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Australian Activist Talks GLBT Poverty to G&L Business Group
Urges Affluent Stereotype Dispelled
ONLINE:  TUESDAY FEBRUARY 15, 7:47 PM EST (GMT-5).

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'Their Pink Pounds Have Already Been Spent'
THE Australian Council for Lesbian and Gay Rights told the Queensland Gay and Lesbian Business Association in Brisbane that poverty in the LGBT Community is a significant problem yet to be seriously addressed.

The Council's Co-convenor Rodney Croome spoke at a meeting of the Association last night.  He said his recent visits to rural and outer urban areas in NSW, Victoria and South Australia have confirmed his belief that LGBTs experience higher than average rates of poverty.

"It is a tragedy that no-one has yet seen fit to document or quantify the fact that homophobia creates poverty traps, particularly outside our major urban centres," Mr. Croome stated.  "It will only be when studies are conducted that we can expect government and major non-government organisations to take LGBT poverty seriously," he stressed.

There is an increasing number of people with a vested interest in promoting the stereotype of gays and lesbians as well traveled, well educated, big spenders
-Australian activist Rodney Croome
 
 
The activist also addressed the small but germinating issue of whether those 'high disposable income' studies contained valid results.

"There is an increasing number of people with a vested interest in promoting the stereotype of gays and lesbians as well traveled, well educated, big spenders," he declared, and explained that one reason for the neglect of LGBT poverty was that discussion of the issue undermines the stereotype of gays and lesbians as having higher than average disposable income.

In a celebrated article published in the Wall Street Journal in December, gay marketer Ronald Alsop discussed both sides of the disposable income issue.

He quoted advertising agencies describing the Community as a "'Dream market'. . .'creme de la creme' of consumers . . .'pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.'"  Following this he commented:  "Now consider these assessments of the same market from gay activists and academic researchers:  'A segment of the gay population is affluent, but more of us eat at McDonald's and shop at Kmart,' one gay activist notes.  Another naysayer says flatly:  'Gay wealth is a myth.'"

Marketers say gay Americans should be recognized as a vibrant segment of the consumer market.
 
 
Mr. Alsop explained that the lack of reliable data, often flowing from sample size and representativeness problems, disallows any conclusion while simultaneously allowing both sides to make their claims with relative impunity.

He described the debate as contentious and as having created a rift in the Community:  "Marketers say gay Americans should be recognized as a vibrant segment of the consumer market.  But civil-rights advocates maintain that an exaggerated image of comfort and success hurts their battles for protection from workplace discrimination, the right to marry and other causes."

"'We're not all a bunch of $100,000-a-year white guys who want to buy everything in sight, as a lot of early studies of the gay market suggested,' says Scott Seitz, a partner in Spare Parts Inc., a gay-marketing consultancy in New York," the article quoted.

Mr. Croome urged members of the Queensland G&L Business Association to dispel the myth of gay affluence and work to eliminate hardship and want amongst their LGBT peers.

"While it's true that some of us have high disposable incomes, we must also acknowledge that some of us have trouble finding three meals a day.  If we don't take action against LBGT poverty no-one else will", he concluded.