How the trans community is using crowdfunding to raise money for surgery


Changes to gender on a birth certificate can mean, for some transgender people, legally required surgery. For others, it’s a personal choice. Either way, the cost of procedures has seen some in the trans community turn online for financial help.

A growing community of people are using the power of the internet to fund their transitions.

Many gender diverse people have turned to crowdfunding as a way of raising money to pay for gender reassignment procedures.

Brisbane resident, Riley Norton, 32, started his Go Fund Me page for ‘top surgery’ in 2017.

“I called it ‘Change These T’s to P’s.’ It was a bit cheeky, like, change these titties to pecs.”

So far he’s raised $780.

“I'm pretty like stoked, I can't believe that I managed to get that much to be honest, that's really nice, ” Riley said.

The Feed

Riley believes that chest surgery will alleviate his gender dysphoria, something he’s suffered from since he was a child. It would also mean he won’t have to wear a breast binder underneath his clothing.

However, he has a long way to go if he wants to meet his target of $5,000, a third of the amount he was quoted for the operation.

Gender reassignment surgery an expensive part of transitioning:

In some cases, surgery might not just be a personal choice in transitioning - it might be a legal requirement.

If Riley would like his legal documents to reflect his true self - i.e, to say Mr rather than Miss - it’s going to cost far more than the $5000 he hopes to raise for top surgery.

Queensland law says to be recognised as a man, Riley would need hormone therapy and a full gender assignment surgery (a hysterectomy). That could cost tens of thousands of dollars.

It’s the same set of rules for transgender people living in Victoria, New South Wales or Western Australia.

In the NT, ACT or South Australia there are hoops, but they wouldn’t include ‘bottom surgery’.

For Tasmanians, recent law reforms mean that gender is now optional on birth certificates - which is good news for the trans community.

For Riley, it’s a price he’s willing to pay.

“My partner and I are engaged, and that is actually one of the things I want to tick off before we do get married.”

“Laura’s Urgent Vagina Fund”

“Broader society views medical treatment for trans people as a luxury or a choice.”

Laura McLean, is a 21-year-old trans woman living in Melbourne.

She applied for a bank loan to fund her transition in 2016, but was denied. She turned to crowdfunding to help raise $13,000.

The Feed

“It's finally time for me to make my body match my spirit and soul 100% and undergo SRS (Sex Reassignment Surgery),” the page reads.

“My hopes weren’t high,” Laura said.

But I just thought, why not? It’s worth a try.

So far she’s raised only $1,407.

“I think I was unsuccessful because I didn’t have access to a broad network. Generally speaking, trans people find it hard because they’re often isolated from broader society.”

At the time of posting, Laura had just moved from Sydney to Melbourne and lacked a solid group of friends. She thinks she’ll have a better chance now that she’s more engaged in her community and involved with trans activist groups.

“Normally it’s other trans people, activists or other marginalised groups who give the most because we have a sense of solidarity.”

Catch The Feed 8:30pm Thursdays and 5pm Sundays on SBS VICELAND . Connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.