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Annual Trans Surgery Fund

Illustration of happy trans folks

About the program

Point of Pride’s Annual Transgender Surgery Fund is a scholarship-like program that provides direct financial assistance to trans folks who cannot afford their gender-affirming surgery.

Requirements

We have very few requirements in an effort to be as inclusive as possible:

  • You identify as transgender (FTM, MTF, non-binary, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, and all other non-cis identities.)
  • You are 18 years of age or older at the time of your surgery.
  • You have financial need that prevents you from affording gender-affirming surgery.
  • You can demonstrate past attempts at affording care (i.e. saving money, fundraising, attempting to get insurance coverage.)
  • You complete your surgery in the United States with a US-based surgeon.
  • Your surgery takes place on or after March 1 of the following year.

2017 recipient Gabriel (center) with Point of Pride leadership & volunteers

2017 recipient Gabriel (center) with Point of Pride leadership & volunteers

Self-assessment

This program is intended to help trans folks who otherwise can not afford gender-affirming surgery. We ask that you consider your access to healthcare before applying for this grant. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Do you have health insurance coverage that is trans-inclusive?
  • If not, do you qualify for Medicaid? (Learn more)
  • Do you have access to healthcare providers who are trans competent, and are able to travel to them to receive care?
  • Are you employed and able to save some money towards surgery?
  • Are you a citizen or documented immigrant?
  • Do you consider yourself healthy and able-bodied (i.e., not living with a chronic or long-standing illness)?
  • Do you identify as white, or do you experience white/light-skinned privilege?

If you answered YES to most of these questions, you may consider making space for our trans siblings who mostly answered NO. (Even if you answer YES to most or all of these questions, you are still eligible to apply.)

Surgery Fund recipients Cairo and Leah

Left: 2018 recipient Cairo following gender-affirming top surgery; Right: 2018 recipient Leah shared she felt “like a whole person” following her facial feminization surgery

Info sessions

Point of Pride staff will host live "Before You Apply" info sessions to walk potential applicants through our requirements and processes, and answer questions. These are completely optional to attend and will not impact your application positively or negatively.

Your privacy and security are our top priorities. Your personal information will be hidden from other participants. Your video and microphone will be disabled. You won't have access to view or interact with other attendees. Instead, you can communicate only with staff via private chat. 

The webinar will include automatically generated captions with Zoom's built-in real-time translation. Live ASL interpretation will also be provided. 

If you're unable to attend or prefer watching a video recording, you can watch a recorded session on YouTube.

Application process

Applications are open on November 1. The deadline to apply is November 30 by 11:59pm EST. All applications must be submitted online.

  1. Carefully read this page, especially our Frequently Asked Questions section.
  2. Review our Instruction Packet, which walks you through each question of the application form.
  3. Submit your application via the form below.

What to expect

Once the application period ends, our Board of Directors and team of Community Grantmaking Fellows (trained volunteers) evaluate each and every application received. This process is necessarily difficult and time-intensive, so thank you for your patience!

  • If you are selected as a finalist, or if our reviewers determine they need additional information, you will be contacted in mid-January via email. You may be invited to submit additional writing samples and/or participate in a brief phone or online interview.
  • If you are selected as a recipient, we will contact you again via email or phone regarding next steps. You will have a window of 18 months to schedule your surgery date (not necessarily complete surgery.) The full details of your award will be explained in your recipient agreement.
  • If you are not selected as a finalist or recipient, we will notify you via email, and you are welcome to apply again for our next application cycle. (Note: Our team stores your application materials for a full year, and we continue to pair candidates with financial assistance as we receive grants, resources, and new opportunities. You may be contacted later in the year via email. Review our Privacy Policy.)

For even more detail, this resource serves to provide complete context and clarity around our financial assistance programs, and why we have certain requirements or parameters in place.

Notes

  • Privacy and safety: We know many applicants feel vulnerable in sharing their experiences, and we take this very seriously. Anything you share with us in your written responses will be kept strictly confidential and private. Recipients will have the opportunity to publicly share their stories in the way that feels safest and most affirming for them, as well as hide identifying information if preferred.
  • Language: Our application is not an English test. We will not consider grammar/spelling or writing ability when reviewing your responses. Above all, please give us detailed, thorough responses so we understand your unique situation. We hope to provide full translation support in the future.
  • Accessibility: We understand that some applicants may want or need extra support in completing their application. You may list someone else on the application as your liaison, translator, or support person. This person will be CC'd on all email notifications regarding your application status. (Access can be revoked at any time by the applicant by contacting Point of Pride.)
  • Equity: Our organization prioritizes equity as one of our guiding principles. Your application will be assessed on the responses you provide and in accordance with this guiding principle. Point of Pride does not discriminate based on age, race, ethnicity, gender, or any other identity.

