By ASHLEY JOST
Columbia Daily Tribune
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Shane Stinson will “meet you where you’re at” as you try to understand why the female body he was born with is not the body he identifies with.
He gets the struggle. It can be hard for others to understand that his mind and heart are disconnected from his physical appearance. But two months after publicly declaring his intentions to transition his female body to that of a male, Stinson and his supporters are ready for any questions.
Stinson went through the emotional process of figuring out his identity for months, if not longer, before he came out to his girlfriend, Danielle Pevehouse, and later to his parents. After that, the story went public — very public, the Columbia Daily Tribune reports.
His effort has been met with nothing but compassion thus far, he said. Stinson’s University of Missouri email address might still read with his birth name, but the campus quickly changed every other notation of his identity to “Shane” without question after he came out about his transgender identity in a Mizzou News story a few months back.
The publicity from that story sparked an idea from a friend of Stinson’s, Suzy Day, director of outreach and advocacy for the Missouri Family Health Council. Day set up a Go Fund Me website to raise the money to help Stinson’s efforts to transition.
The process of transitioning is difficult and leaves a lot of room for uncertainty, but Stinson and his supporters have done a lot of research.
Very little is covered by insurance, so much of the money has to come out of Stinson’s pocket, with the help of the Go Fund Me support he continues to receive. The goal is $15,000. Many of the donations are small, with the largest being $200 from an LGBTQ supporter in St. Louis.
The actual surgery doesn’t cost $15,000. That amount is broken down between testosterone shots that Stinson will require every two weeks and cost about $150 every three months, the surgery that’s an estimated $7,000 and the accompanying cost of travel for him, his mom, dad and girlfriend to Florida with a seasoned transition surgeon that Stinson hopes to use.
Stinson’s goal is top surgery: a reconstruction of the top part of his body. Bottom surgery is a possibility later, but the process is very complicated. Hopefully, science will catch up to the needs of the transgender population, he said.
The support he has received is invaluable, he said.
“It’s really important to have people to go through this with,” Stinson said. “Social media support is great, but there are going to be hard parts where I’ll need people physically there.”
That’s where Pevehouse, his girlfriend, and his parents come in.
Pevehouse plans to be there the entire way, but it was a struggle for them to reach the point they’re at now. Acne and changing eating habits and variable moods are among the side effects of testosterone shots. Stinson is confident he can get through it with Pevehouse’s help.
“The hardest part has been accepting and trusting the fact that nothing is going to change,” Pevehouse said. “Shane will still be himself. I don’t love his gender, I don’t love the outward or aesthetic appearance of Shane. I love him.”
Stinson had the most difficulty coming out to his father, he said.
Scott Stinson, Shane’s dad, said there wasn’t a question about supporting his son. “At the end of the day, Shane is my child and I love my child,” he said. “I told him we would support him with what he wanted to do.”