‘In my mind, I’m not taking anything away – I’m bringing it back to how it should be,’ says Lír Academy graduate Taylor McClaine
By Sadhbh Pearse
“Yeet the teets” has become a popular term within the queer community, referring to when those in transition undergo a double mastectomy in order to feel aligned with their gender identity.
It is a gender-affirming surgery that can change the lives of those who have never felt comfortable in their own skin.
Many feel that the health care system in Ireland has not caught up with the need for gender-affirming surgeries, and does not provide adequate mental health care for those with gender identity issues.
Limerick Voice caught up with Limerick native Taylor McClaine about their journey with gender identity as well as their plans to undergo ‘top surgery’ in the near future.
An actor and graduate of the prestigious Lír Academy, Taylor is currently gracing the screen and stage from their new home of London. They found their love for theatre at a very young age with Spotlight Stage School in Limerick city.
Growing up in the county, Taylor felt “very visibly queer” everywhere they went and knew they were transgender by the age of sixteen, embarking on their own research and educational path through YouTube.
“At the time, there wasn’t really a language of non-binary, gender fluid, genderqueer. It existed, but it wasn’t in the mainstream media as much as we see it now. What was in those YouTube videos really resonated with how I was feeling.”
As a teenager, Taylor decided to socially transition in order to access medical care, but found that being between the age of 16 and 18 meant they were falling between the posts of child and adult services. Taylor believes that leaving teenagers without this care can lead to poor mental health.
In the meantime, the talented actor decided to do everything possible to assist them on their gender alignment journey, such as changing their name, getting a new passport and learning more about what it meant to be non-binary.
While self-educating and dealing with the ups and downs of everyday teenage life, Taylor was also educating others around them on what it meant to be non-binary. They feel very lucky in regard to the care they have received and the amazing support of their parents.
However, after turning 18, Taylor was turned down for ‘top surgery’ in Ireland.
“I don’t necessarily have any confidence in the Irish healthcare system to support me,” Taylor told the Limerick Voice, noting that waiting times and expenses are also an issue here.
Living happily in London for a number of years now, Taylor has decided to undergo surgery there. A need to access private services has led them to set up a GoFundMe.
“In my mind, I’m not taking anything away – I’m bringing it back to how it should be,” Taylor explained.
Taylor’s other fundraising plans include a homemade jewellery giveaway and hosting a fundraising night of “queer celebration” when they are closer to meeting a fundraising goal of £9,500.
“If you even have one singular penny to spare, please consider donating to my fundraiser and help me access a life-changing surgery.”