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Where The Money Is In the Queer Community

Discussions about economic class and sexual orientation have often operated on the assumption – supposedly with a statistical basis – that gay people are at least as affluent, or more affluent, than straight people. However, an article on "The truth about GLBT income" by Grant Lukenbill [Gay.com] sets the record straight: the studies are based on flawed sampling and manipulation of data.

Here’s what actually happens: statistically, on average, gay male couples have more income than heterosexual couples. This much of the newspaper reports are true.

But just a cotton-pickin’ minute. Of course gay male couples make more money. Men make more money than women. So of course a household with two men makes more money than a household with a woman and a man. And, in turn, lesbian couples make even less than heterosexual couples. The issue here has nothing much to do with sexuality in the first place, and everything to do with the sexual politics of the job market. Many other similar errors disclose themselves; for example, gay male couples make more than heterosexual couples, but heterosexual people are more likely to live in couples than are gay men.

On full consideration of the data, Lukenbill argues,

The wealthiest proportion of gay Americans is a minority of older, dual income-earning, white-male households in the country’s largest urban areas. These men are an important minority within a minority, no doubt, but one that represents only a fraction of the overall gay and lesbian population.

Anyone who thinks–or reports–otherwise doesn’t know what the numbers really say.

For further reading:

  • GT 2/16/2002 Alabama Lags Nation in Pay Equity, and the wage gap map of the U.S.

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