Queer, money, community…

It’s week 8 and I really need to start breaking the research topic for my dissertation into something more manageable, because it’s currently looking like a PhD-worthy thesis.

As I mentioned last week, I’m keen to explore LGBT+ topics and my research question and hypothesis has seen many iterations over the last 8 weeks. The latest of which aims to explore “how LGBT+ spaces host a multitude of prejudices which hold us all back“.

This is what I have so far…

LGBT+-focused organisations, events and venues pride themselves on the openness and inclusion of the diverse range of people within the “LGBT+ community”, however, the environment in which these people have been raised has left a problematic legacy which, arguably, means that the “LGBT+ Community” is more divided than it alludes to be.

In this report, I aim to unravel some of the some of the divisions and prejudices which lay within the space – including stereotyping and fetishization of ethnic groups, sexual racism, internalised homophobia, transphobia, sexism and prejudices against those who don’t follow the traditional expectations of gender expression.

I then aim to explore some of their possible causes – including perceptions from wider-society, heteronormativity, simplified binary systems of understanding gender, toxic masculinity, the unfair “catch-22” of algorithms, capital-driven beauty standards and the restriction of labels. With LGBT+ venues and print media on the decline, I’ll focus more heavily on digital spaces, especially social media and dating apps.

I expect that during the report, I will find results which are highly related to issues affecting individuals within the space – including the alarming record of mental health issues and suicide rates among LGBT+ people.

I was then hoping to go on to say that…

There are a range of issues at play here which have ultimately led to a false understanding of sex, gender, sexuality and beauty. In order to comprehend this, we must look beyond binary systems of understanding. We must understand that evolution means there is no “final state”.

We have made mistakes with this in the past which we can’t change, so we must look into the rules and systems within which we work and play to ensure that diversity is catered for properly. Those creating the spaces and media which connect us have unparalleled power and must use it for good. Diversity in the workplace and diverse representation matters.

The problem is that this is gigantic. It’s far too big. I need to pick a niche and run with it. So, I’m thinking of reverting back to an earlier idea I had around LGBT+ people, finance and mental health.

Earlier this year we (the Starling Bank team + partners) ran a campaign called #MakeMoneyEqual which focused on the way the media speaks to men and women about money. The research which we commissioned found that men and women were spoken to differently – split definitively by language into spenders and earners.

It’s a strong campaign, and will no doubt be used to explore more divisions surrounding finances among society. It got me thinking, what about LGBT+? Are there divisions in our relationship with finances?

The more I think about it, the more I realise that there most definitely is. So, that’s where I’m at now.

It seems like 2018 was actually full of articles and research in this area – so I’ll be happy to build on that with my dissertation in 2019. Don’t get me wrong, I feel like this is totally PhD thesis-worthy too, but I reckon that I’d do it less of a injustice in 8000 words than I would the other topic.

Your thoughts are most welcome! 🙂