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Meet Emilia


Emilia's story

Annual Trans Surgery Fund recipient

Emilia is a 27-year-old Latinx trans woman from Texas seeking Facial Feminization Surgery (FFS). Among other barriers, she is currently experiencing housing insecurity and lacks health insurance. Employment opportunities have been limited, due in part to her trans status: "When I'm lucky enough to get an interview, I feel like I am immediately disregarded as a potential employee. People here just aren't used to seeing trans people." As a result, she turned to survival-based SW.

Despite the hardships she's faced, Emilia is optimistic for her future. "I like to think of myself as a creator of joy. Every day for the last two years, I wake up and start a livesteam," Emilia shares. "It's just me in my room talking to people. But my viewers have told me how much they enjoy my streams, and how I make them smile, and I feel like I can make a difference.

Emilia's timeline

  • Award Granted

    February 15, 2024

    Emilia was granted a Surgery Fund Award!
  • Consultation Date

    April 10, 2024

    Emilia had a consultation with Dr. Vartan Mardirossian!

Grant details

$30,450 towards gender-affirming care.

TikTok-a-Thon grantee

About Facial Feminization Surgery

On average, it costs $32,000+ for Emilia'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.