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Meet Winter

Winter's story

Annual Trans Surgery Fund recipient


Winter (she/her) is 35-year-old trans woman seeking facial feminization surgery (FFS). She’s currently working on a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling, specifically so she can serve the LGBTQ+ community.

In order to afford her surgery, Winter has sought employment at places with trans-affirming health insurance opportunities, and works multiple jobs to help save more quickly. Unfortunately, maintaining long-term employment is very difficult for her: Winter lives with PTSD and anxiety from a past violent sexual assault, as well as past experiences of instability with her living situation, discrimination by health care providers, and discrimination by employers. She shares, “For most of my gender transition, I’ve been afraid of venturing outside of the house. My PTSD-related paranoia had rendered me unable to interact with people in a social setting.”

Today, Winter has a strong support network of therapists, friends, and community. She’s proud of the progress she’s made with public speaking and sharing her story through a local entrepreneur group, which has allowed her to try stand-up comedy and dancing. She’s hopeful that after having FFS, she’ll have the confidence to continue opening up with others, giving presentations, and becoming a leader in her community.

Winter's timeline

  • Award Granted

    May 9, 2020

    Winter was granted a Surgery Fund Award!

Grant details

$4,500 towards gender-affirming care.

About Facial Feminization Surgery

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