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How does the standard of living of gay men and lesbians compare with that of heterosexuals? Do homosexuals make financial and family decisions differently? Why are the professional lives of gay men and lesbians dissimilar from those of heterosexuals? Or do they even differ? Have gay people benefited from the recent economic boom? Or have public policies denied them their fair share?
Money, Myths, and Change provides new answers to these complex questions. This is the first comprehensive work to explore the economic lives of gays and lesbians in the United States. M. V. Lee Badgett weaves through and debunks common stereotypes about gay privilege, income, and consumer behavior. Studying the ends and means of gay life from an economic perspective, she disproves the assumption that gay men and lesbians are more affluent than heterosexuals, that they inspire discrimination when they come out of the closet, that they consume more conspicuously, that they enjoy a more self-indulgent, even hedonistic lifestyle. Badgett gets to the heart of these misconceptions through an analysis of the crucial issues that affect the livelihood of gay men and lesbians: discrimination in the workplace, denial of health care benefits to domestic partners and children, lack of access to legal institutions such as marriage, the corporate wooing of gay consumer dollars, and the use of gay economic clout to inspire social and political change.
Both timely and readable, Money, Myths, and Change stands as a much-needed corrective to the assumptions that inhibit gay economic equality. It is a definitive work that sheds new light on just what it means to be gay or lesbian in the United States.
List of Tables
1. Introduction: Meeting the Myths
2. The Economic Penalty for Being Gay
3. Costs of the Closet
4. Compensation Discrimination Revisited: Benefits
5. Queer Conspicuous Consumption
6. A Family Resemblance
7. Reducing Inequities, Part 1: Public Policy and the Workplace
8. Reducing Inequities, Part 2: Family Policies
9. Economic Strategies for Social Change
10. Prospects for the Future