Things We All Know Yet Are Not True: The Supposedly Wealthy LGB Edition

In an excellent post, Kathleen Geier notes the following:

The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, with which Badgett is affiliated, studies the economic status of LGBT individuals and their families. Some of their recent findings include the following:

— Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) Americans are more likely to be poor than other Americans.

— One-third of lesbian couples are poor.

— Single LGBT adults with children are three times more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to live in households earning near the poverty threshold. Married or partnered LGBT people living in two-adult households with children are twice as likely as their straight counterparts to earn incomes near the poverty threshold.

— The median household income of same-sex couples with children is 13.6 percent less than that of comparable different-sex couples.

These findings show that elevated rates of poverty and economic inequality persist in the LGBT community, most likely because discrimination persists. The high rates of poverty experienced by LGB individuals and families, and particularly by lesbian-headed families, are especially disconcerting. The high rates of poverty experienced by LGB individuals and families, and particularly by lesbian-headed families, are especially disconcerting. That the mainstream gay rights movement has given up on addressing economic issues in favor of symbolic campaigns like the one against Brendan Eich — or worse, in favor of showering awards on corporate predators like Goldman Sachs — is a sad statement about its priorities. Do its leaders care more about rubbing shoulders with the one percent than about improving the material conditions under which the majority of LGBT people live?

Noting that this is a common affliction of supposedly progressive organizations is beyond the scope of this post (oops….). But I think there’s a common misperception of LGBT people that they are wealthy–after all, that’s how they’re depicted on TV shows, it must be true!

Reality is a little different.

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