Q&A with Kristin Davis
Online business offers resources supporting LGBT community
Q: You're president of an Oklahoma City-based online business Woven LLC (livewoven.com) that launches Friday, and offers resources for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community nationwide. Tell us a little about the startup.
A: The business provides timely legal and financial education and resources, including a national provider directory comprised of attorneys, financial advisers, tax and insurance professionals who have demonstrated competence and passion in working with the unique legal and financial issues faced by LGBT couples and families. Founder and Chief Executive Officer Melinda Olbert, an Oklahoma City-based financial adviser, recognized a need for a national online resource that would make it easy for LGBT individuals to access accurate and timely information in order to help them plan for secure futures. Directory members pay annual membership dues to participate.
Q: What are some of the issues facing LGBT families today?
A: LGBT individuals and families face an inordinate number of issues, including a lack of basic rights and benefits that many people take for granted. In states that don't recognize legalized same-sex marriage, couples struggle with living in a strange limbo where they have certain legal rights on a federal level, but not on a state level. A lesbian couple residing in Oklahoma City recently married in New York, and when one of them changed her last name to match her spouse's, she was able to obtain a Social Security card with her new name, but couldn't change her state-issued driver's license. Now, she can file her federal taxes jointly under her new name, but will have to file her state tax return as an individual under her old name. There are many couples caught in a divorce limbo when they want to divorce but reside in a “nonmarriage” state that won't dissolve a marriage that's not recognized in the first place. Same-sex couples who have children face a great amount of risk if they don't plan ahead with legal resources that provide protections such as co-parenting agreements, guardianships, donor agreements, wills and trusts.
Q: How many business members do you have so far, and what states are represented?
A: Even though the website has not yet launched, we already have 20 businesses committed to joining our national provider directory, and nearly 40 more in the pipeline. Members include five Oklahoma businesses, including Bryan Evans of Evans & Davis; Sally Gilbert, P.C.; Kevin Miller; Shannon D. Taylor, PLLC of Oklahoma City; and Karen Keith Wilkins, Attorney at Law, of Tulsa. The other directory members represent nine other states, and our goal is to cover every state.
Q: How do interested businesses sign up?
A: They can apply online at www.livewoven.com, email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (405) 887-2323 for more information.
PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER