Category Archives: Fair Housing Laws

Should You Change Real Estate Agents?

Being a member of the LGBTQ community may make you hesitant about simply hiring any real estate agent. You want to make certain the person you’re working with is going to be able to help you find the home that fits all of your needs, while also respecting who you are. In some cases, you may find that the agent you’ve hired doesn’t seem to be on the right track. Should you look for someone new? Here are a few times when you certainly should change real estate agents.

You Feel Discriminated Against

Should You Change Real Estate AgentsAs a member of the LGBTQ community, you may have witnessed or even been the target of discrimination at some point in your life. You do not have to accept it or continue to subject yourself to any type of discrimination. If you believe your real estate agent has an issue with your orientation or gender, even if it seems more like a subconscious discrimination rather than intentional, it’s time to seek out someone else. You’ll find many gay or lesbian real estate agents across the country who will be happy to help you find a home.

They Don’t Understand Your Needs

If your agent isn’t a member of the LGBTQ community, they may not really understand your needs. They may assume that you’re looking for something in your home that fits the stereotypical image of a gay or lesbian couple. You may not be interested in this at all. These agents may not even think that you have any interest in having children or living in a particular school zone. If your agent doesn’t understand your needs because they can’t look past your orientation, don’t hesitate to find another agent.

You Make Them Uncomfortable

As surprising as it is in today’s day and age, it’s still possible to meet people who have never dealt with anyone in the LGBTQ community before. In cases like this, your agent may not be discriminating against you in any way, but they may be very uncertain in how to approach you. This nervousness may truly come from a place of ignorance—they simply don’t know how to act or are afraid of saying the wrong thing.

The best thing to do in such a situation is to actively bring it up. Talk to them about why they’re nervous. You may find that doing so actually gives you the chance to teach them about the LGBTQ community. You may make a new ally out of them. In other cases, though, they may admit that they simply don’t know if they’re the right agent for you. In that case, they may suggest you work with someone else before you bring it up.

No matter why you decide to change real estate agents, remember that it’s your right to. If you don’t believe your agent is able to help you find your next home, look for one who can, such as one of the amazing agents that are part of the GayRealEstate.com network.

U Street, a Home to the LGBTQ Community in DC

Situated in the Northwestern part of Washington, D.C. is an area known as the U Street Corridor. It’s sometimes referred to as Cardozo or as the Cardozo/Shaw district, too. This area is a residential and commercial neighborhood that is made up of nine blocks of U Street, starting at NW 9th and ending at NW 18th street. It’s bordered on the north by Florida Avenue NW and by S Street NW on the south. The area has gone through a number of major changes over the years, but today it’s considered an ethnically diverse neighborhood that’s home to a thriving LGBTQ community.

U Street’s Beginning

U Street, a Home to the LGBTQ Community in DCThe neighborhood was originally developed in the 1860s. Many of the homes were done in the Victorian style, and most are not considered historic. These row houses were built quickly to house a growing population after the U.S. Civil War. During that time, the government was growing fairly quickly, and many more people were needed in the D.C. area than ever before.

During the 1900s, the area became the center of Washington’s African American community. In fact, until Harlem overtook it in the 1920s, U Street was the largest such community in the country. Many businesses, theaters, churches, gyms, and other organizations thrived in the neighborhood. Up until the 1960s, U Street had the nickname of Black Broadway thanks to the large number of performances held here. Some of the most famous performers include Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, and Louis Armstrong.

The Decline and Restoration of the Neighborhood

Following Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s, assassination in 1968, the area began to decline. Riots broke out at U Street and 14th Street. The violence resulted in many businesses and residents moving out of the neighborhood, and by the mid-70s, drugs were a major issue on U Street.

When the Reeves Center was built in 1986, it began a domino effect that started revitalizing the district. New bus and metro stops were added, a number of grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development came through, and other new construction brought people back to U Street. Redevelopment continued into the 2000s and early 2010s, gentrifying much of U Street.

Today, the diverse area is home to many LGBTQ individuals and families. Many businesses have returned, and the arts community is once against thriving here. For those who are looking for a home that welcomes everyone, U Street is a great opportunity. Housing costs have gone up due to the gentrification of the neighborhood, but a good gay or lesbian agent will help you find a home you love that’s within your budget.

Which Large Metro Areas Are Home to the Most LGBTQ Residents?

Are you thinking of moving to a large metro area, but want to make certain you’re also near other LGBTQ individuals and couples? You’ll find an LGBTQ community in every metro, but some of these communities are larger than others. Here are the metro areas that have the largest percentage of LGBTQ residents.

