Childfree Wealth®

Let's Talk Pride with Ashley Maready

June 21, 2023 Dr. Jay Zigmont, CFP® & Bri Conn Episode 29
Let's Talk Pride with Ashley Maready
Childfree Wealth®
More Info
Childfree Wealth®
Let's Talk Pride with Ashley Maready
Jun 21, 2023 Episode 29
Dr. Jay Zigmont, CFP® & Bri Conn

​​The Childfree Wealth Podcast, hosted by Bri Conn and Dr. Jay Zigmont, CFP®, is a financial and lifestyle podcast that explores the unique perspectives and concerns of childfree individuals and couples. In this episode, Bri talks with Ashley Maready about what it’s like being LGBTQIA+ in America.


Together they share their individual stories of realizing they’re queer & coming out publicly. They discuss a few numbers related to being LGBTQIA+ and share what you can do to be a supportive ally.


Connect with Ashley here!


Resources:

Like the show? Leave us a rating & review. If you want to join the conversation, email us at podcast@childfreewealth.com, follow Childfree Wealth® on social media, or visit our website www.childfreewealth.com!


Stay up to date with Childfree Wealth® by signing up for our newsletter here! Schedule a meeting with a Childfree Wealth Specialist® here!


Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn


Disclaimer: This podcast is for educational & entertainment purposes. Please consult your advisor before implementing any ideas heard on this podcast.

Show Notes Transcript

​​The Childfree Wealth Podcast, hosted by Bri Conn and Dr. Jay Zigmont, CFP®, is a financial and lifestyle podcast that explores the unique perspectives and concerns of childfree individuals and couples. In this episode, Bri talks with Ashley Maready about what it’s like being LGBTQIA+ in America.


Together they share their individual stories of realizing they’re queer & coming out publicly. They discuss a few numbers related to being LGBTQIA+ and share what you can do to be a supportive ally.


Connect with Ashley here!


Resources:

Like the show? Leave us a rating & review. If you want to join the conversation, email us at podcast@childfreewealth.com, follow Childfree Wealth® on social media, or visit our website www.childfreewealth.com!


Stay up to date with Childfree Wealth® by signing up for our newsletter here! Schedule a meeting with a Childfree Wealth Specialist® here!


Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn


Disclaimer: This podcast is for educational & entertainment purposes. Please consult your advisor before implementing any ideas heard on this podcast.

Bri

We have Ashley on the podcast. She was on last week talking about life as a soloist, but this week we're talking all about pride. I myself am bisexual and in a lesbian relationship. I have a wife. Ashley is also queer. So Ashley, do you want to introduce yourself to tell us who you are? But for people who may not have heard of you.


Ashley

Absolutely. I guess as a childfree person and also as a queer person, I've kind of become used to sort of throwing out the life script in a number of ways. So pretty late bloomer as far as discovering or I guess acknowledging that I was queer. I didn't come out until I was almost 35.


And I'll be 40 in January. So I kind of feel like a late bloomer. And, you know, in some ways I'm a little envious of these kids in their teens and twenties now that, you know, have been able to acknowledge their whole life, you know, that that they were queer and they've had, you know, a support network and so on.


I've kind of had to make my own way in the world as far as that's concerned, but I'm used to it at this point, you know, childfree, queer, it all.


Bri

So I came out when I was 20, so was 15 years earlier than, you. I’m 25 now. So I've been out for five years, almost six years. And that is obviously a very different life. So kind of like what did that look like growing up and, you know, living life as a straight individual and continuing to live adulthood as a straight individual until your mid-thirties?


Ashley

You know, what that look like in many respects was a lot of me doing what I thought I was supposed to do. And I got to say, I'm very glad that that didn't extend to have children because that would have been a massive mistake. And at least I knew that early enough to be able to avoid that.


But I had two attempts at straight monogamist marriage and neither one worked out, you know, for different reasons. And I got divorced the first time when I was 28. I got married the first time, way too young at 22 to the only person that I had ever dated kissed any of that, which I do think back, you know, hindsight is always 2020 and I think back on that like just I can't believe that I was allowed to do that and got married the second time at 31 and thought, okay, you know, I'm better, better prepared and we're going to go into this again and try it and know by the end of that marriage, you know, I was to to deep into discovering who I actually was and what I actually wanted out of life. And unfortunately, didn't really quite mesh with with my now second ex-husband. And he and I are still friends. And it's it's cool, you know, he lives in another state and everything. But it's it's been hard. It's been hard.


