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  • Writer's pictureNicole Vorrasi Bates

I Wish It Was Me.

June 17, 2021. There are Equal Pay Days, which mark the extra days in the following year women need to work just to catch-up to what white men were paid in the prior year, for Asian American and Pacific Islander women, Black women, Native American women, Latinas, and mothers. But there is no Equal Pay Day for LGBTQIA+ women.

In late May, knowing that Pride Month was right around the corner, I started the research for a blog I wanted to write about the gender pay gap and the LGBTQIA+ community. I spent countless hours looking for the data or recent analysis.

But I could not find it. Anything remotely statistical was from 2007 or 2012 - clearly not something I should rely upon and include in a blog – or so I thought.

Despite conducting research for my entire professional career, I attributed my inability to find anything to the fact that I am relatively new at gender-related research – having just started Shattering Glass three months before on International Women’s Day. It had to be me. No way could there be no data. I had to be missing something.

Frustrated, I put the research on hold until June, hoping that when Pride Month commenced, there would be additional information to point me in the right direction. Sadly, Pride Month commenced and still no luck.

Yesterday, was the first ever LGBTQIA+ Equal Pay AWARENESS Day. That is not the day that LGBTQIA+ women catch up to what white men made last year. It is a day to raise awareness of the lack of wage gap data for LGBTQIA+ women.

Yes, you read that correctly. There really is no data! Without it, we do not know when an actual LGBTQIA+ Equal Pay Day would be!

There are independent surveys, and in 2019, the Federal Reserve Board asked respondents of the Survey of Household Economic Decisionmaking for the first time about their sexual orientation and gender identity, which helped paint a general picture of the economic well-being of LGBTQIA+ households. But that is not enough.

The US Government is not doing its job. The monthly jobs data from the Bureau of Statistics does not include statistics based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Even the Census, which merely asks about same sex couples, omits collecting this data.

Based on the little information out there, it is clear that LGBTQIA+ women earn less and have accumulated less wealth than cisgender and heterosexual women, and LGBTQIA+ women of color even less than that.

But without comprehensive data, we cannot fully understand the extent of the discrimination and appropriately address this travesty.

Why is there no data? Is it our government saying it does not value the LGBTQIA+ community? Is it that all of the alleged diversity and inclusion efforts are nothing more than required rhetoric? As a result, members of the LGBTQIA+ community fear discrimination/retaliation if they reveal their gender identity or sexual orientation?

Sadly, I think it is all of it. This must end. Equality is a basic human right.

I do not understand how people can defend gender discrimination or oppose the Equality Act, Paycheck Fairness Act, Equal Rights Amendment, paid leave, or affordable, flexible, quality childcare with a straight face.

As for my inability to find the data, I wish it was me.

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