The San Francisco Metro Area

Which Large Metro Areas Are Home to the Most LGBTQ ResidentsIt’s no surprise that the San Francisco area has the largest proportion of LGBTQ people in the U.S. According to surveys, some 6.2% identify as LGBTQ. Many people flock to San Francisco metro, which includes Oakland and Hayward, every year to visit, and many decide to stay.

The Portland Metro

The Portland metro area, which includes Vancouver and Hillsboro, has an LGBTQ population of 5.4%. Portland has become more and more popular with young people and with the LGBTQ community in recent years. Portland Pride has grown into a huge celebration of identity that brings in people from across the country.

The Austin/Round Rock Metro

Surprisingly, New York City doesn’t make the top three metro areas—in fact, it doesn’t even make the top ten! While Texas is a fairly conservative state, Austin is something of a haven for the LGBTQ community. Some 5.3% of its population identify as LGBTQ, and the city is home to the famous Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival. For those who want to live in Texas, the Austin metro is certainly an area to consider.

New Orleans/Metairie

The New Orleans metro area, which includes Metairie, is home to a large LGBTQ population. The many different festivals and events held in New Orleans, especially Mardi Gras, bring thousands of people into the city throughout the year. Home costs in New Orleans are fairly affordable, especially when compared to San Francisco, so you can find a great home here for a very reasonable price.

The Seattle Metro

Going back north, the Seattle Metro area (Seattle, Bellevue, and Tacoma) rounds out the top five cities with the largest LGBTQ population. Some 4.8% of the metro’s population identifies as part of the LGBTQ community, and they’re a very active group. The metro has two pride festivals and two LGBTQ choruses. The city’s hospitals have even been identified for always treating LGBTQ patients with dignity and respect.

If you’re looking to move to a large metro area that you know is accepting and friendly towards the LGBTQ community, these five are a good place to start the search. You’ll find many gay and lesbian real estate agents ready to help you make the move.

Gentrification and the LGBTQ Community

If you’ve looked at homes in a gay neighborhood or have lived in one before, you’ve likely heard the term “gentrification.” This term is used when a poor neighborhood is improved and maintained to the point that those who once could afford to live there are no longer able to. Gentrification is often connected to the LGBTQ community due to its history in areas such as the Castro and Boystown. Once, these were the only neighborhoods where LGBTQ people felt safe. Today, however, many find that they simply can’t afford to live in these historically gay areas.

The LGBTQ Community After WWII

Gentrification of GayborhoodsThe history of gentrification begins after World War II. Those who had fought in the war were quickly and efficiently kicked out of the military if the let it be known that they were gay. Others found themselves the victims of hate crimes and were forced to leave the neighborhoods they were living in. With often little money and nowhere else to go, they settled in poor, often run down parts of the city.

Over time, these brave LGBTQ individuals and families began changing the communities they were forced to live in. They repaired the homes, improved the landscaping, and in general made the neighborhoods nicer than they were before. Developers saw these up-and-coming neighborhoods and began building new apartment complexes and housing developments in them. The result is that after a few decades, suddenly these “gay ghettos” were affluent neighborhoods with rising property values.

The Benefits of Gentrification

On one hand, the LGBTQ community is able to take advantage of the benefits of gentrification. Many of these homeowners are able to sell their houses for much more than they paid for them. Many even make a profit after subtracting out the cost of maintenance. The neighborhoods such as Harlem, East Village, and West Village were once mostly LGBTQ communities, but today that’s no longer true because many of the gay or lesbian homeowners sold their properties for a nice sum. Those who continue to live in these areas now enjoy safe neighborhoods that are the envy of many.

The Downsides

Of course, there are some downsides to gentrification. Young LGBTQ couples and individuals may find it impossible to move into the gayborhood of their choice. Those who continue to live in a gentrified gay district are likely to find their property taxes have greatly increased. Their overall cost of living may have increased, too. Some may even find themselves forced to sell their beloved home because they can no longer afford it.

Whether you love it or hate it, gentrification is something that many LGBTQ people have to face at some point. Fortunately, there are great gay and lesbian real estate professionals here to help you buy a home in the gay neighborhood of your choice or sell a property you already own.

The History of the Gay Village

If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community, you may feel more comfortable living around other individuals, couples, and families who are also a part of the community. This often means moving into an area that has become known as a gay village, gayborhood, or gay ghetto. While you’re working with a gay or lesbian real estate professional to find your perfect home in one of these neighborhoods, you may find it odd that so many LGBTQ people decided to live together. Where did these gay neighborhoods come from?