I would encourage anybody that is questioning who they are in any way to avoid making that kind of serious commitment to someone else, especially if it involves legalities like a marriage does.


Bri

MM That can be super difficult when you're trying to figure out who you are and then also, you know, going out into the world. So for me, I kind of always knew and I grew up in a religious household and then I would go to a church and I was one church that my parents went through. And I also went to another one.


One of the churches was not so great. The one my parents went to is actually very open and accepting. But I remember leaving church one time and a friend asking, Do you think that gay people are a sin? And I was so sad because at that point I kind of already knew, but it was like I couldn't really say anything because I was so stuck in that what is happening.


And I didn't actually come out until after I was in a relationship. And I came out with a picture on Facebook that said, “The world has bigger problems than girls who kiss girls and boys who kiss boys.” And it was a picture of me and my now wife for National Coming Out Day. And so my experience probably looked very different than yours because I was kind of like, Hey, everybody, I'm out and adios.


Like if you don't if you don't like this. But I had also never been married or anything. And the stakes were, I don't want to say a lot lower, but also they were because I didn't have that legal marriage like you talked about being married and all of that to be worried about. I guess and quote-unquote contend with in a way.


Ashley

Yeah. Yeah. It sounds like it. Although oddly enough, I also came out on Facebook on National Coming Out in 2018. Interestingly enough, after, after, after spending some time kind of reckoning with what I was feeling. And I guess as you as you may have gathered, I'm also polyamorous, which, you know, we're we're just throwing out the life script left and right here.


So me me coming out as queer wasn't necessarily doomed to be the end of whatever relationship that I was in at the time, which, you know, I was still with my second husband. It just we split up for a variety of reasons and that that really wasn't the top one. So more so me discovering that, okay, this whole the marriage thing and, you know, trying to live with someone else full time and just all of that was just not working.


And, you know, he wanted different things. And I don't know, we were better friends than we were spouses. I think ultimately.


Bri

Yeah, and that's totally fair. I guess maybe we should actually define like the different letters and different identities for people who are maybe listening to this and have no idea.


Ashley

So that's a good idea.


Bri

Yeah, there's LGBTQ, so lesbian, gay, bisexual, LGBT.


Ashley

Transgender, trans.


Bri

And then Queer.


Ashley

Yeah I've also seen I A and plus which in my in my writing on the topic I've been I've been putting LGBTQ. I a plus which would also include intersex asexual and then plus for anybody that, you know, I identify as pansexual which you know, is not part of that string of letters. Usually, I just self-identified other people as queer because they seem to understand that.


And for me to try to break down, okay, what is pansexual and often I get is that just bi and I'm like, no, no, there's a lot of connective tissue there, but we sort of define them a little bit differently. And it's it's all on each of us to kind of figure out which label works best for us.


And, you know, for me, also, another reason why it took me so long to come out is because so many women who have queer identities. Unfortunately, our sexuality is often kind of held up as being for the benefit of men. You know, how many straight guys do you know are to lesbian porn, for example? And yeah, and one of the reasons why, you know, bisexual didn't feel right for me and I just, you know, I know, I know bisexuals, you know, I love bisexuals.


It just it just wasn't a fit for me, you know? And I feel like pansexual is kind of a little bit more I don't know, it just it fit better. I like the flag better. We all have to find a label that works for us.


Bri

That is totally fair. So lesbian women who like women, gay men who like men, sometimes people call themselves gay, even if they're women, you know, kind of whatever bisexuality you like.


Ashley

Some women will occasionally refer to myself as gay for sure.


Bri

Oh, yeah.


Same. Same here. Transgender is somebody who was born with a sex marker that they don't identify with. And so maybe they were born in labeled male their entire life, but they, you know, are like, nope, this isn't right.


Ashley

And you'll, you'll, you'll see, you'll see a fab or a mab, you know, a signed male at birth. Assigned female at birth.


Bri

Mm hmm. Very. Yeah. Good point there. Do you want to explain more of, like, queer and all the queer, intersex, asexual, pansexual, all of those? Yeah.


