Who am I?
I'm Scout Wolfcave and I am a radical Geographer, an adventure instructor, and a friend to many rad folks. I'm also a transgender woman, meaning that although I was assigned male at birth, this does not match true gender identity. I have been transitioning to live as a woman since December of 2012 and have been on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) since January 2013.
For the next THIRTY DAYS I am asking for help in funding my facial feminization surgery, which is scheduled for December 17th, 2013. Read on for heavy-duty details.
What I need:
Unfortunately, my body was ravaged by 30 years of androgens (male hormones), which left me with a massive Adam's apple, a large face, a receding hairline, and a height of 6'3". The anti-androgens that I take block the testosterone that my body produces, and my bi-weekly injections of estrogen are causing my body develop female secondary sex characteristics. Also, the presence of estrogen and the lack of testosterone helps me feel at ease, mentally. Sadly, these blockers and hormones will not do anything to alter my bone or cartilage structure, and the hair has only marginally reappeared. And I am not shrinking. Combined, these persistent features present a problem for me because no matter how hard I try, there are many moments where I still see a man staring back at me in the bathroom mirror. And other people oftentimes do not see me as the woman I am, and that hurts, deeply. I need people to stop automatically assuming that I am male, and I need to see a woman in the mirror from now on, for my own sake.
This is kind of uncomfortable for me to look at, but note my large Adam's apple, nose, and receding hairline:
Additionally, there are times where I do not feel safe walking alone, or even with friends, as I have been called out multiple times by strangers on the street, have had men in bars target me with their misogynistic and transphobic aggression, and was even assaulted by group of men in STL for not "wearing the right clothes." It is terrifying, humiliating and demoralizing, and while I know it is not my responsibility to alter my appearance to fit societal standards, doing so would make me feel safer and also better about my own body.
Luckily there are surgical procedures that can help me by matching my appearance and self-perception. On December 17th, 2013 I will have Facial Feminization Surgery (FFS) performed by Dr. Barry Eppley in Indianapolis at a procedural cost of $20,510. He will bring my hairline down and my brows up, fix my thrice-broken nose with a septo-rhinoplasty, narrow my jaw, and do a tracheal shave to reduce the laryngeal prominence (adam's apple). Combined, these procedures will give my face an overall more feminine appearance by softening my male features, bringing them more in line with what people subconsciously identify with as female. After I am recovered, I will be able to go back to teaching in January comfortably presenting as a woman. There is nothing in the world that would make me happier than that.
Please understand that this is not a cosmetic surgery for me, but a necessary and crucial step I must take in order to continue on in my life.
The Quote from my Surgeon:
Here's the rub: My student health-care plan (Aetna) will not cover any trans-related health care expenses. This year they have already redacted their coverage of most of my medications and necessary tests (like blood hormone levels), and have generally been very unpleasant to deal with. I am having to pay the FFS on my own, as well as all of my medications except for one anti-androgen (spirolactone). Additionally, any future surgical procedures will also be out of pocket expenses for me, which is really depressing, as I just don't have the money. I am a PhD student that makes very little and as much as my parents would like to help me with the costs of the operation, they just are not in a position to do so.
Why am I doing this so soon? The next available time that I could have this done would be July 2014 and I just don't know if I can wait that long. 31 years is already too long to be mistaken for a guy.
What you get:Ya'll, peep my perks and marvel at all the neat stuff you can have just by helping me be happy! In addition to having my eternal gratitude and the being able to carry the feeling of legitimately helping someone be truly ecstatic, you can get these totally tubular things:
- You could be thanked in a book! (Tell me ur name!)
- You could get an illustrated opinion in the mail! (Ask me your question by sending me a message through here OR by going to my facebook page and leavin' your question on my wall.)
- You could get a signed comic!
- You could get props in a genuine internet video! (Tell me who you are!)
- You can get "the best shirt!"
- You can help design an RPG dad!
- I'll fix your dang ol' bike!
- I'll take you backpacking!
- OMG I'll even fucking cook for you!
Check out what people have to say about my cooking:
"I have eaten dozens of Scout's meals. Most of them involved spam or ramen cooked on a camp stove. Her inventiveness with the foulest of America's foodstuffs is astounding, you should see what she can do with real ingredients and a fully-equipped kitchen." -Laura Palmer (S.K.), "professional food eater"
"I have slung pizza for over 8 years- never have I tasted a pie as complete, as savory and as good as Scout's. There are people who open up restaurants to make a living, and then there are those who are born with a certain gift for cuisine-who at all costs must not be shackled to an establishment less it taint the spirit and flavor of all creation." -Les Duffield
"An evening in the kitchen with Scout is a culinary adventure. The food, which is always incredibly delicious and well-executed, is only part of the experience. She's a master of the kitchen and excellent company. Any meal with Scout is going to be mouth-watering, entertaining, and just down-right pleasant." -Mel Banks"Deep and rich flavors, attention to detail and presentation, and never skimping on quality are my favorite aspects of Scout's amazing meals... I always feel as if I am eating at an authentic restaurant." -Meredith Strunk
After the Deadline:
If I don't reach my goal: I will attempt to take out as many lines of credit as possible to have FFS done. If I can't raise the money, then I will have to attempt to reschedule to next summer, or risk losing my $500 deposit.
If I surpass my goal: The price for my surgery is $20,510, yet I am only asking for $12,500. Why? Because of an Indiegogo policy that states that "We charge a 4% fee if you reach your goal, and a 9% fee if you don’t." Basically, in order for the money to actually go for a good cause (my surgical procedures) and not to this website, I set my goal lower than what I actually need. So please donate past the target goal if possible! However, if I meet my funding goal, but don't exceed it, I am confident that I will be able to cover the remainder with credit cards.
Stretch goal: If I surpass the cost of the actual procedure, I will use the extra money to pay for an orchiectomy, which I will have done in Detroit with Dr. Arnkoff at an estimated cost of $2500 plus travel and lodging. Having this done would be a huge relief for me, as I would no longer need to take such large doses of anti-androgens, which are extremely hard on my liver and kidneys. Additionally, the psychological impact of getting rid of a piece of my anatomy that I despise ("the boys") will be significant.
Accountability of funds: All money raised in this campaign will be put into a dedicated savings account at my credit union, and will only be spent on the surgeries and their associated recoveries. Documentation of spending and the account balance will be posted in the updates section. Basically, I'm not gonna blow the money on cheeseburgers.
Leftover funds: All leftover funds will be donated to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (srlp.org), an awesome and decidedly radical non-profit that works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination or violence.
Other Ways You Can Help
I know that not everyone can donate money, I totally understand! However, even without a monetary contribution, you can help spread the word by sharing my campaign on your own social media empire! Boost! Go!