Interestingly, quite a few lesbian and bi women have been influential over the course of history and still are to this day. We have Ellen DeGeneres for daytime TV, Jillian Michaels for fitness, Suze Orman for financial planning, Virginia Woolf in writing, Eleanor Roosevelt in politics (she was bi), Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova in tennis,Janis Joplin for rock ‘n blues, Joan Jett for rock ‘n roll, and Queen Latifah for rap music.
And that’s not all. We have anthropologist Margaret Mead, political commentator Rachel Maddow, TV broadcaster Robin Roberts, actresses Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich, and astronaut Sally Ride.
Many of these women were the best and most widely known in their fields. Lesbian and bi women appear in the upper echelons of almost every facet of life.
Around 2% of American women identify as lesbian, and 4% say they are bi. This means 6% of all American women are not straight. This is not an insignificant proportion. Eleanor Roosevelt wasn’t the only non-straight first lady either. US president Grover Cleveland’s sister, who served as his First Lady prior to his marriage, was openly gay and eventually made a life with Evangelin Simpson. Their graves are side by side.
Given that such a highpercentof the female population doesn’t identify as straight, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that gay and bi women play a prominent role in our community. If we look at the statistics, lesbians are underrepresented in certain areas. 54% of LGBT persons have not come out at work according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). It is estimated that if all currently closeted women came out, the number of lesbians in powerful positions would seem even less proportionate, when the figures would actually be in line with actual population’s demographics.
Demographics are not the only factor when we introduce the discussion of gay women in the workplace. Bi and gay women aren’t represented in all careers evenly, so it would not be feasible to apply the 6% rule. Due to self-selection, bi and gay women are present in higher concentrations in some careers and not others. A few studies have shown that LGBT individuals prefer jobs that involve great task independence. In other words, they like taking responsibility for their work and don’t want to rely on coworkers or put up with inadequate bosses.
This may be their nature, or it may be that they find it easier to conceal their sexual orientation in this line of work.