Thursday, March 26, 2009

Gay Boys Party While the Economy Burns?

Perhaps not.

Toujoursdan found this report (PDF) on LGBT poverty from the Williams Institute of the UCLA Law School.  Among its findings are considerably higher levels of poverty for gay families and for lesbians of color.  Those gays who are neither lesbian nor of color are not that much better off either.

I've always felt that "affluent gays" was a big canard, up there with "rich Jews."  The rich Palm Springs circuit party crowd is a very visible, but tiny minority of the LGBT population.  Most  well paid LGBT professionals are in medicine and technology.  High tech companies are usually very gay friendly because that's where a lot of their talent comes from.  Most other gay men, especially the young, are in famously low wage jobs provided by retail, hospitality, restaurants, and arts and entertainment.  And this has always been true.  All those boys out for a night on the town at the clubs and party circuits are probably living 5 to 6 to an apartment in New York, LA, or San Fran; pooling their low wages to make that night possible.
There are a lot more gay men in blue collar jobs in industry and trades than most people  imagine.  They have been hit very directly by the current economic downturn.
Lesbians face a double whammy of the wage discrimination against women built into the economy, and homophobic prejudice.  Also, there are no charming lesbians on teevee like there are charming gay boys to soften up the social resistance in the office (though that creates its own set of problems).
Those who face the worst employment discrimination are transexuals.  So many once turned to prostitution because there was no other work.   Some businesses and professions are beginning to open up very slowly and reluctantly, but it is still incredibly difficult for them. 


toujoursdan said...

You hit the nail on the head. The problem is that the religious right (and Antonin Scalia in his rant after Lawrence vs. Texas was decided, I think) have used the myth of gay affluence to argue that LGBTs don't need civil rights protections or marriage equality.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

So true! And a living shame .-(

Counterlight said...

Our little gay household has certainly taken a hit in this economy. Thank God for my modest little full time community college "lecturer" position, or we'd be in serious trouble right now. Over the past year we've gone from home owners to renters. We just barely broke even when we sold the old condo. Michael lost his job of 10 years this past year, and is now rebuilding his business in the middle of the current economic meltdown.

ueber-g said...

Rachel Maddow is on teevee and sh is indeed quite charming. Ellen is also on TV.

Counterlight said...

Mercy! How could I forget about Ellen and Rachel?

I stand corrected.

Rick+ said...

I agree with you! That is a myth that has always rubbed me wrong since I've spent my career as a teacher and a part-time priest, and my partner is a seriously underpaid graphics designer.

Of our many acquaintances only one fits the stereotype of the gay man with money to burn, although this recession has certainly cut back his income from investments. The rest of us struggle and budget and probably worry too much. In my case, I have my own children, older now, going through college. I have supported them (and was proud to do so) throughout their lives.

If someone else hadn't mentioned Rachel Maddow, I was going to. What an utterly, utterly charming and brilliant woman.

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Just one more reason for heterosexuals to dislike us in a downturn...that of course, was the point (probably planned years in advance by the Bush liars and thieves)...please remember there have always have to be people to blame/shame for the zealots...they are never able to see the blindness of their selfrightous lack of Uganda right now it is worse, Nigeria too...there is a full fledged ¨witch hunt¨ underway for LGBT people at ALL LEVELS of everyday life...of course there is big American money behind this vicious escapade into´s all the same voice, yes, really, it´s not that hard to figure out...following the anti-LGBT money is easy after one gets by the ruthlessness of their ¨Christian¨ abuse.

Me, and my little family? We´re doing fine South of the Border. As it turned out it was quite a good move for me in retirement...I´m so happy to be so fortunate and secure at this time...also, the dollar is so strong my money is worth more (don´t get excited it´s only SS retirement and another retirement check from a previous employer) and inflation, at this time, is minimal (we´re talking the price of veggies in the open markets).

Life is modest and good...much like everyone elses life around here in a small Pueblo with only three ¨North Americans¨ living amongst the working folk.

JCF said...

Yes, but Rachel and Ellen are Real People, not like the characters of "charming gay boys to soften up the social resistance in the office" [This is really a sore subject right now (at sites like AfterEllen dot com)---at most, female characters are shown as bisexuals: gotta still be attracted (attractive) to men, doncha know!]

...on the other hand, it probably IS harder for Real People of the Gay Male variety, to be OUT {cough Anderson Cooper cough}.

Well, there's always "Reality TV" (if that's not an oxymoron): difficult to have a cooking, modeling, hair-cutting, or even SINGING program, that's not crawling w/ fags & dykes! ;-p

But wot you said, Doug, about the suckitude of the LGBT economy (esp. mine).

David G. said...

Gay boys party to forget about the economy!!