Welcome to “Seven Minutes in Heaven,” GO Magazine’s interview series that profiles a different queer babe each day, by asking them seven unique (and sometimes random) questions. Get to know the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of the groundbreaking, fierce forces-of-nature in the queer community.
Hadassah Damien is a badass queer femme who wants help you tackle your finances. We all avoid looking at our bank accounts like the plague, but Damien strives to teach people how to divest from what they don’t want to support and invest in the future they want. The driving force behind their work comes from their working-class ancestors’ and their goal to create more accessible space.
Dive into our Seven Minutes in Heaven with Damien to learn more about how they can help you fund your future, their favorite music and where they go for inspiration.
GO Magazine: Who are you and what do you do?
Hadassah Damien: I’m Hadassah Damien, a/k/a Damien Luxe on stages, and I create systems that resist domination culture in my work as an artist, technologist, and financial consultant.
Over the last 15 years, I’ve created and toured live art that centers under-represented femme voices. For the last 12 years, I’ve built web and digital systems that support grassroots movements. And in the last two years, I’ve been working directly with people to make awesome future plans and reduce stress in their personal, couples, and small business money. You could say I’m the femme punk hacker of financial real talk.
GO: What is the driving force behind your career/activism?
HD: The driving force behind my careers and activism is my inner justice compass and my working-class ancestors’ get it done attitude. It’s kitchen talk—oh honey, that isn’t right but here’s how we can fix it.
It’s clear to me that power isn’t handed over; it’s something you create a space to hold and then do the work to get it in. Whether that’s creating an accessible stage for art or a clear plan for someone to get out of debt and look at funding their future, I’ve seen this succeed repeatedly.
GO: Where do you go for inspiration when you’re feeling discouraged or depleted?
HD: When I’m discouraged I crack open a book and am able to witness the brilliance of someone else, and when I’m depleted I travel and meet new people. This world is huge and there are people of all kinds doing amazing things. Seeing the immense energy and gorgeousness of people’s resistance over the centuries and in recent times gives me a ton of hope! And on a regular day I just roll up to the BedStuy Y and exercise, which always leaves me energized.
GO: How do you hope to empower people to learn about finances with the divest/invest challenge?
HD: With the Divest/Invest challenge Ride Free Fearless Money, my finance business, is running Nov 24 – Dec 3, the goal is to identify three actions and take them, and I’m interviewing thought leaders and providing examples of things you can do. While my teaching and writing on how to unfuck your money has been progressive and intersectional all along, it was after the 2016 election that I—like so many others—got motivated as hell about economic resistance and finding the leverage in our system NOW.
Divestment is moving money out of things we don’t support, and the leadership around it currently is badass first nations folks (#NoDAPL) and environmental activists (#GoFossilFree). They’re working at crucial statewide and national levels, and so I’m working to support individuals in replicating divest tactics with a special twist: do something GOOD for you, your money, or your world in the process. That’s the “invest” part: money goes TO a community bank, TO a group you’ve been meaning to donate to, TO a socially responsible investment instead of fossil fuels. It’s so important to know what we can do “instead”, and that’s what this project is focusing on.
I call this Hacking Capitalism, and I have been writing a whole series, with a workbook & course coming this Fall, on how to find the cracks and use them. I mean, that’s literally what late-stage colonialist capitalism is: a series of loopholes that are scaled due to the volume of money in them. And if super-wealthy people and corporations use loopholes, why not everyday people? I’m talking about legal and positive shit of course, like knowing how to use getting out of debt to improve your credit, making your sliding scale work, or using your retirement to effect micro-changes that matter. It can seem overwhelming, but it’s all just another system. My time building websites taught me that every system has it’s hacks, and since I’m good at explaining complex things in regular language, I’m teaching people how to find the power they can use in their finances with this series.
GO: Who are your queer role models?
HD: My queer role models are writers like Octavia Butler, a Black scifi visionary whose journals were lined with the spell “So be it, see to it”; and Amber Hollibaugh who’s consistently combined her creative work and activism with her personal story of resistance and survival. Also my damn talented creative activist friends are incredible, and since there’s too many to list I’ll just shout out every queer who’s writing, making, thriving and surviving because it takes commitment and guts and a lot of belief in yourself.
GO: What music are you listening to lately?
HD: Lately I’ve been diving into ever more obscure metal bands of all kinds; send me your epic metal suggestions! I love the talent and technique in the music, and the fact that it’s not solely about the lyrics means I can focus on writing and rock out while listening.
GO: Where can people find you?
HD: Online, my progressive finance blog & courses are at www.ridefreefearlessmoney.com—there’s a bunch of free resources as well as paid classes on freelance finances, couples money, personal budgeting, and a calendar to sign up for one on one consulting. My progressive tech work and communities happen on twitter, where I’m @hadassahdamien. And my writing and art is at www.damienluxe.com.
In person, I stay in Brooklyn on my bike.