Laura J. LaTourette, CFP®, is an LPL registered principal and a personal CFO for clients. She is an avid volunteer for numerous organizations, including serving as an FPA Knowledge Circle host for PridePlanners.
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This happened recently.
When I was visiting my son and family this spring, my granddaughter came into the kitchen from her bedroom where she was attending her online classroom and said, “We were learning about great women in March, and now my teacher said we are going to study women in history all year long.”
She was so excited—and it got me thinking. Although I’ve always valued monthly community celebrations, I think we could do more to support underserved communities all year long. As someone who has studied women in history, I was thrilled to hear my granddaughter say that with some exuberance, but what about my community, the LGBTQ community? She knows grandma is a lesbian but doesn’t really understand anything about my larger community.
Now, most people know the LGBTQ community has a national celebration in June every year; but what if I made it my mission to help people who are not in the LGBTQ community understand more about us? So, I’m proposing that you join my rainbow network if you are interested in really helping our community. Become an advocate—not just an ally.
I became a real advocate for my LGBTQ community and helped others who consider themselves allies of the LGBTQ community learn more about our community and help me amplify information and ideas year-round. I’m excited to share what I know with you.
Got Allies—Looking for Advocates
So, allies, this article is for you. I want to ask you to step up even more. We can make an even greater impact and meet important needs in the LGBTQ community, not just as allies but as conscientious advocates. What do I mean by this?
Definitions: Ally Advocate
This means continuing to learn, share resources, amplify good news, make connections, and show up as leaders for LGBTQ advisers in our membership and your communities of practice. This also means being mindful about how you can take specific actions to support the LGBTQ community’s many needs.
How do you do this?
As an advocate, you focus on educating yourself and others about the LGBTQ community—our successes, our concerns, and our priorities. This means staying current with research, surveys, national dialogues, and emerging concerns.
Start by aggregating top sources for research and information. One of your first resources is the Financial Planning Association’s (FPA’s) PridePlanners’ landing page (financialplanningassociation.org/connect/diversity-inclusion/prideplanners), where you can learn about PridePlanner Knowledge Circle events. Plan to join an upcoming Knowledge Circle and network with other ally advocates and stay connected with each other.
Our association has so much to offer. FPA has a Learning Center, multimedia resources, webinar recordings, and self-identified LGBTQ practitioners who are ready to meet you.
As FPA members, many of us are already strong allies for the LGBTQ community. For example, many of my fellow FPA members are active in professional and community-based groups to help support, understand, and keep up with LGBTQ priorities and concerns. Connect with us—reach out by email or social media. We are very interested in connecting, educating, and sharing ideas for actions with you.
Social as a Learning Tool
Look through your social channels and who you already know. Many people have gay family members or friends they can talk to about how to get started. Learn and share information about LGBTQ priorities and concerns. For example, I am following the Human Rights Campaign, SAGE, Family Equality, National LGBTQ Women*s Community Survey, and Movement Advancement Project (to name a few). Although I can easily visit their websites (I have them bookmarked, and they are listed in the resource box at the end of this article), it is helpful to have their updates and information directly in my LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook feeds. I make a point of checking these feeds regularly.
Once you’ve curated and are following organizations that are making a difference, dig deeper. Look into the reasons why data from the National LGBTQ Women*s Community Survey is needed now to address sizable knowledge gaps affecting policy and planning, and plan to help amplify the survey’s results when available.
Check out the useful articles on the AARP website under the Caregiving section, including lessons learned from the pandemic. Helping people understand the unique issues our LGBTQ community has with our elder population is important now more than ever with the increase in poverty levels caused by COVID-19, as discussed in a new report from the Movement Advancement Project (MAP).
Search and Share
I’m always on the lookout for resources and love discovering information that I can use and share. When I came across AARP’s website, I was excited to see a dedicated page for Pride articles. I’m encouraged to see resources listed in the Home and Family Community Voices section and its thoughtfulness for underserved communities, including LGBTQ, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, the Black community, the Hispanic community, Native Americans, as well as veterans, members of the military, and their families. I shared this resource with my peers, and now many of them are sharing it with their clients and community partners. Community pages like AARP’s are important because they centralize good news, current information, and relevant resources for traditionally underserved communities.
