June is Pride Month! And while we are always happy to stand with the LGBTQ community, we don’t think pride should be limited to just one month. We think it should be celebrated every darn day.
And so do our Chime members. This year, we’ve passed the mic to those who identify as LGBTQ to uncover what pride means to them, what challenges they’ve faced, and what lessons they’ve learned — both financial and personal — along the way.
Here are their honest (and often moving) answers.
‘Sometimes you lose things because you’re meant for better’
Getting a good job and managing your money are tough for anyone. But for our LGBTQ members, discrimination can create even greater financial hurdles.
As Jayda, a 25-year-old retail manager from Baltimore, explained: “Coming out puts you in a financial hardship because you get doors closed on you by family members and employers. People judge you from the outside and not for the person that you actually are.”
No one would know better than Ry. Just days before his 18th birthday, his mom implied he should move out because she didn’t support his so-called “lifestyle choices.” Then, years later, he was fired from a restaurant job because of what he suspects was discrimination.
If you believe you’ve been the victim of workplace-based discrimination, you should file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ASAP. If you’ve been a victim of housing discrimination, you should call one of these state-based agencies.
Though those experiences were heartbreaking and difficult, Ry — who is now 28 and an assistant store manager for a luxury brand in New York — has managed to turn them into an empowering worldview.
“If somebody is going to overlook all of the things I have to offer based on who I choose to love, then I dodged a bullet by losing that relationship,” Ry said.
“Sometimes you lose things because you’re meant for better, especially in the queer community. And there’s no reason for us to have to exist where we don’t feel welcomed and where we don’t feel loved.”
‘Start planning for your future’
In addition to those crucial life lessons, Ry’s learned a lot about money in recent years, too. When the pandemic hit, for example, he found himself out of work for the first time since the age of 13. “I had nothing to show for it,” he said. “I had never created a savings account, I had never put any money aside, I had never planned to not have a constant flow of income.”
In hopes of avoiding that experience down the road, Ry paid off debt and bills when his unemployment checks arrived, rather than giving into temptation and spending the money on dining or decor. If he could share any advice with his peers, it would be to
“start planning for your future because you never know what’s gonna happen tomorrow.”
Kevin, 24, has similar words of wisdom. “Before the pandemic, I used to use my money to go out and hang out with friends,” said the incoming community college student from Florida. “Now I invest or save it, instead of using it on things that are going to waste my time and my money.”
Growing your ‘financial freedom’
Like many of our members, Kevin’s been expanding his financial knowledge through a mix of in-person and tech-based solutions. He seeks advice from the owner of Achilles Art Cafe, a coffee shop similar to the one he hopes to open someday, and also uses an app called TrueBill to track his subscriptions and spending.
For his financial education, Ry religiously follows KairosHQ, a company that ‘grams about the ins and outs of millennials and money. He and his partner are also Chime members. Ry uses the secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card¹ which, with regular, on-time payments, helped improve his credit score², and the SpotMe feature³, which kept him afloat between unemployment disbursements.
Jayda, too, has been relying on the Credit Builder card to help her recover from past credit mistakes. As for advice, she turns to GaryVee’s Instagram, saying, “He’s super passionate about the youth, their financial literacy, their future, and helping them grow their financial freedom.”
‘There is purpose for us’
Though our LGBTQ members have faced many challenges throughout their lives, they are proud of who they are, and excited to celebrate an entire rainbow of identities this Pride Month.
“Pride to me is to be free, to be true to yourself,” Jayda explained.
“To walk into any room and to know the person that you are, not be afraid, and not hide anything about you. To love and to be accepting, no judgment.” She and her girlfriend are looking forward to celebrating in a Covid-safe way — and even bought a pride outfit for their dog!
Ry and his partner also plan to celebrate however they can. “This month is when we all take the costume off that we put on for our everyday 40-hour-a-week lives,” he said. “It’s when we get together and look each other face to face and say, ‘You are here, you do exist, you are completely valid in your experience.’”
To Ry, the recognition of Pride Month conveys an important message to the LGBTQ community, too. “It’s a reminder that there is purpose for us,” he said. “And there is a reason why we’re here. And we don’t have to get bogged down by the people that either don’t understand it, don’t respect it, or don’t appreciate and approve of it.”
We’re guessing we’re not the only ones feeling inspired by our LGBTQ members’ stories and strength. So why not put down your phone, throw on an outfit that expresses the uniqueness of you, and head into the streets to celebrate pride and support the ongoing fight for equality? Whether you’re a member of the LGBTQ community or just an ally, we bet our members will be glad to have you by their side.
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