The Gay Village Started in Germany

The History of the Gay VillageThe first neighborhood to be recognized as a gay village was in Berlin. The neighborhood of Schoneberg became popular with LGBTQ homeowners during the 1920s, several decades before the idea of the gay village even existed. Most LGBTQ people gathered in bars rather than certain neighborhoods.

In the U.S., the gay village didn’t become a recognized concept until the late 1960s and 70s. Thanks to the Stonewall Rebellion in 1965, the LGBTQ community became more recognized, leading to the appearance of more gay neighborhoods across the country. The shift from bar to community was a major transition for the LGBTQ community and helped to show that its members were just like anyone else—neighbors, co-workers, and families.

What Makes a Gay Village?

What exactly is a gay village, though? Is it simply a neighborhood where a certain percentage of homeowners or renters identify as LGBTQ? For some, that is enough of a definition. Most neighborhoods do have more identifying characteristics, though. Originally, gay ghettos were run-down areas that were fairly cheap. These parts of town were considered areas where “disreputable” people lived. Many LGBTQ people were forced to move to these areas due to threats of violence and intolerance in the more affluent parts of town.

Because many of these LGBTQ homeowners took care of their homes, many gay villages went through gentrification. Today, these older historic homes are often worth a lot of money. In Chelsea, New York, for example, home prices have dramatically increased since the area became a gay neighborhood in the 1990s. The same is true with areas such as Andersonville, Chicago; South End, Boston; and West Hollywood.

The Modern Gay Village

Fortunately for the LGBTQ community, there’s no longer as much antagonism as there once was. Today, while there is still some persecution towards LGBTQ individuals and families, it’s not as wide-spread, and fewer people are finding themselves run out of a neighborhood because of who they’re in love with. Because of this, there aren’t many new gay neighborhoods appearing. The gay village isn’t likely to vanish overnight, but there is, thankfully, less of a need for them.

Buying within Budget – Do LGBTQ Homebuyers Spend More?

According to studies done by Nielsen and by Prudential, LGBTQ individuals and families tend to spend more than straight individuals and families. Some believe this is because LGBTQ individuals feel a pressure to look a certain way in order to fit in. For example, gay men often feel as if they have to be fashionable because the stereotype is that gay men dress very nicely. This often leads to a large amount of credit card debt.

According to the studies, many LGBTQ people spend their money at liquor stores and on wine. This corresponds with the fact that many young LGBTQ people often turn to alcohol and drugs to deal with their conflicting emotions about their orientation or gender identity.

But what about housing? Does this trend of spending more continue?

 

Buying in the Gayborhood

Buying within Budget – Do LGBTQ Homebuyers Spend MoreFor those who want to buy in a gay village or gayborhood, it often does. That’s because these neighborhoods are often gentrified or historic. The Castro district in San Francisco, for example, is home to some amazing properties that have been maintained over the years, thus pushing the price up. New York, especially Manhattan and other neighborhoods where LGBTQ people often live, is also highly expensive. It’s more than housing costs, too—the price of living in these cities is also much higher.

While this isn’t true for every gay village or neighborhood, it is the case for many of them. These homes are generally more expensive due to their condition. Those that are considered historic houses may be even more expensive.

 

States with Lower Costs of Living Are Often Not as Welcoming

It’s easy to say that you’ll simply move to a state with a lower cost of living, but it’s not always that simple. Many of those states that do have lower costs of living are also the ones where LGBTQ people do not have as many protections.

Most of Arkansas, for example, has a cost of living that is between 15 and 20 percent lower than the national average. But it’s also a state that does not have hate crime laws or protections in place for LGBTQ individuals and families. The one area that is very welcoming, Eureka Springs, is also more costly.

Still, you can often find places even in the most conservative of states where you’ll be welcome, just like there are places in states with high costs of living that are more budget-friendly. Simply find a good gay or lesbian real estate agent to help you find the perfect home.

Federal Law and LGBTQ Housing Discrimination

One of the worst feelings is being discriminated against. Sometimes it’s obvious. You know right away that someone isn’t treating you fairly simply because you identify as LGBTQ. Other times, it’s much more subtle. This can almost be worse than obvious discrimination because you’re left wondering if it’s actually happening or if you’re just imaging it. When it comes to housing, there are laws in place to protect you against discrimination. It’s important that you know these laws and your rights, so you understand how to battle discrimination if it affects you.

The Fair Housing Act

Federal Law and LGBTQ Housing DiscriminationThe Federal Fair Housing Act is the single legal document you need to understand when it comes to housing discrimination. This Act states that no one can be discriminated against based on color, race, sex, religion, national origin, familial status, or disability. While that doesn’t specifically say anything about gender identity or sexual orientation, the Justice Department has gone on record as stating that “sex” does include discrimination against transgender buyers and renters.

