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Meet Mateo

Mateo's story

Annual Trans Surgery Fund recipient


Mateo (he/him) is a very active student and leader on campus at Syracuse University as the Vice President of La L.U.C.H.A., a Latino community organization that works closely with La Casita cultural center in Syracuse. He also works at the LGBT center on campus, a student ambassador, and mentor to others. Mateo will graduate in May with a Sports Management degree and LGBT Studies minor. We were moved by Mateo’s commitment and involvement with community initiatives given that he has no family support and works several part-time jobs to save for surgery and put himself through school.

Mateo's timeline

  • Award Granted

    February 1, 2016

    Mateo was granted a Surgery Fund Award!
  • Care Received

    March 15, 2016

    Mateo has successfully completed surgery!

Grant details

$2,300 towards gender-affirming care.

About FTM Top Surgery

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