The Gay Wealth Myth


Ever get the feeling you don’t make enough money to be gay? blogger C. Wade Dupry does. (Or at least he did before he got a bit older and a lot wiser.)

I earn a decent income, yes — but the common perception of gay men is they’re rolling in disposable cash: spending thousands on designer threads, showing off fabulous homes in luxe interior-decor magazines, and toting their Louis Vuitton luggage onto first-class flights to Ibiza. Keeping up with these gay Joneses is no easy feat. But heaven knows I tried! … I got suckered by the rich-gay-male ideal, and during my twenties, I went into serious debt in order to live larger than I could afford — as large as I thought being gay required.

Having since changed his ways after seeing “the ridiculousness of going into debt for Prada sunglasses and $120 haircuts,” Wade believes there’s some hope for the future: “I’m worried for myself and my loved ones as our national financial picture gets bleaker. But perhaps this jolt of reality will change our culture and our self-perceptions in a positive way.”

What do you think? Are you too poor to be gay?

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  • TylerOakley

    Being a college student, I can easily say I’m not rich enough to live up to the stereotype. Maybe the stereotype is actually that gay men are hard workers who DO earn these things, but their accomplishment gets lost in the mix when seeing all the things they earn?

    Food for thought.

  • PearlsBeforeSwine

    I can think of something you can do to be gay, and it doesn’t cost anything at all.

  • David

    Like @TylerOakley I’m a college student and there is no way I bring in enough money to “be gay”. I don’t mind though, I enjoy the way I live and would probably feel wasteful is I spent all my extra money trying to fit into the stereotype.

  • Evan

    I’m a part owner in a small business (which will hopefully be large one day…), and the other day I told the guy I’m dating that maybe in a couple weeks when we start getting investor money I’ll take him some place fancy, and he asked if that meant I’d spring for Subway, and I said, “yes, and you can even get chips and a drink, mister, because you’re worth it.”

  • myrios123

    I think it’s natural for most 20-somethings to try to impress everyone with how “great” their fabulous lives are… Speaking for myself, I got my Diesel jeans, my LV briefcase and wallet, my fancy truck, when I thought that stuff really mattered (being seen) but the truth is: wealth isn’t about things, it’s about having freedom and shared experiences. Now I own my things, they don’t own me. I can afford to travel, have a nice dinner, and occasionally get myself something nice (I’m working, I deserve it).

  • Pretzels for Pyros

    I would have more time to comment on this if I didn’t have to pick up my labradoodle Peoria from the groomers. I’ve had her fur dyed to match my new Louis Vitton clutch.

  • Anarchos

    Only the most misguided, insecure person defines themselves using material possessions.

  • petted

    Considering I still have student loans and have yet to escape the college student life definitely poor but then again no credit card debt so that’s something.

  • Jeremy Feist

    Yeah, I’m in the same group as David and TylerOakley. Oh well, I’m happy being a broke-ass college student, mostly because I don’t see the point of being a A&F addict with five TVs in my BMW and a gold-plated, pure-bred poodle. Pass.

  • Mattbydesign

    Having just been dumped by by a guy because he got a swanky, better paying job, and I have been at the mercy of the economy for my job security, I can say that the money issue is more a curse than blessing. Money does bad things to people’s attitude. I have a Bachelor’s degree and thus more earning potential than most in the gay community, but why focus on he acquisition of wealth when I can focus on what I love doing?

  • BrianZ

    @Anarchos: Only the most misguided, insecure individuals allow others to tell them how they should define themselves.

    If someone gets some pride out of propping the latest LV on hip while walking the street, more power to them. If someone else gets a sense of worth from volunteering to help the homeless, great. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    Apparently the character trait (read trait as flaw) of telling (read telling as passing judgement) others how they should live and where they should find their sense of values isn’t relegated to the Evangelical Christians, racists and bigots.

    That being said, I think that the idea that gays generally have more discretionary income is based in comparison to the heterosexual coounter-part, and as such is likely valid. Fewer children alone would contribute significantly to higher available spending dollars. Most of the data that I personally have read indicates “more” discretionary income, not necesarily a higher income.

