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Meet Shayne

Shayne's story

Annual Trans Surgery Fund recipient


Shayne (they/them) is 36-year-old non-binary person of color seeking top surgery. Shayne’s journey to find a gender-affirming health care provider has not been easy. They shared having consulted with several surgeons who all told them they must first be on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in order to receive care. While Shayne knew this is untrue and continued to search for an affirming surgeon, they continued to bind in spite of a rib injury. This continues to cause Shayne daily pain.

They are a survivor in every sense of the word: a sexual assault survivor, a single parent, and someone who has experienced both homelessness and discrimination by health care providers. They do not have any family support due to their identity, and have struggled financially since age 17 as a result. Despite these experiences, they are an incredibly positive person, focused on giving back to others.

Currently, Shayne works as a mentor to at-risk youth. In the future, they hope to do more advocacy work for non-binary folks and LGBTQ+ youth, especially through general education and storytelling: “I feel like I would not have struggled so much with myself if I knew what being non-binary was. That’s why education is so important – even if it is just through telling my story!”

Shayne's timeline

  • Award Granted

    May 9, 2020

    Shayne was granted a Surgery Fund Award!
  • Care Received

    October 2, 2020

    Shayne has successfully completed surgery!

Grant details

$6,000 towards gender-affirming care.

About FTM Top Surgery

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