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Meet Elias


Elias' story

Annual Trans Surgery Fund recipient

Elias (he/him) is a Black trans man from New York seeking top surgery. Elias is a parent to a 9-year-old stepson and a new baby; he is the sole provider for his partner and family. After he experienced a period of unemployment and housing insecurity, he was forced to drain his savings to stay afloat. Over the years, his attempts at getting surgery covered through his health insurance have been repeatedly denied, and attempts at raising money via GoFundMe and other channels were not successful.

"I want to help build safe spaces for people in my community," Elias shares. "I want to open more doors for people exploring their identity, so they don't feel intimidated."

Elias' timeline

  • Award Granted

    February 15, 2024

    Elias was granted a Surgery Fund Award!
  • Care Received

    March 26, 2024

    Elias had surgery with Dr. Medalie!
  • Update

    March 26, 2024

    Elias shared, "[I] just got home from the surgery center, feeling good! A little sore but that's normal, of course. Again thank you so much for this amazing opportunity".
  • Update

    March 31, 2024

    Elias shared, "Just wanted to reach out and let you know I'm doing amazing! My drains come out tomorrow and I'm super excited to see my scars.

    Thank you for all the help and the support through this journey! It’s been a wild one but I’m super blessed and thankful! My life is forever changed because of you."

  • Update

    May 26, 2024

    Elias shared, "Recovery has been such an amazing journey as I rediscover my body and learn / gain more self confidence in the process. It’s been life changing, truly.


Grant details

$7,979 towards gender-affirming care.

TikTok-a-Thon grantee

About FTM Top Surgery

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