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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.

'It's tough to get by'

transgender finance diana obrien
  • Name: Diana O'Brien
  • Age: 42
  • Hometown: Wilton Manors, Fla.

I was working at a spa while I finished transitioning, and my boss insisted I couldn't present myself as female at work -- and even bought me men's polo shirts to wear as soon as I bought women's shirts.

It created such a hostile work environment that I left in mid-December and I've been looking for work since.

I've applied for 213 jobs. A coffee equipment company offered me a job a couple days ago and I just needed to meet with the technician to get trained. But after I discussed the name change with the employer on the phone, I got a call saying 'we changed our mind,' and they gave me some excuse.

Video: Transgender and unemployed for four years

I've spent all my savings now and sold almost all my valuable personal property. I'm doing dog walking and handywoman projects to get by -- I brought in $725 in the month of January.

I receive $47 per month in food stamps and get some groceries from a local church's food closet. The money I've made will get me through March, at which point I will either have made enough to pay April's rent or will face homelessness.

It's tough to get by, but it's important to maintain a positive outlook -- and I do.

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

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