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Meet Lily


Lily's story

Annual Trans Surgery Fund recipient

Lily (she/her) is a 23-year-old trans woman from Southern Africa seeking bottom surgery. She migrated to the US in search of a better life and to build a career, supported by her academic merit leading to full academic financial coverage. She is raised by a single mother who resides in her home country, which has no resources and legal recognition for the LGBT+ community. She works two jobs to sustain her immediate needs while barely saving for her transition, preventing her from accessing the resources to live authentically and match the woman she is inside.

Lily is a strong, intelligent woman pursuing her master's degree, and potentially a Ph.D. in the future. She strives to be at every table being a representation of the intellectual capabilities of under-resourced trans women. She is influential, and an active member in her college community, as well as a role model for the LGBT community in her home country. Her academic pursuit demonstrates her future capabilities and contribution to the world.

"Gender-affirming healthcare will not only give me a greater purpose to achieve all my goals through a better quality of life, but will provide hope for many other trans people abroad who can only dream of this opportunity," Lily says. "Access to healthcare will not only alleviate my depression but will open new doors for success in my life."

Lily's timeline

  • Award Granted

    February 15, 2024

    Lily was granted a Surgery Fund Award!

Grant details

$32,135 towards gender-affirming care.

TikTok-a-Thon grantee

About MTF Bottom Surgery

On average, it costs $35,000+ for Lily's care.

What is it?

MTF bottom surgery is also known as gender-affirming vaginoplasty or genital reconstruction surgery. Bottom surgery typically involves multiple surgical techniques and varies widely based on a person’s individual needs and desired outcome.

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

Before undergoing surgery, trans individuals typically experience dysphoria that impacts their daily life. Patients will undergo extensive consultations to discuss their goals, expectations, and surgical options. It is often a long and challenging process to be approved for surgery.

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

While bottom 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?

The recovery period for bottom surgery is significant: depending on the individual, it may take several months to heal from the surgery. Most trans folks report greatly improved self-esteem, confidence, and sense of authenticity, which translates into greater opportunities in employment and more.