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Meet Brandon


Brandon's story

Annual Trans Surgery Fund recipient

Brandon (he/him) is a 24-year-old trans man of color from Idaho. Twice in the past, he has tried to save for his top surgery, but medical issues for himself or his wife meant they had to use up that savings. On top of that, his current insurance provider through his employer explicitly refuses to cover transgender-related care.

Brandon shared just how much receiving top surgery meant to him. Because Brandon’s job is very physical and requires him to wear a heavy uniform, binding has become incredibly uncomfortable. He says, “I dress down for work every day. I’ve gotten around the embarrassing parts of doing this, but it would bring less anxiety if I had top surgery and dressed down like everyone else. My uniform gets extremely hot [when also wearing a binder] because it’s made of recyclable materials.”

As an adaptive athlete, having top surgery (and no longer needing to wear a binder) would allow him to get back into the sports and activities he loves more freely, such as rock climbing and white-water rafting. “I feel that top surgery would help shed some weight that I carry with my dysphoria. I want to be an athlete, but find it hard to be active in a binder. I’ve tried different sizes, but the most comfortable ones show off my breasts the most.”

In addition to being involved in the LGBTQ community, Brandon is an amputee and also volunteers his time and services to non-profit groups that support wounded veterans and other adaptive athletes. He’s currently working with another trans person to set up a housing program for homeless trans people in his local area and dreams of being able to give back to others in other ways in the future, once surgery is behind him.

Brandon's timeline

  • Award Granted

    March 13, 2019

    Brandon was granted a Surgery Fund Award!
  • Care Received

    June 20, 2019

    Brandon successfully completed surgery with Dr. Garramone.

Grant details

$9,000 towards gender-affirming care.

About FTM Top Surgery

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