I'm getting a mastectomy | 2020-11-10
An e-mail I sent to invite people to help me finance my FtX top surgery in exchange for a photo book and a personal reflection about femininity as a non-binary assigned female person. You can help me here! Thank you <3
I haven’t written in a while, and to those I didn’t answer in months, I apologize. Things have been hectic since the end of the first lockdown (now entering the third week of the second one), trying to figure out how to keep having a social and associative life, resisting anxiety, and last but not least getting more involved politically to resist the far right’s fast-growing influence in France. (I also got into a new relationship recently, for which I am grateful.)
It doesn’t make it easier for me to reach out that I’m writing to ask a favor. Indeed, in a month I’ll be undergoing top surgery, aka a mastectomy, aka the removal of breasts in assigned female persons as a part of the “FtM” (in my case, FtX) transition journey. In my case, as I don’t fit the narrow-minded categories imposed by public healthcare services, they won’t bear the costs of the surgery. Which means I’ll have to pay over 4k out of my own pocket: I’m lucky enough that I have this much set aside, but not so lucky that I’ll have any savings left afterwards. Being unemployed and living off 500€ a month allocated by the state, I won’t be able to save much money at all for long.
I know it is somewhat customary for people going through transition to raise funds or seek help in a financial way, but I am shy and feel a genuine disgust about money (I might write about that later, as it largely accounts for my life choices, built around volunteer work and living cheaply) in a way that makes me seek to avoid “polluting” social relations with it. That’s why I wanted to give something in return; a testimony, maybe, the exposure of some of my human vulnerability. Something that turns asking for money into giving something true, and receiving support in return.
So I spent dozens upon dozens hours putting together a booklet – one might call it a book at that point, as it’s nearly 100 pages long – containing the seven-part text I wrote in July to describe my relationship to femininity (if you follow me on Instagram or maybe Facebook, you may have seen it) alongside about 35 uncensored photos from the series I posted with the text. I put a lot of efforts in the formatting too, so even though I’m by far not a professional, I think it looks quite nice.
My initial intent was to print the booklet and offer it as pay-as-you-want. However, it turned out so thick it’d have costed me around 30 euros for each copy, which made pay-as-you-want either impossible, or dependent upon setting a very high minimum price, in contradiction with my ethics of accessibility. I considered several options: printing chapter per chapter, and offering them individually; making “premium” books to help finance cheaper copies; just give up on fundraising, and maybe only giving away a couple to loved ones.
None of these options were very good, neither for sharing the work I’d done putting together the book nor for helping covering the costs of surgery (even though I’ve been aware it’ll mostly be a symbolic gesture, to be honest I don’t expect to collect more than a couple hundred bucks). I had to resort to a pretty unsatisfactory option: giving away PDFs only, as pay-as-you-want. Aesthetically quite disappointing, aye: but at least, it’s giving everybody the option to support me (and gain access to undressed photos of me at my peak feminine – if it’s a motivation to some, I don’t mind, as long as you keep your reasons to yourself). As I’m not really the type to check whether people did pay before sharing the PDF, I set up a simple PayPal pool and a form to give me your contact.
In addition, I’ll be picking randomly from the people who filled the form and give away printed photos from the book. I’d like to pick 10 people, but it will depend on how many participated, and how much money there’s in the pot at the end of the day. My surgery is on December 23rd (Merry Christmas), so in order to be able to mail most photos before that I’ll select random receivers ten days before, on December 13th.
Woooh, what a long email once more. Thank you for reading that far, and thanks to the people who will give a little to support me :). I wish you all the best, and I send you my thoughts in these difficult times.