Aydian Dowling was one of the three LGBT youths whose stories were featured in the It Gets Better special on MTV and Logo earlier this year. Like many young trans men, Aydian needs “top surgery”—chest surgery that will bring his body into line with his gender identity—and this expensive surgery isn’t covered by health insurance plans.
“Health insurance in the USA doesn’t cover transgender surgeries at all,” he says. “They’re covered in the UK, Canada, and Australia. The waiting lists are long, but at least it’s covered.” Aydian has a job—he’s a baker—but he doesn’t have health insurance through his workplace. Which means Aydian not only has to pay for his top surgery out of his own pocket, he also has to pay for all the preliminary blood work and tests, and any postoperative care that he might need.
“A lot of trans people ask for donations on sites like ChipIn.com to help cover the costs of their surgeries,” says Aydian. “But raising the $6,000 that top surgery costs through donations alone is pretty hard. And I wanted to give something back to people who donated.”
To give something back, Aydian designed a line of T-shirts. His T-shirts—which are high quality, trans-themed, and really fuckin’ cool—cost Aydian $10 to produce, and he’s selling them for $20. Between the money Aydian and his wife, Jenilee, were given as wedding gifts and the money he’s raised selling his T-shirts, Aydian is just $300 from his $6,000 goal.
Aydian had originally planned to stop selling his T-shirts once he hit his goal. But the shirts have been such a hit, Aydian has decided to keep selling them to help pay for other trans men’s top surgeries.
You can check out Aydian’s shirts at www.point5cctshirtcompany.com. The T-shirts are trans-themed—T-Rex!—but anyone can buy and wear them. Check ‘em out!
Also, find out who you can share your story as part of MTV’s second It Gets Better special, casting now.
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