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Gays men in Germany face pay discrimination

August 31, 2017

Homo- and bisexual men on average earn 2 euros less per hour than their straight colleagues, according to an economic study. That's despite being more likely to earn higher qualifications and work in white-collar jobs.

Illustration Homo-Ehe
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

In its first study on Germany's "Sexuality Pay Gap," the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) on Thursday reported that gay men earn on average markedly less than their straight male colleagues, despite generally boasting higher qualifications.

According to the study, while straight men earn an average of 18 euros ($21.30) per hour, homo- and bisexual men were found to earn 2 euros less, a difference of around 12 percent. That difference only increases when taking age and qualification into account, according to the study.

Read more: Hate crimes against homosexuals on the rise in Germany

Martin Kroh, the author of the DIW report, stressed that "this difference cannot be explained by qualifications or career experience."

In fact, according to the study, gays, lesbians and bisexuals were more likely to have graduated from school or obtained a vocational degree, and more likely to work in white-collar jobs.

Mind the gap

While the study's authors were unable to give a definitive reason for the pay-gap, the report speculated that the mental burden facing homo- and bisexual individuals was the most likely cause. Because of their sexual orientation, they face "stigmatization and discrimination, which can ultimately lead to chronic stress," the report said.

With gay marriage having only been legalized in Germany in July, the study also showed that gay men were significantly less likely to be married or in a partnership.

The Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD) welcomed the study's findings but stressed that more "research, clarification and action" was needed. Along with gender, age and ethnicity, discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation were just some of the many equal rights infringements that take place in the workplace.

Read more: Gender pay gap: Icelandic women take a stand

Jenny Renner of the LSVD also added that the findings on health issues in the homo- and bisexual community were "indispensable" and that Germany's federal ministries for education and for health were obliged to take the issue further.

Little data on Germany's gay demographic

The DIW's study admitted that until now little data has been collated on Germany's homosexual population.

"Equality for homosexuals has been a long-discussed topic in Germany," the report said, "but seemingly trivial facts, such as the number of gay and bisexual people living in Germany, still rely on rough projections, at best."

The DIW estimates that roughly 2 percent of adults in Germany are either homo- or bisexual.

The study was based on figures compiled by the DIW's Socio-Economic Panel, which gathers jobs, salary and education data through annual surveys. Last year, respondents were asked for the first time ever to state their sexual orientation.

dm/kms (dpa, AFP, epd)