The myth of the pink dollar in the US

Issue 

The myth of the pink dollar in the US

Is there an economic dividing line in the United States based on sexual orientation? In a report released late last year, Dr Lee Badgett establishes that gay, lesbian and bisexual people are not richer than heterosexuals.

Income Inflation: The Myth of Affluence Among Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Americans is a joint publication of the Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies. It examines the economic status of a population group which is stereotyped as an economic elite insulated from discrimination by their wealth.

The report outlines how the distorted image of high-income gay men, lesbians and bisexuals has remained in force through the reliance on a limited number of marketing studies, conducted on behalf of gay publications about their readers.

It shows that comparisons of the economic status of lesbian, gay and bisexual people with that of heterosexual people consistently find that the former do not earn more and do not live in more affluent households. According to two studies examined, gay men earn less, on average, than similarly qualified heterosexual men.

Badgett shows how the misuse of marketing survey results has allowed extreme right political forces to attack gay and lesbian rights. In the recent Supreme Court battle over Colorado's anti-gay Amendment 2, for example, Justice Scalia, arguing that the amendment should be upheld, said that "high disposable income" gave gay and lesbian people "disproportionate political power".

[Abridged from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force web site at <http://www.ngltf.org>.]

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