Meals or meds? It is a painful choice that 26-year-old Rayan often faces as a Lebanese trans man who struggles to afford food on top of his hormone therapy.
The drugs usually win. “My medicine comes before my food and drink,” he said. “A lot of the time I buy my medicine and do not eat.” He needs about $12 a month, $5 for each of his two injections and another $2 in nursing fees for administering the jabs.
On top of that come frequent visits to a doctor who monitors his general health and advises him on his hormone medication – sessions that set back the uninsured barman another $50 a time.
He works 18-hour days at an underground Beirut bar, earning $180 a month in a country that is suffering economic freefall. Lebanon has been crippled by the collapse of its currency, which has lost some 98% of its value against the U.S.