FAQ

"Is ____ an eligible procedure?"
Yes. We accept applications for any gender-affirming procedure. For surgeries that are multi-step or consist of several procedures (such as facial feminization surgery), this grant will cover only those procedures that can be performed on a single surgery date.
"Can I apply if I have health insurance?"
Yes. Please note this information in your application. Note that we do not have any requirements like that you need to have attempted coverage in the past, you need to have received a denial letter, or anything like that. We recognize there are many scenarios in which you may have inclusive healthcare coverage and still cannot use your insurance.
"Are there age requirements?"

Applicants must be at least 18 years old by your surgery date. There is no upper limit for age.

"Can I snail-mail you my application?"
No, we can not accept any materials sent through the mail. All documents must be uploaded via our online form.
"Can I apply if I live in a different country?"
Yes, you are welcome to apply for the Surgery Fund if you live outside the U.S. However, due to our non-profit status, all surgeries must be performed in the United States and its territories. That means in order to apply, you have to be physically and financially able to travel to the United States for your care. (At this time, Point of Pride grants cover surgical fees and cannot be applied to travel, lodging, or other logistical expenses.)
"Can I apply to pay back medical loans/expenses for a surgery I’ve already had?"
We understand the challenges of debt and medical loans that so many of us deal with in order to afford care. Unfortunately, no; you must apply for financial aid towards a future surgery. Our grants are paid directly to health care providers specifically for the procedure itself, before it takes place.
"Can I send you a letter of recommendation?"
No, letters of recommendation are not accepted at this time.
"When will I receive a response about my application?"
You will receive an email from an "@pointofpride.org" account by late February–early March. (Please check your spam folder and the quota limit on your inbox to make sure it hasn’t been filtered or bounced back. You may need to search for email accounts that end in “@pointofpride.org” or update your settings to allow emails from “@pointofpride.org” accounts.)
"When are recipients selected?"
Typically, recipients are selected and notified in late February–early March. We are a primarily volunteer-operated non-profit, so sometimes it can take longer as we process the high volume of applications. We appreciate your patience!
"Can the grant be applied towards travel, lodging, or other expenses before, during, or after surgery?"

We understand the challenges of debt and medical loans that so many of us deal with in order to afford care. Unfortunately, no; at this time, our grants are paid directly to health care providers specifically for the procedure itself, before it takes place. We cannot apply grant awards toward transportation, lodging, general expenses or (for international applicants) getting a visa and other logistical expenses.

"Can I apply if I have already scheduled my surgery?"

Yes; if you have a surgery date scheduled, there is an option to include that in your application. Because of the time it takes our volunteers to review the high number of applications we receive each year, however, we can not fund applicants who are having surgery in the months of November–February of the current cycle. So, when you submit an application in November, your surgery would need to be scheduled on or after March 1 of the following year in order to receive funding.

"How can I submit a high-quality application?"

We strongly encourage you to review our Instruction Packet, which walks you through each question of the application with tips. Ultimately, our reviewers are looking for thorough responses that answer each question with specific examples and detailed explanations. 

"Can you help me find a surgeon?"

Unfortunately, no. Our team does not have the expertise or ability to provide referrals or recommendations for trans-affirming surgeons. Every person's surgery goals and priorities are unique. So many factors – a given surgeon's specialty or expertise, the procedure type that's right for you, whether or not you're willing/able to travel for surgery – means that finding a surgeon is a highly individualized decision. Therefore, you will ultimately be the best judge of who your provider should be. We recommend that you reach out to local LGBTQ+ centers and trans support groups, as well as your current healthcare providers and/or insurance company (if applicable), for recommendations to help you as you research.

"Can I submit an application on behalf of someone else?"

We recognize there may be barriers that prevent someone from submitting an application on their own without help. You may submit an application on behalf of someone else only if you are working directly with the applicant and clearly reference their involvement in completing the application. (For example, if you are providing technological support, language translation, or other assistance on behalf of the applicant, please note your role and that the applicant is still the primary author of their responses.) However, you may not submit an application without the applicant's involvement. (For example, applying for a loved one without their knowledge.) While we understand the desire to surprise someone with a grant, our process builds on the fundamental idea that trans people are our own best advocates: we want to ensure that this belief is reflected throughout the application process.

"How much money do grant recipients receive?"

Grant awards vary widely. The fund covers a high percentage (70-97%) of your total surgical, anesthesia, and facility fees. You will be responsible for a smaller percentage of your care, with a maximum out-of-pocket expense specified in your recipient agreement. You should expect to cover travel fees, lodging, food expenses, time away from work, postoperative nursing care (when required), and certain postoperative medications. 

"Can I apply for my care while being a support person for someone else's application?"
Yes, you can be both an applicant for your own application and a support person for someone else's application during the same cycle.
"I've received support from Point of Pride in the past. Can I apply?"
Yes, you can apply if you have already received funding or support through any of Point of Pride’s programs. If you received a grant through the Electrolysis Support Fund, you'll be invited to apply for a Renewal Award once you have used at least 90% of your current grant award.

Apply

Applications are currently closed. The next cycle will open on Nov. 1.

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Meet past recipients

Over $1,323,000 in financial assistance awarded to 116 recipients.