There are 1,600 Billionaires In the World...and Only 7 Are LGBT
There are over 1,600 billionaires in the world, and while it's fairly depressing that only 172 of them are women, it's even more depressing that, as PolicyMic points out, only seven are openly LGBT. Or, more accurately "GT" — six of the seven are gay men, and one, Jennifer Pritzker, is a transgender woman. And all seven are white.
Unfortunately, none of this is very surprising. Despite myths about gay affluence, fully 29 percent of LGBT adults are food insecure, a disproportionate amount compared to the general population and a trend particularly pronounced in the transgender community. And whether lesbian, gay, bi, or trans*, LGBT people of color tend to fare much worse than their white counterparts. And it seems that in general the higher up you go on the socio-economic ladder, the less LGBT representation there is.
Of course, socioeconomic advancement is difficult when only 20 states have laws against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation — and only 16 provide protection on the basis of gender identity. It's hard to advance when you live in a place where you could be fired just for coming out.
And so it's unsurprising that less than 0.5 percent of billionaires are LGBT. And it's also unsurprising that, although workplace discrimination does get a decent amount of attention, the most visible of the gay right movement is not homelessness, economic justice, or even teen suicide, but rather marriage equality. As the Founding Executive Director of Queers for Economic Justice, Joseph Nicholas DeFilippis, observes, most of the funding for LGBT issues come from "the kind of people for whom the inability to get married is the only real form of discrimination they face on a daily basis." And since activism depends on donations, it is those who can donate who have the most say in the agenda.
None of which is to say that marriage isn't an important or worthwhile issue, only that for large sections of the LGBT community, it is far from the most pressing issue. Because although there are openly LGBT people in every socio-economic class, even billionaires, a disproportionate number of LGBT people face economic hardship. So let's all keep in mind that achieving marriage equality won't mean LGBT equality by a long shot.