I need a bunch of $ to fund my top surgery! I’m a musician, & I need to have a healthy back to perform in the ways I’m dreaming. In return for your kindness, you’ll get all my music!
Hello, again, tumblr. It’s Oliver.
I’m running out of ideas on how to ask for money, but I suppose I can say it plainly: I need as much help as I can get.
cw: vomit, blood, er, potentially fatal injury, bad medical help, not help at at, bad psychs, too tight binding
Last week I suffered a horrific incident where I ended up in the ER with no one believing me because my injury was binding-specific. My health was risked because the emergency responder had NO IDEA what binders were, or that someone who was sane could potentially bind TOO tight. Yes, it is potentially fatal. (See: Compression syndrome).
Maybe they weren’t trained on trans stuff (which is highly probable considering that not too many years ago, being trans or non binary or being whoever you are in that sense was considered a mental illness).
Maybe it’s ignorance, maybe it’s bigotry. But the plain fact is that I almost died in an ER room because no one listened. I can’t blame the nurses in the ER. They did the best they could. Yes, they escalated the situation. & yes, I was angry. I was livid. I was screaming for oxygen. It was highly traumatic for both my both my mother and my partner. They shouldn’t have had to see that. & yes, I apologized to the ER workers in the morning because I was really rude. But, you know. I was also going downhill fast because I simply could not breathe.
I realized I was in a potentially dangerous place and my partner was talking me through it. They said, “you need to calm down. I know this isn’t right. I know you’re in pain. But they’re going to put you in McGeachy hall if you don’t calm down.”
There was no WAY that I was going to let someone who didn’t know who I was tell me I was making up such excruciating physical pain.
The counselor who tried to convince my mom that I was making it up, asked “Do you make up stories, Oliver?”
Oh man. Oh boy. JFC. WTF. How is this happening? I thought- I thought, fuck, I’m that naive? I thought healthcare was to TAKE CARE OF ME.
Turns out, as I’m sure many, many non-binary folks/ well, and everyone who’s not rich AF know- healthcare in this country isn’t exactly looking out for us. (which isn’t okay. obvi.)
That was the point where I was like: this is fucking unbelievable. I’m literally shutting down physiologically. & I know that. I’m smart. I can recognize stroke symptoms. It’s pretty simple, actually. I had year at Boston University studying Human physiology. I had a middle school health class. I know what a stroke is, and if it’s escalated, it’s enormously dangerous.
I listen to my body. I like myself. I’m just living my life the way I want to & you’re going to tell me I’m making up this pain? No. No fucking way.
So I said “I’m a songwriter. I write stories in my songs. It’s what I do.”
And I worked for 12 hours until they released me. “Working,” as in, stretching out my back & quelling the awful chest tightness. Thank god, thank whatever, thank my own intuition that I brought aspirin that night.
I went home. I vomited a lot of coagulated blood. I had texted my symptoms to one of my good friends, someone who knows me, and who I trust as having a great medical knowledge, and they texted me two things as I returned home:
2.) drink braggs (apple cider vinegar)
There’s a lot of things that lead up to this injury. Unfortunately, since my medical team did not trust me, I had to treat myself by myself.
Because I understand my body, & I listen, & I research binding-related injuries because I’m generally pretty cynical about healthcare & what it can do for me, & because I trust my friend’s knowledge base of herbalism and natural remedies, I knew what I needed to do.
Ultimately, I’m still alive because 1.) I listened to my body & I’m stubborn 2.) I listened to my good friend 3.) the internet 4.) My mom & partner trusted me & fought for me in the ER while I was physically unable to.
Someone (in my immediate family) asked, “so you did this to yourself?”
No. That’s hugely insulting. I identify as a non binary transmasculine mixed and black musician. I mean, I bind because I have to function in the world. It’s a presentation that is accurate to who I am, and makes me feel okay. If I didn’t have to work, I could stay inside with my friends who get it, without a binder, and eventually I’d have top surgery.
But that’s not the reality. I get the feeling— a gross sort of nausea that aligns with my thoughts when I think: Oh my god. Oh my god. This could happen to other people. (And I’m sure it has.)
That’s a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE problem. I would file a malpractice lawsuit, but I don’t have the energy. I’m making a PSA because I’m scared.
I’m fearful for my queer family, because I know I was wrongly evaluated. What concerns me is my queer family being decimated in a bunch of ways because someone wasn’t properly educated, or had some stupid transphobia.
okay, that’s the bigger picture: how to change policy in terms of how medical responders see trans people. I didn’t have my binder with me. I took it off immediately after I went to work, having taken 1 aspirin, when my blood was racing. I was the perfect combo for a stroke because of how I was binding (it was a small binder- but as the queer fam knows, we work with what we have.) But it wasn’t healthy. I’m not superman. I do need support, and in this case, it’s ultimately financial support that translates directly to my health.
It’s not right & it’s not okay for a supposedly healthy 21 y.o. to suffer without help in the ER. I’m trying to tell this story calmly, but I am so livid. I now call myself Old Man June, for my music-making purposes. If you’re interested, my music’s at soundcloud.com/o-june. I feel old. I am recovering physiologically, and luckily, I’m young- I’m healthy enough. (But if any of you know me personally, I love fries, and I won’t be going so hard on that front anymore.)
I’m asking for help. I know traditionally, it’s not “proper” to ask for money, but I think that’s bullshit. Proper healthcare is a rarity, especially for nonbinary transfolks.
I’m getting a bigger binder once I can afford it, and I’m applying for less stressful jobs. But I’m gonna be honest here— I live in Portland, Maine, & food service is basically all I’ve got right now in terms of employment.
I’d like to have top surgery soon. There’s no timeline on it except for, I need it as soon as possible.
Thank you to everyone who has donated so far. You’ve heard it before, especially on tumblr, but every dollar helps, especially now that I can’t work for a bit. In return, you’ll get all my sketches. They’re music sketches & I intend on finalizing them as soon as it’s okay to really rock out physiologically.
P.S. that PSA will be out as soon as I can get it done. I’m nervous.
My friend Oliver needs, yes, NEEDS, top surgery. Please donate whatever you can, whether that’s $5 or $50.
Janet Mock is so amazing! I can’t believe I bought her book & immediately lent it out. Can’t wait to read #redefiningrealness! (at Elbo Room)
Satire is neither effective nor funny unless it comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.