My name is Viktorija. I am a trans woman from Croatia, though for the past year I’ve been living in Vienna, where I’m doing an MA programme in Gender Studies. I spent most of the past six years as an activist in queer and feminist organisations, and even gave interviews to mainstream and independent media in Croatia about my life as a trans woman and a lesbian, in the hopes of bringing the lives of women like me closer to the general public. While I have achieved many changes for the better in my life there still remains one major issue that has not been resolved and which is causing me great pain and discomfort.
My transition started over seven years ago - I am now 28 years old - and yet I have not been able to afford genital reconstruction surgery (or sex reassignment surgery) due to its prohibitive cost. I come from a conservative family but, fortunately, my family has been mostly supportive during my journey and have accepted me for the woman I am. However, even with their help, I haven’t been able to save enough money for the surgery. Part of the reason is high living expenses and being a full time student, and the other is problems with my mental and physical health. For years I was able to suppress the dysphoria caused by this, but over the past months the pain and discomfort have become unbearable for me.
The situation is made worse due to the current social and political situation in my home country. Croatia is a mostly conservative country and has been governed by conservative parties for the past six years. In 2013 there was a referendum that succeeded in amending the Constitution to define marriage as exclusively heterosexual. Since that time there has been a steady rise in homophobia and transphobia, and transgender people are in particular at high risk of violence and social exclusion. The state of transgender healthcare in Croatia is very poor, and no surgeries are currently covered by the public health insurance.
As there are also no surgeons practising genital reconstruction in the country, I would undergo the surgery at the Belgrade Center for Genital Reconstructive Surgery in Serbia. The center is led by the surgeon Miroslav Djordjevic, who has a reputation as an excellent surgeon and whose expertise I believe I can trust. The procedure itself - peritoneal vaginoplasty - would cost €15600, and the cost of aftercare would be another few thousand euro.
Getting this surgery done would mean the world to me. I’m not sure I can put into words just how much more comfortable in my body I would feel, and how much it would relieve me of constant distress and negative body image. It would make a change for the better in countless areas of my life, including things as mundane as changing clothes at the gym or jogging in tight pants. It would certainly improve my confidence in dating again and allow me to be physically intimate without feeling constant discomfort and stress.
At this moment I do not have any significant savings, and neither can my parents raise the sum needed to cover the costs of the surgery and aftercare. Because my dysphoria has worsened and made living in my own skin intolerable for me, I wish to undergo the surgery as soon as possible. Therefore, I am trying to raise money via this fundraiser. The amount gathered will go towards covering the cost of the surgery itself, and hopefully the expenses of the aftercare.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, please share with your friends and thank you so much for any donation you make. Trust me, even 1$ means a lot.