Hi there! I'm RJ, a 23-year-old nonbinary transmasculine person currently working as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. I've been out as transgender for 4 years and have been on HRT for almost 2 years now.
I need help raising money to be able to afford getting top surgery through a government hospital. Private surgeons can charge triple the amount I would need for going through the state healthcare system, so I definitely have no choice there. But unfortunately, even though they recognise it as being part of the "gender reassignment surgery" process, it is still classified as cosmetic and not medically necessary. Medical aid will not contribute. I am currently unemployed, and even when I was working full-time last year I was only making just enough to cover my bills. It would have taken me probably just under 2 years of saving whatever I could spare from my basic salary. And since leaving that job, working freelance has not been especially sustainable.
I've known I wanted top surgery since before I started hormones, but it was always something to worry about later. I would get it sorted when I had an idea of what I was doing with my life, when I was making money, when I wasn't constantly battling against my mental illness every day. That's the funny thing about mental illness though, dysphoria makes it even worse. How can I expect my struggle with depression to be any less difficult when I'm increasingly uncomfortable with my body? When I can't leave the house without worrying about people seeing that I'm very obviously wearing a binder? When I'm constantly terrified that every single person I meet is going to immediately misgender me? No wonder my mental health has been steadily declining over the course of the last year.
So, simply put, it's time. I'm moving halfway across the country in a couple months, so I need to get the process started. Even if my date is well after I move and I have to come back to Johannesburg for a while, at least I'll have a definite date. At least I'll have a plan.