Ashley

I mean, we can. But I think at a certain point, it's just it's just alphabet soup for people. I think ultimately the best thing to keep in mind is, you know, if your attraction or your your relationships with other people go beyond kind of that strict gender binary male female, you know, pairing off that way.


In some respects, your queer sexuality is a spectrum. That's the other thing that I feel like people don't really reckon with that a lot of people maybe don't strictly identify with one or the other.


Bri

That is a really good point. And I don't think you necessarily have to understand every letter because even me being part of the community, I'm like, I don't necessarily understand all of the other letters. Like I, I understand the ones that I explain there, but I don't really understand some of the other ones.


Ashley

Oh well yeah that would be, that would be reasonable. I’m llike are we explaining for the benefit of our listeners or. Okay, so someone who is intersex, sometimes babies are born with what they call ambiguous genitalia or, you know, chromosome differences. You know, I know someone who is actually x, x, y rather than being x, y or X X. So it's these people that will tell you that, oh, gender is biological, gender is not biological, it is not it is psychological.


And it is up to us to define that for ourselves. You know, even you know me, my pronouns are she and hers. And I definitely do identify as a woman. I am. I am cis female and a woman assigned female at birth. My gender expression of of my femininity might look different from another person. You know, I'm for example, I wear my hair short, you know, I know for a long time, you know, that was considered to be such an unfeminine thing.


And I had my hair short like this for most of the last 12 years. And to me it doesn't seem like any less of a feminine thing to have short hair. And yet conversely, you only see men with long hair and oh, you look like a woman. Hair is not gendered. Wear your hair or however you like.


Bri

Exactly. I sometimes like jokingly say, you know, I don't know how people didn't realize before because after I think it was like the week after I graduated from high school, I went to a town about two and a half hours away and I shaved a triangle into the back of my head. Like did that whole undercut design thing.


Oh, nice. And that coming on for a while now. You know, that's not obviously like a oh, they're definitely part of the LGBTQ community, but that was just kind of like a joke for me, like, oh, well, you should have seen it come in. I had that shaved back of the head. But yeah, you're right, like hair, it doesn't have a gender and that's weird that we think it does.


Ashley

A little bit. Yeah, yeah. For all humans, that's the main thing.


Bri

Exactly. And you know where your hair, however you want.


Alright. So all of those different things, one will impact our life experiences, you know, how we identify, but also when it comes to telling people around us, it can be really scary because you don't know if you're going to be cut off by people, whether it is friends or family.


And if you are a younger person who is still financially dependent on their parents, like when I came out, I was in college and still financially depending on my parents and I had no idea if they were going to respond well or not. And then, you know, as you're older, I'm sure that you also had different feelings about it being married and all of that.


Can you like explain more, whatever as to the feelings you had surrounding coming out and whether or not that was going to impact your finances?


Ashley

I wasn't so much worried about a financial impact because, you know, again, by the time I was in my mid thirties, I was I was on my own financially, you know, I was married to someone else and sharing finances at that time. And you know, we ended up splitting up a year later and, you know, I had to handle my own stuff going forward.


And now I am completely financially independent and solo on my own as as you all heard in last week's episode, and I am happy for that. But it was more so like, what are you what are what are my friends going to say? You know, I'm not I'm actually not super close to my family. You know, I did I did come out to my to my father and, you know, my father being a man in his 60, you know, the word queer. Like he remembers that being an offensive term. And I had to explain like, it's okay, dad, we've we've reclaimed the term, you know, it's it's all right to, to call us that. Now, at least I haven't talked to many people who are offended by that. And I'm glad, although I'm sure I'm sure someone's offended by my by my identifying as queer in this podcast.


They might leave us a comment, but that's okay and yeah.


Bri

Probably and oh well.


Ashley

You know, more so like what you know, what are my friends going to think? I've also done a really good job of surrounding myself with people that see eye to eye with me, which that that has been one of the nice things about getting older, you know, and also from a, from a, from the perspective of caring less and less.


Ultimately what people do think, you know, as, as I close in on 40, I look forward to giving even fewer damns going forward.


Bri

I like that giving even fewer damns.


