Saturday, January 16, 2010

Money, or lack thereof

It's expensive to be a trans woman. We've got a lot of things we need to do, and most of those things are expensive, and many of them are not covered by any kind of insurance. We need to get all the hair removed from our faces, and some opt for other places too. That means laser or electrolysis, both of which are time-consuming, painful, expensive, and not covered by insurance. Then we need to visit a psychotherapist of some sort, possibly for an extended duration; even odds as to whether it's covered by insurance. Then we need to visit an endocrinologist, which is probably not covered. Then we need to take hormones for the rest of our lives, which may or may not be covered. Then come the surgeries. Not covered, because they're considered cosmetic and elective, and "not medically necessary". Which, right, sure, whatever, you insurance guys just go on and keep believing that.

So starting right off, we know we're pretty far in the big ol' money pit which is the lot of being a transitioning trans girl. And then compound that with the fact that we're often rejected by those who might help us, simply for being who we are, and you've got a pretty bad situation brewing. Sometimes we're fired, or kicked out of the places we live, and we have absolutely no recourse.

So far, I've been fairly lucky. I'm still employed and seem likely to remain so, and I still have a place to live. I've had reasonable luck with my health insurance, which pays for a lot of my psychotherapy and my medication. But now that I'm getting to the endgame - a time which involves expensive surgeries for many of us - I'm expected to pay for some pretty big-ticket items, and my health insurance is nowhere to be found.

A few posts ago, I talked about my upcoming facial surgery. It's terribly expensive. Like new car expensive. I have been working through the logistics for getting there and back, and staying someplace while I'm there, and that's going to be expensive on its own. But then there's the actual surgical bill. I've got most of the money for it, but not all. Luckily there are organizations which will loan money to people for cosmetic surgery. I've contacted one, and they can get me about halfway through what I have left to pay. Halfway. I have a few others to contact, but all of these organizations are going to charge the same stupid interest rates as the first, and I'm going to have two (or more, perish the thought) of those ridiculous payments at one time. I like eating and having a place to live and all that, and the numbers don't lie: I'm going to have to make brutal changes to accommodate it at all.

There is the possibility of postponing the surgery, which is not an option at all. This won't wait.

As loath as I am to do it, I'm actually considering talking to my parents and seeing if they are willing to help. I will insist on paying them back, of course, but the good side of that is that they surely won't charge the usurious interest rates those other organizations do. If they won't help, I'm not going to be in good shape.

Lean times are ahead.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It scares me, too. I've recently been trying to chew over people's expectations, and the way they sub-consciously cling to an untrue image of us. Trying to get a post-graduate job when I studied for a rather volatile field has meant "retail or nothing, for now" - a joy, when all the shops I've worked for in the past placed high expectations upon their staff's appearances. The whole mental battle's kept me unemployed since graduation, so this life plan is going.. well!

I'm playing ignorant - though the psychiatry and such are included on the NHS, I'm at that annoying early stage where I might have to swap a whole wardrobe, change my legal details.. and the likes of electrolysis treatments down the line are a cost I'd forgotten to factor. Like you say, I think it can be a gamble for whichever treatments are considered "worthy".

It's times like this I long for that "Star Trek" world, where money's irrelevant and we realise where resources should really be spent. ;)

(By the way, I don't mean to 'plug' or anything, but your example's given me the drive to start writing for myself.., if you like.) :)