In addition to the Justice Department expanding this definition, the Housing and Urban Development department has also gone on record stating that the Act protects you from being discriminated against for “gender nonconformity.” This means that if you are biologically male, but choose to dress feminine, you cannot be discriminated against for not fitting the male stereotype.

Because the Act does mention familial status, many see it as protecting married LGBTQ couples or those who have chosen not to get married but want to live together. As with many laws, the way the Federal Fair Housing Act protects LGBTQ individuals and couples is still being tested and determined.

State Protections

Unfortunately, there aren’t sweeping state laws that protect LGBTQ homebuyers. Various states offer different protections. Some offer next to none, while others have passed legislation fully protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination. Some states protect people based on sexual orientation, but not on gender identification. Then there are city ordinances that protect only those who live within certain metro areas. If you believe you’re dealing with discrimination in housing, it’s important to learn how your state and city offer protections. Speaking to an experienced legal expert is recommended.

Avoiding Discrimination

If you want to avoid discrimination in your search for the perfect home, one way of doing so is to use a gay or lesbian real estate agent. These agents understand what it’s like to be the target of discrimination and will go out of their way to make certain you’re treated fairly.

What to Look for in a Gayborhood

If you’re ready to talk to a gay or lesbian real estate agent about moving into a gayborhood, you may be so focused on the overall area that you don’t stop and consider other aspects of where you’re moving to. Yes, it can be great being surrounded by other LGBTQ neighbors, but sometimes, a gay village has too many downsides to truly be the right place for you to move. Here are a few factors you should always take into consideration before you move to one of these neighborhoods.

Is it Conveniently Located?

What to Look for in a GayborhoodGay districts are often located in great parts of the city, but sometimes those locations simply aren’t that convenient for you. If you have to commute 30 minutes or aren’t in the right school district, you may need to weigh living in a gay neighborhood against being located closer to work or school. Even if you think the commute won’t be that bad, you may find yourself considering another move in a few years because you’re tired of it.

What Are Your Neighbors Like?

Many people love the idea of living near other LGBTQ individuals and families, but don’t stop and consider what their neighbors are really like. For example, some people aren’t comfortable or don’t see the need to make a big deal out of their sexuality. If you’re one of these people, are you really going to like living next to someone who has rainbow flags hung everywhere? If you like living on a quiet street, will you want to be near people who throw dinner parties or come home late at night after the clubs close?

Don’t simply look at your neighbors as LGBTQ people—look at them as the people they are. If you drive through the neighborhood and hear a lot of noise or see a lot of cars parked up and down the street on the weekends, you may not be happy there.

Do the Homes Meet Your Needs?

This is perhaps the most important question—are the homes in the gay neighborhood what you really need? You don’t want to buy a home that’s too small or too large for you and your family. You also don’t want to purchase a home that costs more than you can afford. Sometimes, moving into the gayborhood simply isn’t financially a good idea. When that’s the case, you shouldn’t hesitate to look elsewhere.

NO LEGAL RAMIFICATIONS FOR ANTI-GAY HOUSING DISCRIMINATION IN 28 STATES

While 28 States Provide No Non-Discrimination Housing Laws To Protect LGBT Members, GayRealEstate.com Is Dedicated to Matching Members of the LGBTQ Community With Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Offering Free Buyers Representation.

While there are no federal laws which specifically address housing discrimination against LGBT individuals, GayRealEstate.com, a service connecting clients with compatible agents, remains committed to the mission of finding safe, welcoming homes for LGBT individuals

In United States housing law, only 21 states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and one additional state prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation only, leaving 28 states with no protection against housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Washington prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Wisconsin prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation only. The remaining states have no explicit laws which protect housing discrimination against LGBT individuals.

Some cities within the states without legal protections in housing have provided legal protections. Here’s a look at the Top 50 Cities across America:GRE-Infographic-TopUSCities-01 (2)

