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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 8 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 32
Wage gap for Gay men decreasing, new study says
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Wage gap for Gay men decreasing, new study says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The wage gap between Gay men and straight men in similar occupations is decreasing, according to a new study released in July, and some Gay men are now earning more that their straight counterparts.

A study published in the Kyklos International Review for Social Sciences finds that 'in the United States the wage gap against Gay men has significantly decreased over the last two decades. We also find evidence that the wage gap has become concentrated in three occupations: managerial, sales, and protective services.'

The study finds that unmarried Gay men over 25 who work 'blue-collar, male-dominated occupations' and live with their male partners earn on average more than unmarried straight men living with their girl friends.

The wage gap between married straight and Gay men has shrunk too, falling from just below 8% in the 1990s to just 4.5% in the early 2000s.

'These estimates support the view that the overall improvement in people's perception regarding homosexuality has contributed to reduce the wage gap against gay men in the U.S.,' economists Bruce Elmslie and Edinaldo Tebaldi wrote in their findings.

Elmsie and Tebaldi attribute the shift to an 'overall improvement in people's perception regarding homosexuality,' but warn that their findings should not be interpreted as saying no more needs to be done to bring Gay men's wages into line with straight men.

Gay men in sales-oriented and managerial occupations, for example, continue to make anywhere from 11-16% less than straight men, and Gay men in rural areas and small towns saw significantly lower earnings regardless of their type of work.

For their conclusions, Elmslie and Tebaldi used data covering the years 1995-2001 from the March Supplement Current Population Survey, which is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

They identified Gay couples by restricting their study to 'unrelated and unmarried same-sex partners cohabiting whose age is 25 years or older...but excluding those individuals designated as roommates,' they said.

The new study runs counter to long-established findings that Gay men earn significantly less than their straight counterparts.

For example, in data published last year, the Williams Institute at UCLA Law School found that Gay men earn between 10% and 32% less than 'similarly qualified' straight men. In other words, Gay men earn 68 to 90 cents for every dollar a straight man earns. Williams Institute also found that 21% of Gay men reported discrimination in 'hiring, pay, or promotions.'

Gay men also tend to be concentrated in low-wage, low-benefit occupations - retail, hospitality, food service, and other kinds of service occupations - so the gap between their wages and those of their straight counterparts puts them even lower on the economic ladder.

Studies find very little wage gap between Lesbians and straight women in similar occupations, but women as a whole earn less than similarly qualified men.

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