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The myth of homos rolling in the dough

This article is about Bush’s Social Security destruction plan and its effect on the prospective gay retirees, but the interesting bit is the Census data that debunks the widely-held assumption that gay folks are more well-to-do than straight folks.

President Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security, by letting workers put up to one-third of their benefits in private accounts similar to IRAs, would disproportionately hurt LGBT seniors, according to a report released Tuesday. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) report, entitled “Selling Us Short,” showed that gay and lesbian seniors would be at risk to any form of Social Security privatization for three primary reasons:

* Gays and lesbians have lower incomes than their heterosexual counterparts, which translates into lower Social Security benefits when they retire.
* Same-sex couples are not eligible for Social Security’s spousal and survivor benefits provisions.
* Gays and lesbians are less likely to raise children who can support them in their later years, and are more likely to be alone.

These factors combined make LGBT seniors particularly reliant on Social Security and disproportionately vulnerable to the benefit cuts and the risks incurred by privatization, according to Sean Cahill, director of the Task Force’s Policy Institute, which published the study.

There is a widespread myth that gays and lesbians are well off, but the 2000 U.S. Census report shows the opposite,” he said. Cahill pointed to figures that show gay and bisexual men earn anywhere from 13 percent to 32 percent less than heterosexual men. Figures also show that, while single lesbians earn about the same as single heterosexual women, lesbian couples earn far less than heterosexual married couples.

“If we earn less, we receive a lower Social Security payment in retirement. Any proposals that cut retirement benefits will disproportionately hurt gay people,” Cahill said.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding