Cillian Reynolds (19) sets up Go Fund Me for top surgery
"I just want people to see what I already know”.
The words of a Drogheda teen who has launched a Go Fund Me campaign with a goal of €7,000 to fundraise for his gender affirmation treatment overseas.
Cillian Reynolds is 19 years old and a FTM (female to male) trans man hoping to raise enough money for top surgery and HRT treatment abroad.
Top surgery is another term for in Cillian’s case, chest masculinisation and he says it is something that will help bridge the disconnect between his mind and body.
"I’ve known I’m trans since I was about 14 or 15, and have wanted to transition since then, so at 19 now, I’m in a position to start doing it,” explains Cillian, who lives near the Grove Hill, in Drogheda.
"There’s a three to seven year public waiting list to get the HRT treatment in Ireland, and I have very bad dysphoria, which means I can’t wait that long.”
Gender dysphoria is a term that describes a sense of unease that a person may have because of a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender.
"Trans people have a disconnect between their brains and their body’s gender, and in my case, I was born a female, but my head tells me I’m a boy,” explains Cillian.
"When you’re younger, you think everyone might feel the same, but it gets harder around puberty, when your body starts changing, and you find it hard to fit into certain roles.”
Cillian cannot access the surgery in Ireland and so, is raising funds to have the procedure done abroad and help him to cover living expenses afterward.
“I am fundraising to get top surgery abroad as I can't get it in Ireland and for living expenses afterward as I will have to stay there for at least two weeks post-op before I am allowed to go back home. I am also saving to start HRT with GenderGP because the HSE has such a long waitlist”.
Cillian left school in 2020, and says there is still al lot of education needed in trans issues and gender affirmation treatment.
"I was in St Oliver’s CC, which, even though I got some support, overall they weren’t great, and even with other trans people in the school, I did get a lot of bullying,” he says. “We were meant to start a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) club, which would be great to educate other students about what we go through.”
Cillian is a little nervous about the surgery, but is something he has wanted for years.
"It’s a big change to your body, which you don’t do lightly, and in Ireland, you have to prove you have dysphoria, which is a difficult thing to have to do,” he explains. “This is why most people try to go to a private hospital – I will try to go to Madrid – and there can be some complications, but that is supposed to be a very good place.”
Cillian’s mam and grandparents are supportive and he is hoping in the next few years, he can get everything needed for him to live a long and happy life as a man.
"I came out to my mam last year, and of course you are scared of rejection, but they have been great,” he says.
Cillian is hoping that, as well as public donations, local LGBTQ groups might consider organising events to donate to the fund.