I have suddenly found myself in quite a rough spot. I was unexpectedly laid off by my employer over the weekend. Although the layoff was blamed on Covid, I was told that it was permanent and that they would not refill any roles after the crisis ends. In terms of necessities I am fine, I should be able to get unemployment, at least in the short term. However, the timing of this layoff is particularly bad for my gender transition.
There is never a good time to get laid off, but this layoff comes at an extremely inopportune time in my transition. I switched to injections a few weeks ago, which are substantially more expensive than oral estrogen. Injections cost me about three to four times as much as oral hormones. This wasn’t a serious issue when I had a job, but it is a noticeable expense now that I don’t. My HRT provider also wants more frequent appointments now that I am on injections. At least in the short term, they want me to come into the office every two months instead of every three to four. I don’t want to delay appointments while I am still trying to get my hormone levels right, but my financial situation may make it necessary.
I was also planning on starting trans voice therapy this month. I had tried and failed to get voice therapy a few months ago but I finally managed to get a referral last week. However, I now think that I will have to delay starting voice therapy. I don’t believe that I will be able to afford it. It is a disappointing decision especially after trying so hard to get access to voice therapy, but I fear it is unavoidable given the circumstances.
While affording my transition is a serious concern, my more immediate concern is how my transition will impact my job hunt. I am very worried that being trans will make it harder to find another job (and it is already a bad time for finding work). Depending on the dress code, I may not be able to hide the physical changes during interviews. I fear that being visibly trans during interviews will result in questions at best and discrimination at worst. I also really don’t want to cut my hair short. I have been growing it out for almost a year and losing that progress would destroy me emotionally. Coming out is an option, but I am not really in a place to do that yet. I am not far enough into my transition and coming out would also mean losing most of my references. That is not something that I would want to do while job hunting.
It is incredibly unjust that trans people are so dependent on the whims of private businesses for the ability to transition (In my opinion this extends far beyond just trans matters). Transitioning is expensive: hormones, doctor’s appointments, therapy, and surgeries all cost money. This sheer expense makes trans people incredibly reliant on our jobs to make transition possible. We should not have to be dependent on employers who frequently discriminate against us to provide the resources to transition (This is true for all medical care). I shouldn’t have to consider delaying HRT appointments and even de-transitioning just because it would allow me to survive being unemployed longer.