Recently, I announced that I wanted to support Skipping Stone, a non-profit for transgender individuals in Alberta by donating 20% of all of my merchandise sales to them. I wanted to share with you about this organization and why it's so close to my heart.
I came across a news article a few weeks ago about the resignation of one of very few doctors in transgender health care.
Funding has been cut back. Transgender people on waiting lists for hormones and surgeries are now facing much longer wait times. There are a lot of reasons that this news is alarming for me, especially given my own experience with transitioning. I remember reading the article, looking at my friend, and saying, "Watch the number of LGBTQ suicides go up." 90% of transgender people who die by suicide are on waiting lists. Some of those lists are literally years long.
I waited a year and a half to start my own hormone replacement therapy and three years before I had my top surgery.
For a lot of people, a couple of years holds immeasurable amounts of pain and discomfort. For me, that discomfort led me into an addiction to substances, as it does for many others who have walked in my shoes. To this day, even though I "pass" now as totally male, if I hear people whisper in public or see people even so much as look at me, my heart starts to race. I still fear what people might say about me or even TO me, to alienate me yet again. I was in a constant state of feeling like I didn't belong, like I was walking taboo. All I could think about was what people were thinking of me, if my voice was deep enough, if my chest was flat enough, or if the girl I was with was secretly wishing she were with "a real man." Did all of that ever push me to the point of contemplating suicide? Yes, of course it did. It does for almost all trans people at some point. A lot of us live in a constant state of depression and anxiety.
I just lost a close friend of mine to suicide. He was also transgender. He had just started hormones and was still on a wait list for his surgery, a very long wait list. A wait list that has been almost doubled now. He shared with me how difficult that was for him. He and I shared in a lot of the same hurts and struggles. He was battling through a lot of things in his life, but I know that this mountain was a particularly high one for him to climb. I can't help but wonder if maybe had the healthcare system been better, he would still be here.
Together, we can make that change happen.
Skipping Stone is a Calgary based non-profit that supports transgender youth and their families Alberta wide. They provide low barrier access to mental health supports, social supports, as well as access to medical services. Learn more about their services and team here or donate here. Emmet Michael hoodies, T-shirts, CDs, and buttons can be purchased here, where 20% of your purchase will be donated to Skipping Stone. Thank-you so much for your support. You have no idea how long it goes. My love to you all.