From Shawn

Hi there, I wanted to send an update and thank you out to you all. I can’t believe the Go Fund Me goal has been reached so quickly!

The incredibly long road to getting top surgery has been very stressful and full of many roadblocks and anxieties. I don’t even know where to start with my thank you’s and gratitude to all who supported my go fund me. That has taken an incredible load off of my shoulders. I’ve been pinching pennies over the last year hoping to secure that goal independently. Realistically, Will and I live a very humble life financially, where we put our everything into our dogs and their care first. Saving for ourselves is always very difficult when I can’t imagine a day either of us feels like we’ve ever done ‘enough’ for our family, the dogs. Improvements on the dog yard, vet check ups, high quality food and more and more as you all know always come first. 

This surgery is just for me, and I feel anxious about being open and out about that, and about needing to ask for help. If you noticed, the postings about this have been limited to the official ATAO media. That is due to an effort by myself, Shawn, to hold a little privacy from my parents on the issue. They have come a long way in my adult life in support of my identity, but it is not without ongoing challenges. My mother’s family is Nicaraguan, and my family on the whole is very Catholic. The intersection of Nicaraguan Catholics is a very strong cultural sector of my formative years, and brings about many strong values and morals to my family that have made my queer journey and on the whole our family dynamics tumultuous over the years. 

I also feel very anxious asking for something that feels so selfish. This isn’t for anyone but me. I want to feel confident in my own skin. I want to walk around comfortably in public. I want to be happy. But at a literal financial cost, asking for help has been difficult. I’ll never be able to thank you properly for the generosity you all have given me in supporting this journey for me through your kind words, financial support, and general safe community space to exist. 

This past year I’ve come out as being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and had fear surrounding how that might be received. Genuinely the safe community space that has been cultivated with you all, leaves me speechless so often. 

I’m very happy and proud of who I am individually, but that also isn’t without fear of consequences in my family, or in the world at large. I’ve in the past been asked to leave a job here in Alaska as I was told very directly that it was not acceptable or ‘appropriate’ to be out as queer in the workplace. Presently I hold an incredible job that I love, with an amazing boss that is an incredible ally. 

Regardless as we are aware there is a political attack on queer and trans* people and their access to health care. Is being out safe? I fear so often it is not. I live as an out queer/trans* person, as I believe it is so important for myself in a place of privilege to do so. As a career I advocate for vulnerable youths in my community. I have and continue to work with many queer youths, who have experienced unbelievable abuses and adversities as a result of their identities. It’s fundamentally and morally important to me, that as an individual with the privileges I have, that I stand visible as an out ally to my community. 

I realize this may have some hypocrisy as I literally just wrote about my keeping some privacy from my parents on the issue. I’m processing and working through this live, so I don’t claim to have it all figured out. 

Anyways, I truly can’t wait to start living a more authentic life, with comfort in my own skin suit that I’ve been leased by whatever omnipotent force may be. Just a few small alterations for resizing! 

So many thank yous,


3 Responses

  1. Darlene
    | Reply

    I’m very happy for you Shawn. You deserve to be comfortable in your own skin.

  2. Rebecca Booth
    | Reply

    I am so happy and excited for you. I can’t wait to watch your journey and love your skin suit.

    | Reply

    Hi Shawn,
    I’m late to the congratulations party because I don’t seem to see the important stuff in my Twitter feed anymore. I’m glad you’re doing something for you.
    Good luck.

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