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Leeds student turns to Facebook to fund gender reassignment surgery as NHS waiting times sore

A 21-year-old transgender man in Leeds has taken to student Facebook groups in a bid to raise funds for breast removal surgery.

Harry Podmore, who was born biologically female, decided to turn to private surgery after being made to wait almost two and a half years for an initial NHS appointment to discuss options for a double mastectomy. 

The criminology student, who currently takes testosterone and wears a binder to flatten his breasts, says spending years waiting for surgery on the NHS is too great a physical and emotional toll to carry.

In February last year, Harry launched an online Go Fund Me page with the hope of raising £5000 to go towards the £7000 cost of a double mastectomy.

So far, Harry has raised £1120 and the student is due for surgery in four weeks’ time. 

Harry Podmore discusses why waiting for gender reassignment surgery on the NHS is not feasible for him and many others

Multiple posts made by Harry on a Facebook group for students in Leeds, asking for donations to his online fundraiser, have wielded a significant number of donations.

Harry said: “I do think students and young people are more open to things like this – maybe it’s because older generations haven’t had as much exposure to trans people and so don’t understand it in the same way young people do.

“I got a lot more support than I was expecting. I think five pounds from lots of different people doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up for me.”

Harry is not the first to turn to social media for help funding gender reassignment surgery.

He and his girlfriend, Eleanor Schliefke, have seen multiple individuals turn to student Facebook groups for help because of NHS waiting times.

Eleanor said: “I don’t think we’ve ever experienced anything negative from it, which is good.

“Harry’s managed to raise a fair amount of money, but we have seen people who have received negativity for their fundraisers.”

The NHS has been approached for comment.

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