This Would Have Been a Book Review If They Had Done Their Homework

Gentle Readers,

I was asked to read “It Is Only Money and It Grows on Trees!”  and I was given a free copy and asked to review it for y’all.

Essentially, this book wants to get folks to understand their beliefs about money. Which could be an interesting topic, but this book wants to discuss religious ideas about money. Again, this could be fascinating, but I personally have no interest in whether “Mary was a truly spiritual woman.” I could have read more, but slightly further down page 8, this book clarified that part of its hope is to mark off who is a good Christian or not, i.e.”Frank and Mary were both Christians. Or maybe we should say they both went to church.” There is so much judgment in this phrasing. As a person raised by fundamentalists, I’m not down for subjecting myself to this book.

This makes me suspect that the people who reached out to me had not read my blog at all. I am not a religious person. I wrote openly about this when I was telling y’all how to be better allies when the LGBT community suffered the horrifying attack this summer.

In case you don’t want to click through,

“14. Don’t take personal offense if an LGBTQ person does not want your prayer – so many of your religions have been used to bludgeon us. At times, to death. If you are praying to comfort us, you may want to consider our actual experiences with people using praying as a weapon to “pray the gay away” and how it would make you feel if strangers prayed about the way you experienced sex and intimacy.”

You should do your homework before asking someone to do something for you. I know that not all lesbians are atheists, but part of being a respectful neighbor includes being careful when you bring up your religion. You should not assume that it is a welcome conversation for folks. It is deeply private and personal for many people. The fact that you live in a nation that is largely one religion does not make it any more polite to assume folks want such a fraught topic brought up.

I only read books that interest me, because there is only so much joy and time in the world. I won’t be reading this one.

Have you ever been confused by someone’s request because it did not take into account who you are as a person?

Net Worth Week 10 – Grief Edition

Gentle Reader,

My heart still aches for my LGBT Family in Orlando. I focused this week on time with other LGBT people and in LGBT spaces. I allowed myself to overspend on food to be near people I was grieving with. I knew I was doing it and it was the right thing for my heart. I’m also still operating from a much smaller than average paycheck. It will be a few more weeks of loss. Thankfully small.

I am so encouraged at how many allies and people not directly impacted this time are trying to make us safer. Thank you. I don’t know if you know how much succor it gives us. Only one of my many relatives has checked on me at all, and that is a good summation of what it is like to be a lesbian. We’ve never felt safe in this world, and this has made it worse, but the response of so many people who are taking this as a call to action is so encouraging. Thank you a million times.

My IRA and brokerage accounts took hits this week, in addition to missing a month’s worth of funding that I had previously planned.

I still love Earnest and credit them with my ability to conquer some of this debt.

Date 5/27/16 6/3/2016 6/10/2016 6/17/2016
Joy 1098 1098 1098  1098
Travel 322 322 323 323
Down Payment  18 19 19 19
retirement  21 21 21 21
health  45 45 45 45
Moving  31 31 31 31
EF  2597 2597 2597 2597
Business  1 1 1 1
Bed  .29 0.29 0.29 0.29
Life  2765 2344 1729  1839
IRA  8359 8378 8516  8285
Brokerage  222 224 226  221
CC (largest)  0 0 0 0
CC (longest)  0 0 0 0
Rewards Card  -3998 -4481 -5434  -5300
SL 1  -102245  -102360 -102120 -102268
SL 2  -45059  -45095 -44971 -45017
Earnest  -9696 -9247 -9258 -9286
-$145518 -$146101 -$147176 -$147390
  2.95% change -1.0% change -1.0% change  -1.0% change

Has tragedy ever drastically changed your spending patterns?

Ways To Be An Ally

Gentle Readers,

You know that the LGBT community has suffered an incredible loss in the past week. We are grieving. Each in our way. We know that other people are grieving, too, but that some allies are afraid they’ll somehow mourn incorrectly. You can not mourn human life incorrectly unless you harm someone. I was asked to write what allies can do. This is my attempt.

There are many correlations between LGBT communities and the Financial Freedom community. We are all non-conformists who question everything. I hope that more FIRE folks can question things outside of financial decisions.

Be careful with your words. 

To me, this is the most important advice in all realms. If we are mindful with our language and thoughts, we’ll have been careful with other peoples’ hearts and lives. We will make fewer assumptions.