  • Keith

    Are you kidding me with this? Being gay isn’t a country club.

    I never tried to rich and fierce and the friends I had that were I started not liking them because of their lack of substance. Being the youngest of four raised by a single mom with no high school diploma I appreciate what having money means. It shouldn’t define you as a person.

  • Jamie

    I’ve been gay since I was twelve–money’s got nothing to do with it. Then again, I never cared what the big-city queers said was cool or the latest thing. I liked looking at the boys around me and didn’t need $$ to use my eyeballs.

    Now, I still have to work two jobs, plus my husband works full time, just so we can pay the bills. One more ridiculous and idiotic stereotype we don’t need.

  • tavdy79

    @BrianZ: Perhaps this is a cultural difference between the UK and US gay scenes (or maybe it’s just the circle of friends I happen to have) but I can’t think of many gay friends this side of the pond who are bothered about wearing the right labels (except underwear; apparently underwear doesn’t count) and I can think of a couple of guys who just won’t date label-whores.

  • Coffee&Chicory

    This is incredibly shallow, stereotypical, and demeaning. Not enough money to be gay? Fuck that. Even if I had nothing, living on the streets, I would still be who I am. I didn’t realize I had to spent more than $12 on a haircut to be a proper homosexual.

  • blake

    This is pathetic. Gay Americans are paid less than straight Americans and, in most states, have less job security because of lack of discrimination laws.

    Why continue to push this false stereotype that gays are rich? This is just a crappy stereotype that should be flushed away like any other kind of crap.

  • charles

    Yeah, I think this issue is sort of restricted to New York, LA, and SF…there actually are gay men outside those cities.

  • Chitown Kev

    But the stereotype does not.

    I have never forgotten the time I was screwing around with a 16yr. player on the local HS basketball team in Detroit. (We did not go to the same school.) He wanted money from me that I didn’t have. He said, “I ain’t never heard of a s***y with no money.”

  • Anarchos

    @BrianZ: Well see I never told anyone how to define themselves. I’m entitled to my opinion just like you, and I stand by my assertion that if material possessions are the driving force in how you define yourself, your life must be pretty empty to need to compensate so much with name brands and expensive things.

  • Greg

    Yes, I feel that I’m too poor to be gay. I’ve tried living up to my other gay friends standards, but I just can’t do it.

    I do the best I can comfortably. I admit I am a bargain shopper. I can find nice looking things.

  • vernonvanderbilt

    Maybe I’m not gay after all, because I lack any interest in trying to live up to “the image.” Fashion bores me, expensive toys bore me…mainstream gay culture in general bores me. Maybe I’m just one of those straight guys who likes some penis once in a while.

  • BrianZ

    @Anarchos: Last I checked opinion statements contained “I” usually followed by think, believe, etc. Accusations and judgement statements on the other hand contain “you”, “they”, “your” and are stated as if the author is the authority on the subject. Read your posts, both of them, and tell me which fits.

    I think you are a twat for making blanket statements about people. That is an opinion.

    You are a twat. That is an accusation/judgement.

    Do you see the difference? Certainly don’t take my examples as anything other than what they are: Examples. :)

  • [email protected]

    Not just a gay thing…ever see The Real Housewives of NY – Atlanta or Orange County.

  • Charles J. Mueller


    You, Sir, are right on the money and I could not agree with you more.

    We have gay bashers. We have church bashers and now we also have rich bashers.

    As someone who was born to a family as poor as church mice an in an area of the country that were as poor as church mice, I grew up wanting everything that everyone else, living everywhere else had and I didn’t.

    I see nothing at all wrong in a kid wanting to have his own bicycle, his own clothes to wear and his own bed and a room of his own to sleep in and have some privacy, instead of having to share a single cot with a younger, bed-wetting sibling, as I did when I was growing up.

