Fredericton’s Shifty Bits Cult Raises Money for Gender Confirming Surgeries for Members of the Transgender Community
Submitted by the Shifty Bits Cult
New Brunswick is the only province in Canada that does not fund gender confirming surgeries for its citizens. Transgender people in the province are required to fundraise thousands of dollars to cover the costs of not just the surgeries, but to travel to and from Montreal (or further), accommodations and unpaid recovery time. Add to these expenses the daunting discrimination faced in daily life, things are pretty tough for transgender New Brunswickers.
Three Fredericton-based transgender people have embarked on fundraising campaigns with a combined goal of $41,500, in order to support themselves as they move through the surgery and recovery process. AJ Ripley, Mable Wheeler and Reid Lodge are seeking support for various gender confirming surgeries (mastectomies, vaginoplasty, chest reduction and masculinization). With no support from the provincial government, Fredericton’s music scene has decided to step up.
Fredericton arts collective the Shifty Bits Cult are hosting the First Annual Cult Classic. Doubling as a roster showcase and fundraiser, the Cult Classic will be the first glimpse at the Cult’s crew for 2016. With four new groups to showcase alongside the Cult’s four mainstays (Motherhood, the Waking Night, Sam Salmon & The Grand Manan Bandits, and Captain III), the Shifty Bits Cult is pleased to be able to support the transgendrer community and create a safe space for them in the music scene.
“We’ve been looking for an opportunity to support AJ, Mable and Reid’s campaigns for a while,” said Shifty Bits Cult Prez Penelope Stevens. “As broke-ass musicians, it’s hard for us to scrounge up enough cash for a pack of smokes, let alone donating to even the noblest of causes. The only thing we have to give is our music, so we’re stoked to be able to give in this way. The Fredericton music scene tries to be inclusive and supportive, so this is a good way to show it.”
Mable Wheeler has been a very active part of the Fredericton music scene in the past. “I’ve recorded 15 albums in the last couple years with and for local bands and have been playing shows since I was 16,” said Wheeler. “It’s been really hard having gender get in the way of being a part of the music community and seeing my friends supporting me makes me really thankful that they still care…my dysphoria really gets in the way of doing what I love, and I’d like to spend more time making good art instead of battling against myself.”
To learn more about trans healthcare issues in New Brunswick, watch the Vice documentary On Hold, featuring all three fundraising recipients of this event.