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Transgender Mizzou Student Shane Stinson Fundraises Online for Reconstructive Surgery

Categories: LGBT

shane.jpeg
Shane Epping, Mizzou News
Shane Stinson
In a world where "Kickstarter" is used as a verb and Zach Braff asks fans to fund his movies, online fundraising tools make asking for money temptingly easy.

But Shane Stinson, a 21-year-old psychology major from Brentwood, isn't starting a business, building a robot or whatever else the thousands of crowdfunding campaigns do with the money supporters pledge. Stinson wants $15,000 to physically alter his female body to match his male identity, and he's asking for your dollars to do it.

Stinson, who identifies as a transgender man, lived as a woman until the last year or so, when he changed his name, switched to male pronouns, bound his chest and began in earnest the yearslong psychological and social transition from living as a woman to as a man.

Now, Stinson is ready to start his physical transition. Just one problem: Gender reassignment is seriously expensive.

Stinson needs $15,000 to surgically remove his breasts and to begin hormone therapy. After two weeks on crowdfunding site Go Fund Me, friends have donated more than $2,100.

"I'm a full-time student also working a job trying to save toward this goal, so (when I saw the donations) I was just so happy," Stinson tells Daily RFT. "It took all this pain and burden off me."

Stinson's in a bit of a time crunch. He wants to reach his $15,000 goal and have his surgery before he graduates from college and goes off student insurance.

Stinson plans to work two part-time jobs to help finance his treatment in addition to class work, volunteering, hosting a radio show on LGBT issues and spending time with girlfriend Danielle Pevehouse. Just as he began to feel overwhelmed, friend Suzy Day, the Missouri Family Health Council's director of outreach & advocacy and a well-known ally for queer Mizzou students, offered to set up a crowdfunding website where friends and supporters could help.

shaneanddani.jpeg
Courtesy of Shane Stinson
Shane Stinson and his girlfriend Danielle Pevehouse
"Whenever there is a task or someone in need or a group in need, Mizzou will do anything and everything to make it happen," Stinson says. "I have loved watching this community be so giving and so generous."

The $15,000 price tag breaks down like this: Chest surgery will cost around $8,000, not counting the travel costs to the surgeon in Florida as well as hotel and food costs during his weeklong recovery.

Stinson also needs about $650 for the blood tests that will allow him to begin testosterone injections -- which cost $150 every three months -- to deepen his voice, grow body hair and make him look overall more masculine.

shane1.jpeg
Courtesy of Shane Stinson
Once Stinson starts his hormone therapy, he can't stop. Not only will he lose any progress he makes, but sudden withdrawal can cause serious weakness and depression.

"I'll be saving up for it, but I don't ever want to get in a spot where I lose a job or I can't get (testosterone) into my system," Stinson says. "It's unsafe to be putting the hormones in and out of your body."

Stinson says genital reconstructive surgery -- colloquially known in the trans community as "bottom surgery" -- is not even on his radar, especially since the procedure can limit sexual feeling.

Is that too much information? Stinson admits his personal transition has become very public.

"A lot of people have applauded me for being this public," he says. "The only thing we can do is make our identity public and be someone people can relate to."

Being public has risks. When a New York trans woman posted her gender transition to YouCaring.com last month, a spokesman for the site called her campaign "disturbing" and said he didn't agree with it.

"People just do not understand the in-between," says Stinson.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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28 comments
jak129
jak129

Not sure where he is getting his inflated numbers AND Shane has parental support and funds to attend Mizzou, so why is he begging for money? Many transgender people are cast out by their families and have no money in support let alone for a Mizzou education. If Shane were to have a hysterectomy first, he could cut his testosterone way down so that it would be of little cost and THEN do the breast removal, which is elective in nature. He could probably get a hysterectomy locally. That removes the female hormone producing parts, which is why he needs much more testosterone. Instead he is going for more cosmetic surgery. I read in the Columbia Tribune he is raising money to take 3 people with him to Florida? The chest surgery does not require three people for aftercare. I know several transmen (including family) and I don't get all this for Shane who is an able young person. This fund raising tactic is just that - a tactic with squishy math and a gimme attitude.

rune
rune

I had top surgery with Dr Garramone in Davie FL last year and it didn't cost $8000 for the surgery. It cost $5700 plus around $500 for labwork. You don't have to take a posse of three people to care for you: one is required, and that is only if you aren't staying at Leland's, which would take care of it for you (available at Garramone's web page, the same page he probably used to book his surgery appt at). Furthermore, Testosterone does not cost that much. It's at MOST $28 per month and less if you pay out of pocket in 3-month intervals, which is what most transmen do. BTW: Leland's is called New Beginnings and it is a recovery spa/bed and breakfast for FTMs having their top surgery done in Davie FL. I also don't understand this fund raising bit in the first place- donate if you want to, but seriously, a person with as many resources and family support as this person has seems to be able to pay for it himself. Dude, be a man and pay for your own surgery. If you can't afford it, then wait until you can. It won't be long. If you see something you want, make some sacrifices, cut the fat, live lean, sell the bike etc... and buy it like a man, don't go around begging for the cash for breast removal and reconstruction like you're destitute. It's insulting to those of us who did man up, save our money, wait a few years and kept our pride.

Kyler Thomas
Kyler Thomas

Why would insurance foot the bill for something purely cosmetic?

Emily Phillips
Emily Phillips

does this mean I can start a kickstarter to pay for grad school?

Hippie Granny
Hippie Granny

If insurance companies helped pay for this, he wouldn't have to do this.

Todd Alan
Todd Alan

@ryan and others who apparently didn't even read article:ur right kickstarter shouldn't and doesn't fund things like this. This first line of article points out "in a world where kickstarter is used as a verb..." I.e. it's a catch all for crowd funding. Of which there are dozens of sites. One of which this individual chose "go fund me", which guidelines allow funding for, well whoever the "me" in question is.

Scott Hoffmann
Scott Hoffmann

I want to be a beneficiary to Josh Goodmans fund

BillHannegan
BillHannegan

Poor girl, she is brave but confused. Hope she doesn't harm herself with surgery. It would be a crime to contribute toward her harm.

Ryan Stufft
Ryan Stufft

Though I am a supporter of lgbt rights-Kickstarter is not intended for pandering and this should be crowd sourced elsewhere.

Kein Bartlett
Kein Bartlett

That's uhh.... Not what the site is for. Seriously.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman

Who want's to donate to my weed and hooker fund?

Leajnice
Leajnice

it's not kickstarter.. If you read the article you'd see that... "rolls eyes".

Todd Alan
Todd Alan

Isnt the point of a kick starter or crowd funding initiative so that people with a common cause, interest, support give of their own free will to whatever the fund is for? If u don't care/believe/want to be a part of it...don't. Who the eff cares what someone else does?

cmichael.files
cmichael.files

Thanks RFT for covering this, Shane is an amazing person!

Brian Brown
Brian Brown

Think about all of the people that need things , food , home , electricity . You have people living on the street in freezing temps . Donate to them. But if you have blinders on, your right why not

George Cameron
George Cameron

Given the costs of that surgery ALONE, plus hormone treatments, et cetera? I applaud this person. If something like Kickstarter is going to exist, and people are willing to donate to someone else's cause, why not?

dalediversity
dalediversity topcommenter

I will not donate because this goes against god's will 

Brian Brown
Brian Brown

Good for him?! I want a new vaca baby , hook it up y'all

Ed Gibson
Ed Gibson

wow people are using kickstarter (and getting?) donations for personal shit?

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