Since some states don't protect LGBTQ people, communities are rallying to offer their own.

You’re getting ready for a date. It’s time to pick the place. Where do you go?

You want to consider price — not too cheap, not too expensive — and ambiance; you want it to be conveniently located, with a good menu and perhaps some alcohol offerings. And if you’re gay in Indiana, you also need to pick somewhere you know you won’t get harassed or downright thrown out.

“Any service provider in Indiana can turn anyone down,” says Amy Shaw, who identifies as a lesbian and has lived in Indiana for the past 14 years. “People get assaulted for being queer. So it’s important to know where those safe places are, where you’ll get served, where people are going to treat you like anyone else.”


In 31 states, including Indiana, it is still legal to discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community.That means that people can be turned down for service, thrown out of restaurants, passed over for jobs, or fired from their work simply because the owner of a business has anti-gay beliefs.

Photo via Benedikt Geyer/Unsplash.

For comparison, Indiana does have nondiscrimination laws that protect people from being discriminated against on the basis of their race, religion, color, sex, disability (mental or physical), status as a veteran, national origin and ancestry. But while everyone else is free to navigate society without fear of danger, LGBTQ individuals still have to do the work of figuring out where they’ll be safe.

That’s why now, a small sticker is showing up in storefront windows across the state carrying a big message: “these businesses serve everyone.”

Created by the nonprofit Open for Service, the stickers let people know that even though it’s legal to discriminate, the business is LGBTQ-friendly and won’t turn anyone away on the basis of who they are.

“To us, it’s obvious,” says Sonja Garnett, whose family owns and operates ABC Roofing Company in Indianapolis. “You don’t want anybody to feel like they aren’t gonna be served for any particular reason.”

“I like wearing my badge. I like my thing that says I do support everyone in the community,” says Eric Wilson, who owns Irvington Insurance in Indianapolis, which also sports the sticker, or “badge” as he calls it. “I just said, you know, everyone’s welcome here at my place, even if you’re not welcome in every place.”

Eric Wilson's business. Photo courtesy of Wilson.

“The sticker signals to me that this place is gonna be cool,” says Amy. “They’re not gonna kick somebody out because of their sexual orientation or behave inappropriately. The florist will still sell me flowers, and they’re not gonna force a bunch of pamphlets on you or something like that.”

It’s incredibly important — to customers, companies, and communities at large — for everyone to be allowed to participate in society equally.

On one hand, it’s simply a matter of dignity. “You don’t want them, or anyone, to have to go through something like that, being humiliated because you’re different than someone else,” says Sonja.

But perhaps more importantly, it’s a matter of establishing concrete equality for all people, in all areas of life — not just in marriage, but in business and economy as well. For the same reason that protections exist for racial minorities, veterans, people with disabilities, etc., it’s time to extend those laws to cover LGBTQ Americans and ensure that everyone is operating on a level playing field.

“I’m offering a service, and it’s a public service that everybody needs access to,” says Eric. “Everybody should have equal access to all the things available to us.”

Photo via Oliver Cole/Unsplash.

The sticker is a big step in the right direction, but those who use it still admit that they wish they didn’t have to.

People who are straight and not transgendered don’t need to look for signs or stickers to figure out whether they’ll be discriminated against in a store. And if they are discriminated against for their skin color or disability status, they can take legal action and pursue justice.

Sometimes, people wonder why Amy, and others from the LGBTQ community, don’t move to more accepting states with better protections, but Amy is perfectly happy where she is. “I have a lot of really supportive friends and family,” she says. Plus, she adds, the LGBTQ community in Indiana is strong, and she’s proud to be a part of it.

All that Amy wants is for Indiana to give her the same protections and legal options that others around the country count on to feel safe.

And business-owners like Eric and Sonja want that for her, too. But in the meantime, the Open for Business sticker is an effective stop-gap that can help make life easier for LGBTQ people from Indiana while they wait for state laws to catch up..

“I wear the sticker because it’s necessary for those other people,” says Eric. “I want everybody to be welcome. But you have to have the sticker on the door, because there are people who aren’t like me.”

“It shouldn’t be necessary,” says Sonja. “But sadly it is, because there are people out there who are discriminatory.”

The LGBT community and allies continue to fight for legal protection against discrimination. But in the meantime, the sticker — and the people who use it — have a big impact.

Sonja Garnett and her family. Photo courtesy of Garnett.

Human rights groups are working toward adding gender and sexual identity to existing nondiscrimination laws in the 31 states that remain in need of legal protection for LGBTQ groups. Smaller municipalities are adding nondiscrimination laws to the books in order to protect people in their own towns and counties.

“I want comprehensive hate crime legislation,” says Amy. “That way, people have recourse to protect themselves.”

But while she and the Indiana LGBTQ community await broader legislation protecting against discrimination, it’s people like Sonja and Eric that continue to make Indiana the place that Amy considers home.

“We stand behind people who are seen as ‘different,’” says Sonja. “We got the sticker to show that we support them. So they know that somebody stands behind them.”

True

2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.

via Wikimedia Commons and Goalsetter

America's ethnic wealth gap is a multi-faceted problem that would take dramatic action, on multiple fronts, to overcome. One of the ways to help communities improve their economic well-being is through financial literacy.

Investopedia says there are five primary sources of financial education—families, high school, college, employers, and the military — and that education and household income are two of the biggest factors in predicting whether someone has a high level of financial literacy.

New Orleans Saints safety, two-time Super Bowl Champion, and social justice activist Malcolm Jenkins and The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation hope to help bridge the wealth gap by teaching students about investing at a young age.

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True

2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.