Information for journalists
covering the topics of gay money or gay marketing
As described on the About page, this project is meant to be an easy-to-find data source for other journalists. I want to remove fellow journalists’ temptation to lazily reiterate the claims of gay marketers, which many of us are all too happy to do.
Are you working on articles related to gay money?
If you’re covering any of the following topics or pursuing any of these claims, you need to print out and read this entire site.
- Marketing to the gay community (less commonly, marketing to the gay and lesbian community)
- “Gays are affluent”
- “Gays are a ‘lucrative’ or ‘dream’ market”
- Gays are affluent because they’re DINKs, that is, double-income/no-kids
- The higher income of gay couples
If you’re covering any of those topics, you absolutely must recognize that the vast preponderance of economic research shows that gay men earn less than straight men, lesbians earn more than straight women, and gay and lesbian couples and singles do in fact have children, though less often than straight people. There are occasional papers that find the opposite, but the trend is not in dispute. Cigarettes cause cancer and gay males usually have lower incomes, and lesbians higher incomes, than straight people.
If you’re tempted to quote the blandishments of gay marketers, be aware that they can never, under any circumstances, back up their glossy and overblown claims with statistically verifiable facts. The project you are currently reading reviews and summarizes all the statistically verifiable facts. Which is a more credible data source – a marketer trying to sell something (and sell you), or a fellow journalist who read the entirety of the literature and summarized it for you?
Are you writing about employment discrimination against the gay community?
On rare occasion, journalists will document the attested fact that gay males tend to have lower income than straight males. Through a kind of liberal soft bigotry percolating in the subconscious, journalists refuse to believe that gays are in any way different from straights (“different” always means “worse,” doesn’t it?), hence their job choices and job performance must by definition be identical to straight people’s. They aren’t, but this soft bigotry leads journalists to jump to the conclusion that any reduction in income has to be due to discrimination on the job.
There is in fact research on the topic, little of which I find credible.
- First, gay males earn less but lesbians earn more than straight people. “The gay community” can’t be suffering discrimination if half of it ends up with higher pay.
- Discrimination requires knowledge or suspicion of who is and is not gay in the office. Researchers don’t handle this topic any better than journalists do; they ignore absolute screamers and diesels who couldn’t hide their queerness even if they wanted to. But in this model, paying gay employees less requires knowing they’re gay, hiring them anyway but at a lower rate, or hiring them anyway then docking their pay. This is hardly commonplace in my reading of the literature. This kind of discriminatory outcome requires such an elaborate sequence of events (and employer clairvoyance) as to strain credulity.
So, to sum up: If you’re one of the rare journos writing a story about the truth of gay-male income and earnings (they’re usually lower) but you are trying to spin employment discrimination as a cause, be aware that what you are really trying to do is sound liberal and make employers look evil. You are not working from economically verifiable evidence. Or any evidence, probably.
Are you a U.K. journalist writing about the so-called “pink pound”?
If so, you are in an especially vulnerable position because of the irresistibly cute alliteration found in that phrase. The pink pound must be real, must it not? The term is its own quotable quote!
The reality is that what little credible research has been done in the U.K. shows that gay males do not have higher incomes than straight males, and sometimes lesbians don’t, either. It’s the first part that’s important, because the pink pound is really all about gay-male spending.
Gay males are a market. They just aren’t a market with more spending money, research shows, than straight people have.