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Transgender financial struggles: 'How we get by'

These six people are transgender and unemployed, homeless, living on food stamps or facing piles of debt.

'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.

  @blakeellis3 - Last updated February 25 2013 02:34 PM ET

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