‘Gay Affluence’ May Be a Myth

A recent study has apparently killed the idea that gay people tend to be more affluent than their heterosexual counterparts:

Lesbian couples are more likely to be poor than married heterosexuals, and children of same-sex parents are twice as likely to live in poverty as those of traditional married couples, a new report shows.

UCLA’s Williams Institute, which studies gay issues, says its report out today is the first to analyze poverty among gay and lesbian couples.

The report is an analysis of the most recent data on same-sex unmarried partners from the 2000 Census and two smaller surveys that include questions on sexual orientation. Together, it argues, they debunk “a popular stereotype (that) paints lesbians and gay men as an affluent elite.” (Source)

Interesting stuff, and I have to admit to buying the ‘gays are more wealthy’ stereotype myself. I actually know several gay couples who are definitely better-off in monetary terms than their heterosexual friends, for the simple reason that they have no children to support and therefore have a much higher level of disposable income. They’re not rolling in cash, but they they’re also among the few couples in their social circles who aren’t suffering under a huge amount of debt right now. Of course, I also know of several gay people who are living under a mountain of debt, so I guess that should have warned me not to make generalisations.

This raises some interesting questions about anti-discimination laws. If a study similar to this found that a racial minority group (or women) were at a monetary disadvantage compared to the rest of society, one obvious solution would be to ensure that they’re not being disciminated against in the job market. But, as I’ve said before, homosexuals are still very much an ‘acceptable target’ – it is still seen as socially acceptable by many to hold views about gay men and women that would be considered incredibly prejudiced under any other circumstances. To those who are opposed to anti-discrimination laws, ask yourselves this: if you knew for sure that voting against an anti-discimination law would lead to an increase in poverty among gay men and women, would you still do it?

1 Response to “‘Gay Affluence’ May Be a Myth”


  1. 1 Vanndy March 23, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Well, for those who are strongly against homosexuality, yeah, they would go that far to oppose the anti-discrimination law I suppose. I mean when you think about it, pro-hetero’s are trying to discourage this “type” of behavior by putting more disadvantages in their faces. I think they just might go down that path just to say “Hey! If the lifestyle is too difficult to handle, then you better go straight to make it easier on yourselves…” Of course, it isn’t right and I totally disagree with that particular notion, but people (especially the religious nuts) are capable of doing that.


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