Summer is here—a time for warm weather, family vacations, and fun! It is also a time to spread love and kindness, starting with Pride Month in June. The origins of Pride Month began in 1969, as a result from riots following police authorities raiding the Stonewall Inn—a popular gay bar in New York City. Over the years, it has emerged into a worldwide celebration where members and supporters of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and others (LGBTQ+) community come together, embrace each other, and have the freedom to completely be themselves.

Did you know that there are several real estate LGBTQ+ organizations? The National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) has over 2,800 members and houses an LGBTQ+ and allied REALTOR® referral network, where homebuyers can find an agent who is a member of or supports the community. There is also the Real Pride Network, which connects individuals with real estate professionals to build relationships, fosters professional development, and gives back to the LGBTQ+ community. In addition, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) just announced a new partnership with the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, a 501(c)6 non-profit member organization whose mission is to empower members of the LGBTQ+ community towards homeownership. It is estimated that this community has $1 trillion in buying power in the housing market, though that potential has yet to be tapped into, according to a recent study conducted by the LGBTQ+ Alliance study. The report also notes that the homeownership rate for the LGBTQ+ population is 49.8%, 16% lower than the national average (65.8%).

Even with an array of supportive resources, members of the LGBTQ+ community still face discriminatory barriers on the path to homeownership. According to Zillow research, they are more likely to face a mortgage denial before getting approved, make some sort of sacrifice on their purchased home, and—or those who rent—experience higher rent increases.

So, what are some ways that REALTORS® can better support the LGBTQ+ community this month and beyond? First, we can learn more about the celebration and history of Pride Month.  Second, we can learn to check our biases through watching NAR’s Implicit Bias Training. And lastly, we can be empathetic and talk to and learn from members of the LGBTQ+ community—both  within and outside of real estate.

Happy Pride Month!

Click here to send any comments or questions about this piece to Virginia REALTORS® Senior Vice President of Community and Industry Relations Leslie Frazier.