Happy Pride Month! This is a time to honor, celebrate, and learn from members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and others (LGBTQ+) Community.
The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance (AKA “The Alliance”) has a mission of empowering members of the LGBTQ+ community through homeownership. Although it was launched only two years ago, the Alliance is rapidly growing and creating a new voice in real estate. This is much needed, as there are still twenty-seven states where legal discrimination against this community can occur—causing barriers to renting, obtaining a loan, homeownership, and more. Even federal Fair Housing laws do not include sexual orientation or gender identity as protected classes. Fortunately, Virginia recognizes gender identity and sexual orientation as protected classes; but there is still much work to be done to improve homeownership for the LGBTQ+ community.
Virginia REALTORS® is proud to be one of the newest partners of the Alliance. And we encourage our members to also join and take advantage of the various resources the Alliance provides. The Ally Certification Course teaches students how to be LGBTQ+ allies and how to respectfully engage with homebuyers from that community. The Alliance also issued a new report titled “Discrimination and its Impact on LGBTQ+ Community: Real Estate Professionals and Consumers”. The report notes that while there have been increases in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, discrimination against LGBTQ+ real estate professionals and homebuyers are still extremely common. Some key takeaways from surveys include the following:
- Over 20% of the Alliance’s members reported that real estate agents were the top perpetrators in housing discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.
- Almost one-fifth of survey respondents shared they had experienced high levels of unconscious bias within their local real estate industry; this is almost double the percentage of those reporting similarly about their own company (11%).
- While 68% of respondents stated that blatant discrimination at the company level was extremely rare or non-existent, only 40% felt that way about their local real estate industry.
If it were not evident before, the report demonstrates how members of the LGBTQ+ community still face discriminatory barriers to home ownership and housing in general. We must work to be allies and improve their processes and paths to purchasing homes.
So, how can REALTORS® better support the LGBTQ+ Community this month and beyond? Here are a few ideas:
- Support an LGBTQ+-owned business;
- Take NAR’s new Bias Override course, which is a course on implicit biases; and
- Have conversations, and learn from members of the LGBTQ+ community—within and outside of real estate.
Happy Pride Month!