Transgender Comic Crowdfunds Surgery

By Padmini Parthasarathy

Dina Martinez’s insides don’t match her outsides. That’s how the comedian describes her current gender status.

Now she’s crowdfunding her "remodel." The trans comedian has hit a financial wall, like many other trans men and women looking to have gender affirmation surgery.

"I want to get an upstairs and downstairs remodel. Maybe a little attic too."

Martinez is using GoFundMe, a crowdsourcing site, to raise $37,000, a number that’s out of reach for most. Trans people earn much less than average and often have trouble finding and keeping jobs due to discrimination. About 47 percent of those surveyed did not get a job, were denied a promotion, or were fired because they are transgender.

Trans people are starting to look elsewhere to fund their surgeries. Performance artist Shakina Nayfack recently started a similar page called "KickStartHer" to gather donations.

"It’s just time that I’m able to wear jeggings."

Martinez thinks that it’s time for the ‘T’ in LGBT to come first—how about TLGB?

"The movement as far as L, G, and B goes has moved forward, and marriage equality is proliferating around the country and becoming part of the social psyche of the US. It’s time for us to speak to our issue. We’re the next group to get visibility and normalize," Martinez says.

"For the big spenders, I’m giving out T-shirts that say ‘Ask me about my FUPA.’"

She plans to donate any additional funds to a friend on the same path. The Internet has shown her a lot of love and support, she says. She still has a long way to go to reach her goal, but she has seen an outpouring of support from friends and strangers alike.

Though she’s a comedian first and foremost, she sees her comedy as a form of activism.

"The times that I get to work in rooms that are hetero-normative make me so excited because it gives me a chance to speak my truth on stage to people who might not have ever met a transgender person before," she told VITAMIN W.