'The real issue has been health care'
transgender finance tim chevalier
Name: Tim Chevalier
Age: 32
Hometown: Lexington Hills, Calif.

My job experience has been pretty positive, so I consider myself very privileged in that regard. For me, the real issue has been health care.

I had a transition-related procedure last year and was expecting to pay for that, because my insurance excluded it. Then I got unlucky, and about 10 days after the surgery I had to go to the emergency room. I would have thought my emergency health insurance covered that, but they denied it. So I ended up with total bills of around $50,000.

Related: Transgender job seekers face uphill battle

I get paid pretty generously at my job, but this still adds up to quite a large percentage of my salary. I had just moved into a new apartment. Things were really tight, and when my lease expired I moved to a community with yurts [a domed, tent-like structure] to save money. It's not necessarily what I would choose to be doing, but $750 a month is less than half of what I was paying before.

It's hard because I went to school, got my master's degree, got a professional job -- did everything I was supposed to do. I see a lot of my friends and peers doing really well, and I would be doing well too if I didn't have all this debt.

- Last updated February 25 2013 02:34 PM ET
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