By Mia Smith
The LGBTQ+ community has never had it easy, from marriage equality to bathroom laws. Public reception of LGBTQ+ peoples’ identities may threaten their financial security.
LGBTQ+ represents people who are not heterosexual and/or cisgender. The identities under the LGBTQ+ umbrella vary along the gender and sexuality spectrums. According to a 2016 study by the J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group, 48% of people between 13-20 years old identified as straight---compared to the 65% of 21-34 year olds. Therefore, this rarely discussed topic is even more important to the significant LGBTQ+ population within our generation.
Florian Palucci, a self-identified queer and non-binary Chicago Public Schools art teacher, stated that their gender identity made their journey towards financial stability more difficult than others. “Not having family support while in school…[and] supporting myself with a full-time and part time job was difficult,” Florian says. This is a problem that many college-bound LGBTQ+ students will face, as “one half of LGBT youths are neglected by their parents because of their sexual preference”, according to an article by Gaell Jocelyn-Blackman for York College.
Many colleges assume that students have their parents’ financial support unless documented, such as the Non-Custodial Waiver for College Board’s CSS Profile, or legal evidence of student emancipation. These factors could make it harder for students to attend college, receive a degree, and maintain success afterwards, and that’s without considering the intersectionality of one’s identity, such as race, gender identity, and citizenship status.
Advocates for LGBTQ+ rights, especially teens, must take steps to make progress in the places where previous generations have not. LGBTQ+ rights and equality in a variety of areas has been neglected, and the issue of financial instability for LGBTQ+ youth needs to be addressed in the public sphere in order to move forward on all fronts.