The affluent tastes of Ireland’s gay community

Seth Ewin June 18, 2007
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A survey of 1,900 LGBT Irish people found they earned on average €13,000 more than the average Irish wage but only half were out to everyone in their workplace.

The large-scale poll, commissioned by Dublin-based gay magazine Gay Community News, sheds light on a community previously ignored in statistical terms.

Editor of GCN Brian Finnegan said the survey revealed a “two-tier world” in which, on the one hand, gay people are highly educated, professional, earning good money and leading fulfilled lives.

“But there is another world where this group are faced with inequality in society in terms of the law which leads to the situation where 50 per cent are not comfortable being out in the workplace.

“It is only when the law changes that they will begin to have the confidence to be out and feel comfortable in all parts of society.” he said.

Ian Johnson of Out Now, the international consultants which carried out the survey, agrees.

“Think of all that energy being wasted keeping your sexuality a secret from your employer or your colleagues, energy that could be devoted to your job. We should be alarmed.”

The survey also covered what earnings were spent on, relationship and family status and whether they would legally formalise their relationships given the chance.

GCN commissioned the survey to show advertisers the value of the pink euro and results show the estimated earnings of the gay community in Ireland comes to €8.75 billion before tax each year.

“Money really does talk,” said Finnegan.

“Gay liberation only grounded itself when the ‘pink pound’ emerged and the sector began to be identified as a marketing niche. It advanced our community in a way that grassroots political education could never have done.”

A significant amount of earnings is spent on grooming and clothes but the average spending on alcohol is more than both combined.

Though only 50% were out to everyone in the workplace, 60% were out to family and nearly 80% to friends.

If the law changed 90% would be keen to legally formalise their relationships and as many as 10% of respondents have children.

The survey’s findings were mostly very positive for a country that only decriminalised homosexuality 14 years ago.

In those 14 years the Irish gay scene has evolved remarkably fast with Pride marches up and down the country and next year the gay rugby world championships being held in Dublin.

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