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Navigating "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" within the Real Estate Arena

As we enter a new decade, both the military and civilian sectors are major battlegrounds for LGBT civil rights in the USA. And although blatant, overt real estate discrimination may be illegal in many jurisdictions, silent bias is still widespread. But if gays and lesbians are buying homes and helping to build communities, they deserve a lot more than the kind of formal acceptance that has to be enforced by threat of lawsuits. Realtors and mortgage lenders should be eagerly competing for their business and proactively earning it..

Five Helpful Tips.

To ensure that you get the professional level of service and support you are entitled to as a LGBT buyer or seller, follow these tips:.

* First of all, understand that there are lots of qualified real estate professionals who are either LGBT or LGBT-friendly. So begin shopping around for a good Realtor or mortgage broker by browsing through LGBT networks such as GayRealEstate.com, GayMortgageLoans.com, and HomeLounge.com..

* While current Federal Fair Housing laws do not include protections based on sexual orientation, many local and state jurisdictions do offer those kinds of protection. So before you go house hunting do some basic research regarding the laws in your specific area..

* When buying or leasing as a LGBT couple, begin by disclosing that fact to your agent or mortgage broker so that you can have candid discussions with them about your needs and preferences for a home and neighborhood..

* But once they know that you are LGBT, don't let a real estate agent steer you only into predominantly LGBT neighborhoods against your will, because that is a form of unlawful discrimination. Look wherever you please and feel free to buy wherever you want..

* Because issues related to ownership of real estate can be complicated for LGBT partners who invest in property together, it is always advisable to consult a real estate attorney who is well-versed in LGBT legal issues..

For legally married heterosexual couples, for example, the law is rather clear regarding rights of survivorship and distribution of property if one spouse dies. Similarly, if a married couple separates and divorces the law is specific about how mutually owned assets like houses are to be divested. But in order to spell everything out and ensure your ownership rights and shared responsibilities as a LGBT couple - in a place where gay marriage is not yet legal - you will need the help of a resourceful and insightful lawyer to draw up legal documents..

Saluting LGBT Equality.

Thanks to the so-called "don't ask, don't tell" policy the United States military has managed to reject more than 13,000 dedicated service personnel who wanted to serve their country but were kicked out of the military because they were found to be LGBT. But the biggest loss has been for the nation as a whole..

In a discriminatory process the military technically refers to as being "disenrolled" for "homosexual activity," the USA lost, for example, nearly 1,000 hard-to-replace specialists, including hundreds of intelligence analysts and translators fluent in Arabic. Despite the unfairness and blatant disregard for equal rights, an estimated force of some 65,000 LGBT Americans continues to serve in the various branches of the military- under a policy that is not healthy for those LGBT individuals, their comrades, or for the country's national security and sense of democracy and freedom..

These days, however, the pressure is mounting for the Pentagon to abandon its intolerance of gays and lesbians, as the nation begins to wake up to the fact that America really is a nation strengthened by diversity. Even high ranking military commanders admit that letting LGBT citizens wear service uniforms with gay pride - not while kept in the closet - is the only right thing to do. Nationwide polls show that the majority of American citizens agree that the military should drop its "don't ask, don't tell" rule..

Meanwhile LGBT real estate buyers and sellers should insist on working with lenders and real estate brokers who are not just officially tolerant of the LGBT community but are openly supportive of equal rights. The purchase of a home is typically the largest financial transaction of a person's entire lifetime, and there is no reason to pay someone to assist in that kind of important process unless they have your best interest in mind. Fortunately there are many highly skilled and competent Realtors and mortgage lenders across the USA who love to work with LGBT clients, and with the resources of the Internet it is easier than ever before to find and contact them..

It is also easy to use social networking technology to find a great LGBT enclave. The site GayNeighborhoods.com, for example, offers free resources and forums where visitors can share insightful information about LGBT towns and vacation destinations. Post your own comments, read feedback and reviews left by others, and discover the newest and best LGBT neighborhoods..

To find real estate and mortgage professionals dedicated to active support of the LGBT community, visit www.GayMortgageLoans.com and www.GayRealEstate.com, or call toll free 1-888-420-MOVE (6683)..