€4,234.00raised of €5,000.00 goal goal
(Cover picture by ig:who _killed_gaito)
UPDATE #4: My endo offers government-paid appointment times again, the bad news is they're available no sooner than June, so I still need extra 60 eur for my next appointment in may.
UPDATE #3: My endocrinolgist doesn't offer government co-paid appointments this year, which means unexpected expenses of 60 euro per appointemnt, I'll try to keep it to just two a year.
UPDATE #2: The focus of the fundraiser shifted on sustaining HRT which will remain vital for life, plus other smaller transition expenses like clothing, because replacing wardrobe from scratch proved to be a monumental task, though I'm trying to approach it consciously and it's 50% complete.
I will make a separate fundraiser for GRS, I might skip orchiectomy and laser hair removal became less of a priority. Refer to fundraiser update for a bit more.
(Note the disappearance of Leopardmoth. This name is obsolete, because I don't need to hide behind an alias or a detached artist persona anymore, everything about me is whole. I also updated the gallery with the new body of visual art in progress. And the new pictures of me are by @dorian.rozenthal and @vlapictures. I've got so tired of selfies lately and it's hard to emphasize enough how healing it is to be photographed by someone else in a way that you actually see yourself in those pictures.)
UPDATE: Ksenya (or Ksenija, to be precise) is indeed my legal now and I am legally recognised as a woman. To be honest I wonder how on earth I lasted for so long without the document change, it's only now that I understand just how much I needed it and how awful it was before. Just like with starting HRT. The process has also been psychologically draining and right now I feel the need to recover.
And I consider myself very lucky to have been able to do this before any surgical intervention, because the confusing laws are still in place and people are dependent on doctor's personal views on the matter, on how cooperative they turn out to be with giving the letters necessary to jump through the bureaucratic hoops. Not everyone is so lucky. And I'm still convinced no trans person should be ashamed of crowdfunding in a situation where the government doesn't care that much, because this is a health concern like any other. Please don't be afraid to reach out.
I'm quite sure I wouldn't have been able to go this far without the support of this fundraiser. I used it to pay for HRT medication, for medical and legal bills, plus accompanying expenses(like transport). It gave me a sense of security I needed. Even more, it made me feel truly cared for, which is so new for me and I can't help asking myself "why?" What makes people feel empathy towards me? Where does it come from? I'm still not used to it and to be honest I don't think I want to be, because, however scary, it's such a nice feeling.
The fundraiser remains relevant until the goal amount is reached, only now the focus shifts to three things, mentioned in order of importance:
- Financial pillow for sustaining HRT (hormone replacement therapy, which I'll be taking for the rest of my life without interruptions)
- Laser facial hair removal, which shouldn't take too many sessions with my amount of hair, I hope
- Orchiectomy, which I still plan to undergo, maybe at the end of 2022
For more information read the original fundraiser text below.
My name is Ksenya. This is not my legal name yet, but it is my real name. I am also an artist, best known under the handle Leopardmoth. Visual art took over my days since my early teens, it’s almost the only thing I can do, and in retrospect maybe the only thing that helped me stay dissociated from my body for years on, but everything has its limits. Art is a large part of my life, but life doesn’t mean much to me if I can’t feel at home in my body, both physically and socially.
The truth is, it's not easy for me to ask for help, because I’ve learned that my problems aren't significant. Not bad enough for me to not be able to figure them out on my own.
I also hate leeching off of other people’s sense of guilt, because I know all too well what it’s like to be guilt tripped into doing things you’d rather not, being guilt tripped out of your sense of self.
But another truth is that transition is no different to treating a debilitating birth/developmental defect or getting out of a dangerous legal predicament. In fact that’s exactly what it is.
But it’s invisible. It’s as if you were living sealed inside a space suit and everybody thought you were a nice spacesuit and wondered why you are so unhappy. But you were never one and there is no solid way of proving that to the outside world.
I started HRT (hormone replacement therapy) on January 28th 2021, almost at the age of 30 after having put it off for ten years due to a traumatic first attempt at coming out, which has taught me that my predicament didn’t matter. That I was making my problems up, because I had too much free time to think. That I was marginalising myself by my own hand. That what I did was a personal choice. A rebellious choice for which I ought to suffer. A choice that would hurt everyone around me, but especially my family, like it would shatter the whole world around. And the thought of that filled me with anxiety, anxiety that made me feel weightless in the worst possible sense, as if my sense of self was suddenly swept away by the winds. And I would do anything to end this pain. My “selfish choice” just didn’t feel important enough to endure this.
But it’s not a choice, other than maybe a choice between life and death, or worse, a non-life. And saying this will surely provoke accusations of being hyperbolic. I assure you, from first-hand experience, I’m not. But our uneducated society treats it as a decadent thing people with way too much time and money do out of ennui.
A cold wall of indifference and sparse lip-service support convinced me that the best course of action would be biding time till that elusive perfect moment where my artwork could finally provide me with enough financial stability to go through with what I need.
The catch is that the perfect moment never arrives, while you only continue deteriorating. Biding time is a downward slope, because dysphoria is just that debilitating. And what energy there is left you are exerting into thoroughly masking who you are. No one sees you and no one can ever help you out of this hell. Dysphoria kept me from socialising, from maintaining and starting human relationships, even from enjoying what I do best, from making art. It kept me in a perpetual state of strain and anxiety.
Because I couldn’t transition, I turned to mental gymnastics of trying on substitute identities, of transcending my self, because I couldn’t be myself. I almost felt enlightened, but in truth I wasn’t. Transcending is like a fancy euphemism for suppressing. I felt like an uncanny valley alien. I couldn’t even clearly see my face in the mirror. But I was used to that. I was used to dealing with spikes of choking dysphoria, I created an identity around suffering and thought I could last like that forever. And all throughout I was aware that I was a woman inside, but I avoided that obvious answer, because facing it would require action, action I already attempted once and was too traumatised to dare attempt again. The acute awareness of having an unlived youth behind you is something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. The thing is, you get used to leading this “undead” existence, especially when you have nothing to compare it to.
It’s only after starting HRT, that I finally felt what it’s like to be safe in my own body. HRT gave me a sense of normalcy after a lifetime of weirdness. Suddenly my body and my feelings aligned, they started making sense. I couldn't believe feeling normal was even possible for me, ever. Now I can look back and see the hell I escaped for what it really was. But there are still things dragging me back.
It’s the wrong documents rendering me invisible in legal context and giving people all the excuses to disregard my existence. I mean, if the sole fact I had to put together this fundraiser under my deadname doesn't illustrate it enough, I don't know what does. According to a common interpretation of very loosely written Latvian laws, document change for transfeminine people is only possible after having undergone either GRS (genital reassignment surgery) or orchiectomy. Which, however a deeply unethical requirement, is not a problem for me personally, because I am “lucky” to have bottom dysphoria severe enough to keep me both from having sexual relationships or ever wanting my own biological children. Main issue for me is the astronomical price difference between the two procedures. Waiting till I collect enough money for GRS is simply not an option, so I choose to undergo an orchiectomy as soon as possible. And together with document change this should cost around 800-1000 euro, which, with the help of this fundraiser should be achievable within a year.
It’s financial precariousness constantly keeping me a month away from not affording hormones, which would essentially be signing a death sentence, because I am not willingly returning back. Most of my current earnings go into maintaining HRT, and without a financial safety pillow I will remain trying to barely stay afloat.
It’s the stubble taunting me every time I wash my face. You know, of all these things, this one actually sounds funny, especially because I could be considered lucky with my 20-30 hairs, but it’s not, because they feel like nails poured into silicone, plus shaving isn’t something I should be doing at all, not with my genetics. MTF HRT does not affect facial hair, neither does plucking(which I of course tried and don’t suggest attempting at home, because the hair will grow back angrily and painfully), while shaving does little but keep the skin consistently bruised. The only effective permanent options are laser or electrolysis, which are also incredibly expensive, I easily expect to spend at least 1000 euro on it. This is not a purely cosmetic concern. I know, because like most people I have cosmetic concerns as well, I could have a separate talk about my body insecurities, but body insecurities or body dysmorphia, however overlapping, are fundamentally different from body dysphoria, which can't be just solved with a dose of body positivity.