  1. New York, NY: New York City is subject to not only the New York State Human Rights Law but also the New York City State Human Rights Law; both prohibit housing and lending discrimination based on several protected characteristics. Included in these protected characteristics are sexual orientation and/or gender identity, passed in 2002 and 2015 respectively.    New York also has dedicated resources for service/support to LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the transgender community.
  2. Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles is subject to California State law which passed legislation that prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1999 and/or gender identity in 2004.  The City of Los Angeles is also strongly committed to affordable housing that is nondiscriminatory, fully accessible, and in full compliance with fair housing and disability rights laws.
  3. Chicago, IL: In 2005, Illinois passed legislation protecting LGBTQ individuals from discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  The City of Chicago has enacted two powerful anti-discrimination ordinances.  The Chicago Human Rights Ordinance prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, credit transactions, employment, and bonding.  The Chicago Fair Housing Ordinance prohibits housing discrimination.  Both ordinances prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  4. Houston, TX: Unfortunately, Texas State does not have anti-discrimination legislation that includes sexual orientation or gender identity but there are six cities, not including Houston, in Texas than have their own local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, and employment. Those cities include Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Plano, and San Antonio, which account for 12% of the Texas population.  Houston does have resources dedicated to service/support to LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
  5. Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia is one out of 50 cities in Pennsylvania that have passed local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, and employment whereas Pennsylvania State has not. There are an additional two counties in Pennsylvania that have passed anti-discrimination ordinances including sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  The 50 cities and two counties account for 33% of the Pennsylvania population.
  6. Phoenix, AZ: Arizona State does not have any LGBTQ protection ordinances but there are five cities that have local legislation protecting against discrimination for housing, public accommodations, or employment based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Those five cities include Flagstaff, Phoenix, Sedona, Tempe, and Tucson.  These five cities account for 35% of the Arizona population.  Phoenix also has resources dedicated to service/support to LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
  7. San Antonio, TX: Although Texas State does not have anti-discrimination legislation that includes sexual orientation or gender identity, San Antonio is one of six cities that have their own ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in housing and public accommodations. This does not include employment.  San Antonio also has programs that support/service LGBTQ youth and homeless, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the transgender community.  The other cities with local ordinances include Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, and Plano.  These six cities account for 12% of Texas’ population.
  8. San Diego, CA: San Diego is subject to California State law which passed legislation in 1999 that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and in 2004 for gender identity. The City of San Diego, specifically, is committed to furthering fair housing efforts by continuing to address discrimination in their community and supporting education programs regarding the right to equal housing opportunities.
  9. Dallas, TX: Texas State does not have discrimination protection for sexual orientation or gender identity, but Dallas is one of six cities that has their own ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in housing, public accommodations, and employment. Dallas also has resources dedicated to services/support for LGBTQ youth and elders and people living with HIV/AIDS.  The other cities with local ordinances include Austin, El Paso, Fort Worth, Plano, and San Antonio.  These six cities account for 12% of Texas’ population.
  10. San Jose, CA: San Jose is subject to California State law which passed legislation that prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, in 1999 and 2004 respectively. San Jose is one of the more progressive cities in California as the The San Jose City Council banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1979; 20 years ahead of the state law for sexual orientation.
  11. Austin, TX: Although Texas State does not have anti-discrimination legislation that includes sexual orientation or gender identity, Austin is one of six cities that have their own ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in housing and public accommodations. This does not include employment.  The other cities with local ordinances include Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Plano.  These six cities account for 12% of Texas’ population.
  12. Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville is one out of 25 cities in Florida that have passed local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in housing, public accommodations, and employment; Florida has not passed these ordinances at the state level. There are an additional 11 counties in Florida that have passed anti-discrimination ordinances including sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  The 25 cities and 11 counties account for 60% of the Florida’s population.
  13. San Francisco, CA: At the state level, California has passed legislation protecting LGBTQ individuals from discrimination against sexual orientation, since 1999, and/or gender identity, since 2004. The City of San Francisco also has its own laws governing against discrimination of additional protected classes which include persons with AIDS, transgenderism, and height and/or weight.
  14. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana has not passed state-level ordinances protecting sexual orientation and/or gender identity, but Indianapolis is one of 15 cities, and three counties, that have passed ordinances at the local level. Indianapolis also has the Indiana Civil Rights Commission for NDO enforcement, non-discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity in city and city contractor employment, and services/support for people living with AIDS/HIV.  The 15 cities and three counties account for 32% of the Indiana’s population.
  15. Columbus, OH: While Ohio has not instated anti-discrimination laws protecting sexual orientation and/or gender identity, Columbus is one of 21 cities in Ohio that has passed protectionist laws at the local level. Columbus ranks as one of the most progressive cities with NDO enforcement by the Columbus Human Rights Commission, a LGBTQ liaison to city executives, an LBGTQ police liaison and/or task force, and openly LGBTQ elected or appointed municipal leaders.  The 22 cities with local ordinances account for 22% of Ohio’s population.
  16. Fort Worth, TX: Fort Worth is one of six cities in Texas that have instated local ordinances that prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ individuals. Texas State does not have these protections.  Fort Worth also has resources dedicated to service/support to LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, and people living with HIV/AIDS.  The other cities with local ordinances in Texas include Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Plano, and San Antonio.  These six cities account for 12% of Texas’ population.
