More people are starting to be aware of the Gender Pay Gap, where women are paid less by man for comparable work. Yet, there is even less awareness of the wage gap as a whole. In June, the month of LGBTQI pride, it is important to remember that sexuality and sexual orientation of employees also often affect their salary.
Marieka Klawitter conducted a meta-analysis, that includes 31 studies published between 1995 and 2012, from the US and other developed countries. According to her findings, gay men earn 11% less than heterosexual men. Lesbian women on the other hand, experience a boost to their salaries by earning %9 percent more than heterosexual single women. However, they still earn less than gay or heterosexual men. It is important to note that Klawitter observed a wide range of findings in these studies ranging from no difference in pay in some circumstances to a gap of over 43% in others.
Unfortunately, transgender men and women have been mostly ignored by these studies. But one study from 2006, found that both trans men and women earn less than their cisgender counterparts. After transitioning, it was reported that trans women lose almost 12 percent of their earning while trans men experience either no change or a slight increase in earnings after their transition. As a result, trans women earn about five percent less while trans men earn about 15 percent less than their cisgender counterparts.
Another study from The Williams Institute from June 2015, also shows that the wage gap for LGBTQI individuals also increases in relation to their race. The findings show that African American lesbian women experience the highest poverty rate. African American gay men, Hispanic lesbian women and Hispanic gay men also experience a drop in their wages.
The Economist pointed out that studies about this subject needs to be “taken with a grain of salt.” due to the methodology of the researches. While some researchers ask directly for the sexuality of their participants, some research selects their participants based on who they live with and their relationship with them. This could result in inconsistencies and mistakes in the results. The Economist also points out that it is difficult to find the cause behind the wage gap for LGBTQI individuals and the wage premium for lesbian women, though maternity leave, equal distribution of work in same-sex couples, child care and discrimination all play a role in the differences of wage. However, there is no doubt that we need more consistent research in this field and how to improve the standarts for LGBTQI individuals.