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Meet Joe


Joe's story

Annual Trans Surgery Fund recipient

Joe (he/him) is a 22-year-old non-binary person from Michigan seeking top surgery. They work full time at a deli and take odd jobs when possible to earn extra income. They had been saving for years but then used their savings to prepare for the birth of their daughter. Since then, they’ve been working to save up for surgery, pay for school, pay off dental and medical debt, and provide for their now two-year old daughter.

As someone who grew up in an abusive household and for a time “fell in with the wrong crowd,” Joe has since devoted themselves to becoming the best parent they could be for their daughter. In their application, they shared that their body is currently a “dark shadow” that keeps them from being present in interactions with their daughter, and they envision a day when they can hug her without dysphoria.

One day, Joe wants to have their own salon to help others, especially queer youth, feel beautiful and heard. They want to show others that “it’s okay to be a little different and funky and offbeat, and that just because someone’s idea of beautiful is different than yours it doesn’t make yours any less beautiful.” They hope to be a model of the person they needed when they were younger.

Joe's timeline

  • Award Granted

    May 9, 2020

    Joe was granted a Surgery Fund Award!
  • Care Received

    April 27, 2021

    Joe successfully completed surgery with Dr. Mosser!

Grant details

$6,500 towards gender-affirming care.

About FTM Top Surgery

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