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    "I'm Only 19 And From A Poor Family": This Trans Man Got Real About Society's Expectation For Transgender People To Get Top And Bottom Surgeries

    Some procedures can cost someone between $3,000 and $10,000 depending on the state or surgeon.

    There is no definitive "look" for people in the transgender community. However, the mainstream idea β€” as well as the body type that helps keep trans people safer when it comes to violence acted upon them β€” includes having MTF/MTN or FTM/FTN top and/or bottom surgery.

    Trans flag with a silhouette of people walking
    Alxeypnferov / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    According to Healthline, MTF/MTN (male to female / male to nonbinary) top surgery refers to a procedure in which doctors use saline or silicone implants to increase chest size. Depending on the person's desired breast size, this can often cost somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000.Β 

    With regards to FTM/FTN (female to male / female to nonbinary) top surgery, which is completed by removing breast tissue and contouring the chest to be more flat in appearance, this procedure can cost someone between $3,000 and $10,000 depending on the state or surgeon.Β 

    To say the procedures are expensive is an understatement and not all trans people have access to these sometimes life-saving funds. This is a concept that TikTok user Adonis Zeigler expressed in his now-viral video, which has been viewed over 4.7 million times. In the clip, Adonis addressed one question from commenters that he's admittedly tired of receiving: "Why did you choose to keep them?"

    "I didn't," he responded. "I'm only 19. I'm poor, from a poor family, unemployed, with state insurance. Not every transmasc person gets lucky with privileged parents, supportive networks, or lucrative businesses to get top surgery young."

    TikTok:Β @grungepuppi / Via tiktok.com

    "Stop asking unless you're footing the bill," he added.

    Adonis, now 19, first began feeling disconnected from himself around age 9 but it wasn't until he was 12 years old that he developed the vocabulary to describe his dysphoria. "I fought my father for years to obtain hormones until I was 15," Adonis told BuzzFeed. "My mother supported me from the jump, but he was against it for a variety of reasons and only let me continue transitioning once he realized how bad I was getting mentally. Not even years of therapy...was stopping my self-destructive tendencies and worsening grades."

    A graphic saying the word Hormones
    Howlettery / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    But hormones helped.Β 

    Hormone therapy, and specifically masculinizing hormone therapyΒ in Adonis' case, causes the body to physically develop secondary sex characteristics that people assigned male at birth may experience during puberty. These characteristics can include the end of a menstrual cycle, deepening voice, facial hair growth, increased muscle mass and strength, and more.Β 

    This type of therapy not only helps match a person's gender identity to their body but also improves a trans person's overall quality of life by reducing gender dysphoria, as well as resulting psychological or emotional distress.Β 

    Hormone therapy can cost around $1,500 a year.

    Adonis' father had insurance through his job, which helped cover the hormone treatments until he was 17, but then his dad lost his job and he hasn't been on hormones since. "I personally don’t have help," he said. "I have been saving since I was able to start working when I was 17 but repeated emergencies such as car repairs and sudden moves have taken what I have earned."

    TikTok:Β @grungepuppi / Via tiktok.com

    "When it comes to access to gender-affirming surgeries, I really wish people would consider the individual and their circumstances," he continued. "Aside from financial constraints for those that seek surgery, there are countless situations that make surgery necessary for not just their mental health but oftentimes their survival. 2021 has been a horrid year in trans homicide statistics and I have personal experience where, even binding in a plain work uniform, I've been outed and felt unsafe in my own workplace."

    And he's right. According to Forbes, 2021 was the "'deadliest year' of violence against gender diverse people since records began." Around 375 transgender people have been murdered so far this year β€” a rise since the previous year's 350 deaths. And their outward appearance β€” their bodies, the vessels in which they navigate the world β€” are targeted. That means reconstructive surgeries and hormones can be more than just a means through which they can achieve better mental health; they can enable longer lives as well.

    A graphic of the trans flag with an outline of someone's face overlayed
    Ladanifer / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    "Every trans person has their own unique situation," Adonis concluded. "Some are fortunate enough to have access to what they need early and that makes me happy that their joy is the mainstream image of trans experiences. However, a lot of trans folks are not as fortunate and our struggles are not talked about because of that."

    If you would like to support someone's gender affirmation surgery, GoFundMe's team curated a list of verified fundraisers by those who would love the assistance. You can make a donation here.

    If you or someone you know has experienced anti-LGBTQ violence or harassment, you can contact the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs hotline at 1-212-714-1141.

    Peer support services are available at the Trans Lifeline. You can call the hotline at (877) 565-8860.

    And if you'd like to keep up with Adonis, you can follow him on TikTok.