Housing Discrimination is Still a Barrier to LGBTQ+ Homeownership and Rental Availability
It's Pride month, and this is The Ally Team at J Philip Real Estate - so let's chat a bit about some of the discrimination that members of the LGBTQ+ community still face in 2022.
Right off the bat, the federal government still does not recognize sexual orientation or gender identity as a protected class, which means in states that don't have protections in their own laws, you can be legally denied housing for who you love or who you identify as. Last year, the Biden administration did state that they are including sexual orientation and gender identity as part of "sex" as a protected class, but the Fair Housing Act still fails to have them written in as standalone protected classes.
So, how many states don't have sexual orientation or gender identity as a protected class in their laws?
In 28 states across the country (27 for sexual orientation, technically Utah has sexual orientation as a protected class, but not gender identity) you can be denied what is considered a fundamental right of life, a place to call home and have no legal recourse.
Yet, even in protected areas, discrimination is still an issue. A study from the US Dept of Housing and Urban Development found Realtors discriminating against members of the LGBTQ+ community when looking for rentals, especially transgendered people. "Providers told transgender testers about fewer rentals than they told cisgender testers, regardless of the protocol used. Transgender testers who disclosed their gender status were less likely to be told about available rentals on average. They were, however, more likely to be allowed to view available units than transgender testers who did not disclose."
So, are there any ways to combat this kind of discrimination? Well, it's hard to change the opinion of people who are stuck in their ways, but education is still important. That's why The Ally Team at J Philip Real Estate recently donated over $200 from our Pride Events in Poughkeepsie and Beacon to GLSEN Mid Hudson. GLSEN is a national organization that fights for every student's right to a safe and supportive education. The Mid Hudson chapter supports students and educators locally, organizes around LGBTQ-affirming public policy, plans teacher trainings, and hosts events for students, educators, parents, and allies.
However, there have to be other ways to combat discrimination today outside of education. One tactic to do so that I support is removing names or any possible information that would reveal the identity of the prospective buyer or tenant from a purchase offer or rental application. When it comes to selecting a buyer or a tenant there should be no extra consideration past the question of whether or not that person can afford to buy/rent this house. Our names can give away a lot of information about us to people making powerful decisions - even removing just that could take the power of discrimination out of their hands and give everyone a more level playing field.
What do you think about that? And do you think there are any more ways that we can prevent discrimination happening in housing, not only against the LGBTQ+ community, but all communities?
Thanks for listening,