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Amsterdam Pride and the Financial Landscape
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Amsterdam Pride and the Financial Landscape

About Amsterdam Pride Week

The story goes way back to 1969, on the US shores, in the street of a small gay bar called Stonewall Inn. Police raided the gay bar since homosexuality was considered a criminal offence, due to the N. Y. State Liquor Authority refusing to grant bars that served gays licenses which in turn led many gay establishments to operate without a liquor license.

But on the night of June 27, 1969, a police raid on the Stonewall involving the arrests of 13 people inside the bar met unexpected resistance. The conflict lasted for six more days and is considered a milestone in the LGTBQ+ movement. Now, these events are known as the Stonewall uprising, were a start of  the gay liberation movement and the twentieth-century fight for LGBT rights in the US. In 1979,  following Stonewall, the Netherlands initiated Roze Zaterdag (Pink Saturday), which since 1981 has been held in a different city each year. 

With new circumstances and diminished interest, the Amsterdam gay scene also suffered a set back in the ‘80s. That’s when a group of trendy gay dancing club Havana in Reguliersdwarsstraat rebranded the celebration in Gay Pride, known today as Amsterdam Pride. The goal? Compared to other LGTBQ+ events, Amsterdam Pride focuses only on celebrating freedom and diversity rather than making a political statement or demonstration. And the pride festival that now lasts one week each year, is a highly anticipated festival – with a famous canal parade – way beyond the LGTBQ+ community. 

Today, when looking at the LGTBQ+ community from a financial standpoint, at first glance there seems to be no special need for financial services. There are some additional financial needs with regards to financial planning, and gender and sexuality should not be an issue. But unfortunately, that’s not the whole story. Unfortunately not everywhere in the world equal treatment is commonplace and discrimination on gender and sexual preference is large, creating financial disadvantages. That counts for not being able to obtain marital partner status, discrimination for housing programs or getting a mortgage or insurance. 

Besides the challenges, we also see a large potential as this group becomes more self aware and outspoken. That means that tailored channels and communication can be used to address this group and needs. In any case, a traditional gender enquiry or sexual preference in the context of financial services, is out of the question. 

We would like to take a closer look at the current financial landscape for the LGTBQ+ community, and  provide an overview of current Holland FinTech members which are actively catering solutions for this market. 

Some facts:

  • Members of LGBTQ+ communities have less saved for retirement on average (Investopedia)
  • GBTQ people struggle to save, and a higher percentage (34% vs. 28%) say they have bad financial habits they’d like to break (Experian)
  • 73% same-sex couples applying for mortgages are more likely to be denied than heterosexual couples with similar financial backgrounds (Washington Post)
  • LGBTQ+ people carry $16,000 more in student loan debt than their cisgender/heterosexual peers (Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement and Research)
  • One in five LGBT women living alone lives in poverty (NBC)
  • Name changes are common and important for transgender people and, according to Experian, changing your entire name, not just your last name, could affect your credit score
  • The LGBTQ+ market are under or unbanked compared to their counterparts (Mass Mutual, Prudential)

Breaking down the barriers 

Social bias plays an important role when it comes to financial planning for the LGTBQ+ community. A number of financial institutions are already taking a stance and acting in conformity with the market’s needs. An increasing variety of resources are available now to improve the community’s economic distress.

Affirming banks, family-building grants, free education are paving the way to a more equal future (Experian). Goldman Sachs initiated a new program which offers interactive sessions held by an LGBTQ+ senior management advocate and a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Citibank created a new service which lets transgender and non-binary customers use their chosen first name on credit cards. JP Morgan Chase is a supported and sponsor for StartOut, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating great business leaders by fostering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer entrepreneurs.

How can businesses tackle an unserved market

Inclusion begins with internal corporate action. By building pro-diversity frameworks, equal benefits and opportunities for same-sex couples, providing financial support to external organization focused on helping the LGTBQ+ community, businesses can make a first step towards providing real-time help. It’s also of great importance that companies rally behind their LGTBQ+ employees and provide the right platform for them to state their message. 

Another key characteristic is the leadership of a company. “How many women are on the board of directors? Gay people in leadership? If you want to attract people to work for and buy from your company, your leadership needs to represent the makeup of your clients – and that includes lots of LGBT Americans,” asks Trevor Burgess, the former President & CEO of C1 Bank and one of the first openly gay CEO’s to head a NYSE listed company, in a Forbes article.

Financial investors also advise you to buy assets which at the core reflect your values as well, such as supporting the LGTBQ+ community. According to a 2019 McKinsey study, diversity and inclusion initiatives pay high dividends for the companies that invest in them. The World Economic Forum also reports that companies with strong LGBTQ+ policies tend to innovate the most, to have loyal employees, and to experience significantly less cases of discrimination lawsuits. In addition to that, they are also positively perceived by their customers.

And because in the end Amsterdam Pride is a celebratory moment, an ideal proposition that your firm can offer is hosting LGTBQ+ events. Local donations, educational webinars, promotion of communities and efforts via your social media platforms are just some of the examples that every business can follow. 

Holland FinTech Members which cater to the LGTBQ+ community

Are you part of the Holland FinTech member base? Do you have a financial initiative supporting the LGTBQ+ community? Be featured in this initiative by filling out the form below.

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* This year, Pride Amsterdam is returning from 31st July until 8th August, celebrating its 25th anniversary. Due to the new Covid-19 measurements, all big festive celebrations have been postponed to 2022. See more at https://pride.amsterdam
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