Ashley

Especially as a especially as a woman, because we are so socialized to be so concerned that we're going to be viewed as selfish or as unfeeling, you know, and especially a childfree woman or the ultimate in selfish and uncaring.


Bri

Absolutely. And it's just I think it's kind of funny because, like, to be LGBTQ and be childfree or have a child, you have to put away more thought into it than anybody else because there are not accidents happen happening more than likely, like maybe in some instances. But for the most part, there's likely not going to be an accidental child.


Ashley

Well, I mean, I the thing about being pansexual is I'm interested in everybody and that's to my to my regret on some days that does include men. Oh, this is how you this is how, you know, sexuality isn't a choice.


Bri

Yeah. It's like I often say to because I grew up in South Dakota, so very conservative background.


Ashley

Yeah.


Bri

Yeah, I oh, yeah.


Ashley

It's I'm sure you've had some interesting experiences on all fronts on, on the queer front as well as on the childfree front.


Bri

Yeah. And I mean people just assume that I'm not going to have kids and so I don't really, I, it's never been a thing that I've had to talk about because I just they automatically assume never having kids, whatever.


Ashley

Like, that's cool. I mean, that's, that's lucky, you know, given, given how many women I've talked to that, you know, get family pressure, good friend pressure gets stranger pressure.


Bri

Mm. And you know, I'd say people, people under 40 tend to ask people over 40 just don't say anything. And honestly I'm like, you know, it's not a conversation I need to have with you. So whatever.


Ashley

Yeah.


Bri

But yeah, growing up there and being, you know, by, like when people say things me or why would you want to do that? Do you think I would want to wake up every day and be one of the be a part of like one of the most hated groups in our society today? No. Like who does? So do you think I'm choosing this? Absolutely not. I don't know anybody who would say that this is a choice who is part of the community. I want to I don't know. What do you think about that?


Ashley

The next time a straight person tells you, oh, you chose this, tell the world. Did you did you choose your sexuality? When did you choose your sexuality? How did you choose your sexuality? Did you go to the store and pick it out off the shelf? I, I don't I don't understand people.


Bri

Yeah. Aisle three right next to the flour and sugar for anybody wondering where you want to find it. I, I so interesting actually actually gave me a really good article with some different stats about, you know, LGBTQ people, but also how the finances impact. And so I'm going to read these here, but it says, on average, same sex couples make $1,681 more than opposite sex couples.


However, this trend is driven by male same sex couples who make $17,250 more than opposite-sex couples, which obviously we know there's a gender pay gap. So if you have two men in a relationship, you're going to be making more money. And then female same-sex couples earn $9,643 less than opposite sex married couple overall. I mean, there are not a lot of professions where people are paid the same.


And I was having this conversation with my wife about this earlier. I was like, How do you think us being part of the community impacts our finances? And she goes, you know, I really can't give a good answer of that because I'm in such a unique position where she's an airline pilot. So you can Google…


Ashley

Oh wow!


Bri

Yeah, but you can Google airline pilot pay and you'll see the chart so everybody gets paid the same regardless of who you are. However, if you're in a position where you have to negotiate your pay or well, if you're not an airline pilot, it's not that you're more than likely negotiating your pay. You can very easily be at a disadvantage and sometimes and I had a job where I would be doing a lot of sales. I would just not say anything. People would talk to me on and on. I had a couple of people who would talk to me on non about a husband and all this and my boyfriend and I did not say a thing. I just let them think what they thought because I was like, I don't know what this is going to do if I do say, Nope, actually I'm with a woman, sorry, That impacts my pay.


Ashley

So it can be very, very uncomfortable to not be able to be your true self at work. And this is this is true if you're polyamorous as well and have more than one partner because you you end up referring to the umm friend, you know, and this is oh, my umm friend. And I did so-and-so this weekend. And it's kind of heartbreaking regarding the the article that I sent you, the research piece from From The Ascent, which is part of The Motley Fool, which is that and a publication that I write for. And actually by the time this podcast is published, I will I will have a piece out and now maybe we can link to it in the show notes about, about the LGBTQ plus pay gap and some, some steps that you can take if you're part of the community or if you're not to kind of help mitigate that.


Bri

Yeah. Are you comfortable sharing some of those things now?


