Skip to content

Meet Alexander

Alexander's story

Annual Trans Surgery Fund recipient


Alexander (he/him) is a 23-year-old trans man from Ohio seeking top surgery. He works full time as a Store Manager at a retail store, where he often logs overtime to ensure that his store is running smoothly. The long hours and environment make taking breaks from binding nearly impossible. After a trip to the emergency room for chest pains, he was diagnosed with chronic costochondritis — “an inflammatory disease that causes swelling around the ribs, heart, and chest wall, making it hard to breathe.”

For years, he’s worked hard to get out of debt and save for care. After losing his second job, however, he felt like surgery was getting further and further away.

Alexander loves reading, cooking, soccer, being active, hiking, swimming, and says, “You name it, I probably enjoy it, (even eating Brussel sprouts).” He thrives on social justice and learning about the law. Since his retail location has stayed open during the global pandemic, Alexander has been focused on supporting his staff and providing a safe and positive working environment even with everything going on.

Alexander's timeline

  • Award Granted

    May 9, 2020

    Alexander was granted a Surgery Fund Award!
  • Care Received

    July 22, 2020

    Alexander successfully completed surgery with Dr. Medalie!

Grant details

$5,000 towards gender-affirming care.

About FTM Top Surgery

On average, it costs $12,000+ for Alexander'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.