Australia’s first study of how sexual orientation affects wages has revealed gay people get paid less than straight people for doing the same work. The study found that men earn 19% more than women on average, but also that gay men earn 13% less than straight men.
This pay gap is an extension of the oppression that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) people suffer on an everyday basis.
Not having rights like the right to marry, adoption rights in many states, and being subject to constant bullying, gives confidence to employers to reduce the rights and conditions of LGBTIQ people in the workplace.
If we allow one section of the workforce to be paid less it only leads to a race to the bottom where inevitably everybody’s wages are driven down. We need to combat homophobic attitudes in the workplace and oppose employer attempts to divide and rule the workforce.
Capitalism creates divisions within the working class in order to distract from the growing inequality between the super-rich and everyone else. The fight against these prejudices needs to be combined with a fight for socialism. Only then will we see an end to all forms of inequality.
By Toby Dite