Does The LGBTQ Community Make Less Money?

For decades, equal pay has been a gender-specific issue. We hear about the pay gap between minority groups and white or straight men much less often — but this pay gap most definitely exists. Few studies have looked into this matter in the last decade, which means the time for action is now. And to answer our headlines question, yes, members of the LGBTQ community make less money than straight men.

There are a number of studies that have identified a pay gap between gay or bisexul men and straight men. These include a study done by Lee Badgett in 1995 that proved a gap of anywhere between 11 and 27 percent between the earnings of straight men and gay or bisexual men. Interestingly, no such pay gap could be proved between gay or bisexual women  and straight women.

Another study done by Dan Black, Gary Gates, Seth Sanders, and Lowell Taylor in 2000 showed a more defined gap of 14 to 16 percent. In another twist, the study seemed to show that gay women might actually make between 20 and 34 percent more than other women.

A study conducted by Sylvia Allegretto and Michelle Arthur in 2001 showed that gay men were likely to make about 15.6 percent less than their straight, married counterparts when they were in a same-sex relationship.

More studies show that transgender individuals have more trouble finding work and often make much less. After transitioning, transgender individuals were likely to make about one-third less the pay they were making when their biological sex was apparent. In another sticking point about our society’s obsession with masculinity, male transgender individuals actually made more money after transitioning. 

This waiter pay infographic shows what the average person would make during a less-than-minimum wage job. But keep in mind that LGBTQ individuals who work in the service industry still make the majority of their money off tips — but maybe not as much as their straight or cis-gendered counterparts. There isn’t any information or data on any such disparity yet. But we’d like to see some! It stands to reason that individual customers have less to worry about (legally speaking) than employers who must dot every “I” and cross every “T.”

What does all this mean? Well, it means that the already troubling obstacles present for those who are gay, bisexual, or transgendered are just as bad in the workplace. Another study has shown that the average household income for same-sex couples is a whopping 20 percent less than the household income of their straight counterparts. This is unacceptable in 2021. 

Gay and transgender individuals are statistically more likely to live below the poverty line, making it more difficult to build substantial relationships, have fun, or even have children. Transgendered individuals live at a rate of poverty 400 percent that of straight individuals. Think about that number for a minute before going about your day!