Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 23, 2012.

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A multimedia project on the state of transgender health care in the U.S. and why Americans are traveling abroad to get it.

New Fundraising Goals!

Thank you to everyone who has helped us reach 100% of our fundraising goal! Because we have a few more days left, here's what we can do if we reach a few more benchmarks!

$6,500: We can interview prominent trans activists and experts around the country, including artist, sound engineer, activist, professor and all-around rockstar Sandy Stone in California!

$7,000: We can hire a soundtrack artist to create a custom music score for our media. 

$7,500: We can hire a web developer to build a snazzy, interactive, and mind-blowing platform to show off these stories. 

What we're all about

Some girls are called "tomboys" because they like to play sports and climb trees. Some boys are called "sissies" if they cry or like dolls. Every person relates to both masculine and feminine traits in some way or another.

In fact, by age 5, children have developed a gender identity, knowing if they are a boy, a girl or something else. For trans folks, this often means identifying as a different gender than the sex they were assigned at birth.

"The Cost of Gender" is a short documentary that will take a look at the hurdles, challenges and triumphs trans folks face as they transition their bodies to align with their gender.

Rev. Carla Robinson is a pastor at All Saint's Episcopal Church in Seattle, Wa. She is currently planning her gender reassignment surgery in Thailand, but the out-of-pocket cost is the only thing delaying her trip.
Rev. Carla Robinson is a pastor at All Saint's Episcopal Church in Seattle, Wa. She is currently planning her gender reassignment surgery in Thailand, but the out-of-pocket cost is the only thing delaying her trip.

To have gender reassignment surgery in the U.S., a fully-insured trans person will still pay out of pocket upwards of $30,000 plus staggering pre- and post-surgery medical bills. This is why Americans are traveling in droves to places like Bangkok, Thailand where the same, high-quality surgery is offered for a few thousand dollars. 

We (Dacia+Sara) are traveling to Thailand for 2 weeks in November to interview trans folks and their surgeons as they go through this life-changing transition. We will also explore the Thai culture that has openly embraced the trans community flooding their borders.

This project hits on the two most critical issues facing our American culture; health care reform and LGBTQ rights. Your support will directly fund independent journalism and help share the invaluable stories of the most underreported populations.

International reporting trips can be expensive. These funds will help us get to Thailand, hire translators for interviews, rent much needed gear like microphones and lenses, build a custom platform to publish the work on and buy other sexy things like harddrives and batteries.  

"The Cost of Gender" will be published in February 2013 on The Common Language Project and The Seattle Globalist on a platform featuring video, motion graphics, interactive features, photos and written stories.

After the work is published, we will also create a DVD, hosts screenings/forums in Seattle, and submit the documentary to film festivals and journalism competitions. 

Thank you again for your support in sharing these incredible stories!

Curious about previous series from The Common Language Project? Check out the audio slideshow on water walkers in East Africa or this video on Iraqi refugees in limbo. 

FAQ

  • For our fabulous international backers, please see below for our shipping rates:

    $15 - $25 reward: Add $2 for international shipping

    $50 - $100 rewards: Add $10 for international shipping

    $150 reward: Add $20 for international shipping

    Please let us know if you have any questions. Thank you to all our amazing, awesome, radical backers!

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  • As journalists, we fell it is absolutely critical to answer these questions honestly and transparently.

    Q #1: Dacia and I both happen to identify as gender queer, cis-bodied women. What this means is that we are female-born individuals that defy the expectations laid out for women, such as personality, clothing options, hair styles, interests, etc that tend to be more masculine than feminine. Many describe this as "gender fluidity." We have each experience discrimination to varying degrees because of our masculine gender presentation.

    Q #2: Regardless of our own gender identity, the nature of being a journalist is that you report, empathize and accurately share the stories and experiences that are not your own. Our job is to use our skills as media makers with access to publications to share the stories that are not told in mainstream media. This is at the core of The Common Language Project's mission to publish the underreported stories of the world.

    And yes, we do agree that there should be more trans and queer filmmakers, journalists and media makers in the world. Which is why Dacia and I are both instructors and mentors for several youth media orgs (Seattle Digital Literacy Initiative, Reel Grrls, and Reel Queer Youth) teaching trans and queer youth how to make their own media.

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  • We recognize that there is poor, often misinformed or insensitive media coverage about trans folks out there. This is one of the reasons Dacia and I are so passionate about creating this project. When we talk about "the costs of gender," we are talking about more than just the dollars needed to pay for medical care and procedures.

    We are also talking about social costs of growing up as a transgender person, the physical costs as the target of extreme violence, and the psychological costs as doctors diagnose trans folks with disorders in order to even access surgeries among many, many other costs.

    In this project, we hope to elevate the conversation about gender that is hardly visible in our media. Dacia and I are not about sensationalizing this issue. We are about telling honest and compelling stories.

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Funding period

- (25 days)