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Study: Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual Americans Poorer than Straight Peers

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A new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the United States are far more likely to be poor than straight people, with lesbian and bisexual women the worst off.

Lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans were found to be less likely than their heterosexual counterparts to own their own home, with black and Hispanic lesbian and bisexual women the least likely to be homeowners.

The study also found that lesbian and bisexual women were also less likely to graduate from college than straight women and earn less money. While reporting higher rates of school harassment, gay and bisexual men were found to be more likely to have a college education than straight men, but they were also found to earn less and reported having experienced more financial difficulty than their heterosexuals counterparts.

Additionally, the study found that lesbian and bisexual women were more likely to live on the poverty line with many receiving welfare payments or food stamps and reported feeling that they had a lower social status than straight people. The study points towards ongoing issues of wage discrimination in the LGB community.

The report suggested that the symptoms could be explained by the minority stress model, which claims that stressors can be anything from internalised homophobia to negative social attitudes and actual instances of intolerance violence. Authors of the study suggest that the U.S. could reduce the inequality lesbian and bisexual women face by “promoting the achievement of sexual minority girls and young women.”

The study follows a report released in April found that LGB people were more likely to suffer from physical and mental health issues. Socioeconomic status is considered to be fundamentally important to a person’s health, however there has been limited research into how this affects LGB people.

The study followed 14,000 young people — LGB and straight — who were in seventh through 12th grades in 1994 through 2008 and 2009.

Chase is the Founder and Creative Director of therepubliq.com, Host and Executive Producer of OutCast Austin, an award-winning LGBT weekly radio program on KOOP 91.7 FM in Austin. In 2011, he was named the Critics Pick for 'Most Gaybiquitous' in the Austin Chronicle's Best of Austin. In 2012, CultureMap Austin named him one of Austin's Top LGBT bloggers and he received the AGLCC's Chamber Award for Social Media Diva.

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Money

10 Tips for Cheap (But Fun!) Travel

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Is the only thing holding you back from taking a vacation the balance of your bank account? Check out these 10 tips on how to put together a getaway that’s easy on the checkbook.

This past week, my boyfriend and I wanted to embark on a fun, easy and cheap getaway. Since I live in Rhode Island, we were sold on the idea of a short drive out to Provincetown, MA — right on the tip of Cape Cod.

We gave ourselves a budget of just $150 for the 24-hour adventure—and even with gas at $4.00 per gallon, we made it happen!

Here’s how we did it:

#1 Call motels and inns directly

While booking online is super convenient, it’s always helpful to talk to a real person directly. They will also know of any last-minute cancellations or special discounts—which will increase your chance of finding a room in your budget.

#2 Travel off-peak

Our motel room was just $87 on a Thursday night. Come Friday—during the Memorial Day holiday—that same room goes for $150. We saved $63 by taking our trip on an off-peak travel day.

#3 Travel locally

While the world is full of wonderful destinations, many of them are right in our own backyard. You don’t have to travel far to have a great time. And staying closer to home will help keep costs under control. By taking a 2-hour drive out to Provincetown, we saved ourselves a potential boatload of transportation expenses.

#4 Eat like a local

Provincetown’s downtown core—like many tourist spots—is full of great but pricey restaurants. By taking a short drive off the beaten path, we were able to find a more local restaurant with much more reasonable prices. Dinner was $28 for the two of us.

#5 Use your feet

While Provincetown has some convenient paid parking lots, we were able to find a free parking spot a short walk from downtown for a $10 savings. Some destinations also offer great public transit options—it’s an affordable and fun way to experience a city or town and meet new people.

#6 Take advantage of the free stuff

The best things that Provincetown has to offer are free. Like the sights, sounds and incredible landscape. The beaches and nature trails are free—and absolutely breathtaking. Hanging out in the sand and getting a little sun charges the soul and doesn’t break the bank.

#7 Pack your own beverages

For less than $10, we filled my trunk up with bottled water and beverages. Even better, bring along a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated and help save the environment. Cheers!

#8 Hit up the grocery store

Since we were only staying for one night, stocking up on groceries didn’t make a lot of sense. But for longer trips, I love packing the mini fridge full of fresh food options. It’s a lot cheaper than restaurant dining—and a lot healthier, too. Fruits, veggies and sandwiches bought at a local grocery store make for great dining out alternatives.

#9 Take advantage of free food

Our motel offered a free continental breakfast. It wasn’t super fancy, but it was a free meal. Before booking your room, ask about any included meals—it can be a real money saver.

#10 Ask locals

I always try to befriend locals wherever I go. Friendly locals can be a tremendous resource—they are full of great recommendations and often know of free events (i.e., concerts, festivals, etc). Be friendly and wear your smile.

With $87 for a room, $28 for dinner, $10 for beverages and another $25 worth of gas, our grand total came out to a very doable $150. Turns out, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a wonderful and amazing vacation adventure.

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