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Refused: When You're Too Fat For Top Surgery

An illustration of a Black person without a shirt looking at themselves in a bathroom mirror. They have short hair and scars underneath their breasts from a top surgery. They are wearing a purple towel around their waist and there are stretch marks on their stomach. The word "Refused" is in the upper righthand corner of the illustration, above a towel bar.
Charnel Hunter

Last October Anita got an e-mail that piqued her curiosity: a story pitch about how anti-fat bias affects people seeking gender-affirming surgery. She hands the mic over to audio journalist H Conley, who follows a 26-year-old Black nonbinary food writer as they overcome repeated barriers to getting top surgery due to body size.

Meet the guests:

  • Chala June, an associate editor at "Bon Appétit" magazine, shares their experience of being told to lose weight before getting top surgery
  • Dr. Alexes Hazen, a New York City-based aesthetic and reconstructive surgeon who performs top surgeries, explains some of the various factors that come into play for surgeons when considering patients
  • Lacie Parker, a psychotherapist who works with queer people and focuses on eating concerns and body image, talks about weight stigma for trans folks

Meet the creator:

  • H Conley is a a New York City-based journalist, audio producer and artist. Find more of their audio work here.

Read the transcriptReview the podcast

H Conley is a New York City-based journalist, audio producer and artist.
Kaia Findlay is the lead producer of Embodied, WUNC's weekly podcast and radio show about sex, relationships and health. Kaia first joined the WUNC team in 2020 as a producer for The State of Things.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist, host, creator, and executive editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health.