"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 — as well as the body type that helps keep trans people safer when it comes to violence acted upon them — includes having MTF/MTN or FTM/FTN top and/or bottom surgery.
"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."
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."
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."
"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 — a rise since the previous year's 350 deaths. And their outward appearance — their bodies, the vessels in which they navigate the world — 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.
"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.