CHOP: 45 Days

Seventy-five days ago I sat at this computer in my office-closet and rolled out my top surgery campaign, CHOP. I spent hours writing and re-writing the script, taking long lunch breaks to hack out a video on imovie and lost several degrees of dignity producing a cover of “Zombie” about “boobies.” I’ve had better moments.  I struggled with keeping up any sort of momentum on the campaign as my current employment situation keeps me at my desk until 6pm or later every day and leaves more exhausted than ever. In place of regular updates I only felt guilt.

ImageWhy an indiegogo campaign then, I asked myself today? The top surgery campaign is now a post-modern staple of the trans narrative. It was a natural next step. I watched my brother pull off an entirely successful campaign about half a year before me. The community loves him and they love me, I figured. Let’s give it a go. Today, with a minimal amount of consistency I see that Lexington loves me $1,305 worth. And for that I am OBSCENELY grateful.

So with 45 days I will give take a leap of faith and submit myself to my community. I will burn the midnight oil with bourbon and coffee as I did tonight to come clean and provide you with anecdotal evidence in support of helping me cut my chest into the torso it is meant to be.

____________

Day 45 Reflection – outness: With one blog post already under my house pants waistband for the evening I am driven to push forward. I want to wax on the nature of trans visibility as it concerns me, Elias Gross. As a white male, I am afforded a large amount of privilege in society. As a transman who takes male hormones and is consistently read as male, save for the occasional email to “Elisa,” I have what is called ‘passing privilege’ and it is exactly how I live my life.  It has been difficult to sit and promote CHOP to my peers that hear me speak only rarely on behalf of the junk in my trunk. It is so easy to fall taciturn on the subject which once took up so much of my mental energy.

As a way of cosmic balance, however, I find a way to throw myself and my transness back into the spotlight from time to time. Writing now on the subject and my campaign, I do so with earnest keystrokes and an open heart to my true sentiments. You see friends, the transgender experience is not tragic. It can be dangerous, it can be alienating, but at the end of the day, the knowledge of life on both sides of the fence opens the world in a way only reserved for us. Because of my transition, I know myself better than most of my peers. I have become a better judge of character out of necessity and can now listen to quiet voices with an intensity I have oft afforded myself. Transitioning absolutely made me into a man in every sense of the word and I could not be more proud.

But I could be more at peace. And that is why I turn to you. For every business meeting I sit through with a hand peeling my shirt away from my chest. For every premeditated open of the men’s locker room door at the gym. For every night I lay my head on my pillow and pull at my skin, pretending with childlike abandon that I can pop my chest like pimples and watch the anxiety and foreignness seep away. I want so badly to stand up straight without being betrayed by my body. No amount of radical self-love will severe that flesh from my chest. But $7000 will.

My experiences are unique in this world and I intend on sharing them via my blog and an eventual chapbook of selected prose. My outness comes in words and my own personal confidence. I do not hide in the shadows but in the fabric of my community.  If you believe in my cause and my book project, I would appreciate nothing more than if you would contribute to my campaign at www.indiegogo.com/chopelias. For reading at all I thank you and hope that my words resonate and encourage sharing of your own stories. This is the first of 45. Hope to see you tomorrow!

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