Hi, my name is Sultana Kali from northern Kazakhstan. I am nineteen-year-old LGBTI activist, one of the few out transgender activists in Central Asia. I am one of the coordinators of "Queer Corner" in Astana and participate in LGBTI conferences and roundtables in Kazakhstan and elsewhere in Central Asia. That has included events organized by the U.S. Embassy in Astana, where I worked side-by-side with Jamison Greene, president of the World Association for Transgender Health, to encourage Kazakhstan's Ministry of Health and Social Development to change its procedures that govern gender transition.
I need your help. Because I am transgender, my high school expelled me a year before graduation. On my own and with the help of others, I've tried to find a school or university anywhere in Kazakhstan that will accept me, but none will. Under Kazakhstani law, I am not able to change my identity documents to reflect my gender until I'm age 21, and no school will accept me today unless I "conform" to the gender in my passport. What this means is that transgender youth are denied an education in Kazakhstan. And what about work? That's out, too, because even when I've been hired as a waitress, employers eventually want to see my ID. When they learn that I'm transgender, I'm fired.
That's why I am applying to colleges in the US. I've applied to Husson University in Maine and to Lane Community College in Oregon, both of which are willing to accept me based on the high school transcript I have. I am studying English this winter and will take the TOEFL exam in March, after which I expect my official acceptances and I-20 that I'll need to apply for my student visa.
But being accepted and getting an I-20 requires more than just a high school transcript and a TOEFL score. It requires money that is far beyond my means and that of my single loving and accepting Mom. I have applied for a Point Foundation LGBT scholarship and have my fingers crossed, but it's the crowd funding that I'm counting on. PLEASE HELP BY DONATING WHATEVER AMOUNT YOU CAN, LARGE OR SMALL
. I estimate I'll need $25,000 to cover my first year and that I'll need it by the end of April 2017.
If you have any questions for me, you can write to me at [email protected]
I'd also be happy to chat by Skype!
As my friend Robyn and I sing in the words of Ms. Streisand at the end of our video, "people who need people are the most wonderful people in the world." And you, for helping me pursue my dream and my life are truly the most wonderful people in my world.
With love and gratitude,