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The Interconnection Between Women's Rights and LGBTQ Rights

The issue involves societal bias favoring what is perceived as masculine.

Key points

  • Gay men tend to earn less than straight men.
  • Lesbians tend to earn more than straight women.
  • LGBTQ women who run for public office win at higher rates than LGBTQ men.
  • Transgender women tend to be less accepted than transgender men.

We have an enormous societal bias in favor of what is perceived as masculine and against what is perceived as feminine. We also tend to overly simplify it as a gender bias within a male/female binary construct.

For instance, according to U.S. government statistics, women continue earning less than their male counterparts in virtually all occupations. As of last recorded, women’s annual earnings were 82.3 percent of those of their male counterparts. However, all other things being equal, the degree to which those statistics hold true depends upon an individual’s sexual orientation. Recently published research demonstrates that gay men earn approximately 6.8 percent less than straight men and that lesbians earn approximately 7.1 percent more than straight women.

If the issue were as simple as a male-female gender bias, real differences would not exist within those constructs, wherein those perceived as possessing more masculine characteristics would be rewarded and those perceived as possessing more feminine characteristics would be penalized. Clearly, the issue is not merely about the gender a person is assigned at birth; rather, it is also about whether or not a person is sexually attracted to and “sleeps with” the “right gender.

Those who are sexually attracted to and “sleep with” women tend to be more valued societally than those who are attracted to and “sleep with” men. Those who are sexually ambidextrous or bisexual – sexually attracted to and “sleep with” both men and women – have been found to earn less than their straight counterparts. In other words, while lesbians tend to earn more than straight women, bisexual women tend to earn less. Apparently, being sexually attracted to and “sleeping with” the “right gender” is only helpful if the person is exclusively sexually attracted to and “sleeps with” the “right gender.”

Aligning therewith, recent research also reflects that LGBTQ women who run for public office win at higher rates than LGBTQ men. Maybe that helps to explain why Serbia’s Prime Minister happens to be a lesbian despite the reality that the country only declassified homosexuality as a mental illness in 2008, the country has a ban on same-sex marriage and provides no legal protections for same-sex couples with children.

If homosexuality itself was as much of a moral concern as many people claim it to be, lesbians would not fall higher on the hierarchy in many areas than straight women. The data seems to indicate that the issue is not actually homosexuality; rather, it is whether the homosexuality involves males or females. And, when it comes to electability for public office, apparently, being a bisexual woman is objectively preferable to many than being a bisexual man. Remember, the “B” in LGBTQ represents “bisexual.”

When it comes to individuals who are transgender, trans women tend to be less accepted than trans men. Maybe that is because, in a misogynistic society in which people tend not to understand how gender identity works, it is more understandable to them that people would want to enjoy the unearned privileges that go along with being a man than for people to relinquish those unearned privileges. That might also explain why transgender males who appear feminine suffer more discrimination than those who appear masculine and the reverse when it comes to transgender women.

Transgender individuals, at least when it comes to their electability to public office, seem to be an exception to the apparent rule. In fact, “several trans women noted that when they had male privilege earlier in their life, people assumed they were qualified and experienced until proven otherwise.”

This all may help explain why in 2014, the American Association of University Women stated the following:

Women’s rights and LGBT rights are deeply intertwined…. A person can’t be feminist and homophobic. It just doesn’t work that way…. If we didn’t support LGBT equality, we’d also undermine AAUW’s mission of gender equity. Homophobia isn’t only about sexuality; it’s also about sexism…. Homophobia isn’t just about sexuality discrimination. It’s also about normalizing gender stereotypes and ostracizing anyone who doesn’t conform. Fighting for gender equity means that we believe women shouldn’t be restricted by traditional gender roles.”

Therefore, whether you like it or not, by voting for and supporting politicians who are sexually prejudiced against LGBTQ people, you also tend to be voting for and supporting politicians who support a societal hierarchy in which cisgender straight males are on top. It works the same for judges and Justices who are elected and appointed to the bench.

When Vice President Kamala Harris was a member of the Senate and questioned then U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, she asked the following question that went viral:

“Can you think of any laws that give the government the power to make decisions about the male body?”

There are and have been plenty of laws that give the government the power to make decisions about the male body. Anti-LGBTQ laws that apply to males are laws that pertain to what males do with their bodies. A better question, in my opinion, would have been "Can you think of any laws that give the government the power to make decisions about the male body of cisgender straight males?”

References

Jones, J. (2021). 5 Facts About the state of the Gender Pay Gap, U.S. Department of Labor Blog.

Drydakis, N. (2021). Sexual Orientation and Earnings. A Meta-Analysis 2012-2020, GLO Discussion Paper, No. 862, Global Labor Organization (GLO), Essen.

Gonzales, R., Imse, E., LeDonne, S., and Pope, S. (2021). The Decision to Run: Uncovering the Barriers and Motivators for LGBTQ Women Running for Office, Victory Institute.

White, C., & Jenkins, D. (2017). College students’ acceptance of trans women and trans men in gendered spaces: The role of physical appearance. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 29(1), 41-67.

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