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Meet John

John's story

Annual Trans Surgery Fund recipient


John (they/them) is a transfeminine individual of Indigenous heritage who is currently seeking facial feminization surgery (FFS). After COVID-19 affected John's family in Northern Colombia, John sent their family members thousands of dollars to support them financially, and to help cover their grandmother's chemotherapy expenses.

While grateful that their savings helped their family during a very difficult time, as a result, John could no longer afford to pursue facial feminization surgery.

As John's biggest insecurity was with their face, they shared how grateful they are to have this support on their journey to accessing FFS—and finally feel more connected to themself. John looks forward to feeling peace and happiness when they look in the mirror.

With a degree in Political Science, John hopes to support LGBTQ+ individuals through non-profit work, specifically to provide financial support/safety. John loves volunteering in their community. Whether it's participating in job fairs or food drives, John looks forward to supporting people during hard times. John also enjoys going to the library. Whether it's to read nonfiction or write poetry, John finds the library to be healing and allow them to really process what they are going through.

John's timeline

  • Award Granted

    March 28, 2022

    John was granted a Surgery Fund Award!
  • Update

    September 11, 2023

    John shared that they've been having trouble identifying a surgeon in Florida and was granted an extension.
  • Care Received

    October 13, 2023

    John successfully completed surgery with Dr. Altman!

Grant details

$10,000 towards gender-affirming care.

About Facial Feminization Surgery

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