State of Queer Money

It’s pride month! And here at Oh My Dollar!, we’re queer af, so we’re here to talk all things under the rainbow. I thought in the midst of this historical pride month – the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riot – we share the things that we still have to work on in the world of finance and money for GLBTQI+ folks.

We talk about the current status of GLBTQI+ money around the world:

  • How lack of employment protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation in the majority of US states influence access to marriage and health care
  • The costs of making a baby when you don’t get a free sex baby
  • Lack of legal protections for trans* folks
  • Challenges with access to health care for trans* and gender non-conforming folks
  • One-third of homeless youth are GLBTQ+

 

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Will Romey:
This show is supported by generous listeners like you on our Patreon.

Will Romey:
This episode was underwritten by the Tamsen G Association and Chris Giddings. To learn more about ways support Oh My Dollar! and get cool perks like exclusive livestreams and a fancy special icon on our forums you can visit ohmydollar.com/support/W

Lillian Karabaic:
Welcome to Oh my dollar!, a personal finance show with a dash of glitter. Dealing with money can be scary and stressful. Here we give practical, friendly advice about money that helps you tackle the financial overwhelm.

Lillian Karabaic:
I’m your host Lillian Karabaic.

Will Romey:
I’m your other host, Will.

Lillian Karabaic:
Will, it’s pride month.

Will Romey:
Woo!

Lillian Karabaic:
It’s pride month and I think, probably a lot of folks if you listen to the show on a regular basis know that Oh My Dollar- A lot of the community work that we do is with GLBTQI+ youth around financial literacy.

Lillian Karabaic:
And and I’m- I’m – also queer. If people hadn’t picked up on that. Also our audiences is – We’ve got a queer audience!

Will Romey:
That’s true. And I feel like that’s been coming through the forums.

Lillian Karabaic:
Yeah it’s definitely been coming through the forums. So yeah, if you, if you want to talk with other queer people about money if, if you’re in that camp – then you should-

Will Romey:
There are many on the forums.

Lillian Karabaic:
Yeah you should head over to the Oh My Dollar! forums. But I just wanted to 1) it’s pride month, I wanted to talk about GLBTQ+ stuff on air. And so I thought maybe just like a rundown of the queer financial state of the union.

Will Romey:
The state of things.

Lillian Karabaic:
Which is like – I think a lot of people, especially folks that are are not in the GLBTQ+ community, maybe don’t realize that like- we’re not done!

Lillian Karabaic:
Everything ain’t all equal when it comes to money for GLBTQ+ people.

Lillian Karabaic:
And – and I think there’s a lot of folks that may not realize that there are still a lot of specific considerations that you need to bring into account! If you are in a queer relationship, if you’re trans* or gender nonconforming, that do affect your money – it has a very big influence on your money!

Lillian Karabaic:
And there’s been a couple of longitudinal studies that have come out in recent years. I went on debt free guys show Queer money and we talked about some of the some of kind of the status of what it looks like.

Lillian Karabaic:
And essentially GLBTQ+ people are more likely to be financially unstable, they’re less likely to have an amount in emergency funds, they’re less likely to have health insurance. And so there there are a lot of, kind of, there’s a long way to go.

Will Romey:
Yeah.

Lillian Karabaic:
I’ve been watching. As someone who kind of thinks about personal finances all the time, it’s like one of my favorite parts of watching television shows – is to like dive into the like “Ohhh….would this have been practical financially in reality?” especially for like scripted series.

Will Romey:
Like what?

Lillian Karabaic:
you know like I love thinking about size of apartments in New York City. I think there’s like a really common one.

Will Romey:
Someone’s broke and has an enormously well-furnished apartment in downtown Manhattan –

Lillian Karabaic:
ohhh Sex in the City! She’s just terrible with money and like so much of her relationship to money is in that show. And at one point, it was pointed out that she couldn’t come up with a down payment when her apartment went co-op – meaning like the apartment she was renting was now going to become condos.

Lillian Karabaic:
She couldn’t come up with a down payment, and someone pointed out her down payment was actually her shoes. She owned so many pairs of shoes, that at five hundred dollars a pop, that was where her down payment was.

