Ja'briel Walthour, a transgender woman of color who is an activist, community organizer, and author living in southeast Georgia, has launched a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo to support the publication of her children's book series and help fund her medically necessary gender-affirming surgery.
Ja'briel is the creator of the Georgia-based grassroots community education project, "Partnering for Peace," which addresses issues of school bullying and anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, healthcare and places of faith. She has written for Ebony.com, ELIXHER.com, GLAAD and the Huffington Post, is a graducate of GLAAD's National People of Color Media Institute, and has participated in OUT on the Hill with the National Black Justice Coalition. She was also recently named to the innagural Trans 100 list which celebrates the breadth and diversity of work being done by trans people in the United States. When she's not advocating for social justice, she works as a school bus driver for special needs kids.
Through her campaign, Ja'briel hopes to raise funds for gender-affirming surgery and bring awareness to gender identity issues faced by children with her book, Apple of My Eye. Apple of My Eye is the first in a series of books that follow the journey of Jacob, a 10-year-old African American child who comes face-to-face with his gender identity issues, gender expression and how to navigate life in a world that doesn't quite understand people like him. Ja'briel's mission is to give educators, counselors, parents, and faith leaders an educational tool for children who are experiencing "a conflict at the intersection of race, gender, and self-image."
Like so many transgender women of color, Ja'briel faces huge obstacles to financially support her transition. Because many health insurance policies contain a specific “exclusion clause” which denies coverage of all medical procedures related to a person’s transgender status, she has twice been denied coverage for gender-affirming surgery. Support for her campaign will help her meet her healthcare needs, and sustain the critical work she is leading. "I honestly feel that I must use my voice to amplify those who cannot speak, to include others who experience injustice and have been banished or bullied into the shadows," she writes.