Financial Challenges and Resources for the LGBTQ+ Community

Financial Challenges and Resources for the LGBTQ+ Community

June 12, 2022

Major strides in LGBTQ+ equality have happened over the last decade. Most notably was the Supreme Court's 2015 decision to recognize same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodge. Even so, members of the LGBTQ+ community tend to experience more money anxiety than those who are heterosexual.1, 2 Institutional obstacles and individual challenges often create financial pressure and stress. Learn more about how to overcome two major economic challenges for the LGBTQ+ community.

Pay Disparity

A 2016 Prudential survey revealed that gay men earn, on average, about 68 cents on the dollar as compared to heterosexual men—a wage gap even more jarring than the one between all women and all men.3 Meanwhile, lesbian women earn about 89 cents on the dollar compared to heterosexual women. Because there are no federal employment protections for LGBTQ+ individuals and only some state protections, those who do not identify as heterosexual may be more subject to orientation-based employment discrimination.

Along with this pay gap and increased risk of discrimination, LGBTQ+ individuals may face the challenge of the high costs of living in the cities and states that are most welcoming to them. Coastal states and major cities like New York, Seattle, and San Francisco offer expansive LGBTQ+ protections but are also among the most expensive cities in the U.S.

The pandemic changed the employment landscape in many areas, with worker shortages putting some employers in a poor bargaining position regarding wages and benefits. LGBTQ+ individuals should not be shy about asking for raises or looking for other jobs if doing so might accelerate any salary increases. Salary websites give you a better idea of what others in your area and industry are earning, helping you better assess your worth.

Family Planning

Having a child as part of an LGBTQ+ couple might be more challenging and expensive than for the general population. Whether a couple chooses adoption or pursues sperm donation and in vitro fertilization, they could spend tens of thousands of dollars on conception-related expenses. Surrogacy may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. 4, 5 In many states, an LGBTQ+ parent, who is not biologically related to their child, needs to adopt the child after birth to have parental rights. This requirement means paying attorney fees and court costs.

Before starting a family, it is good to sit down with your partner and discuss your goals and how much you are willing to spend. You may decide that you are only ready to go through one round of in vitro before moving to plan B or would rather adopt a child from foster care than an infant from an agency. There is no foolproof way for anyone, gay or straight, to get pregnant or begin a family, so knowing the potential costs at the outset might be helpful. You may want to set aside your family planning funds in a separate account to track how much you are spending.


1 Obergefell v. Hodges, Oyez,

2 Compare Auto Insurance Rates, MoneyGeek,

3 The LGBT Financial Experience, Prudential,

4 How Much Does IVF Really Cost, VeryWell Family,

5 The Cost of Using a Surrogate – And How to Pay for It, U.S. News & World Report,


Important Disclosures

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

This article was prepared by WriterAccess.

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