You Mean to Say There Are Poor Gay People?


Shhh, don’t tell our advertisers, but maybe gay men and women aren’t the affluent, loaded-with-disposable-income, immune-to-the-recession rich kids everyone assumed! A new study suggests the gay characters on Brothers & Sisters, Will & Grace, The L Word might — gasp! — misrepresent the financials of queers. Not even Suze Orman can save us.

As Queerty‘s own readers have shared, we’re looking at a bleak picture just like the rest of the country.

Now UCLA’s Williams Institute, which studies gay issues, has a new study out saying across the board, GLBTers can be just as bad off as anyone else. In fact, relays USA Today, “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.”

Uh oh. We can just hear the right-wing latching on to this as evidence why children belong in “traditional” homes.

Or, view it this way: “Same-sex partners are more likely to be poor because they lack such safety nets as a spouse’s health insurance coverage and Social Security survivor benefits.”

Of course, methodology is important here. “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.’”

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  • p. solanki

    Gay men may not have children to support but these days some of them have expensive medications to buy. Many men on anti-retrovirals live below the poverty line because they are unable to work and the meds are costly.

  • The Gay Numbers

    These are not the first studies to say that we are economically worse out. The problem is not that there isn’t data out there. The problem is that both gay organizations (our supposed public image) and those who hate us are one on presenting gays as pampered and out of touch with economic reality. I can understand what the hate groups get out of it. What do the gay groups get out of it? Part of it is class and race are taboo discussions in the gay community unless it’s about how class or race can explain why we do not have rights. Of course, such statements miss the overlap such as you are describing. They also miss the value of using these overlaps to achieve the end of equality. For good or bad, people need to see more representations of gay other than gay white men living in relative economic luxury. This image plays into our inability (whether you want to accept it or not) to gain greater rights. Perception is part of the battle.

  • cruiser

    I happen to be one of those mentioned in the article above. I work at a “regular job” have expeses just like everyone else & CANNOT afford to attend every “circuit party” or go on vacation 4 or 5 times a year(I’m lucky to be able to afford a vacation once every 10 years). No I do not have “unlimited diposable income” either, in other words I’m just any other regular working person Gay or straight. I don’t know where these advertisers get their stasistics but personally I think they are out of touch with reality, just because Gay people(most anyway)don’t have kids to take care of doesn’t mean that EVERY gay person out there is well off.

  • JR

    Well I have NO money, I spent it all moving house.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @echelon: It’s likely to be an even worse economic picture with a re-do as you describe. Think about who fears the consequence of discussing these issues less- gays with money or gays without?

  • Sean H-.

    How exactly does one get scientifically accurate representations of gay people? Likely these statistics are compiled from gay ghettos (which tend to be urban and expensive) or from gay organizations. These people would all necessarily have to be openly gay, which means they are working jobs where they can afford to be openly gay.

    It’s no wonder gay people have been found to be wealthy under these circumstances. I’m disinclined to believe any statistic about gays, positive or negative, until and unless it’s an accurate statistical representation.

  • sal

    count me as one .i aint rich at….you know what also hurts gays,if u live in a country where employers can fire u cause your gay (hell even in the fashion industry!)and your society thinks like that too so u try to leave the country but all they(the country u wanna go to for “equality” )want are a certain kind of person(a person with a good bit of money)so only rich gay folks get through.forget the poor ones who really need it cause they are more than likely to live in the most ignorant,violent areas.

  • blake

    Argh!!! I’m so tired of the pathetic rich gay myth! There is this thing called discrimination. Ever heard of it? How many gays and lesbians have to deal with on the job discrimination that prevents them from either getting a job or is the reason for their lack of promotion or dismissal at their places of employment?

    Also, why do people pretend that being gay has not traditionally closed off whole career choices for queer Americans? What about the effects of bullying and other discrimination in education? How does that negatively impact young gays from succeeding in high school if not disuading them from finishing school?

    What about the high rate of homeless amongst gay youths? What becomes of the young gays and lesbians who are kicked out of their homes or feel they must run away? How many of them find a way to climb the social and economic ladders?

    Many of the negative factors that adversely affect people of color also affect GLBT Americans (of course, it’s a double whammy for queers of color who get to deal with racism and homophobia (or also sexism)).

  • Bill

    Blake is right about everything he says. Gay people face discrimination in every aspect of life. It needs to change.

  • Ryan

    The only advantage any glbt couple ever had was that most of us don’t have kids, thus the coupled glbt community is often a bunch of DINKs. But single? You’re no better off than anyone else.

    I couldn’t feasibly explain why lesbian couples are worse off than gay couples, or straight ones. Maybe they’re just not so super-absorbed into wealth and accumulating as much of it as they possibly can? If so, that’s not such a bad thing.

  • dink

    It’s true about careers being closed. I wanted to be a prostitute but men kept turning me down.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Ryan: @blake: Re: race and economics. Yes, being gay and black makes it that much more harder to accomplish anything. I look out there for examples of gay black men who are at the top of anything, and I find that number is extremely small and I have to widen it to include things that are not all that impressive.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @dink: have you ever tried working on wall street or in a traditional role like a high powered law firm? even in the film industry or music, look behind the scenes at what roles gay men take or those they can’t. Look also at the number of people of color who are gay in those roles or women who are gay.

  • mark

    we are more likely to be poor, but also more likely to maintain our rockstar lifestyles

  • Brianna


    “I couldn’t feasibly explain why lesbian couples are worse off than gay couples, or straight ones.”

    Well there’s that whole women earning less than men thing…

  • Mister C

    First of all alot of us Gays Love to drink Champagne on a water bottle budget. Get god jobs and want to live in the most expensive areas with 4 and 5 roommates, etc. Knowing you’re living above your means.

    I say YES there are alot of working class Gays and even poor working class Gays also. Don’t play your ass was born with a silver spoon. Girls please it was plastic like all of ours was….LOL

    We are not immuned to the HORRORS which are before us now.

  • Chitown Kev

    @Mister C:

    LOL. You ain’t never lied! Even the working calss and poor Gays can be like that, to be honest!

  • cruiser

    @blake: Bravo, well put, very eloquently said!

  • strumpetwindsock

    Even in cases where the reality matches the myth, if you have two incomes and no kids you get taxed accordingly.

    Also, in the majority of cases where there are kids in a family people either choose or expect them. So they shouldn’t complain about someone else not making the same life choice.

  • strumpetwindsock

    Just thought about this a bit more…
    Really the myth isn’t a gay issue so much as a child issue.

    Childless straight couples don’t have as much vitriol hurled at them, perhaps because of the assumption that some of them want to “do their duty” but are unable to, for some reason.

    So aside from the fact this myth is not true, it’s also a drag that the spotlight is unfairly turned on gay couples.

  • bruyninckx37

    That “gays are rich” myth is a relic from the 90s. Time for an update, a reality check.

  • afrolito

    Living in New York, I know first hand how gay men contribute to the myth of gay wealth. Dolce & Gabbana is expensive, and so is that brazillian trip I have planned for the summer.

  • Anthony Miguel Averroes De Spinoza Garringer

    @p. solanki: You are an idiot and are just reinforcing stupid stereotypes. your theme song is “if I only had a brain”

  • Anthony Miguel Averroes De Spinoza Garringer

    you are stupid p. solanki and are just spreading sexist and hetero sexist nonsense. Your theme song should be “If I only had a Brain.” You are no friend of Dorothy

  • Anthony Miguel Averroes De Spinoza Garringer

    I am gay and working class just like the rest of my family is

Comments are closed.