The sexuality pay gap

The sexuality pay gap

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Unfortunately, this is a thing.  We have heard about the gender pay gap and I will talk more about that later, but we need to talk about the sexuality pay gap too.


It seems that the workplace (and I use that term purposefully because I am not sure who to blame for this) is paying us differently based on who we are attracted too.


But more interestingly, it is not as clear cut to say that non-heterosexuals are paid less than heterosexuals.  Let us take a look at the findings.

Gay men earn less than straight men

First up, the bad news.  Gay and bisexual men are paid, on average, 11% less than their straight counterparts.  They are also more likely to be working in part-time positions.


Although the situation has improved recently, there is no way of explaining this one other than pure discrimination.  In some workforces, gay men earned up to 30% less than heterosexual men.


Lesbian women earn more than straight women

The flip side to this is the “lesbian premium”.  This is the name given to the fact that lesbian women actually earn MORE than heterosexual women.


We can reason this one out a bit more.  The thinking behind this one is that lesbian women are less likely to drop out of the workforce due to pregnancy, which is unfair because it assumes that lesbian women won’t get pregnant (they can you know) and it penalises straight women based purely of their increased likelihood to take maternity leave.

Same-sex couples compared to different sex

Now we have discussed how sexuality affects earning potential, let us look as how the relationships we are in change our pay.  Naturally, as a bisexual, this is an important topic.


Men, regardless of their sexuality, if they are in a relationship with a same-sex partner will earn less than a man in a different-sex relationship.  There is even evidence to suggest that the pay gap increases if you are in a relationship.


For women, the gap widens too.  If you are in a same-sex relationship then you are likely to earn even more (as opposed to being a lesbian and single) than women in straight-presenting relationships.


Accounting for the gender pay gap

When you compare this to the gender pay gap, you will find that gay men are still out-earning women, even lesbians, because the gap is so pronounced.


Therefore, even though there is a sexuality pay gap, it is far less of a determining factor than your gender.


What about transgender and non-binary individuals?

Although not related to the sexuality pay gap, it feels right to discuss how the gender pay gap affects the transgender community.


One study reported that female-to-male transsexuals saw, on average, a small increase in their wages.  Whereas male-to-female transsexuals saw a 30% drop.


There is little evidence about the pay gap surrounding non-binary and gender non-conforming people, but it has been shown that people that fall into this category are more likely to report living below the poverty line.


Work to be done

Clearly, this area needs more research.  Furthermore, more employers need to take action to address this inequality in the workforce.  How can we encourage them to make these changes?

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Hannah

    I’m so shocked that this is even a thing! I had no idea that there was a sexuality pay gap. I really hope that workplaces get a grip and sort this out!
    Perhaps those who are being under paid could petition to their employer with evidence of the pay gap or even start taking extreme measures such as papers or even suing but that is probably a bit too extreme.

    – Hannah |

  2. I never realised this was an issue – thank you for shedding some light on it. It frustrates me to no end that there is even any type of pay gap in the work place – surely people should be remunerated fairly for their worth, regardless of whether they are male, female, gay, straight or anything in-between!

  3. Melanie Varey

    I found this so interesting. We sure do have a way to go regarding equal pay don’t we. Thanks for sharing and raising awareness of this.

  4. Emma Reed

    I had no idea. I just cannot understand why anybody would get more or less depending on their sex, age, sexual preference and so on. I understand it for experience or qualifications but this is just ridiculous

  5. What a shame that we still have so far to go when it comes to equal pay for equal work. Great job highlighting this issue, I had no idea!

  6. Claire St

    I had no idea, so thank you for highlighting this. Without people speaking up, nothing will ever change. Great article!

  7. Rebecca Smith

    I had no idea that there was a sexuality pay gap as well as a gender pay gap – that is absolutely awful. Thank you for highlighting this because I bet there are many others who aren’t aware either.


    I think the pay difference between gay and straight can depend on the line of work. I know a gay lawyer that earns just as much as hs straight colleagues.

  9. Eva Katona

    Whatever the reasons behind this, this is absolutely disgraceful in 2020. There should not be any pay gap!

  10. steph

    Wow, I never realised this, how disgraceful that this should happen. There shouldn’t be a pay gap at all for anything

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