Wage Gap Closing for Gay Men!

By TJ Acena, PQ Monthly

Good news gay gentleman friends! I’ve mentioned the myth of gay affluence before, and Pacific Standard reports that the wage gap for gay men is closing:

… new estimates show that the wage gap between married heterosexual men and gay men in the U.S. has shrunk considerably in recent years, from approximately eight percent in the late 1990s to 4.5 percent in the 2000s.

Practically, that means gay men used to make 92 cents to the dollar as straight men and now we make 95.5 cents to the dollar. So close!

Unfortunately I picked another study behind a paywall to write about so I can only tell you what was reported by Pacific Standard. Generally, gay men who cohabitated now earn more than unmarried straight men who cohabitated with women. And among traditional blue-collar “male documented” occupations there is no wage gap between gay men and straight men. However:

  • Wage gaps still exist for gay men who live in small cities and towns.
  • Gay men in management positions have a wage gap of 11% compared to their straight counterparts.
  • Gay men in sales positions have a wage gap of 16% compared to their straight counterparts.
  • There is also a wage gap for gay men who work in ‘protective services’, which I assume refers to law enforcement.

According to the abstract of the report itself:

We conclude that the evidence is most consistent with the hypothesis that discrimination is decreasing, and possibly non-existent and that any lingering discrimination is based on the taste for discrimination by employees against being managed by a gay man and by customers.

Part of the reason that pay gaps exist is structural racism/sexism/homophobia/transphobia/ableism and are another concrete way to measure harms that groups of people face due to discrimination: the amount of money they are able to take home compared to someone who does not face the same hardships. I’m glad to see that the pay gap for gay men is getting smaller, but I’d be interested in learning if the report broke down gay men by ethnicity. In studies we see that overall a wage gap exists for people of color and I wonder if the data shows that gay men of color experience a wage gap similar to their respective ethnic groups. Also, this study only covers gay men, so it’s a pretty narrow focus when you consider the entire LGBTQ spectrum.

In the words of Dolly:

Workin’ 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin’
Barely gettin’ by, it’s all takin’ and no givin’
They just use your mind and they never give you credit
It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it