June 14, 2024

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TikTokers Hosting Charity Livestream for Trans Healthcare

3 min read
  • Two popular TikTok stars are doing a 30-hour livestream to raise money for trans healthcare.
  • They reached their $1 million fundraising goal just six hours into the livestream.
  • They’re fighting against legislators across the country trying to make trans healthcare illegal. 

Mercury Stardust’s rise to prominence on TikTok began with a short video answering a question about ratchet straps. Now, she has more than 2.3 million followers, and her popular home maintenance DIY videos get thousands of likes each. She attributes the growth of her platform to talking about DIY and maintenance in a way that made her viewers feel seen — what she calls “compassionate DIY.” 

At the end of all her videos, whether instructing on how to locate wall studs or use picture rails, she looks into the camera and reminds the viewer, “You’re worth the time it takes to learn a new skill.” 

Stardust says she has been raising money since the moment she came out as a trans woman five years ago, though on a much smaller scale. She has previously taken the stage in drag and burlesque shows which donated the proceeds to trans people seeking gender-affirming care. 

Now her platform has become a megaphone for advocacy and mutual aid in a country that is increasingly targeting access to trans healthcare. The ACLU is tracking more than 100 bills that are proposing restrictions on healthcare for trans people. So Stardust and fellow TikToker cohost Jory are hosting a 30-hour livestream that started last night and ends this evening, on Trans Day of Visibility, to raise money that will directly fund healthcare for trans people through Point of Pride. 

“I’m a fixer by nature — I’m the Trans Handy Ma’am,” Stardust told Insider.

 

The livestream features games and special guests

Stardust and Jory began the 30-hour livestream at 5pm ET on March 30. This is Stardust’s second year hosting the Tiktok-a-thon. Last year, she aimed to raise $24,000 in 24 hours and ended up bringing in more than $120,000 total. This year, they set an initial goal of $1 million — they reached it in just under six hours. 

Within the first hour, supporters effectively shut down the site hosting the fundraiser with their donations. Point of Pride co-founder Aydian Dowling attributed the site crash to the power of the community coming together and raising more than $100,000 in the first 60 minutes.

“This is what we do,” Dowling said on the stream. “We shut shit down.”

To continue to raise money, they’re bringing in a host of special guests and playing games including “trans Twister.” They’ve already brought on fellow TikTokers Vitus “V” Spehar, host of popular channel Under The Desk News, and makeup artist Darius Hall. Stardust has also pie-d Jory in the face multiple times, and the two set off a confetti cannon to celebrate raising $1 million. 

Stardust told Insider that she wants the livestream to help shift the conversation to trans joy. 

“I think people can have this misunderstanding that transness is pain,” Stardust said. “It’s not trans people who are sad and depressed,” she continued, “It’s the society around us that makes us sad and depressed.”

 

Trans people often lack access to quality healthcare

Now that the fundraiser has reached its $1 million goal, the organizers say it could help provide healthcare to 11,000 trans individuals — including hormone replacement therapy, binders, and gender-affirming surgeries.

These are treatments that many trans people might otherwise not be able to get through traditional American healthcare. 

“For trans people, gender-affirming care is often viewed as a choice rather than a necessity,” Stardust said. 

A recent poll by The Washington Post and KFF found that “nearly half (47 percent) of trans adults say the healthcare providers they have come in contact with know ‘not too much’ or ‘nothing at all’ about providing health care to trans people.” 

And even if a trans person finds a doctor who is knowledgeable about their situation, cost can be extremely prohibitive. Totals can reach over $100,000, and procedures are often not covered by health insurance. 

Black and brown trans women are disproportionately affected by these access barriers. 

“Our fundraiser should not have to exist,” Stardust told Insider. 

But for now, she will continue spreading joy and raising money one video at a time.


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