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Meet Malik

Malik's story

Annual Trans Surgery Fund recipient


Malik (he/him) is an 18-year-old trans man of color currently seeking top surgery. In the past, Malik has experienced discrimination by both healthcare providers and employers, and today he faces housing insecurity along with other financial challenges, which has made obtaining surgery out of reach. “Living paycheck to paycheck doesn’t really amount to much left over for savings.”

When Malik came out to his parents in 2018, he had to enter the foster care system and support himself since. Through the help of his chosen family, however, he’s found life-saving affirmation and support, and today he is a college student with a passion for film and photography.

Malik shared, “Being an Arab queer person has never been easy. Being disowned at 15 led to a serious downfall of my mental health as I questioned my validity and my right to deserve happiness in this world. Now, I know the answer. I deserve happiness and more. I’m finally embracing who I am. Through access to surgery, I can finally stand up tall and face the world.”

Malik's timeline

  • Award Granted

    June 21, 2021

    Malik was granted a Surgery Fund Award!

Grant details

$6,500 towards gender-affirming care.

About FTM Top Surgery

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