Although most pay gap studies are based on gender or racial disparities, a new study focuses on a different factor in regard to wage disparities: sexual orientation. Los Angeles individuals who are part of the LGBT community may be alarmed to find that gay men often make significantly less in earnings than their straight counterparts.

The study was based on statistics from Canada. There, the country legalized same-sex marriage in 2005. The data is even more significant because the country’s census records the relationship status, sexual orientation, employment status and educational background in one location. The study found that coupled gay men earn approximately 5 percent less than coupled straight men. The economic impact is similar to thewage and hour law statistics in the United States with heterosexual men earning more than gay men. The Canadian study also found that the disparity in pay for different sexual orientations was most prominent in high-paying jobs.

While gay men earn less in Canada and the United States, lesbian women in both nations out-earn their heterosexual counterparts. There are several theories about the findings of the Canadian study. One is that gay men are being discriminated against or are victims of unconscious biases held against them during the interview stage. Another is that men know that they earn more than women, so coupled gay men do not feel that they have to be as ambitious because they will still earn a good living together. A final theory is that the workplace favors a showing of masculinity. Gay men out-earn straight women and lesbian women may seem closer to the male ideal, according to the study’s writers. This trend is also seen by transgender individuals with those who transition to females making less and those transitioning to male making more lifetime earnings.

Individuals who believe that their sexual orientation is affecting their wage may wish to discuss the issue with a California employment lawyer. California bars such discrimination in many cases.