Sectors of Activity and Occupations of Gays and Lesbians in a Union: A Smaller Gender Divide

By Wilfried Rault

Despite an increase in research on homosexuality in recent decades, it is still difficult to socially characterize gay and lesbian populations using general population surveys. It is rarely possible to obtain a sample of sufficient size that is representative of the general population, along with the appropriate indicators of homosexuality and social status that are required for such an analysis. This article proposes a novel approach based on data from the Family and Housing survey carried out by INSEE in 2011. For the first time in France, this survey enabled us to implement this approach by studying individuals who report being “in a union”. Our analysis highlights the high levels of education among women and men in same-sex unions, as well as the specific features of their occupational profiles. Gays and lesbians are more present in the higher occupational categories, are over-represented in sectors characterized by equal numbers of men and women and are less present in highly gender-segregated categories that are numerically dominated by their own sex. In this regard, individuals in same-sex unions are less influenced by gender norms.

  • homosexuality
  • occupational categories
  • French classification of sectors of activity (NAF)
  • quantitative survey
  • social status
  • gay and lesbian studies
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