What’s the diff?
I’m leading a workshop on Queer Financial Resilience At CLAGS in NYC this week, so of course I’m thinking …
What *is* queer financial resilience?
Is it equal pay for gay and non-gay people? Knowing we can’t get fired for publicly having a minority sexuality? Being allowed to have bank accounts, credit, property, and to extract profit … just like you? Is it the value of strong community networks of other underpaid or overpaid people, depending on which kind of LGBTQ person you are? Is it the number of businesses we run with and for each other? Is it our uncanny ability to survive — as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive?
As I mention in my personal queer class straddler story, here’s some relatively depressing data about LGBTQ people and our income:
In NYS, 37% of LGBTQ women make under $24k annually [source]. Nationally, 82% of lesbians earn under $75k annually, as compared to 63% of all US adults and 72% for gay men [source/2013 data, note recent findings are more mixed].
The $75k stat is harsh, because 2018 studies show that the US income that maximized for emotional well-being was $75k. Um — so only 18% of lesbians have enough money to be happy!?!? That rings true to my experiential observations and THAT IS ROUGH. Also, only 37% of American adults have enough — median U.S. household income was $63,179 in 2018.
Truly, the LGBTQ data out there SUCKS and almost no one is gathering it longitudinally or broadly — even the solid folks from FINRA who handed me a hefty economic data bible at FinCon don’t collect data on LGBTQ people (Which is why I’m so excited that the Debt Free Guys who do the Queer Money podcast are working on a real study of LGBTQ+ financial realities.) All we have are limited studies and some outdated, tangential data and conjecture — we deserve real numbers so we can REALLY advocate for our communities and get the hell paid and resourced around here!!
I am passionate about this data thing. I’m a performance art doing open data loving lezbo after all.
Anyway, to figure out how to “do” queer financial resilience (QFR), you might ask yourself: it it an action, a right, or a state of being? CAN I BUY IT — or avoid buying things to get it?
To me, queer financial resilience includes the following:
- Inalienable basic rights, honored. If I own something [a business, a house, a contracted right to healthcare, etc.] you can’t take it from me merely because I’m gay.
- Security is only as unstable as everyone else. My job won’t fire me for being gay, my job is only as shaky as my colleagues. A recession won’t hit me harder, if I had anything to hit. My family hasn’t disowned me and I might inherit, if I have that kind of family.
- Delegated rights and chosen family in sickness and after death. Hell no my bio family is not getting my shit (ok my mom gets a little but she’s broke af and shared life with me) nor do they get to bury me in their religion or with their family name. I want my non-legally-wedded partner by my side at the end thank you very much. And that’s why we have medical proxies, Power of Attorneys, and Wills. If you have more than debt, and/or an awkward family GET THESE.
- I know how this stuff works and that’s respected. I know enough so as not to give banks extra money or just buy shit because it has a rainbow on it.
- Community support which goes both ways. Give so others can get. Recieve so others can give. There’s nothing gayer, imho…
…oh wait — this is where we start to bleed into queering money itself.
- Queering earning, pricing, and payment. Lez we can barter, sliding scale, and pay one another.
- Choosing to fuck with consumer capitalism. Darling this is all such a heist and nuclear families are soooo consumer class don’t you know. Realizing that going to a job just so you can buy more crap at Target is a total waste of your one magical life, right? Don’t purchase away your birthright to prioritize sex, lust, and art: queer people seem to understand this.
Queer economic resilience – what do you think it is?
I can’t queer my rent that’s due — but I can queer my art pricing, and expectations.
I can’t queer how credit cards exploit consumers with confusing fine print details and predatory minimums, but I can queer how I hustle to pay that card off so that bank gets no dimes from me.
Comment below or on insta to let me know what you think!