Lillian Karabaic:
And so I always like thinking about that. And when Call The Midwife came out, it came out in the States right before – it’s a BBC show about housewives in 1950s London in the East End – which is mostly immigrant and impoverished community in London. And it was right after it takes place. It’s based on true stories and it’s right after the National Health Service was implemented in the UK. And watching it as an American who at the time didn’t have health insurance and the ACA had not been fully implemented yet, it just looked like a massive advertisement, to me as an American for the power of socialized health care on on the economic situations of people in poverty.

Will Romey:
Europe sometimes looks like that.

Lillian Karabaic:
Yeah. Well and there were just so many people that were like “What do you mean that I can go to the doctor and it won’t cost me money? I’ve been putting this off for 10 years” like like it- And that is still true for so many people I know in the U.S.. And so I always like to think about that. And one of the shows I’ve been watching recently is called Pose, which is phenomenal.

Lillian Karabaic:
I think it’s one like all of the awards. A hundred percent of them.

Lillian Karabaic:
And it is a show- I’m watching on Netflix. I think it’s through FX – and it is a drama show based on the ballroom dance scene and the AIDS crisis in the late 80s and early 90s New York City.

Lillian Karabaic:
And it is phenomenal. But majority of the characters are trans* women and so many of and and so cisgender gay men and so much of the kind of discussion is around health care and the HIV crisis and getting Gender-Affirming surgeries.

Lillian Karabaic:
And I keep thinking about how like in so many ways, things have improved for trans* folks and gay folks since the late 80s early 90s. And for people that are in communities that are affected by HIV – but the health care is still there. It’s still one of the primary things.

Will Romey:
I think there’s still that whole problem.

Lillian Karabaic:
I also recommend Pose even though even though it has what are like some pretty heavy themes – it is delightful, it is glitzy and the creator Ryan Murphy, who made it essentially said he didn’t want there to be any like brutality or bashing on the screen. He wanted it to be an uplifting series, so even though it deals with heavy themes a lot of queer people are like “Please don’t kill off another character”.

Lillian Karabaic:
There’s a there’s a trope in television which is that lesbians will find love and then immediately one of them will die.

Will Romey:
Yea. And they’ve avoided that trope.

Lillian Karabaic:
Yeah yeah. They they put a lot of energy into trying to avoid it.

Lillian Karabaic:
So here’s kind of the state of queer money I thought would be interesting to talk about.

Will Romey:
One big one is employment protection, so there are still no employment protections at the federal level and in the majority of U.S. states for if you don’t get hired or you get fired for being discovered for being GLBTQ+. So both gender identity and sexual orientation are not protected classes in the majority of U.S. states.

Will Romey:
Oh yeah that’s huge.

Lillian Karabaic:
And yeah it’s a big deal because it means while marriage equality has had a profound impact on the financial core of LGBTQ+ households, simply because marriage is essentially at the government level- is a financial institution right? You know it has a lot of impact on your ability to streamline contracts that you signed with your partner and you know have rights to visit each other and the tax system and things like that.

Lillian Karabaic:
At the core, Marriage equality means nothing if it doesn’t also come with employment protection because – being in a a gay marriage could impact your your work.

Will Romey:
Your employment.

Lillian Karabaic:
Your employer could find out and it can impact your employment. And we’ve seen this even even in you know Portland -we’ve seen, which is you know we’re we’re liberal – we’re a liberal hotspot and we do have protection at the state level.

Lillian Karabaic:
But we have seen you know religious institutions – so locally here there is a big conflict with St. Mary’s Academy.

Will Romey:
Oh Yea.

Lillian Karabaic:
Which was a a school teacher who was fired who was fired. Yeah when the school found out that she was a lesbian. And we’ve seen this in Florida – I mean we’ve seen this all over the country, so this employment still has a big impact because that is how most people obtain money!

Lillian Karabaic:
And then health care. So I know that this often ends up turning into the health care sob story show – but this is 100 percent the biggest financial challenge facing generations of Americans.

Lillian Karabaic:
But access to GLBTQ+ healthcare extends outside of America’s broken system. So for queer folks all over the world finding doctors that understand variance in gender and sexuality can be a huge challenge. In the UK, getting assigned to a doctor that doesn’t understand your risk factors in the GLBTQ+ community for HIV, means that you might not get educated. You might not have access to things like PREP. which is a drug that significantly reduces the chance of HIV infection.

Lillian Karabaic:
Or you might not understand the STI risks for four lesbians – which are higher for certain types of STIs – even though lesbians will often get told “oh well well you don’t have to worry about that”.