  17. Charlotte, NC: North Carolina is one of the few states that explicitly bans cities and counties from passing nondiscrimination provisions related to housing, public accommodations, and employment with 0% of the state population protected against discrimination for sexual orientation or gender identity related to those categories. Charlotte does have nondiscrimination laws against city and city contractor employment regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  They also have NDO enforcement by the Human Relations Commission and they provide services/support to LGBTQ youth and persons with HIV/AIDS.
  18. Seattle, WA: Since 2006, Washington has protected individuals from discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity regarding housing, public accommodations, and employment. Seattle also has The Gender Justice Project which works to advance policy solutions that promote equality related to all-gender restrooms and guidance on gender identity in the workplace.  Their work ensures City of Seattle staff understand how to work with transgender and gender nonconforming individuals.
  19. Denver, CO: Colorado State passed ordinances in 2008 that ensure 100% of the population is protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. These ordinances cover housing and commercial space, employment, public accommodations, private education institutions, and private health and welfare services.  The Denver Anti-Discrimination Office (DADO) is one of three municipal offices in Colorado that protects sexual orientation and gender variance.
  20. El Paso, TX: Texas State does not have anti-discrimination legislation that offers protection based on sexual orientation or gender identity. El Paso is one of six cities that have their own ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity but only in public accommodations. Their legislation does not currently include housing or employment.  The other cities with local ordinances include Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, and Plano.
  21. Detroit, MI: Detroit is one of 41 Michigan cities that have passed local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in housing, public accommodations, and employment. Michigan does not currently have any statewide protections for these categories.  In addition to nondiscrimination laws, Detroit also has NDO enforcement by the Human Rights Commission and provides support/service to people living with HIV/AIDS.  The 41 cities that have local ordinances only account for 22% of Michigan’s total population.
  22. Washington, DC: The District of Columbia amended state legislation in 1977 to cover sexual orientation discrimination for housing, public accommodations, and employment. The legislation was amended again in 2006 to include gender identity.  In 2015, the D. C. City Council approved the Human Rights Amendment Act, which protects LGBTQ students from discrimination.
  23. Boston, MA: Since 1989, Massachusetts state law has protected against discrimination based on sexual orientation. In 2011, nondiscrimination laws were also passed for gender identity and transgender employees of the state government.  Boston was also the first U. S. State to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, making it one of the most LBGTQ friendly states in the country.  Boston also allocated resources to assist with NDO enforcement, LGBTQ homeless and elders, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
  24. Memphis, TN: Tennessee currently does not have any nondiscrimination protection based on sexual orientation or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, or employment. The state also has laws preventing passage or enforcement of local nondiscrimination laws making it one of the least LGBTQ friendly states.  Regardless of the state law, the City of Memphis does do all that they can faced with the state law that restricts their ability to pass LGBTQ-inclusive ordinances including nondiscrimination in city employment, a LGBTQ liaison to city executives, and an LGBTQ task force.
  25. Nashville, TN: Tennessee currently does not have any nondiscrimination protection based on sexual orientation or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, or employment. The state also has laws preventing passage or enforcement of local nondiscrimination laws making it one of the least LGBTQ friendly states.  Nashville is the top inclusive city in Tennessee as it has NDO enforcement by the Human Relations Commission and provides services/support to people living with HIV/AIDS.
  26. Portland, OR: Portland is subject to Oregon State law which passed legislation that prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity in 2007. In addition to a Human Rights Commission, Portland also offers services and support to LBGTQ elders, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the transgender community.
  27. Oklahoma City, OK: Oklahoma State does not currently have any nondiscrimination laws covering sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2016, Oklahoma City passed a protection for housing only based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  Only 3% of Oklahoma State’s population is protected against sexual orientation and/or gender identity discrimination.
  28. Las Vegas, NV: Las Vegas is subject to Nevada State law which passed legislation that prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in 2011. Although the city does not have a Human Rights Committee, the state has the Nevada Equal Rights Commission.  Las Vegas provides services/support to LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the transgender community.  Las Vegas has also elected or appointed openly LGBTQ municipal leaders.
  29. Baltimore, MD: Anti-discrimination laws in Maryland for sexual orientation were passed in 2001 and gender identity in 2014. The laws cover housing, public accommodations, and employment.  Baltimore has NDO enforcement by a Human Relations Committee and provides services/support to LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
  30. Louisville, KY: Kentucky does not have any state-level laws prohibiting the discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but Louisville is one of eight cities in the state that does prohibit sexual orientation and/or gender identity discrimination for housing, public accommodations, and employment. Louisville does not have any additional services, programs or resources dedicated to the LGBTQ community.  The 8 cities, and two additional counties, account for 27% of Kentucky’s total population.
  31. Milwaukee, WI: Passed in 2018, Wisconsin has antidiscrimination laws that offer protection based on sexual orientation for housing, public accommodations, and employment but that does not include gender identity. Only 5 cities, including Milwaukee, and 3 counties in Wisconsin offer local laws that offer protection against gender identity discrimination for housing and employment, which accounts for 22% of the state’s population.  There is no gender identity discrimination protection for public accommodations in Milwaukee.  Milwaukee also offers NDO enforcement by the Equal Rights Commission and services/support for people living with HIV/AIDS.
  32. Albuquerque, NM: New Mexico has antidiscrimination laws, passed in 2003, covering sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, and employment. Albuquerque specifically has the Albuquerque Human Rights Office for NDO enforcement and provides services/support for people living with HIV/AIDS.
  33. Tucson, AZ: Tucson is one of five cities that have instated local ordinances that protect against sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing. Arizona State does not have any LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws. The additional four cities include Flagstaff, Phoenix, Sedona, and Tempe.  Those five cities account for 35% of the Arizona population.  Tucson also has programs to support LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
