As a gay woman in a hetero-normative society, one learns how to duck and face discriminations. Leaning towards the male-identified spectrum – or butch, in layman terms – I’m still learning to negotiate the spaces I can share with my straight colleagues, from mistaken identities to odd bathroom stares. And though the space of personal finance for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBTs) has been largely enveloped in silence, the emergence of a vibrant and lively financial literacy culture may finally bring these issues at the forefront.
Such questions inevitably hit a sensible but significant wall: what does gayness have to do with one’s financial plan?
See, homos follow a different life path from their hetero counterparts. More precisely, we deal with “normal” things – partnerships, taking care of parents, retirement – in a slightly distinct manner. Whether you play for the team or know a loved one in the same situation, below are some financial challenges facing LGBTs:
1. On Partnerships
As gay couples share a home, with some even adopting children of their own, the legal conditions are not exactly in our favor. Because same-sex unions are not recognized in Philippine laws, our partners won’t get the same protection and privileges as husband-and-wife. Extra caution is necessary to ensure that our finances are in order, like proper estate planning and sufficient investments for the long haul.
In local gay circles, the number of elderly LGBTs who are growing up alone is rising. Some were abandoned by their loved ones while others serve as breadwinners for their immediate and extended families. This comes from a prevailing belief that since traditional marriage is not a ready option, we are expected to support the future of far-off relatives. This is fine, but only if we have sufficiently funded our own future.
Financial security is about having confidence no matter what tomorrow may bring. Not including discrimination and harassment (which merits another discussion), a gay woman’s safety ranges from health issues to ensuring that our income will continue no matter what happens to us. The stakes become higher when dependents come into picture, whether our parents or our own family.
These situations are just a sweeping, big-picture glance of what lies ahead (financially) for LGBTs. Of course, our individual situations differentiate us from each other, with some just a bit more unique than the usual. There is a case to be made in supporting equality, as seen with the priorities and milestones that we all work hard to achieve and celebrate. And nowhere are these as apparent as our financial considerations, which are as human, tender, and affectionate as it could be – no matter what side of the equality fence you are sitting on.
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