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Meet Cay


Cay's story

Annual Trans Surgery Fund recipient

Cay (any pronouns) is a Latinx , Indigenous, and Black trans femme person from Michigan seeking facial feminization surgery. Cay is employed and provides for herself and her partner, both of whom live with multiple disabilities that require ongoing care and treatment "Balancing the costs of our healthcare, education debt, housing, transportation, and groceries places significant financial stress on me," she shares. "As an immigrant, minority, and DACA recipient, I experience additional set of barriers."

Cay's employer does not currently cover gender-affirming surgery under the plan it offers, and Cay's attempts to have FFS covered by state Medicaid have been unsuccessful. Because of Cay's citizenship status, she has income limitations.

"I am dedicated to furthering my own education and working towards improving pathways to success for others," she says. "I actively seek opportunities to contribute positively to my community and my journey as a transgender immigrant has instilled in me a profound sense of purpose."

Cay's timeline

  • Award Granted

    February 15, 2024

    Maeve was granted a Surgery Fund Award!

Grant details

$31,090 towards gender-affirming care.

TikTok-a-Thon grantee

About Facial Feminization Surgery

On average, it costs $32,000+ for Cay's care.

What is it?

Facial Feminization Surgery (FFS) is a series of procedures aimed at altering facial features to create a more traditionally feminine appearance. This can include procedures such as forehead contouring, rhinoplasty (nose reshaping), chin and jaw contouring, lip augmentation, and various soft tissue procedures to feminize the overall facial structure. The exact procedures are customized to each individual’s desired outcome.

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

Trans femme folks often experience gender dysphoria related to facial features that are perceived as masculine. This can lead to discomfort, anxiety, and a sense of incongruence with one's gender identity. Importantly, for many trans women, access to FFS is a matter of safety and mitigating the chance they will be identified as trans in public and subjected to anti-trans discrimination or harassment. 

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

FFS is often considered a cosmetic surgery and is therefore unlikely to be covered by insurance. The price for FFS can also vary widely depending on the number and complexity of the procedures performed. It can also be hard for trans femme folks to find affirming surgeons in their region, especially in states and regions most impacted by anti-trans healthcare legislation.

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

The recovery period for FFS is significant: it can take up to a year for features to fully heal. Most trans folks report greatly improved self-esteem, confidence, and sense of authenticity, which translates into greater opportunities in employment and more.