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Transgender Student Appeals To Strangers To Help Her Pay For Gender Surgery

21/08/2015 09:41 BST | Updated 21/08/2015 09:59 BST

A broke student has appealed for strangers to donate their cash so she can undergo surgery to become a woman.

University of Westminster student Nikki Hayden, born male, said "all I've ever wanted was to be female."

So far nearly £2,000 has been raised to help the second year psychologically graduate fulfil her dreams.

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Nikki Hayden is raising money to help pay for her surgery

On August 4 she went to Poland for rhinoplasty to shave her nose and make it appear slimmer.

But it is just the first step in a series of planned operations.

In total she aims to raise £10,000 towards breast implants and the removal of her Adam's apple.

She is hoping this will take place within the next two years when she's due to finish her psychology degree at the University of Westminster.

"The NHS won't pay for the additional ops which are crucial to help me become who I am," Miss Hayden, of Nottingham, said. "So I've had to launch a transgender surgery campaign online.

"I don't feel guilty about asking strangers for money."

She said in the past she has felt suicidal. "Ever since I can remember all I've ever wanted is to be female," she said. "I felt I was never going to fit in and I withdrew into myself.

"I had very few friends in school and none outside of school. My evenings and weekends were spent alone, usually reading.

"All I could think about was taking the necessary step to become whole – to become who I am as a person inside and out.

"I wanted to become the real me; the authentic me.

"Life is too short – I needed to be me."

Once she started college in Nottingham, Hayden began experimenting with make-up and a more androgynous style.

At 19, unable to face life as it was, she transitioned to live full-time as a woman, knowing there was no turning back.

"At such a young age it was a big step,' she said. "I knew there would be no turning back but I was confident in my decision."

At 21, she began Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) but having suffered with lung disease from the age of three, it took longer than normal to start the regime.

"HRT was wonderful at first, but its feminising effects began to slow down, particularly breast growth," she said. "Now it's stopped altogether which is so frustrating."

In May of this year, her gender dysphoria got so bad that she stopped going out.

Unable to afford her surgeries as a full-time student, she even considered prostitution but could not go through with it.

"But I want do things that make me feel better about myself, not worse," she said.

"My pursuit of a career and education play a big part in that, and I do not want to go down the dark and dangerous path putting myself in both mental and physical danger."

Instead, Hayden is hoping her GoFundMe page will lead to the donations she needs to pay for her surgery.

In three months she has raised nearly £2,000. One anonymous donor even gave £700.

"I am calling upon those of you who can understand and empathise with what I am going through to help me truly be the person I am," she said. "So I can not only be happy and content, but also go on to become a professional where I can help others."

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