TITS4TATS is Billy Slicks’ inventive response to the alarming state of trans healthcare within the UK. The London-based artist trades tattoos for donations to dozens of surgical procedure fundraising pages.
The concept for the undertaking took form earlier this yr, in the course of the first COVID-19 lockdown. Billy tells me that, throughout that point, they have been “seeing pals whose fundraisers weren’t going wherever, who have been struggling”.
Though the nationwide well being service has a legal obligation to offer specialist care inside eighteen weeks of a referral from a common practitioner, many trans sufferers wait years for a primary appointment. The coronavirus pandemic has additional increased waiting times and stalled medical transitions that have been underway.
With out authorities assist, most of the UK’s trans folks have been left with no alternative however to look to personal healthcare. This has resulted in an ever-rising variety of fundraisers to cowl prohibitively excessive non-public therapy charges, with prime surgical procedures costing up to £7,000.
Unable to donate to those fundraisers personally, Billy started pondering of different methods to assist. Having been tattooing their pals for years, they created an Instagram page to share earlier work and new designs and launched TITS4TATS – a brand new platform that, simply six months on, is supporting dozens of trans people who find themselves crowdfunding for gender-affirming surgical procedures on-line.
A number of folks have already met their objectives. “It’s clearly not all all the way down to me but it surely’s good to see that progress on folks and know that one thing’s occurring,” Billy says. The undertaking now features a fundraiser for the artist’s personal surgical procedure. They didn’t have a fundraiser when it began, Billy explains: “It wasn’t for me.”