  1. Stop assuming that people are straight and cisgender. There are so many ways to be and you assuming otherwise often means that your friends do not feel comfortable telling you about their real life. One easy fix is changing your check-in language to “Are you seeing anyone? What are they like?” No gender was assumed. And you just might find out about his hot new boyfriend.
  2. Believe LGBTQ people when we tell you what our worlds are like. Especially when our world sounds alien to you. If we tell you that we have a gender outside of the binary, use google to look up the definitions. Here’s a primer available for free. Don’t ask us to explain the intersections of our lives to you. Learn from other allies and google. There are numerous nonprofits and university sources available for free online happy to explain things. It can be exhausting for us to explain the terms to you, because you have so many levels of learning to do. Do that with non-impacted folks.
  3. Ask us how we are doing during this trying time. So many of our families have rejected us, and maybe we need to know that you are thinking of us. We may not feel like talking, but your support will be appreciated.
  4. Stop insulting men by comparing them to women. So much of homophobia is wrapped up in idea that gay men are insufficiently masculine and gay women are insufficiently feminine. So much of homophobia is rooted in a hatred of things deemed feminine. I read a piece recently where a blogger said that the worst thing that could happen would be a for a girl to beat him in a race. Imagine what it is like for girls to know that men feel this way. Do better. Consider women to be people – worthy of being in competition with.
  5. Stop telling children to “man up.” Allow all children the freedom to express the full range of human emotions. Don’t tell them that crying is for girls or sissies. Crying is for humans. Joy is for humans.
  6. Stop devaluing femininity.
  7. Stop worrying about who is in the bathroom stall near you. People just want to pee. Get the hell over it.
  8. Learn about “toxic masculinity.” So much of violence in our society is rooted in the ideas about what a man is owed, whether respect, access to sex, access to money, or something else. You know before the headline is finished that the killer is a man 98% of the time. This statistic has stayed the same throughout most of history. This is revelatory. Something about how we raise and treat men causes some men to be very bad in ways that very few women are. We must begin to understand this. We must begin to change this.
  9. Learn about the link between toxic masculinity and domestic violence, and domestic terrorism, and mass shootings.
  10. Read female writers.  Read queer writers. Read “Exile & Pride.” Read writers who are different from you. Try to begin learning what assumptions underlie your life.
  11. Learn about other communities in the US.
    1. Stop mocking the South. All of the US has issues and it is lazy thinking to scape-goat an area of the country. Stop.
    2. Stop referring to “Fly over” states. Learn their names. Learn their value to the US. Learn their cultures.
    3. Stop assuming that LGBT people are safe in cities or safe in gay meccas. We are not. 75% of hate crimes in most cities are against LGBT people.
    4. Learn about other people’s religions.
    5. Learn about other people’s sexualities and gender identities.
  12. Know that you cannot remove queers from the world. We have been part of the environment since the dawn of man. Learn to live with us.
  13. Stop accepting hateful rhetoric against queer folk. Literally, stop listening when someone is telling lies about us. Tell them why you are stopping. Be “rude” in confronting them. Stand up against your people so that maybe they do not kill my people, maybe they’ll stop writing laws against my people, and maybe they’ll let us live.
  14. Don’t take personal offense if an LGBTQ person does not want your prayer – so many of your religions have been used to bludgeon us. At times, to death. If you are praying to comfort us, you may want to consider our actual experiences with people using praying as a weapon to “pray the gay away” and how it would make you feel if strangers prayed about the way you experienced sex and intimacy.
  15. Stop attending homophobic movies and churches. Seriously. Don’t support things with your time and heart and money that tear other groups down.
  16. Learn about LGBTQ history. Learn about the cases that told us that we were perverted. Read about Alan Turing and all the other queer inventors and historical figures who were tortured by their countries. Learn about how the US government responded to HIV when it was a “gay disease” – they literally left us to die. Learn about laws that precluded us from adopting children. Learn that even today 40% of homeless youth are homeless because their straight parents rejected them for being LGBT.
  17. Fight back against the rhetoric rising against Latinx folks in this country. It is significant that this US citizen attacked an LGBT club on Latin night. Rhetoric leads to hatred. Hatred with access to guns can lead to mass-murder. Demonizing a group of people will not help you, and can lead to their deaths and suffering.
  18. Stop assuming that your choices are natural. Your choices are constrained by your assumptions. Every human feels normal. Every human chooses differently. It is not normal to be straight, it is just common.
  19. Please call your governors and representatives and tell them that you believe in worker protections for LGBT people – we can literally be fired just for being gay in over half of these United States.

Our hurts are deep and complicated. The most important thing to remember is that we can treat one another with dignity. There is enough dignity to go around.

Pulse was created by a sister who loved her brother and wanted to honor him after his death from HIV. That is radical love. She took her sorrow and served a community in love out of it. Use your sorrow for good when you can.

There is a gofundme to help the victims of this horrific attack, if you can, please join me in supporting them monetarily. https://www.gofundme.com/pulsevictimsfund

In solidarity,

ZJ