Saturday, March 21, 2009

Gay families more likely to live in poverty than opposite sex families

A recent study published in the Washington Blade reveals that lesbian and gay families are more likely to be living in poverty than opposite sex families (the study did not include bisexual and transgender families because of the limits of the data).

The analysis found that 7 percent of lesbian couples are living below the
poverty line, compared to 4 percent of gay male couples and 5 percent of
opposite-sex couples.

The study also found that after “adjusting for a range
of family characteristics that help explain poverty,” same-sex couples are
“significantly” more likely to be poor than opposite-sex married couples.

Also, the study found that children of gay couples are living in poverty at
a rate that is twice as much as the children of straight married couples.

The Williams Institute compiled the information by looking at the U.S.
Census data from 2000, the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth and the
California Health Interview Surveys from 2003 and 2005.

This is a particularly striking finding given that conventional wisdom is the gay families are more affluent, typically because they are less likely to have children. The study busts that myth.

The issue of delivering human services that are inclusive and accessible by these families is even more relevant give that this data is pre-recession. Strengthening the safety net for gay and lesbian families is complicated by multiple factors, including social stigma and bureaucratic limitations.

For example, families that rely on domestic partner benefits for health insurance must pay federal taxes on that benefit because the federal government does not recognize that relationship. That can equal thousands of dollars in taxable "income" for the person receiving the benefit.

However, my experience suggests that gay and lesbian families use the extension of domestic partner benefits to measure an organization's commitment to equality. Another indicator is the inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in an organizational non-discrimination policy (and practice). A third is the prominence of openly gay staff members. These indicators are part of an informal evaluation someone like myself would use when referring gay and lesbian families for services.

This data is important. If we want to reach all families struggling with the reality of living in poverty in our region, we have to understand who those families are. Developing services that are respectful and inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity is very important.

1 comment:

  1. Racist Joke About Malkin Incident (Fox Sports 907) Inappropriate!

    Pittsburgh Penguins standout and NHL scoring leader Evgeni Malkin should answer to the NHL for his disgraceful hit to the head of Kings forward Wayne Simmonds in the waning seconds of the Penguins' 4-1 victory over the Kings Friday at Pittsburgh.

    Malkin got his left shoulder into Simmonds' face as Simmonds was pursuing the puck, and the blow clearly dazed Simmonds for a few seconds. It was a needless, senseless play seconds before the end of a game that had been decided -- and it's exactly the kind of shot to the head that the NHL claims it's intent on ending.

    Wayne Simmonds is a professional ice hockey player, currently playing as a right wing for the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League (NHL). He is one of a small number of black players in the league. A right-handed shooter, Simmonds was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, 61st overall.

    It's inappropriate to recite the racist joke that the men at Fox Sports 970 decided to share about the Malkin incident Saturday evening. In short, they thought it was hysterically funny to make a racist joke about the NHL being racist, the color of the puck, and the like. It obviously likens Wayne Simmonds to a hockey puck and played on a long-standing African-American racist slur.

    To Pittsburgh's absolute shame and regret no one made a fuss about how inappropriate the racist joke was. As a city we should do something more! But, what?

    Apparently, Fox Sports 970 wanted tongues furiously wagging, enraged emails, letters and phone calls pouring in. Now they will put forth the predictable defense calling this a parody, a free speech right, and harmless spoofery.

    George Lopez, D.L. Hughley and Eddie Murphy all talk about race in their jokes. However, they understand the fine line between what is funny and what is truly offensive. People who don't get this go into entertainment purgatory and pay for their sins. Can you say Don Imus?

    Will Simmonds get any justice?

    Similar to the drawing, from famed cartoonist Sean Delonas (a cartoon likening the author of the stimulus bill, perhaps President Barack Obama, with a rabid chimpanzee graced the pages of the New York Post), the Fox Sports 970 racist joke was rife with violent imagery and racial undertones.

    Nonetheless, the most important question? Does the NHL apply equally to grunts and superstars.

    No consideration should be given to the fact that the Penguins are in the thick of a playoff race. Malkin should have considered that before he delivered that very dangerous blow to Simmonds' head.

    First known as "970 The Burgh," today, WBGG-AM calls itself "Fox Sports Radio 970." It is one of the premier destinations for Pittsburgh-area sports fans, serving as a flagship for the Steelers, Penguins and University of Pittsburgh Radio Networks.