Will Romey:
Yea well- having a doctor that’s informed about your community is totally vital.

Lillian Karabaic:
And just you know, like it’s nice to make sure you have a doctor that’s not going to make you wait in the women’s waiting room if you’re not a woman, right?

Will Romey:
Yea.

Lillian Karabaic:
Like that kind of stuff is really, really important. And so there’s understanding the sexual health needs of GLBTQ+ folks but also making sure that trans folks have access to gender affirming treatments and surgery. Trans* Healthcare is a huge financial issue.

Lillian Karabaic:
According to the Mayo Clinic, A disproportionate number of transgender people are uninsured compared to the average American. And although federal law prohibits health insurance plans from discriminating against transgender individuals, 30 states allow health insurance plans to exclude transgender- related health care for coverage.

Will Romey:
Oh wow!

Lillian Karabaic:
Yeah so there’s plenty of folks who have what you know good government jobs so to speak that do not have access to Gender-Affirming surgery or trans-specific health care on their health insurance.

Lillian Karabaic:
This is we’ve seen a case with a police officer in Texas, who had to deal with this.

Lillian Karabaic:
19 percent of trans folks have reported, according to the Mayo Clinic, that they have been denied care by health care providers.

Lillian Karabaic:
And most health care providers have little or no formal training in addressing the needs of the trans* community, which can contribute to lots of stress, through stigmatization, avoidance, discrimination and prejudice.

Lillian Karabaic:
We see a lot of trans* folks putting off access to health care because they don’t feel like they can find a doctor that feels safe.

Lillian Karabaic:
And you know, one of the conversations I was having on Twitter.

Lillian Karabaic:
People still talk on Twitter.

Lillian Karabaic:
The was with someone who said like there’s only one queer doctor that they feel comfortable going to, so they’re choosing to get a health insurance that has a high deductible plan.

Will Romey:
So they can go to that doctor

Lillian Karabaic:
Well, but they’re still going to have to pay out of pocket because they cannot find a plan that covers that provider that’s accessible to them.

Lillian Karabaic:
Right. And so like this is just a question of like this is there is a cost to being queer, to making sure that you can get access to it.

Lillian Karabaic:
Shortages in rural healthcare workforces have a huge impact on health care, generally all over the world. But there’s also low rates of insurance coverage generally in rural areas – which means that and you’ve got a long drive for health care facilities a lot of the time.

Will Romey:
Yup and fewer doctors and health care professionals, I’m sure.

Lillian Karabaic:
Yeah. And that means that a lot of trans* folks have to drive hours and hours to even get access to someone who even understands what trans* is.

Will Romey:
Yea,

Lillian Karabaic:
So this is one of those situations where, you know, it is – this has a huge impact like healthcare has a massive financial impact, especially in the U.S. but it does all over the world, right?

Lillian Karabaic:
Like health has an impact on your finances, as far as your earning potential as far as spending money on it (If you live in a *ahem* country like the U.S.).

Lillian Karabaic:
And access to it has a big impact on folks. Lambda Legal reports 70 percent of transgender individuals have suffered some form of maltreatment at the hands of medical professionals

Will Romey:
Wow.

Lillian Karabaic:
including harassment and violence and suicide attempts among transgender individuals are extraordinarily high at 25 to 43 percent. And that prevalence increases even more in those who have negative experience with a healthcare professional.

Will Romey:
Yes that has real impacts on people.

Lillian Karabaic:
It’s a big deal. Okay. So health care’s too depressing.

Lillian Karabaic:
But another thing to talk about is buying a baby. So if you are GLBTQ+, it is likely that you do not have access to a “free sex baby” and acquiring a child can be one of those areas that has a huge financial impact, so it just takes a lot more money and time in order to start a family and grow a family when you are GLBTQ+

Will Romey:
Yeah.

Lillian Karabaic:
So from navigating in a bunch of states – there is no second second parent adoption for same sex couples.

Lillian Karabaic:
Sometimes – In Ohio, for example, the anonymous sperm donors’ family has more rights to the child than the second parent in a same-sex relationship.

Will Romey:
That’s wild.

Lillian Karabaic:
It’s totally wild. And so figuring out where to source sperm from ends up being a huge impact for a lot of lesbian couples.

Will Romey:
So not Ohio.

Lillian Karabaic:
Not Ohio. Yeah. No I know multiple Ohioan couples that have that have decided to get their sperm from outside the state, but this is one of those cases where like you would never know this unless you had access to do the research and then this is a whole extra cost that you need to do right?

