Wage Gap for LGBTQ+ Women is 79 Cents to the Average Man’s Dollar, According to Human Rights Campaign Report

by Meghan Olson

WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released new data outlining the pay disparities of LGBTQ+ women. The report studied both cisgender and transgender women–analyzed together as a single “LGBTQ+ women” group–and found that LGBTQ+ women workers face a significant wage gap when compared to the earnings of the average U.S. man working full-time. LGBTQ+ women workers in the U.S. earn approximately 79 cents for every dollar that the American man earns.

The 2021 LGBTQ+ Community survey, administered by Community Marketing & Insights and supported by the HRC Foundation, found that, among the 2,100 LGBTQ+ women working full-time included in the survey, the median weekly wage earned was $875. Compared with the median weekly wage for men working full-time in the U.S., ($1,108 for 2021 Q3, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of April 15, 2022), LGBTQ+ women workers earned about 79 cents for every dollar that the average man earns in the U.S. As a result, LGBTQ+ women have to work 55 additional days into a new year to earn what the average U.S. man earned in the previous year; for 2021, that means LGBTQ+ women had to work, on average, until March 18th, 2022 to earn what the average U.S man earned in 2021. This wage gap is larger than that seen for women overall, who earn, on average, 83 cents for every dollar a man earns.

This was a larger wage gap than that seen for women overall (83 cents), as well as a substantially larger wage gap than the one previously reported by the HRC Foundation, which, using the same data from 2021, found that LGBTQ+ workers of all genders earned approximately 90 cents for every dollar that the average worker (of all genders) earns in the U.S.

As the number of openly LGBTQ+ people in our country grows, the fight for equal pay has not yet been won. LGBTQ+ women, in particular, face wage disparities that can make it difficult to access safe and affordable housing, affirming healthcare and other resources needed to live. This data is a powerful tool to call attention to wage disparities and take action to pay LGBTQ+ women what they are owed. Earning less is a dangerous setback that impacts every facet of our lives and must be addressed to promote true equity in not only our finances but in society at large.”

Shoshana Goldberg, Ph.D. MPH, Director of Public Education & Research at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation

The report further explored how the wage gap differed across sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, and the intersection of the two, finding that, among LGBTQ+ women, biexual+ women, Latina LGBTQ+ women, and BIPOC LGBTQ+ women earned the least, whereas lesbian/gay women and Asian American/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) women earned the most. The findings from the study provide evidence that the gender wage gap persists among LGBTQ+ women, with LGBTQ+ women consistently under-earning relative to U.S. men.

Comparing these findings to wage estimates released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, HRC Foundation found that LGBTQ+ women workers from each racial and ethnic background earned less than American men, though there was a range of earnings across race/ethnicity. Black and Latina LGBTQ+ women both earned less than White LGBTQ+ women and less than LGBTQ+ women overall. Subsequently, the wage gap for these women relative to the average man working full-time in the U.S. is larger than that seen for LGBTQ+ women overall. In contrast, white and AANHPI LGBTQ+ women outearned LGBTQ+ women–and all women–though still were underpaid relative to the average US man.

  • 90 cents - Asian American /Native Hawaiian /Pacific Islander (AANHPI) LGBTQ+ women earn cents for every dollar earned by a man

  • 87 cents - White LGBTQ+ women earn for every dollar earned by a man

  • 77 cents - Black LGBTQ+ women earn for every dollar earned by a man

  • 65 cents - Latina LGBTQ+ women earn for every dollar earned by a man

Similarly, LGBTQ+ women, regardless of sexual identity, all earned less than the average man.

This was most apparent for bisexual+ (those who identified as bisexual or “bisexual plus”) women, who earned just $750 a week–or approximately 68 cents for every $1 a U.S. man earns. Queer, pansexual, demisexual and omnisexual women (analyzed together; $896/week) fared a bit better, though still earned around 81 cents for every $1 earned by a U.S. man.

  • 87 cents - Lesbian/gay women earn for every dollar earned by a man

  • 81 cents - Queer, pan, demisexual and omnisexual women earn for every dollar earned by a man

  • 68 cents - Bisexual+ women earn for every dollar earned by a man

Additional findings included in the full report present wages /the wage gap at the intersection of sexual orientation and race/ethnicity (e.g. bisexual+ white, AANHPI, Black, and Latina women).

The Human Rights Campaign reports on news, events and resources of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that are of interest to the general public and further our common mission to support the LGBTQ+ community.

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