Pride and Your Money 2023
Happy Pride, everyone!
In my mind, Pride has always been about being proud of our community and its accomplishments. Our world is so different now than it was 53 years ago, when Pride began. Now, we have marriage equality and the protections that are in place for how we form and protect our families, not just in the US but in many places around the world. In many states, there are also protections for employment and housing, including in the military. Even with all the progress, forces are at work to take away our rights and erase us from view.
The history of Pride has seen homosexuality declassified from mental illness and “Gender Identity Disorder” changed to Gender Dysphoria. It’s seen HIV/AIDS. Those of us who were there, or were coming of age before the advent of treatments, saw our community banding together in a way that it never had before, raising awareness and money. So many in the lesbian community provided care, compassion, and strength for the men who were witnessing the absolute devastation of a generation of gay men, many of whom had been disowned and abandoned by their families. Just think of the impact that 15 years of Pride organizing had on the ability of our community to come together to provide that support.
Two generations have been born and grown up since that time. Gen Z hasn’t known a time when marriage equality wasn’t law of the land. Now, 2023 has seen renewed attacks on our community. Literally hundreds of anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been filed in legislatures throughout the country. Not since the desegregation period in the late 1960s – early ‘70s have the forces of hate and ignorance felt so empowered to act on their bigotry and desire for oppression.
Pride and Money
What does Pride have to do with money? Quite a bit, it turns out.
The aggression toward our community has caused a lot of distress, especially to trans youth, who’ve been the target of brutal, dehumanizing attacks. Consider a donation to an organization that supports those youth or to one that is funding legal or political action to remedy the anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.
Many people have considered moving out of the state or even out of the country. We’ve seen this playbook decades in the past, during The Great Migration. The idea is to get us to move, and to take our votes with us. Such a move would be expensive, but we all need to live in a place we feel free to be ourselves. We’re not going backward.
Companies that support our community need to hear from us, beyond just receiving our consumer dollars. Much has been written about performative support at Pride. Many companies view us as a “market,” and an opportunity. Others go much deeper and aim to truly understand the needs of our community and to speak out in support. Many companies have some kind of employee resource group or other DEI initiative. Some of them have senior leadership engagement who want to provide an environment where employees can thrive.
I often think of a meeting I attended on the topic of finding foster parents for LGBTQ+ youth. Many attendees were also LGBTQ+ but the speaker in question was straight and had posted about the need for foster families for these youth. What she got in return was a wave of hatred, calling her names, threatening her and her staff, calling the youth mentally ill and saying they should be locked up instead of placed with good families. The straight woman had never experienced that level of hatred or bigotry before and was shocked and horrified. Meanwhile, all of the LGBTQ+ people were completely unfazed. We have all experienced this language and this level of hatred. There was no shock to us. Unfortunately, some companies are like that woman. For many of them, the aggression and the bigotry are either new experiences or they’ve never experienced that level of rage and hatred. Some companies recoiled and pulled back. Once the shock wears off, I believe we may see them come back and reiterate their support.
The “Anti-Woke” movement is about getting the public to contact companies and organizations to get them to not voice support for our community. I’ve spoken with people in leadership capacities who have told me that any time they mention support of our community, there is an onslaught of negative commentary. The Anti-Woke movement is a very coordinated one.
The Anti-ESG movement is even more insidious. ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance. ESG fund managers look for firms that have nondiscrimination and other policies that include our community. When it comes to governance, they look for firms that have diversity on their Board of Directors. The anti-ESG crowd believes that if they eliminate ESG, then companies will not put any funds toward Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This is part of the movement to erase us from view.
What can your money do for you this Pride?
No matter the rhetoric, it’s money that does the real talking. Here are some steps you can take
- Consider a donation to an organization that supports those youth or to one that is funding legal or political action to remedy the anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.
- If you own stock in a company, that stock is a share of ownership. As such, you’re asked to vote on issues such as the Board of Directors. There’s power in that. Know which companies you’re invested in (or not) and why, and exercise your right to vote.
- Tell your employer’s Human Resources department that ESG funds are important to have as options in your 401K or retirement fund.
- Support small businesses that are owned by an LGBTQ+ person or that works to support the community. Small businesses like mine support a number of causes and charitable endeavors that support our community. The support of my clients helps me stay in business, so I can continue focusing on the needs of our community.
Remember that living well is the best revenge. I don’t mean to live extravagantly now at the expense of the future. I mean truly living well by building a financial plan that takes into account your dreams and goals, whether that be to move out of the country or to build a charitable plan to support the community. n my view, having the funds to live where we can feel safe and free to be ourselves, to support the organizations or political candidates who will champion our rights, and to do the things we want to is living well.
As Craig Schoonmaker said, individually we may have only some power -- but we can have Pride in ourselves, and that can make all the difference.
Frank Summers, Certified Financial Planner™ and Accredited Domestic Partner Advisor™, and this is the #SpillTheTeaOnLGBTFinances series. I work with clients across the US, and am physically located in Charlotte, NC. You can reach me at 704-717-8900, Ext 115 or by email at email@example.com. Click here to schedule a consultation.