  34. Fresno, CA: Although Fresno is subject to California State law, which prohibits discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity, the city itself is less progressive than other California cities as it does not have any additional councils or programs to assist with the LGBTQ community, persons living with AIDS/HIV, or transgender individuals. California passed legislation in 1999 to protect against discrimination for sexual orientation and again in 2009 for gender identity discrimination.
  35. Sacramento, CA: Sacramento is subject to California State law which passed legislation that prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The City of Sacramento also offers services and support to LBGTQ elders and persons living with AIDS/HIV.  Sacramento has also elected and/or appointed openly LGBTQ municipal leaders.  California passed legislation in 1999 to protect against discrimination for sexual orientation and again in 2009 for gender identity discrimination.
  36. Kansas City, MO: Although Missouri does not have any antidiscrimination laws related to sexual orientation and/or gender identity, Kansas City is one of 12 Missouri cities that have passed local ordinances prohibiting discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, and employment. Those 12 cities and 2 additional counties account for 35% of the state’s population.  Kansas City also offers services/support to LGBTQ youth, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the transgender community.
  37. Long Beach, CA: Long Beach is subject to California State law which passed legislation that prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  The City of Long Beach also offers services and support to LBGTQ youth and persons living with AIDS/HIV.  Additional benefits from Long Beach include NDO enforcement by the Human Relations Commission, transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits, and non-discrimination in city and city contractor employment.  California passed legislation in 1999 to protect against discrimination for sexual orientation and again in 2009 for gender identity discrimination.
  38. Mesa, AZ: Unfortunately, Arizona State does not have any statewide LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws. Arizona does have five cities that have instated local ordinances that protect LGBTQ individuals for housing. The additional four cities include Flagstaff, Phoenix, Sedona, and Tempe.  Those four cities account for 35% of the Arizona population.  Mesa does not have any additional services, programs or resources dedicated to the LGBTQ community.
  39. Atlanta, GA: There are no housing, public accommodations, or employment nondiscrimination laws in the state of Georgia covering sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  Atlanta, and one other Georgia county, have passed local ordinances that protect against sexual orientation and/or gender identity discrimination for housing, public accommodations, and employment.  Atlanta and Macon-Bibb County account for 6% of the total population of Georgia. Atlanta also has a Human Relations Commission to enforce the NDO as well as elected or appointed openly LGBTQ municipal leaders.
  40. Colorado Springs, CO: Passed in 2008, Colorado State offers statewide protection based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. While Colorado Springs does not have nearly as many protections or programs as Denver, it is still subject to state nondiscrimination laws.
  41. Virginia Beach, VA: Unfortunately, Virginia State does not have anti-discrimination legislation that includes sexual orientation or gender identity. There are two cities and one county in Virginia than have their own ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and one city that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in employment, housing, and/or public accommodations.  The two cities and county are Alexandria, Charlottesville, and Arlington County, which account for 3% of the total Virginia population.
  42. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina is one of the few states that explicitly bans cities and counties from passing nondiscrimination provisions related to housing, public accommodations, and employment with 0% of the state population protected against discrimination for sexual orientation or gender identity related to those categories. Charlotte does have nondiscrimination laws against city and city contractor employment regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  They also have the NC Human Relations Commission and they provide services/support to LGBTQ elders and persons with HIV/AIDS.
  43. Omaha, NE: Although Nebraska does not have any antidiscrimination laws related to sexual orientation or gender identity, Omaha is the only Nebraska city that has passed local ordinances prohibiting discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity for public accommodations and employment. There are no regulations against housing discrimination for sexual orientation and/or gender identity at the state or local level.  Omaha accounts for 22% of the total population in Nebraska.
  44. Miami, FL: Miami is one out of 25 cities in Florida that have passed local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in housing, public accommodations, and employment; Florida has not passed these ordinances at the state level. There are an additional 11 counties in Florida, including Miami-Dade County, that have passed anti-discrimination ordinances including sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  The 25 cities and 11 counties account for 60% of the Florida’s population.
  45. Oakland, CA: At the state level, California has passed legislation protecting LGBTQ individuals from discrimination against sexual orientation in 1999 and/or gender identity in 2004. The City of Oakland also offers services and support to persons living with AIDS/HIV.  Oakland also has anti-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in city employment and non-discrimination ordinances against sexual orientation, but not gender identity, for city contractors.
  46. Minneapolis, MN: In 2003, Minnesota passed legislation protecting LGBTQ individuals from discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, and employment. The City of Minneapolis also the Commission on Civil Rights for NDO enforcement, a LGBTQ liaison to city executives, and an LGBTQ police liaison/task force.
  47. Tulsa, OK: Oklahoma State does not currently have any nondiscrimination laws covering sexual orientation or gender identity. The City of Tulsa has passed a protection for housing only based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  Only 3% of Oklahoma State’s population is protected against sexual orientation and/or gender identity discrimination for housing, public accommodations, and employment.
  48. Wichita, KS: At a state level, Kansas does not have any antidiscrimination ordinances based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Kansas has three cities and one county, not including Wichita, that have passed local laws preventing discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, and employment, which account for 11% of the total Kansas population.
  49. New Orleans, LA: While Louisiana does not have any nondiscrimination ordinances covering sexual orientation or gender identity, New Orleans is one of two cities that have instated local laws for housing, public accommodations, and employment against sexual orientation and/or gender identity discrimination.  New Orleans and Shreveport make up 12% of the total population of Louisiana.
  50. Arlington, TX: Unfortunately, Texas State does not have anti-discrimination legislation that includes sexual orientation or gender identity but there are six cities in Texas than have their own ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in employment, housing, and/or public accommodations. Those cities include Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Plano, and San Antonio, which account for 12% of the Texas population.

