Queering your Fiscal Values Before Building your Nest
(Queering the domestic or domesticating the queer? Is this like taming the wild? We’re examining ways to adjust your outlook as you settle down.)
Transitioning to a stable home life is something that’s often taken for granted in heteronormative timelines. Steps in maturity that may look very linear for cishet young adults and post-adolescents may not be as obvious for LGBTQ+ folx. We may follow their blueprints but also see drastically different results as we navigate our personal autonomy, reprocessing gender narratives, and figuring out what a head of household looks like that isn’t a caricature. There’s a sort of turning inside out of self that can happen that takes us from untethered, and unbothered, to self-soothing, evaluating, and processing independence and it can feel very unruly at times. Before intimate partnership or nesting, assessing our own needs, values, and non-negotiables can get left out of the life talks and affirmations we may receive. Lots of us know what general expectations exist in a straight framework of life, but what if you’re queer? What if you need to process that first? What if you find the whole idea terrifying to confront? You still want a place internally to recharge and regroup. That inward space can and will inform the comfort of home(s) and relationships. How do you queer domesticity and honor things like expected job satisfaction, income, resources, sharing spaces, and ownership?
There are some lads that know a thing or two about decorating beautifully. What if that skill was noticed and derided in their youths as emasculating and undesirable, yet they genuinely are better suited to sorting out the vibrancy of their apartment? There are some gals that simply handle auto mechanics and other technical skills well that could help the household run smoother. Are these traits we want to wait to gain confidence in only after gender roles become a source of stress or wouldn’t it be ideal to walk in our gifts for a bit longer than wider society may consider acceptable? After all, we learned, then we unlearned toxic habits — sometimes under emotional duress — and now it’s chic or acceptable when most of our lives, and for many QTBILPOC, the true expression of ourselves was interwoven with morbidity and feelings of unresolvable rejection. Can we stitch lovely queer affirmations on a pillow? Yes, sure we can. Can we build a lovely plant nook and throw up big or little pride flags of various identities in order to feel that we’re manifesting growth as an LGBT cacti parent? Absolutely. But outward shows are aided by inward cultivation and self-confidence.
Whether we like it or not, we contended with imagery of LGBT people in our youths (I’m mainly talking post-Stonewall, pre-Will & Grace) that supported terrible stereotypes of our community. Whether or not our families of origin actively supported or promoted those stereotypes, most of us currently alive are still carrying a wide array of unflattering clichés in our subconscious or even conscious minds. We may unfailingly believe in and love ourselves yet the ghosts of so many sitcoms, movies, off-color jokes, threats, and sometimes outings, or witnessing death directly or indirectly, can stay with us forever. Just as we’re still processing so many other forms of violence as various people of color in the Western world, we have the added baggage of faith or social traumas that try to invalidate our effort to simply exist. That can come home with us in many ways. As we unpack our money or professional values, a part of us will always know that someone somewhere or close by doesn’t want us to feel safe. To express ourselves authentically or to be seen. So when we’re transforming or transitioning and still trying to maintain civility or our dignity, things can get very muddy. So we’re here to talk about that a bit.
What does domesticity look like when we let our imaginations relax? What does decluttering look like when you’re not just throwing out old dust catchers but outmoded inferiority complexes? Can queerness be interlaced with minimalism? When we get clear on our personal intersections, things like business or career decisions take on other levels of awareness. Choices about where to live or for how long gain nuance. Our hearts are our homes too. Let’s nurture them together.
Written in partnership with CLEAR.
CLEAR economically empowers LGBTQ households & communities with more fair and equal access to LGBTQ-affirming financial education, services, & policies. You can find them on Twitter here. CLEAR was founded by Spencer Watson.