Ashley

Absolutely. So. Well, we'll see if people will say people they're reading, well, they only.


Bri

Give us like one or two facts and then we'll link everybody else and go read.


Ashley

That's that's that's fair. That's fair. If, if you are in a position where you can be out in the context of work and be honest about you are about who you are. I think that helps a great deal because you don't know who you're working with. You might have colleagues that you know are struggling with the question of their own sexuality.


And, you know, can I come out? Am I going to have allies at work? You know, being honest and upfront with who you are can help them, you know, and you might even find yourself in kind of a mentorship capacity. You know, I have I have younger colleagues, you know, in the work that I do now. And I've had student interns in the past that have thanked me for for being open about being queer, you know, and showing them that, hey, you know, here's this person that's doing this job that I want to do, and they're older than me and they're out of the closet.


And, you know, it seems to be working for them. And that can kind of give them hope for the future. Another thing you can do is work on your own professional skills. You know, if there's a certification program that you can that you can take to become, you know, better, more skilled in your job, you should absolutely do that, you know, investing in yourself, you know, the great Warren Buffett says, you know, investing in yourself.


It's the best investment you can make and it's not even taxed. So there's there's nothing lost by that. And if you're not part of the community, but you're your supporter, be vocal about your support, especially if you're in a management role at your job. If you have a say over hiring and salaries, your support is incredibly important.


Bri

Absolutely. And I really liked how you said investing in yourself can be one of the big things you do, because that is something we talk about here at Childfree Wealth all the time is investing doesn't have to mean in the stock market or in a company. It can be you, you can be the investment and getting yourself into a different position that, you know, helps you achieve the goals and desires that you have and not what everybody else has.


Because, you know, when queer you are completely on a different life plan than the standard one and you know, you might go to college and get married and have kids and have a house and all this, but you might not. And that's okay. And I do think being being somebody who is out and I don't for me anyway, I am very like a very straight passing person.


You would never know if you just walked by me on the street. And even I went to my very first pride this past weekend and I didn't really I don't really have like much for pride stuff.


Ashley

Oh, I have so much stuff!


Like, okay, so I've not, I've never been myself actually. I'm planning to go in the city, city closest to me this weekend so that'll, it'll be my first time, you know, all the previous June since I came out, I always had something going on, on that weekend. So this will be this will be my first time. And I'm proud to say that I have all kinds of gear that I can wear and adorn myself with.


And, you know, that's another thing, too, is I'm year after year, I always hope that I am less and less straight passing.


Bri

Yeah, I was there and I'm like, I looked at my friend after he got there. I was like, I look like the straight friend. And she goes, yeah, you do.


Ashley

Oh, now I will say the straight friend is also extremely important.


Bri

Yeah, so very true. But it was just like, that's not who I am, but that's how I look. So it was quite amusing. But you don't have to be like super, you know, queer looking to be living your life and have people look up to you. I've gotten messages from different people saying like, Hey, thank you for, you know, just sharing you and your wife.


And it's like, Oh, I had no idea. And they all come out to me and they're like, I really haven't, you know, come out yet. I don't know what to say. And I'm like, I, I don't know. I don't think it's fair for me to say, yes, you should come out or really like you have to decide that for yourself because we don't know how your family and your friends are going to respond to that.


And if you're even in a safe position to come out, that is very important. When you do come out like you need to be in a safe position or have access to a safe place to be because I wouldn't want somebody coming out and then getting hurt because of that. However, I don't want you to live your entire life in a closet either and so I, I totally agree with just, you know, being out and living your life.


Bri

So LGBTQ Americans are face significantly higher poverty rates than heterosexual Americans, especially when it comes to trans individuals. 34% of trans men and 32% of trans women live in poverty, compared to 16% of cis men and women. That is double for trans people versus cis straight people double. And, you know, we can turn on the news right now and see how badly people are being kicked right now who are part of LGBT community.


And it's like gotten to the point where I can't even keep up with it. I, I try and pay attention, but it is so constant that I'm lost and spinning. What do you think, Ashley? How do you how do you feel about everything that's happening right now?