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Things Straight Real Estate Agents Might Not Understand

There are many great real estate professionals out there, and chances are any of them will be able to help you find the perfect home. However, there are some things that gay or lesbian real estate professionals will understand right away while straight agents may not. Here are a few things these real estate experts might not grasp right away and why going with an LGBTQ agent might be a better option for you.

They May Not Realize You’re a Couple

Things Straight Real Estate Agents Might Not UnderstandSome straight real estate agents might assume you’ve brought a friend, or worse, your brother/sister, to look at the property with you. They won’t realize you’re looking for a home for the two of you. Correcting them can be a little stressful since you never know how they will react. An LGBTQ agent may ask if you’re together rather than assume you are.

They May Not Look for Family Homes

Another thing a straight real estate agent may do, often unconsciously, is assume that you won’t be starting a family. They may look for smaller homes for the two of you that simply won’t work for children. If you’re planning on starting a family either through adoption or surrogacy, it’s important to let them know upfront that you need a home that will support this. Some may assume that since the two of you can’t biologically have a child together, you’re not planning on a family.

They Sometimes Fall into Stereotypes

While even LGBTQ real estate professionals can do this, it’s more common for straight agents to stereotype gay and lesbian couples. They may assume that lesbian couples want a large shop for their home improvement projects or that gay men want very fashionable houses with a lot of color and extravagant décor. They might show you homes that play into these stereotypes at first, which can be frustrating.

They May Assume You Want to Live in the Gay District

If the city you’re moving to has a gay district, a straight real estate agent might assume that’s where you want to live. You might not have any interest in that area. A good agent, no matter what their orientation, should ask you upfront what part of the city you’re interested in or if there are any particular areas you need to be close to.

Overall, a straight real estate professional may simply make some assumptions. Often, they aren’t actively discriminating against you or purposely doing hurtful things. If you want to avoid any misunderstandings, though, working with a gay or lesbian agent will help you get your housing search off on the right foot.