    I worked hard all of my life, from the time I was 14 which is when I left home to seek my fame and fortune and never asked a nickel of anyone, not even my parents. Little by little, I acquired the material things that make life more comfortable, pleasurable and satisfying. Th milestones of one’s success, if you will.

    Now, at the age of 72, I am very proud of my accomplishments in life. I worked hard and long, made sacrifices, saved my money, invested it wisely and built a thriving, landmark business that will soon be celebrating it’s half-century mark of existence.

    When I depart this planet, I will do so in the knowledge that I built a legacy that will continue on after I am gone. All of my faithful employees will go on receiving a salary. They will continue paying taxes that benefit our society, hopefully and the fruits of their labors will, in turn benefits all of the people and businesses with whom they come into contact through their working lives. Despite the comfortable lifestyle I now enjoy as a result of all my years of labor, and which was a labor of love, I will have absolutely nothing to apologize for or explain to anyone when I am on my deathbed.

    Having slept in hot dog wagons, tents, the back seat of my father’s car and other horrid, cold and damp places as a child, I never bought into the concept that I could be happy living in a discarded refrigerator box in the town dump. I grew up with lots of needs and wants, and I never, for a moment, allowed anyone to tell me what I should have or content myself with.

    As I was growing up, I heard all the tired, worn-out and for the most part, religious cliches about the “evil rich” and how it was wrong to have so much. I never bought into that bullshit either. It’s nothing more than plain, old-fashioned, unvarnished jealousy and a case of “You have more than I do and it’s ain’t fair.” Grow up, for cyring out loud.

    During the course of my life, I was called everything from “Dirty, capitalist pig” to “selfish rich bitch”. My own family members said things to me like “Who do you think you are?” “What maks you think you are so special?” and “Why can’t you be like the rest of us?”.

    My response was always the same. “I am some special and I believe that I do deserve better.”, a commmnt that got me a number of smacks across the face delivered with the comment “You are too fresh.”

    Has anyone ever noticed that it’s the very people who choose not to have anything in their lives, for whatever excuses they invent for their self-imposed impoverishment, that are the first to point the finger of accusation and condemnation at those who worked hard to get where they are and now enjoy the fruits of their labors.

    I am reminded of the classic story about Malcolm Forbes, one of my gay idols who inspired me and to whom I attribute much of my success in life. One of Mr. Fobbes’ passions was motorcycles and he owned a fine collection of many makes, models and vintages that he housed in a climate controlled building so they would not suffer the ravages of aging and deterioration.

    A new, young, self-righteous and judgmental little snip of a journalist sidled up to Mr. Forbes and in a voice loud enough to be heard throughout the entire building, demanded to know “Why do you have to have such a large collection of motorcycles, Mr. Forbes? There are those, you know, who would be more than happy to own just one.”

    In a mocked look of sudden concern, he looked at his inquisitor and answered in an equally feigned, apologetic tone of voice “Oh my! I haden’t realized that there was a shortage of motorcycles in the world?”

    That was the end of the interview.

    And that is the end of my commentary on the subject of having whatever it is that you wish in your life, as long as you work for it and do not take anything away from others in the process. If it is your bliss, then go for it and fuck what other people say and think about it. It’s your money to do with as you please. After all, you earned it.

    He who laughs last, never head the joke in the first place.

  • Jacob

    I love that people aromatically think because your gay your wealthy. No no no actually because a lot of us do tend to spend a lot we end up like the rest of middle class dept. The wealthy gays and the wealthy are those who you wouldn’t even know about. The only wealthy or rich people that wear a lot of designer cloths and ride these fab cars are those in the entertainment industry that can afford these things and some only by them for show. But also the ones who are hard at work who earn these these nice things. I am in my 20’s and have a lot to learn about finances and such because i know what I want but I agree with the above comment wealth is about freedom and shared experiences. If you ever find your self in the company of the wealthy they usually have endless stories to tell that they lived that those who are born rich miss out on and become wasteful and abusive. I mean Paris how many men have you went through and you didn’t find one for life yet… I’m have the hardest time pinning one down that wont go anywhere gosh. Sorry getting off topic.

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