BY THOMAS TRACY
NOVEMBER !8, 2013
‘As a young artist, I've used online crowdsourcing campaigns to help my friends make albums, produce shows and make films,’ says New Yorker Shakina Nayfack. Referencing one Web fund-raising site, she adds, ‘I would joke to my friends, 'I should go online and "kickstart" my vagina!’”
This Kickstarter-style campaign is actually a kickstart-her campaign.
Shakina Nayfack, a transgendered performing artist based in New York City, is using online fund-raising site YouCaring.com to collect $52,500 to complete her gender reassignment.
It's the first time a transgendered person has used an online fund-raising site to assist in a sex change operation, she said.
"As a young artist, I've used online crowdsourcing campaigns to help my friends make albums, produce shows and make films," the 32-year-old theater director told the News. Nayfack has been out as transgendered for more than 10 years.
“In the last year and a half, I have stepped toward my medical transition, so I would joke to my friends, 'I should go online and 'kickstart' my vagina!’”
Shakina was born Jared Nayfack, and grew up in conservative Orange County, Calif., where he was taunted, shoved and spat on for wearing nail polish, makeup and spiked heels to school.
Eventually, Nayfack became a gay activist and choreographer at the University of California, Santa Cruz — and took the name Shakina, Hebrew for “presence of God” — on graduation day.
The imposing 6-foot-2-inch Californian moved to Washington Heights three years ago. She has already spent $10,000 on laser hair removal, electrolysis and a wardrobe befitting her gender.
Once she raises the $52,500 on YouCaring.com, Nayfack plans to go to the Supborn Clinic in Thailand, which has pioneered a certain sex reassignment procedure. She will also undergo a facial feminization surgery to "finally be able to live and enjoy my life in a body that makes sense to me."
"Like any life-changing event, you can't do this on your own," she said. "It takes a village."
So far, it’s a very small village; as of Sunday, Nayfack had raised $1,296.
A YouCaring.com spokesman said he found Nayfack's fundraising page "disturbing" because the site was created for people needing to raise money for costly cancer treatments, mission trips and adoptions.
"[People] are going through different life circumstances, many times with things I could not possibly understand or necessarily agree with," spokesman Brock Ketcher said.
Nayfact will promote her fund-raising efforts by performing "One Woman Show: A Work in Progress" at Joe's Pub, 425 Lafayette St., at 11:30 p.m. Dec. 7. To donate to her YouCaring.com campaign, go tohttp://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/kickstarther/103050.