “Ten Leaders Building a New LGBT Politics in the South and Midwest” (www.colorlines.com). In addition, I was included on the inaugural “Trans 100” list (www.buzzfeed.com) and featured in an award-winning documentary entitled, "Injustice at Every Turn” (www.transequality.org). I have written for Ebony.com, Elixher.com, GLAAD, the Huffington Post, etc. And, recently, I had an opportunity to volunteer as Community Hostess for “MixFest,” an International LGBT Film & Arts Festival of Color. I also participated with GLAAD’s National People of Color Media Institute, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force Leadership Exchange (LEX), “Out on the Hill” with the National Black Justice Coalition, and the “Transfaith in Color” Conference through the Freedom Center for Social Justice. My latest involvement with LGBT activism includes a written contribution to the forthcoming resource guide, “Trans Bodies, Trans Selves,” and my grassroots community education panel named, “Partnering for Peace.” In addition, there is a yet untitled memoir I am penning to be released at a later date.
I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to affect change and raise awareness in such a positive way for our community. Please remember to pray for me (and my campaign). Thanks for all your support.
Peace and Blessings... Ja'briel
[Video shot and edited by Maurice Jamal with Co-Editor, Jason Bunkley. Footage shot on location at the Evolution Project in Atlanta, Georgia.]