All of these things are the ones covered in this fundraiser. Things I need in order to “seal” my medical/legal and social transition. To make it irreversible the same way a cisgender person’s birth and growth into the right body is irreversible. I need it in order to feel completely safe, to feel like my sense of self will never be taken from me anymore. Things like GRS and possible FFS (facial feminisation surgery) can wait for three more years and, who knows, maybe by that time I’ll be able to afford them myself. Maybe not, that’s not the point, I think the most basic comfort in your body shouldn't be a luxury, but for trans people it is made to feel like one.
- Ksenija Tarasova
Endocrinologist appointment updateUpdate posted by Ksenija Tarasova at 03:06 pm
So I did persuade my endo to up my dose to 6 mg a day, which is so cool. I mean, I've been on that dose for 2 months already, but now it's legal. I want to thank everyone who chipped in this month. In June I'll need extra support
I finally resumed my Patreon (xnksenya)Update posted by Ksenija Tarasova at 12:43 pm
If you prefer other ways of supporting my medical transition I have resumed posting on Patreon. I'll keep the content cut down to basics, it'll be sketchbook pictures, but if I have extra energy I would also share stuff like 3d OBJ files and audios with me reading out my. . . . .
Call to action: extra 60 eur for endo appointment needed in mayUpdate posted by Ksenija Tarasova at 10:31 am
Hi, so like I already mentioned there were no government-paid appointments until Summer, so I have urgent unexpected expenses of 60 euro for the May 23 appointment.P.S. Fun fact. I want to persuade my endocrinologist to up my prescription from 5 mg to 6 mg daily, but it won't increase
Transition Notes #3Update posted by Ksenija Tarasova at 12:35 pm
I am grateful for experiencing parts of reality that go beyond categories. Chasers are the ones who take that “beyond categories” they can’t fully comprehend and wrap it into a shameful fetish. Straight people reject their attraction, chasers fetishize. And they both are somewhere on the straight part of the. . . . .
Transition notes #2Update posted by Ksenija Tarasova at 09:59 am
(pic by @who_killed_gaito)In order to truly feel hot you need to understand what kind of beauty you possess, to understand your own brand of sensuality. To me it was understanding what kind of a woman I am inside and out and owning it instead of comparing myself to other women. . . . .
Transition notes (also just realised a year passed since my legal name change)Update posted by Ksenija Tarasova at 07:14 pm
The softer I get in my skin, the less I feel the need to perform softness for others. In fact I enjoy reconnecting with my intense hardness. The more comfortable in my skin I feel, the less limited I feel and the more complex my relationship with gender becomes, or. . . . .
And another recent video interview for Latvijas Radio 5 (also in Latvian)Update posted by Ksenija Tarasova at 12:09 pm
Link to the Facebook videoNo jaunas sērijas "Es rakstu. Man palīdz." kur es stāstu par savu literāro darbu no izstādes VOICES.
A new podcast interview with me (in Latvian)Update posted by Ksenija Tarasova at 11:51 am
LINK: Viens no Mums I Ksenija (Ierakstīta Jūlijā)Kur es stāstu par randiņu problēmām un vientulību, kā mainījās mana attieciba ar savu ķermeni un kāpēc es vairs nelietoju trans jēdzienu pret sevi un gribu beztermiņa atpūsties no aktivizma (un kāpēc tas NAV egoistiski).(Mana balss sākumā skan neseksīgi augsta un raupja, es
At this point I am starting to forget that I have essentially transitionedUpdate posted by Ksenija Tarasova at 11:50 am
Picture by Dorian Rosenthal (ig: dorian.rosenthal) I hoped to write earlier, but I found time to be flying by in this period of rehabilitation. Rehabilitation slowly fading into me forgetting I even have transitioned. Which is something I did not expect to happen but also something so important to move. . . . .
7 daysUpdate posted by Ksenija Tarasova at 09:53 pm
The document change is one step, but it's also a lot of tedious steps, so I gave up on updating every time I visit PMLP or Dzimtsarakstu nodaļa or receive a court decision. It's been mentally draining. In a week I will receive my id and passport with both the. . . . .