Will Romey:
Mm hmm.

Lillian Karabaic:
So and that’s in a case where you have wombs in the relationship right? And there’s even more complications that go into it for folks that one of them is on some sort of hormones, because one of those folks is trans*.

Will Romey:
Or in the cases where you’ve got two men that are trying to adopt a child and they’re trying to figure out how to navigate adoption. Adoption is not cheap. I don’t know how anybody.

Lillian Karabaic:
It’s incredibly expensive.

Lillian Karabaic:
It’s very expensive. And this is one of those cases where, you know people are like “why don’t you just do foster to adopt or something like that?” And foster to adopt can be a really great program. But it is not – it is often not supported and the end goal of the program if if possible is to put children back with their biological parents.

Lillian Karabaic:
So there are a lot of queer couples that choose to go through foster at it to adopt for financial reasons , but end up you know their child leaves them when their parents clean up or whatever it is. And the goal is always to try to reunite them with the biological parents if possible. And so there’s, a there’s a lot of reasons why people don’t necessarily do foster to adopt. So this has a huge impact. Wow.

Lillian Karabaic:
Wow I feel like we’re getting it’s getting depressing, but I think one of the other things I want to talk about is homelessness and GLTBQ+ youth. This is obviously an area where I have the most experience, because the GLBTQ+ youth that I teach financial workshops to are experiencing homelessness. Currently there is an estimated 700,000 homeless youth in the United States, which is roughly one out of 30 youth.

Lillian Karabaic:
Among Homeless youth, a disproportionate number of those youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Which, whereas like 2 to 7 percent of LGBTQ+ folks are in the general population- about one third of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+.

Will Romey:
Much much higher.

Lillian Karabaic:
Much higher. And this is because a lot of GLBTQ+ youth are kicked out of their homes unfortunately. And it has a huge impact on their ability to get housing. So. Ahhhh

Lillian Karabaic:
So that’s depressing.

Will Romey:
The state of things is poor.

Lillian Karabaic:
The state of things is poor. There is still progress to be made in LGBTQ community. There is different financial facts for GLBTQ+ folks and different things we’re still fighting on.

Lillian Karabaic:
I guess – Don’t believe that just because we have marriage equality, everything solved. Especially if you’re a cisperson.

Will Romey:
There remains much to be done.

Lillian Karabaic:
We have a lot of trans* brothers and sisters who have trouble even accessing the basic, basic needs of life and and that is because you know, we’ve got a ways to go.

Lillian Karabaic:
So I think, I guess I want to end on a positive note here – and what I want to say is that like even though it was you know hard for me to come out in the community I was in when I when I was queer youth.

Lillian Karabaic:
I am so happy, I finally did come out and the relationships I’ve built and that there is – we’re family.

Lillian Karabaic:
I think that’s the thing to know is that if you’re in in a place where you’re struggling to fit out figure out how you fit into all of this. I think the important thing to remember is that like the Rainbow Family is fam.

Lillian Karabaic:
And we take care of each other and we’ve gotten through harder financial situations and more discrimination in the past, and I hope things are improving. They’ve certainly improved since I came out. What I don’t know – 17 years ago and – I’m just you know, I’m proud to be part of this community and how we take care of each other. So I think that’s it.

Lillian Karabaic:
I hope that’s more uplifting.

Will Romey:
Yeah.

Lillian Karabaic:
And I guess to wrap this I’m going to end with a #spon.

Lillian Karabaic:
But the work that I do with GLBTQ+ youth is supported in a large part through our Pay It Fur-ward donors, who can get a book for themselves and donate a book to the youth programs that I do.

Lillian Karabaic:
And there – you know it’s super easy to support that work and you can find out more and support it at our Kickstarter – which is still going on for a couple more days when this episode airs. You can find out about it at ohmydollar.com/cats/

Will Romey:
Should’ve known,.

Will Romey:
That wraps our show for today. And we love hearing from you. E-mail us your financial worries or successes at questions@ohmydollar.com or tweet us at @anomalily or @ohmydollar.

Lillian Karabaic:
Our producer is Will Romey, our intro music is by Aaron Parecki, and your host and personal finance educator is me, Lillian Karabaic.

Lillian Karabaic:
Thanks for listening. Until next time remember to manage your money, so it doesn’t manage you.

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