Search for resources for our LGBTQ community and allies and share them with our association. Become interested to see how LGBTQ folx (which is an inclusive alternative to folks) show up in the mainstream and amplify the good news. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) does an excellent job promoting resources, amplifying the good news, and elevating LGBTQ folx into the mainstream. As an example, check out one inspiring post from the Human Rights Campaign twitter celebrating Dr. Rachel Levine’s achievements to see how it’s done (twitter.com/HRC/status/1374837238509502473).
Network, Connect, and Contribute
Let’s make a concerted effort to actively connect with mainstream organizations as FPA members. Together, let’s find ways to contribute to conversations where we can integrate our knowledge about the LGBTQ community and their financial issues. We have expertise to share. How we share our expertise as a community of practice matters.
Here is one way to do this: If you are interviewed by a reporter or write for a newsletter, include LGBTQ language, issues, terms, and stories in your articles.
- Start by ensuring that your pronouns are included in your bylines, and advocate for non-binary gender pronouns whenever you see a need. Review your digital presence and add your pronouns to your website, social media, and blogs. Update your business cards. When you take this inclusive step, you’ll send a message to the LGBTQ community that you are aware and care about identity concerns. You will also encourage allies and others to rethink their own practices and join you.
- Use language such as “folx, “peeps,” “people,” and “womxn” consistently to signal to the LGBTQ audience that you are aware of language bias and are part of the change. Lead with this language.
- Have stories about LGBTQ folx leading the way across industries handy. Think about the LGBTQ leaders in your peer group and their success stories. Be ready to share these stories.
- Be careful about the media you are amplifying. For example, if articles, videos, or podcasts include language addressing “guys” and are heavy on football analogies (as an example), rethink sharing this potentially polarizing language.
- Become a contributor, panelist, or member of an organization with the intention to connect on LGBTQ subjects.
Take the #AlliesToAdvocates Pledge
Please join me in taking the pledge today to become conscientious advocates for the LGBTQ community. Connect with me on social media and share your thoughts using #AlliesToAdvocates.
We all have a part to play and need to show up now as advocates to help our LGBTQ community. Let’s all push each other forward! And don’t forget to celebrate in June—happy Pride!
More Resources for Turning Allies to Advocates
Are you an ally who would like to become an advocate for the LGBTQ community? Take the first step to becoming an advocate by making a commitment to this community. Learn how to communicate and support us. Check out these helpful resources, follow them on social media, and subscribe to their newsletters. Learn how you can take action and make a difference today.
FPA PridePlanners is committed to serving the needs of financial planners who serve LGBTQ individuals and families. Learn more about PridePlanners’ commitment to education and action and join the Knowledge Circle: www.financialplanningassociation.org/connect/diversity-inclusion/prideplanners.
CFP Board Diversity and Inclusion. The CFP Board is actively working to build and diversify the ranks of financial planners, with the goal of meeting the needs of diverse communities. Check out important resources like the Why Diversity Matters report. Join the CFP Board’s Diversity Summits, where you’ll learn about case studies, best practices, and actionable initiatives: www.cfp.net/initiatives/diversity-and-inclusion.
AARP empowers people to choose how to live as they age. As a national champion for social change, AARP serves and advocates for the current 50-plus population and future generations. Learn more about AARP and discover their community pages: aarp.org/.
Family Equality advances legal and lived equality for LGBTQ families and those who would like to form families. Check out their Family Speak Out programs and learn about actions you can take today: familyequality.org/.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) advocates for equality under the law for all LGBTQ people and promotes freedom to live their truths. Learn more about HRC’s work, explore comprehensive resources, and discover ways to get involved today: hrc.org/about/corporate-partners.
The Movement Advancement Project (MAP) provides research, education, and communication that advances equity for all. Read and share their current research, including their recent report, Why We All Need the Equality Act Now: lgbtmap.org.
The National LGBTQ+ Women*s Community Survey addresses national data deficiencies that impact our LGBTQ community. Visit their website, sign up to be notified when the survey launches, and notice how this group is communicating with the mainstream. Learn more here: www.lgbtqwomensurvey.org.
SAGE is a national advocacy and services organization for LGBTQ elders. SAGE provides training, resources, and consulting through SAGECare. Learn more about SAGE and check out their on-demand courses: sageusa.org.
Disclaimer: Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory Services offered through WCG Wealth Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor. WCG Wealth Advisors, LLC, The Wealth Consulting Group, and Family Wealth Management Group are separate entities from LPL Financial.