Forms of Income and Economic Disparity for Lesbians, Gay Males, and Bisexuals

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Sharon BAKER-HUGHES, Texas A&M University, USA
Research on the economic impact of sexual orientation has consistently revealed disparities in the wages of gay males and lesbians, relative to their straight counterparts. Most of these research studies rely on a single measure of sexual orientation for analyses, and compare differences between gay and straight respondents. Little is known about the impact of other sexual orientations, such as bisexual men and women, on economic outcomes. Few studies have examined multiple measures of sexuality to determine whether the definition of sexual orientation impacts income. This study is an attempt to bridge these gaps. Using the NSFG Public Use Data Files, I found that people with a sexual majority status (e.g. those who are straight) do have significantly different incomes than gay males and lesbians. My analysis also reveals that people with a sexual majority status have significantly different incomes from people with any sexual minority status, and from those who are defined as bisexual men and women. Additionally, how sexual minority status is measured changes the impact of sexual orientation on income. I compared sexual behavior, sexual attraction, self-identity, and combinations of these measurement variables and found that the measurement variable chosen impacts the significance of economic disparity. Finally, I examined the forms of income across sexual orientations and found significant differences based on sexual majority or minority status. That is, the likelihood of being self-employed, working for someone else, or receiving disability income varies significantly based on sexual majority/minority status as well as between minority statuses.