Opi struggles to find gender neutrality in a label-obsessed world.
Opi Baron, a 19-year-old from Britain, remembers puberty very differently from her other female-born peers. While friends and classmates chatted excitedly about buying their first bras and lip gloss, Opi, who resented developing a female body, just couldn't relate. Even from that early age, Opi, who prefers the gender neutral pronoun "they," recognized they were suffering from gender dysmorphia, a condition in which a person feels their biological sex does not match their gender identity.
Though raised as a female, Opi self-identifies as pansexual and gender neutral, meaning they do not make sexual choices based on biological sex, gender, or gender identity and are neither male nor female.
"Instead of it being black or white, male or female, it's like there are a whole range of shades in the middle which is where I am. If you saw me in person I have feminine traits but I have abandoned the attempts to fit into that box of being female," Opi explains.
As a result, they find their female body parts, particularly their 30D breasts, "distressing" and "shameful." To cope, Opi wears unisex clothing and chest binds daily to hide their breasts, but now they are ready to take their transition even further.
Using the popular fundrasing website, GoFundMe, Opi hopes to raise the 6,000 pounds needed for breast-removal surgery. On the site, Opi explains, "I'm a non-binary person living in the UK. Due to my mental health I am unable to leave my house unassisted on a daily basis and thus I work from home in order to cover the costs of living (rent, food, etc). In order to progress in being who I am, physically, I would like to raise the money to have chest surgery — this would mean a great advance in my quality of life. Thank you for reading, anything you could spare would help!"
It may seem like an extreme choice to some, but Opi insists the naysayers have no affect on the decision. "I like to think of myself as a thick-skinned person, regardless. My body and therefore my business sort of thing. People who have listened and understood only want the best for me," says Opi.
One of those people is Opi's 22-year-old boyfriend, Phill Abott. Despite being heterosexual, Phill supports his partner's decision to pursue breast-removal surgery. "There's nothing out of the ordinary in my relationship, we do everything that everybody else does," Opi says. "Phill, being a man, said he liked my boobs but if I didn't want them he was fine with that. He is more concerned about me being happy."
Opi hopes more people will show support for their goal, saying, "Raising that money would be a dream and I feel so bad asking complete strangers for cash, but I really do need their help."
To donate or learn more about Opi, visit their GoFundMe page here.