Queer Eye’s Skyler Jay is fundraising for LGBT+ causes and paying off his medical debts – as well as suing his employer for its exclusion of trans-related healthcare.
Skyler told PinkNews that he is crowdfunding $8,200 to donate to LGBT+ causes in order to pay back the $8,200 the queer community in Georgia raised to pay for his top surgery.
He added that any extra donations will go towards paying off his medical debts.
“Of the $8,200, I asked that $1,600 be donated to three different organizations, totalling the amount of $4,800, and the remainder of the $3,400 to be divided between two of my friends top surgery campaigns,” Skyler told PinkNews.
The trans man has already raised his targeted amount for three LGBT+ causes – trans healthcare organisation Transcend Legal, and two of his friends’ top surgeries – in previous fundraisers.
However, he still needs to raise money for two more LGBT+ groups, Athens Queer Collective and Southern Fried Queer Pride.
Although $8,200 was raised for Skyler’s top surgery, complications arose during the operation, meaning that the procedure ended up costing around $16,200 – nearly double the amount Skyler had budgeted for.
Skyler said that, provided he surpasses his $8,200 target, the remainder will go towards paying off his medical debts.
“I made a promise to all five places that if they didn’t reach their goals I wouldn’t be accepting any direct help myself,” Skyler explained to PinkNews.
“My community is the reason I am here, it’s what has held, protected, and provided for me in ways I’ve never known prior to having this source of support.
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“I want to give back what was given to me and this was the only notion that felt right to me and made me feel okay about accepting donations for myself.
“I hope those that donated to my initial campaign for my top surgery feel proud knowing their donations that helped me are being returned to the community to do even more good for many people in need.”
So far, Skyler has raised $1,182 on his GoFundMe page.
Skyler is also filing a lawsuit against the University of Georgia over the exclusion of trans-related healthcare in its health plan for staff.
A spokesperson from Transcend Legal, which is representing Skyler, told PinkNews: “Skyler has health insurance through his employer, the University of Georgia, which explicitly excludes all transgender-related health care in its employee health plan. Skyler submitted a claim to his insurance for reimbursement of his surgery. The health plan denied the claim based on the exclusion, not a lack of medical necessity. But for the exclusion, it would have been covered.
“Such an exclusion is employment discrimination. It is sex and disability discrimination under Federal law. Skyler wants his claim to be paid, but also wants the exclusion removed so that all transgender employees have the same health benefits as non-transgender employees.”
Earlier this month, Skyler opened up about meeting the Fab Five and watching his episode.
The episode, titled “Sky’s the Limit,” premiered on Netflix in June and was both acclaimed and criticised for its treatment of the show’s first transgender participant’s makeover.
To donate to Skyler’s GoFundMe page, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/skylers-medical-debt