Just as transgenders operate under the delusion that radical lesbians are their actual enemy when the heterosexual men who beat up and murder them are, here I have two examples of lesbian writers pretending gay men are their oppressor. Actually, we aren’t.

The never-rude, never-aggressive Julie Bindel

I am a fan of Julie Bindel, and I was quite looking forward to her book Straight Expectations. It’s repetitive and it insistently misspells sissy as cissy, a weird transgender malapropism. But it makes a central point that equality is simply not sufficient for the lesbian and gay community, whose members should never shy away from insisting they chose to be thus.

As is often the case these days, you don’t have to read the book at all; a single podcast interview (at Little Atoms) has Bindel concisely and engagingly making her points.

Yet despite having a raft of strong arguments at her disposal (including a possibly novel one, as I’ll explain), again and again Bindel negligently misrepresents the truth about gay-male incomes.

  • “Despite the growing numbers choosing to have children, gay men in particular tend to have more disposable income than their heterosexual counterparts.” (False.)

  • A whole section subhedded “The value of the pink pound” goes exactly where you think it does, even after I warned British journalists of this alliteration’s pitfalls.

    “The pink pound” [in the original, The ‘pink pound’] is a phrase usually used to describe gay-male spending power, and in general terms, they tend to be higher earners than lesbians for the simple reason that men, despite almost 40 years since the Equal Pay Act came into force, still earn on average 15% more than their female counterparts.

    Also false.

  • Bindel then quotes a 2005 survey by Barclays, which, like every other marketing survey, is laughably unreliable to the point of irrelevancy.

Bindel has a highly credible condemnation of the commercialization of gay and lesbian culture, and especially of child surrogacy. I have barely ever read those arguments, and perhaps never had before. This was her true value proposition in discussing gays and money. Instead, she lazily published untruths in her book. Then again, she had done the same in an equally tendentious Guardian piece (“Gay men, in particular, tend to have more disposable income than their heterosexual counterparts”).

When confronted with the facts, and I do mean confronted, Bindel responded as you would expect (her first):

I don’t know who you are, but I have not invited you to E-mail me, and consider you rude and aggressive.

I don’t need an invitation, because you publish your E-mail address on your Web site (and because I can talk to whomever I like). You would be better off considering me fully informed and unwilling to tolerate false claims in ostensibly journalistic works. You could have and should have fully researched the actual facts before repeating a lie.

Rachel Swan’s exclusive: Richer gay men pushed lesbians out of San Francisco (except they didn’t)

A perfectly reasonable premise for an article, namely how lesbian neighbourhoods and institutions are being atomized and dispersed in San Francisco, turned into yet another occasion for a lesbian to pretend gay men are the enemy. In this case, journalist Rachel Swan failed to do her research, ignored me at first when I submitted corrections, then, after still refusing to do her research, insisted she was never wrong.

What did she say?

  • Civil-rights gains of recent decades have ramped up the earning potential of gay men


  • yet they haven’t healed the gender divide. Census data from 2012 revealed that full-time women workers still make 77% the median salary of full-time male workers

    False when comparing similarly-situated males and females; the wage gap is about 9 percentage points. Still real, still something to which to vocally object, still something a journalist must not exaggerate.

    In the U.S., women are not earning 23 percentage points lower salaries than men. It is nothing less than propagandizing – lying, really – to use this economic falsehood as a rallying cry of any sort.

  • – meaning that, on balance, two-woman couples probably earn less than two-man or man-woman couples.

    Nope: Gay-male and lesbian incomes are roughly similar. Swan is working here from the mistaken premise that two men will of course earn 23 percentage points’ higher salaries than two women. Hence the following is also untrue: “lesbians have a predilection for moving to the suburbs. That’s partly because they tend to earn less than gay or straight men.”

  • Also, Swan writes that “[m]en still flock to the nation’s urban cent[re]s because they can afford to do so,” an absurdity on its face and quite untrue when dealing with gay males. She didn’t read the seminal article on the subject (see below).

These are the facts. I covered these handily for journalists two years ago. There is no excuse to publish knowingly false “data.”

Of course I complained to Swan. She ignored me at first. I complained to SF Weekly’s editor. Nothing happened except for the disappearance of the magazine’s online masthead, as if to keep pesky external fact-checkers at bay. (He’s Brandon Reynolds; mail him and/or Rachel Swan at firstname.lastname@SFWeekly.com.) Many weeks passed; I filed a complaint through the general mailbox, which resulted in Swan’s pissily insisting she never made even one mistake.

I’ll give you a mildly edited E-mail exchange (me first):

What’s happening here is I did my research and I have all, yes, all the facts. You didn’t do your research and you are defensively insisting you didn’t blow it. You did.

There are no false statements in this paragraph. The top scholar on LGBT demographics, Gary J. Gates, has stated numerous times that gay men earn more than lesbians.

As I have read all his papers (you haven’t) and all the other papers on lesbian and gay economics (you haven’t), and as I have corresponded with him directly (you didn’t say you did), I am telling you right now you are mischaracterizing not only his findings but the facts.

  • Gay males have lower incomes than heterosexual males. They have higher educations than heteros but work fewer hours and choose pink-collar professions that pay worse.

  • Lesbians have higher incomes (not atypically by statistically insignificant margins) than heterosexual males. They work longer hours and are overrepresented in higher-paying male-dominated professions.

  • Gay-male and lesbian incomes are similar.

  • Two gay men do not necessarily have higher joint incomes than two lesbians because those gay men have lower individual incomes to start with.

That is the absolute consensus of studies from many countries, chief among them the U.S.

The 77% figure is sourced to both the census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Except it is still not true because similarly situated males and females are what you need to compare. Once you match for age, education, and years of experience in the labour force, the disparity is about three percentage points [whoops – nine]. That means it’s still real and you still have something to complain about. A disparity of 23 percentage points is not real.

What you’re telling me is you haven’t read the research (I have), and you haven’t read my summary of the research, which exists to keep journalists from telling lies about us. Including lesbian journalists.

Men still flock to the nation’s urban centers because they can afford to do so

I gather you didn’t read the article [PDF] with the perfect title, “Why Do Gay Men Move to San Francisco?” by Dan Black [and, yes, Gary Gates]. (I did.) Your statement is simplistic – actually just wrong – and ignores every aspect of gay men’s lives other than money.

Let’s put it all together. Let’s look at the paragraph where you burnished your falsehoods to a brilliant shine, lying about women and about gay men and lesbians all at once:

Civil-rights gains of recent decades have ramped up the earning potential of gay men, yet they haven’t healed the gender divide. Census data from 2012 revealed that full-time women workers still make 77% the median salary of full-time male workers — meaning that, on balance, two-woman couples probably earn less than two-man or man-woman couples.

As I’ve explained already, there’s no “probably” about it. It’s been studied for years and “two-man” and “two-woman” couples have statistically indistinguishable incomes. Women are not paid at a rate 23 percentage points lower than men in the United States.

You can explain to me why I should not publish, on my personal Weblog, a statement that you published falsehoods about lesbian and gay incomes to prove a political point – negligently at first, and now insistently, after ignoring my corrections and insisting there was never anything to correct. I probably won’t call you a liar, but if I do, our correspondence backs it up, unless you write something actually credible in response. You’re on the record.

No response, so here we are.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2014.08.27 12:43. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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