imageThe economic malaise gripping the nation is making lesbians feel more vulnerable, though both lesbians and gay men say they are trimming their spending, according to a new poll.

Some three out of four lesbians say they feel the impact of the economic downturn will affect them and households like theirs more than others, compared to 60 percent of heterosexual women and 55 percent of gay men, according to an online Harris Interactive poll of 2,249 adults. Some 232 people in the study self-indentified as gay or lesbian.

When asked if they are reducing their spending for entertainment, 44 percent of lesbians said yes compared to 24 percent of gay men. Some 56 percent of heterosexual adults said they were not likely to take a week-long vacation in the next six months, compared to 39 percent of gay men. That figure is slightly lower than the 42 percent of gay and lesbian adults who agreed, according to the study.

The survey shows that gay households are not immune to problems caused by the economic problems facing the nation, according to Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications, which worked with Harris Interactive on the study.

“We see lesbians once again showing more vulnerability than gay men, and while gay men also are scaling back in spending options, it is less so than heterosexual households,” Witeck says. “Not surprisingly, while more same-sex households, especially women are raising children, proportionately more gay male households remain childless and therefore may feel somewhat freer to make choices in today’s tight economy.”

The study shows that gay men do plan to trim back in at least one area—holiday gift buying. Some 60 percent say they will reduce spending, compared to 50 percent of heterosexual men.

Also, some 28 percent of lesbians say they are not likely to cut their spending on meals outside the home within the next six months, compared to 16 percent of heterosexual women.

“In light of this historic, severe recession, very few Americans remain unscathed. All consumers must make tougher choices on spending, saving and investing – and our findings highlight some of these personal trade-offs,” Witeck says. “Gay households are hardly immune, and demographic research confirms that GLBT consumers are not more affluent than others.”

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