Tuesday, June 4, 2013

LGBT poverty bucks stereotype

Posted By on Tue, Jun 4, 2013 at 3:47 PM

When I was a kid, one of the boys in my fifth-grade class wore a green shirt with pink stripes. For weeks he was teased and called a queer for wearing pink and green or "fairy" colors. Who knows how the pink and green label got started, but there are hundreds of gay stereotypes. And while there’s a lot to be said for embracing our stereotypes, there’s also something to be said for interjecting some of of these images with reality.

One stereotype that seemed to take off during the 1990’s painted gays as generally more affluent and better educated — neighborhood gentries who improve property values. Some of these stereotypes are perpetuated by media personalities, films, and television programs. But an article on Salon.com discusses a new report from the Williams Institute basically says that the gay affluence narrative is far from the truth.

LGBT Americans are more likely than straight Americans to live in poverty, according to the report. The poverty rate for women in same-sex couples is 7.6 percent compared to 5.7 percent for women in opposite-sex relationships. And the situation for gay men of color as well as children of same-sex couples is especially troubling.

What’s most significant about the report is the correlation between discrimination and poverty. Same-sex marriage does not provide LGBT families with the multitude of economic benefits offered to married opposite-sex families. And many members of the LGBT community face job discrimination and salary disparities.

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