Ten Money Questions for Candace Gingrich
Armed with a well-known name, Candace Gingrich, made her own mark as an activist for the GLBT community over a decade ago. She first served as Human Rights Campaign’s National Coming Out Project Spokesperson in1995 and is currently HRC’s Senior Youth Outreach Manager where she works with and inspires queer youth around the country.
In anticipation of today’s webchat taking place at HRC (part of the “7 Days to a Better Financial You” campaign), we invited Candace to take her turn at our ten money questions. Read on as she puts the personal into personal finance. Enjoy!
1. As an activist, what does money mean to you?
In many ways it is the invisible discriminator when it comes to GLBT equality. When I am asked whether or not I’ve ever been discriminated against, my answer includes the often unnoticed ways that we are affected financially: paying federal taxes on domestic partner benefits; the income gap between queer and straight people; paying for lawyers and documents to protect our families; etc. There is also the damage that the myth of GLBT affluence does to efforts to secure GLBT equality.
2. What is your most significant memory about money?
The cast-iron mechanical bank collection I had growing up! One of my favorites was Uncle Sam – you’d put the coin in his hand and he would drop it into a satchel labeled “taxes”.
3. What is your worst habit around finances?
Shopping on the Internet- I don’t think about what I might need the money for down the road. If I see something I want and have money in my account I usually get it. In particular, eBay is simultaneously the best and worst innovation on the internet for someone prone to impulsive spending – like me! I also have a minor addiction to scratch-off D.C. lottery tickets.
4. The media loves to paint a picture of self entitlement when it comes to money and Millennials. As HRC’s senior youth outreach manager, how do you see finances playing a role in the lives of our youth?
Queer youth (who I call Generation Equality) are being more strategic about career choices and industry options as they plan for their futures. There are lots of great resources out there about workplace policies and practices – like HRC’s Corporate Equality Index and our searchable employer database. We also just launched a new Mobile Action Network that allows people to instantly know how GLBT-friendly companies are when they’re shopping – all from their cell phones! So, with these tools, it’s possible to know in advance which companies offer the most to their GLBT employees and for young people to become everyday activists by in supporting these companies.
5. How do you and your partner differ when it comes to spending money?
Easy: she saves it and I don’t like to! We both contribute to the necessities and have a good system when it comes to groceries, utilities, rent, etc. But she is much better at thinking of the future while I remain someone who lives very much in the moment. We both have agreed, though, that life is too short to drink cheap wine!
6. Did you and Newt get an allowance growing up?
I did – nothing outrageous, but it could be supplemented with chores and depleted by misbehaving (who, me?). I can’t speak for my brother, as we grew up at totally different times and he had our 2 sisters to share with.
7. Can women make a living playing rugby?
Ah, every ruggers dream! Rugby for women is a purely amateur sport – we play because we love it. Some countries are beginning to invest in their women’s national teams by providing stipends so players can focus more time on training, but not in the U.S. yet. There are no professional leagues for women anywhere in the world so it’s all a labor of love for us. My team, the Washington Furies seem to spend half our time fundraising but in the end the mud, blood, sweat and lifelong friendships make it all worthwhile.
8. Were there any financial benefits to coming out?
I think in the long run, yes. If I had never come out I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work at the Human Rights Campaign. And being spokesperson for HRC’s Coming Out Project has been very rewarding and given me a lot of opportunities to share my story with people across the country. The downside is lower salaries at non-profits. The upside is that I am very lucky to be a professional lesbian – for other people it’s just a hobby.
9. As a former parcel service worker, what did manual labor teach you about making a buck?
What I learned was the importance of having a union. When I first began working I didn’t really understand what unions were – I just knew that if I wanted the job that I needed to become a Teamster. But over my six years of working there I saw numerous benefits – both concrete and philosophical – of my membership. I’ve since learned how effective unions can be as agents of social justice – like making non-discrimination and domestic partner benefits a part of contract negotiations. I’m proud that there is a union here at HRC – and proud to have been part of the most recent contract negotiations when we secured health benefits for transitioning employees in our collective bargaining agreement.
10. What can money accomplish these days in Washington?
Pretty much the same as everywhere else except that you need a whole lot more of it!
More about Candace Gingrich
Since 1995, Candace Gingrich has served as a key advocate for issues of importance to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Her 1996 autobiography, The Accidental Activist, was a best seller in the GLBT community. In addition, Gingrich has been profiled in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Newsweek, and has appeared on Good Morning America, Larry King Live, Prime Time Live and other television shows. Her involvement in the movement for equal rights began when her brother, then-Rep. Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., was elected House speaker.
In 1995, Gingrich traveled to more than 50 U.S. cities on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign to encourage Americans to raise their voices for GLBT equality. In 1996, Gingrich toured the country again to spearhead HRC’s voter mobilization project — urging Americans to register to vote and participate in the political process. She has also contributed to HRC’s seminars on political training.
As senior youth outreach manager, Gingrich works to empower and engage GLBT and allied youth in the fight for equality.
More about the “7 Days to a Better Financial You” campaign at HRC
Be sure and participate in the HRC’s webchat today as part of the “7 Days to a Better Financial You” campaign that was designed to help the GLBT community learn a few things about getting their finances in order.
Join financial advisor and Advocate contributor Joe Kapp, Attorney Brenda Jackson-Cooper from Arnold & Porter LLP and HRC Legal Director Lara Schwartz. There is still time to submit questions this morning, by emailing HRC at email@example.com.
Webchat: Thursday, April 10th at 3:00 PM EST / 12:00 PM PST on hrc.org.
Read other Queercents interviews in the Ten Money Questions archive.