Ashley

I have enough trans friends to be concerned. And I'm happy that many of them live in New York State, which is where I live, which, you know, thankfully, this is one of the better states to be in if you happen to be outside the societal norm in any respect. But, you know, I worry about kids in places like Florida and Tennessee and… It's scary out there. It's scary out there. And honestly, it's kind of one more reason to be happy to be childfree that, you know, it's it's enough to worry about myself and I can live openly where I am now. You know, I've got the giant pride flag hanging off my balcony, you know, and it's even in the Google Maps photo if you if you looked at my address, which is cool, I love that. And I love that that that I can do that here. And I've lived in other places around the country. You know, in my old career I get to move frequently from museum jobs. I lived in places that I honestly don't know that I'd even feel safe necessarily visiting now, which is disappointing.


But yeah, I mean, the only thing that we can do is is vote. And you know, if you if you have have a friend that's in a bad situation, then you can help them in any way, you know, point them to a local support network for them, you know, take them in, give them a job recommendation. If they're looking for work, you know, every little bit helps them.


Bri

Absolutely. And it whatever you can do to be supportive is really good. I like the idea of giving a job recommendation or, you know, taking people in. That's that doesn't really require any, you know, financial support from you. It's just that's something that will really help people get ahead. And most jobs are filled by people who have recommended somebody.


So if you have the ability to recommend somebody, why wouldn't you?


Ashley

You truly know. And if you do have financial support that you can provide and maybe not, you know, one person or one group in particular. The ACLU is a great place to donate to. Planned Parenthood is a great place to donate to the Trevor Project. It's a great place to donate to the Human Rights Campaign. There. There are so many, you know, queer, supportive, charitable organizations that would be thrilled to receive any financial support from you that you can offer.


Bri

Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. You are so right about that. Just, you know, you make a really good point about being able to be open where you live. And I talked earlier about growing up in a very conservative state where I don't think I would be safe being open there. And they had pride recently there. And I was like, I don't know that I really feel safe going there.


Like, I don't trust the people in my hometown enough. Now there are some people who I trust 100% and they're fantastic. But as a whole, I don't trust that town enough to even really go to those things. And that's sad. But that also is part of the reason here in this piece from The Ascent saying why LGBTQ people are in poverty is because they tend to live in cities like San Francisco, New York, what else was L.A. and a couple other ones that are higher cost of living because they are safe places to live and you shouldn't have to base where you live on whether or not it's safe. Everybody, like every place, should just be safe. It's really, really, really disappointing, I guess.


What advice do you have for somebody who is queer and they're not out yet right now, but they're looking to come out and just kind of if you could go back and tell yourself something, what would that be?


Ashley

That the people that love you are going to love you regardless, and the people that don't love you don't matter as much as they might think that they do. They don't. You know, I feel like I come at this from a place of privilege in that, you know, I am white. You know, I was in my middle thirties by the time I did come out.


I can't imagine what it's like for some of these young people in their teens and twenties, you know, with their rights. I don't know in one respect, they're getting more representation in the media than I did as a child and a young person. But to be financially dependent still on a potentially unsupportive family network, that's hard.


Bri

Yeah, absolutely. That can that can be terrifying. And even I although I was dependent, I don't want to pretend like I have, you know, that like teens like you say now our kids because I was at the point where I got a job because I was so worried I wasn't going to be supported. I got a bunch of jobs to pay for things.


However, I didn't end up needing that to be my case. But yeah, if you're a teen, it can be scary.


Ashley

Even just kind of kind of kind of snoozing on even. Idon't know, I'm just thinking back, you know, it's so obvious or so very long that I didn't just like dudes. Oh, well. Hindsight is 2020.


Bri

Absolutely. I yeah. I think back about some things and I'm like, what was I thinking? Like it was very clear to me and I kind of knew, but I just shoved it down until. Yeah, till I met my wife. 


Ashley thank you for coming on the show this week. We talked a lot about our experiences being childfree and being queer, and then Ashley also mentioned some resources earlier and different organizations to donate to if you're willing. We're going to put all of those in the show notes.


If you have any questions about you know, being childfree and being queer, you are more than welcome to reach out. Send us an email. It's podcast@childfreewealth.com. We're happy to talk more and share more or simply send us a message on one of our social media channels. You can find this at Childfree Wealth


Well, thanks, Ashley, for joining us today!


Ashley

Yeah, thank you for having me.