Study of Black Same-Sex Households in Detroit Reveals High Parenting Rates and Significant Income Disparities
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Releases Report Highlights on Detroit in Conjunction with Black History Month
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
Black Same-Sex Households in the United States: A Report from the 2000 Census and a new Detroit fact sheet is available at http://www.thetaskforce.org/reports_and_research.
"This groundbreaking report demonstrates that gays and lesbians are woven into African/ American communities wherever we are. Gay African/Americans don't live in just Atlanta and Chicago; we live everywhere in America where you find African/Americans."
— H. Alexander Robinson, Strategic Director of the National Black Justice Coalition
"This study demonstrates the strength and struggle of Black same-sex families in Detroit. As we celebrate Black History Month, we must carry on the legacies of African-American gay leaders, Bayard Rustin, Audre Lourde and James Baldwin. We must fight as they did to break down the matrix of discrimination based on race, class, sexual orientation, and gender identity."
— Matt Foreman, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director
Washington D.C. February 2005 — Based on an in-depth analysis of 2000 Census data, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute said today that Black lesbian households in Detroit are almost as likely as Black married opposite-sex couple households to include children and are four times as likely to report serving in the military; that Black same-sex couples are more likely to work in the public sector, and that they earn less than married Black couples in the Detroit and significantly less than White gay or lesbian couples.
As a result of these and other factors, Black same-sex couples have more to gain from legal recognition of their relationships and more to lose when states pass amendments banning marriage and other forms of partner recognition. The analysis was released in conjunction with the celebration of Black History Month.
The Detroit-specific analysis is a supplement to the groundbreaking study, Black Same-Sex Households in the United States: a Report from the 2000 Census, released in October by the Task Force Policy Institute and the National Black Coalition.
Detroit ranks seventh among U.S. cities in number of Black same-sex households, behind New York and Atlanta and ahead of Houston, Miami, and San Francisco.
The analysis reveals the following important and sometimes startling facts about Black same-sex couples in Detroit:
- Black female same-sex households in Detroit parent at rates comparable to Black married opposite-sex couple households. Three in five Black female same-sex households in Detroit (60%) have at least one child. Sixty-seven percent of Black married opposite-sex couple households have at least one child.
- Black same-sex couples in Detroit earn more than $12,000 less per year than Black married opposite-sex couples, and nearly $25,000 less than White same-sex couples.
- Individuals in Black same-sex households in Detroit work in the public sector at the same rate as those in Black married opposite-sex households (14% vs. 14%). Detroit and Michigan do not offer domestic partner benefits to city and state employees. Consequently, Black same-sex couples have less access to healthcare benefits.
- Despite receiving no government benefits or protections for their relationships, 47% of Black same-sex couples in Detroit report living in the same residence as five years earlier, a key indicator of relationship stability.
- Black women in same-sex households in Detroit report serving in the military at four times the rate of Black women in married opposite-sex households (8% vs. 2%). Nationally, Black women are discharged under the military’s ban on lesbian and gay service members at rates far exceeding their representation in the armed forces: although they make up less than 1% of the military, they represent 3% of all discharges.
Commenting on the findings, H. Alexander Robinson, Strategic Director of the National Black Justice Coalition states, "Anti-gay leaders and organizations have long sought to divide the Black and gay communities, speaking as if there are no Black lesbian and gay people experiencing discrimination under key family policies. In fact, this study clearly identifies a large population of Black same-sex couples in the U.S., more than half of whom are raising children. These families should be offered the same protections and opportunities to benefit from state and federal programs designed to promote family formation, stability, home ownership, and other values that contribute to community strength and the common good."
Black Same-Sex Households in the United States: A Report from the 2000 Census was written by Alain Dang and Somjen Frazer. Census data were provided by Lopez and Cheung, Inc. The study and Detroit fact sheets are available at http://www.thetaskforce.org/reports_and_research.
Founded in 1973, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation (the Task Force) was the first national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights and advocacy organization and remains the movement's leading voice for freedom, justice, and equality. We work to build the grassroots political strength of our community by training state and local activists and leaders, working to strengthen the infrastructure of state and local allies, and organizing broad-based campaigns to build public support for complete equality for LGBT people. Our Policy Institute, the community's premiere think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a world that respects and makes visible the diversity of human expression and identity where all people may fully participate in society. Headquartered in Washington, DC, we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, and Cambridge. The Task Force is a 501(c)(3) corporation incorporated in Washington, DC. Contributions to the Task Force are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc. ("NGLTF, Inc."), founded in 1974, works to build the grassroots political power of the LGBT community to win complete equality. We do this through direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation and pass pro-LGBT legislation and other measures. We also analyze and report on the positions of candidates for public office on issues of importance to the LGBT community. NGLTF, Inc. is a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation incorporated in New York. Contributions to NGLTF, Inc. are not tax-deductible.
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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.
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