Not everyone can afford to "pass."
Being transgender in America isn't easy, especially given the current political climate around trans rights. But it seems that people forget it's not just policies that make it difficult to be trans, as the cost of transitioning can be astronomically out of reach for some individuals.
No matter how badly a person wants to do more than socially transition, medical transitions are not typically covered by insurance. So any medical procedures someone has to affirm their gender can cost thousands and thousands of dollars out of pocket. Even socially transitioning can come with a hefty price tag.
One trans woman, Jory, who goes by Alluring Skull on TikTok, is setting the record straight on the cost for trans people to "pass" in society. Jory recently saved enough money to get facial feminization surgery, which can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000. This surgery helps to soften the facial features of trans women who went through testosterone-driven puberty.
Jory explains in her video that before she had the facial surgery and extensions, people were chastising her for not trying harder to pass. The criticisms even came from fellow members of the trans community. But she found that after the surgery, people continued to criticize her.
"From the second day of coming out, I was told by other trans women that I don't try enough to pass. Six months later, I would receive my facial feminization surgery, to receive hundreds of comments telling me that I looked disgusting and I messed up my face," Jory says.
She goes on to say that she has been open about her transition online to show how difficult it is to be trans before listing some of the things she has to pay a lot of money for. These expenses include hundreds of dollars on her makeup, extensions and an entirely new wardrobe. This doesn't include the cost of hormones or surgeries.
Being able to afford to pass as a trans person is a privilege that not every trans person has, so they make do with what's available.
"I want people to know that being trans is extremely difficult. It's not as simple as just waking up one day and deciding you're going to pass, or you're going to be seen as the gender you are inside," Jory explains. "It takes a lot of work and a lot of money that most of us don't have access to. The median income for trans people in America is $10,000. Most of us will never be able to present in a way that aligns with who we are."
She ends the video by calling for people to be kinder to trans people by not leaving hateful comments on their videos. You can watch her heartfelt video below.
#stitch with @Alluringskull #trans