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Meet Bowie


Bowie's story

Annual Trans Surgery Fund recipient

Bowie (he/him) is a 23-year-old trans man seeking top surgery. He had been saving up for a couple of years but was recently diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and had to put all of his savings towards taking care of his immediate health needs. On top of his recent diagnosis, Bowie has dealt with frequent housing insecurity, living paycheck to paycheck, barely scraping by. Unfortunately his health insurance does not cover any transgender health care so he’s been left with a feeling like part of him was missing.

Bowie is a local singer and frontman in a band called Nip Slip. His band is very active in his local LGBTQ+ scene playing at events like Trans Pride Fest as well as fundraiser events for harm reduction and breast cancer. In the day time, he is a chef at a preschool where he gets to cook nutritious and fun meals for his kids, one of his passions.

Bowie is looking forward to his post-op life and transitioning more into his ideal body. "I'm especially excited to be able to preform live in a body I'm more aligned with," Bowie shares, "especially since I can’t wear any form of chest binding while I sing due to my disabilities." He says it’s almost surreal thinking about how he’ll soon have the chest he’s always wanted but thought he would never get to have.

Bowie's timeline

  • Award Granted

    February 15, 2024

    Bowie was granted a Surgery Fund Award!
  • Consultation Date

    April 10, 2024

    Bowie had a consultation with Dr. Alan Dulin!

  • Care Received

    July 16, 2024

    Bowie had surgery with Dr. Dulin!

Grant details

$11,205 towards gender-affirming care.

TikTok-a-Thon grantee

About FTM Top Surgery

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