You’ve heard of the gender pay gap and the race pay gap, but it turns out there’s a sexuality pay gap as well. According to studies, gay men earn less money than straight men for doing the same job. Lesbians, on the other hand, earn more than straight women (maybe).
A 2015 study by a researcher at the University of Washington found that on average gay men earned 11% less than straight men, while lesbians earned 9% more than straight women.
These results aren’t universal. Other studies have found that lesbians earn up to 25% less than heterosexual women.
We can understand why gay men earn less than their heterosexual colleagues (discrimination, obvs), but why would lesbians earn more? AJC explains:
One 2008 study showed lesbians less likely to work part-time or to drop out of the labor force to raise children. That would, of course, have an impact on their career path and pay.
So researchers try to match similar situations. Reuters says a new British study found that “lesbians in a partnership earn more than heterosexual women in a partnership, controlling for education, location, and family structure — but that lesbians not in a relationship earn the same as straight women who are not in a relationship.”
Unfortunately, many states still don’t have laws protecting LGBTQ employees from discrimination. And even in those that do, enforcement is difficult and bigotry isn’t always easy to prove.