November 03, 2023

Bridging the Gap

Chelsea Wilsey, Director of Business Development
The Urgent Need for Financial Accessibility in the LGBTQ+ Community

Upbeat Financial recently had the honor of speaking on the OutPro panel with the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of the panel was to discuss ways to create a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ business owners, employees, and customers.

In the journey toward equality and acceptance, the LGBTQ+ community has made remarkable strides. However, despite these significant advancements in civil rights and social acceptance, there remains a pressing issue that often goes unnoticed: financial accessibility. While it might not be immediately apparent, the LGBTQ+ community faces unique challenges in the realm of personal finance and economic well-being. This blog will explore why it's crucial to address the need for more financial accessibility within the LGBTQ+ community.

Fundamentally the LGBTQ+ community lacks the abundance of time others have had access to in order to grow wealth, maintain wealth, and/or have access to wealth.

Understanding the Disparities

1. Income Disparities

One of the most significant disparities faced by LGBTQ+ individuals is income inequality. Numerous studies have shown that LGBTQ+ individuals, especially transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals, often earn less than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts for the same work. Discrimination in the workplace, unequal opportunities, and a lack of legal protections contribute to this wage gap.

2. Lack of Legal Protections

While progress has been made in terms of LGBTQ+ rights, not all countries or states provide comprehensive legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Without these legal safeguards, LGBTQ+ individuals may find themselves at risk of job loss, housing discrimination, or financial instability due to prejudice and discrimination.

3. Family Rejection

Family support is crucial for financial stability, but many LGBTQ+ individuals experience rejection from their families upon coming out. This can lead to homelessness, a lack of financial support for education, and overall economic instability.

4. Healthcare Costs

Access to healthcare is essential for everyone, but LGBTQ+ individuals may face additional healthcare costs related to gender-affirming care, hormone therapy, and mental health services. In some cases, these costs can be prohibitive, creating financial stress.

The Need for Financial Accessibility

1. Economic Empowerment

Providing financial accessibility to the LGBTQ+ community is a matter of economic empowerment. When LGBTQ+ individuals have equal access to resources, education, and opportunities, they can achieve financial independence, contributing to their overall well-being and the strength of the broader economy.

2. Mental Health

Financial stress is a leading cause of mental health issues in the LGBTQ+ community. By addressing financial accessibility, we can reduce the burden of financial worries and promote better mental health outcomes. Economic stability allows individuals to focus on personal growth and well-being.

3. Reducing Disparities

Closing the income gap and providing legal protections can help reduce disparities faced by LGBTQ+ individuals. This, in turn, fosters a more equitable society where everyone has an equal chance to succeed and thrive.

4. Building Stronger Communities

When LGBTQ+ individuals have access to financial resources, they can invest in their communities, support local businesses, and engage in philanthropy. This helps build stronger, more vibrant communities that benefit everyone.

Steps Toward Financial Accessibility

1. Anti-Discrimination Laws

Advocate for comprehensive anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBTQ+ individuals in all areas of life, including employment, housing, and healthcare.

2. Financial Education

Promote financial literacy and education within the LGBTQ+ community to empower individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to manage their finances effectively.

3. Supportive Policies

Support policies and initiatives that aim to close the income gap, reduce healthcare costs, and provide financial assistance to LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly those from marginalized backgrounds.

4. Inclusive Workplace Practices

Encourage inclusive workplace practices that value diversity and create equal opportunities for LGBTQ+ employees.

While we celebrate the progress made in LGBTQ+ rights, it's crucial to recognize the need for more financial accessibility within the community. Economic empowerment, mental health, reduced disparities, and stronger communities are all benefits that come with addressing this issue. By advocating for equal rights and supporting policies that promote financial accessibility, we can work towards a more inclusive and prosperous future for all members of the LGBTQ+ community. Together, we can bridge the gap and ensure that financial equality becomes a reality.