Gay Men, Not Lesbians, Face Job Discrimination

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There may actually be a glass ceiling for some men.

New research from the University of New Hampshire finds that gay men working in management and traditional blue-collar jobs face wage discrimination when their salaries are compared to straight men in the same fields. To contrast, the research shows that lesbians face no similar wage gap when compared to straight women.

According to the research, authored by Bruce Elmslie (left), professor of economics at UNH; and Edinaldo Tebaldi, former assistant professor of economics at UNH now at BryantUniversity, gay men who live together earn 23 percent less than married men, and 9 percent less than unmarried heterosexual men who live with a woman. Discrimination is most pronounced in management and blue-collar, male-dominated occupations such as building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; construction and extraction; and production.

The authors also found that lesbians are not discriminated against when compared with heterosexual women. They conclude that while negative attitudes toward lesbians could affect them, lesbians may benefit from the perception that they are more career-focused and less likely to leave the labor market to raise children than heterosexual women. According to their study, 18.1 percent of lesbians have children, compared with 49.4 percent of straight women.

“Employers could reasonably infer that a lesbian applicant or current employee will have a stronger attachment to the labor force than will a heterosexual woman,” the authors said.

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