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Meet Al

Al's story

Annual Trans Surgery Fund recipient


Al (he/him) is an autistic non-binary trans man seeking top surgery. Due to his remote location, the closest access to surgery is out-of-state, which health insurance isn't willing to cover. He's been saving money for surgery for several years, but he is the sole provider for his son and his job constraints limit him from working more hours a week. Al used GoFundMe to help supplement the cost, and he was overwhelmed by the support he received, but it was still only a fraction of what he needed. 

Al is an artist and author, and he channeled his ache for top surgery and relieving dysphoria into a cozy, hopeful book with a trans man protagonist. That book eventually got him an agent and a publishing deal. The money wasn't enough for surgery, but he believes books can be comforting and life-changing, and he wants trans readers to be able to see them selves in stories where they're the heroes and get the happy ending.

He has a lot of anxiety and dysphoria surrounding his appearance. He's been wearing binders for several years, and though they help, they are uncomfortable and still don't give him the flat-chested profile he needs. He wants to be comfortable in his own skin and focus more energy on creating art and supporting the queer community instead of struggling with dysphoria.

Al's timeline

  • Award Granted

    March 30, 2023

    Al was granted a Surgery Fund Award!
  • Consultation Date

    June 15, 2023

    Al had a consultation with Dr. Reuben!
  • Care Received

    July 11, 2023

    Al successfully completed surgery with Dr. Reuben!
  • Update

    January 27, 2024

    Al shared an update 6 months after surgery. "The grant changed my life, and I'm so incredibly thankful to Point of Pride and also Mercury Stardust for helping to raise so much money. I'll never take it for granted. When I was trying unsuccessfully for years to save up the money for surgery on my own, I used to gaslight myself into believing it didn't matter that much if I never got top surgery. My dysphoria wasn't THAT bad; I was almost 40 so what did it matter at this point; maybe I'd be fine simply binding forever despite how uncomfortable it was. But I knew those things weren't true, and the profundity of how much I needed top surgery didn't fully sink in until after I'd had it done and healed to the point where I no longer needed to wear a compression vest. My new chest is my favorite thing. When I look in the mirror, I see someone much closer to who I am inside than I did before. I'm confident and at ease now instead of self-conscious. It's so freeing to go about my daily life without having to worry about a binder or how flat my chest appears in a particular shirt."

Grant details

$10,000 towards gender-affirming care.

TikTok-a-Thon grantee

About FTM Top Surgery

On average, it costs $12,000+ for Al's care.

What is it?

FTM/N top surgery is a surgical procedure that removes breast tissue and reshapes the chest contour to create a more traditionally masculine or gender-neutral appearance.

What is life like for a person who needs this care?

Prior to care, many trans masc people experience dysphoria that impacts their daily life. One of the most common and heartbreaking experiences we hear from applicants is that they cannot give hugs to their loved ones without feeling intense distress with their chest. In addition, reliance on chest binding can cause strain over long periods of time.

How accessible is it for trans folks to receive this care?

While top surgery is often categorized as a covered benefit in many insurance plans, the reality is that it's frequently denied coverage. Many people report unsuccessful attempts to appeal for coverage. In addition, finding skilled surgeons experienced in performing top surgery can be extremely challenging, particularly in states and regions most affected by anti-trans healthcare legislation.

What is the impact of this care on the recipient’s life?

Many trans folks who undergo top surgery report massive improvements to their overall well-being and mental health, leading to increased confidence and more comfort in relationships, navigating public spaces, and more.