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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.

'My finances have gone down the toilet'

transgender finance jennifer chavez
  • Name: Jennifer Chavez
  • Age: 55
  • Hometown: Dallas, Ga.

I didn't start my transition until I was 51, because a lot of us are so terrified of doing it, and I came out at work at 52.

The work environment turned extremely hostile in the months after the transition, and two months after I had notified my employer of my decision, they terminated me.

I have 40 years of experience in auto sales and auto services, and I was the most experienced person at my job as an auto mechanic. My skills are in huge demand, so prior to my transition, getting a job was nothing.

After my transition, a huge segment of Atlanta in the auto service world knew about me, so I was blackballed from all the auto dealerships. I couldn't get a job to save my life. My finances have gone down the toilet.

I finally landed a job as a master technician with Pep Boys but have taken a pay cut of at least half. Even with a job, I'm sweating the next payment on my house -- I have had to borrow from friends and family to make some payments.

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

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