Congratulations to Armaan Singh from Washington, who will receive $6,000 towards his gender-affirming surgery, which he plans to have in the coming months.
Armaan’s application was so moving that he received almost unanimous support from the Board to name him as a finalist. He shared with us his challenges and triumphs in struggling to identify as a deeply religious Punjabi person as well as a transgender man; how LGBTQ issues are simply not accepted or discussed in his culture; his journey surviving conversion therapy; and his current financial need as a dedicated student.
“My financial need is largely because of my coming out crisis with my family. I came out to them two years ago, and told them about my $3,000 savings for surgery, which I needed and wanted so devotedly… From there, my situation lost control. I was rejected by my family and forced to attend conversion therapy out of state… I was forced to use my savings to take care of my needs and my education.
Since getting out of conversion therapy, I now attend college college where I have tremendous support. I have restarted my savings from square one. Currently, I am a full-time college student attending University of Washington Bothell and work on campus as a Social Justice Organizer to focus on creating a diverse and safe environment.
To boost my savings, I also took off campus jobs, and despite my increasing expenses, I managed to again save around $2,000 for my surgery. I still work hard, joggle multiple jobs while going to school only because my body needs this more than anything. The money I lost while going through my family crisis changed my life, and despite my savings as a student working full time, I need assistance very intensely to make ends meet.
I am a Punjabi Indian trans man of color. My community is deeply conservative and lacks space for men like me. I do not know a single queer or trans person, which often times leaves me heartbroken. It is one of the most soul-crushing feelings in the world, especially now that my family seems so distant to my reality…
So, I will continue my work to build communities for folks in an effort to protect them from what I have to feel. Currently, I give back to my community through my activism on campus. I primarily focus on creating events on campus that provide a safe space for dialogue on queer and trans issues, and help these folks find a community on campus. Just recently I organized a Dine and Dialogue entitled “Say Hi to Bi- Understanding Bisexuality 101” that intended to break stereotypes around bisexuality.
I know my body like no one else and I cannot emphasize enough how badly my soul is yearning to be set free. To go back home, to work out in the day, to spend more time outside and not in my room trying to hide my body. It is not that I hate my body – in my culture, we see bodies as temples where you find peace, but in 21 one years my temple hasn’t felt that. I am craving that feeling.”
Stay tuned: We will be keeping you updated on Armaan’s story leading up to and after his surgery later this year!