Why economic freedom is necessary for a queer individual?

By Meghna Mehra

Whenever a queer individual faces discrimination at home or at the workplace and they choose to leave, the question of their financial security arises. Economic freedom refers to having a source of income, some sort of income that makes the person independent.

Often queer individuals feel trapped at home if they aren’t earning enough or not earning at all. They fear being thrown out over their sexual orientation, gender identity, and this fear makes them tied up in their heads. Many individuals also stay with abusive partners despite desiring to leave them due to financial constraints.

Coming out at the workplace or already being out at the workplace is also risky. Often, individuals leave their jobs due to discrimination in a hurry, they shouldn’t be blamed for leaving an unhealthy workplace but it lands them in many financial dilemmas like how they will pay their rent, their bills, etc. 

Not only economic freedom increases financial security but it also provides high standard of living to individuals. In a capitalist economy, your economic standing decides your fate due to low social upward mobility. In simple words, the more money you have, the safer you will feel. Often sexual orientation, gender identity are used as a way to disown people pushing them into poverty. 

Another impact of the lack of economic freedom and security is having less access to healthcare. Countries, where healthcare has some socialist ideals, make it better for people to access medicines, surgeries, etc when needed. But in places where there is widespread loans, for example, the US, getting access to healthcare seems like a luxury. There is also discrimination faced by community members while seeking help for mental health issues. Low economic stability makes them more vulnerable in cases where they have been outed by their therapists to their family or if they face prejudice by their therapists.

Every individual needs basic things to live. These are- 

  1. A place to live or accommodation
  2. Access to healthcare
  3. Food security
  4. Financial security 
  5. Social support like friends and family 

Most of these things have a connection with one’s economical situation. Without a job, people need someone else to pay their bills. The more interdependent they are, the more their vulnerability to discrimination increases. 

Many community members often realize the class barrier within the community when they notice that financially well off community members are less likely to face discrimination due to having certain powers like better access to police, connections, etc. 

Economic freedom and security also increase access to education for our community. Education is one of the most important tools to fight discrimination and attain equality. The right over one’s labor and having finances to remain secure is necessary for our community more than ever before.

The community has to come together to ensure the empowerment of everyone through economic means. And this has been done by community members for years but it needs to be done more often than ever until it becomes a norm.