Pink money describes the purchasing power of the gay community, often especially with respect to political donations. With the rise of the gay rights movement, pink money has gone from being a fringe or marginalized market to a thriving industry in many parts of the Western world such as the United States and United Kingdom. Many businesses now specifically cater to homosexual customers, including nightclubs, shops, restaurants, and even taxicabs; the demand for these services stems from commonly perceived discrimination by traditional businesses. Worldwide, pink money is valued at £350 billion across a variety of sectors — especially entertainment and consumer goods.
The economic power of pink money has been seen as a force positive for the gay community, creating a kind of "financial self-identification" which helps gay and lesbian individuals feel like part of a community which values them. Indeed, upwards of 90% of homosexuals support businesses which target pink money, while actively shunning "anti-gay" companies. However, criticism has been leveled at businesses which target pink money from homosexual groups, arguing that this segregates the gay and lesbian community from society, and holds back gay rights.
In the United Kingom
Known as the pink pound in the United Kingdom (Occasionally, the similarly termed "blue pound" is used specifically for lesbians), the British gay market is estimated to be worth up to £6 billion a year. In 2001 several gay companies produced pink stickers and stuck them onto thousands of Pound Coins which are still in circulation.
The Pink Pound is often considered to be responsible for the high sales of specific products seen to be favored by a large number of gay people, most noticeably music sales of records by gay icons such as Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Cher. A range of large corporations have recently realised the power of the Pink Pound and have begun to directly market their products towards the gay community through advertising in the gay press. In June 2006 a specialized marketing conference called the Pink Pound Conference was held in London and a similar conference was held in November 2006 by the Market Research Society.
Groups and organizations concerned with the ghettoisation, conformity, and commercialism of the pink pound include OutRage!, the NUS LGBT Campaign and the Queer Youth Alliance — paralleling the more general criticisms of pink money.
In the United States
Known as the pink dollar, or "Dorothy dollar", in the United States, estimates of the US LGBT market put its value at approximately $641 billion in the year 2006. in addition, many of these households are known by demographers as DINK — which generally have more disposable income.
Some US industries have tried to focus on these markets with specific advertising campaigns; for example, American Airlines saw its earnings from LGBT people rise from $20 million in 1994 to $193.5 million in 1999, after formation of a team devoted to gay and lesbian marketing.
In politics, pink money has been viewed as controversial, mainly due to pressure from conservative groups promoting traditional values, or heterocentrism — for instance, Presidential Candidate Michael Dukakis publicly disassociated himself from pink money during the 1988 US presidential election. However, more recently pink money has become politically acceptable, especially as a major source of funding for the Democratic Party — in 2000, contributing $5 million to the Democratic National Committee alone, "a total that puts them among the top tier of Democratic givers, along with unions, [and] trial lawyers".
- Morris, Chris (1999-02-12), “Now meet the real gay mafia”, The New Statesman: 22–23
- Business: The Economy: The Pink Pound. BBC News (1998-07-31). Retrieved on 2008-02-29.
- Sheila Perry, Sheila; Máire Cross (1997). Voices of France: Social, Political and Cultural Identity. Continuum International Publishing Group, 172. ISBN 1855673940.
- Gay Buying Power Projected at $641 Billion in 2006
- Arndt, Michael. "United Tries for Gay-Friendly Skies", BusinessWeek, May 24, 2000.
- "Gays come out for Gore - as lesser evil", Financial Times, 2007-01-01.
- Marcus, Ruth. "'Pink Money' Flowing to Democrats; Gay Contributions Now Major Source", The Washington Post, 2000-08-18.
- Gay Marketing Agency
- The 2006 Pink Pound Conference in UK
- Market Research Society Pink Pound Conference
LGBT and Queer studies