the community (neighborhood)—or at least, there were no manifestos calling for their exclusion
from the community.”58 The record is ambivalent, including the support that the LGBTQ
community has received from members of various non-Anglo communities, both gay and
straight.59 Nevertheless, the actual or perceived gulf between non-Anglo communities and the
dominant culture appears to have manifested itself in an LGBTQ advocacy agenda that is largely
constructed by whites,60 as well as racism within some facets of the LGBTQ community.61 This
results in a support system that often overlooks the needs of LGBTQ persons of color.62
The LGBTQ advocacy agenda focuses largely on the concerns of persons of affluence
and secure means.63 This is ironic because LGBTQ individuals are more likely to live in poverty
than straight individuals, with greater income inequality among LGBTQ persons of color,64
contrary to the myth of LGBTQ affluence65, which is often characterized as a community with
supposedly large amounts of discretionary income.66 The advocacy agenda is disconnected from
a whole representation of the LGBTQ community.
Consider United States v. Windsor, in which the Supreme Court held that Section Three
of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional.67 The case involved the question of a
surviving same-sex spouse’s $363,053 in estate taxes that would not have been owed had the
surviving spouse been in an opposite-sex marriage.68 Estate tax considerations are of little
importance to couples with no estate to tax. The factual circumstances that brought Windsor to
the Court are not applicable or relevant to LGBTQ persons of low-income, however, it resonated
with persons of affluence, both gay and straight. While the justifications in favor of the right to
58 Clarke, supra note 54, at 206.
59 Id. See also Angela Gilmore, They’re Just Funny That Way: Lesbian, Gay Men and African-American Community
as Viewed through the Privacy Prism, 38 HOW. L.J. 231 (1994).
60 Janet H. Fontaine & Nancy L. Hammond, Counseling Issues with Gay and Lesbian Adolescents, 31 ADOLESCENCE
817, 826 (1996). Cf. Harris, supra note 11, at 588 (“And in feminist legal theory, as in the dominant culture, it is
mostly white, straight, and socioeconomically privileged people who claim to speak for all of us.”).
61 See generally KEITH BOYKIN, ONE MORE RIVER TO CROSS (1996) (sophisticated discussion of the myths and
realities of racism in the GLBTQ community and heterosexism in the black community); Patrick S. Cheng, Gay
Asian Masculinities and Christian Theologies, 61 CROSS CURRENTS 540 (2011) (an in-depth discussion of the nature
and extent of anti-Asian racism in the gay community and heterosexism in the Asian-American communities). See
also MARCUS, supra note 54, at 191–92, 291.
62 See, e.g., Fontaine & Hammond, supra note 60, at 826.
63 Id. For three comprehensive discussions of poverty-based discrimination in America, see generally BARBARA
EHRENREICH, NICKEL AND DIMED: ON (NOT) GETTING BY IN AMERICA (2001); RICHARD SENNETT & JONATHAN
COBB, THE HIDDEN INJURIES OF CLASS (1972); DAVID ZUCCHINO, THE M YTH OF THE WELFARE QUEEN (1997). By
focusing on the concerns of the LGBTQ community of affluence, the LBGTQ advocacy agenda plays a part in
perpetuating poverty-based discrimination.
64 M.V. Lee Badgett et al., New Patterns of Poverty in the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community, THE WILLIAMS
INST. (2013), http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/research/census-lgbt-demographics-studies/lgbt-poverty-update-
65 Nathan McDermott, The Myth of Gay Affluence, THE ATLANTIC (Mar. 21, 2014),
66 Id. (citing Justice Scalia’s dissent in Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620, 636, 645 (1996)).
67 United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675, 2695–96 (2013).
68 Id. at 2683. For a discussion of the irrationality of applying then-existing tax law to same-sex couples, see Patricia
A. Cain, Taxing Lesbians, 6 S. CALIF. REV. L. & WOMEN’S STUD. 471 (1997).