Pick up the phone and call your representatives to encourage them to pass the Equality Act, which would go a long way in increasing the LGBT homeownership rate.

June at last! It’s Pride Month around the world. While Pride Month is much more than in-person or virtual parades, events and rainbow flag waving, we encourage you to show your appreciation for the community in a way best suited to you.

Pride 2021 symbolizes many things — some tremendous victories and some tragic losses. While we’ve all heard the tag lines “Love is love” and “Love knows no identity,” I think you would agree that there is still far too much hatred being directed at minority and diverse communities across the world. This is most notable in the recent attacks on Black, Asian American and Pacific Islander, Jewish and transgender people.

Too many are trying to maintain their status by shamelessly denouncing others. This is wrong and should be inconceivable given what we’ve gone through as a nation. Remember these words from the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Nearly 250 years later, we are still debating those rights and creating excuses for discrimination. Baffling.

Be an ally

With the arrival of Pride Month, I encourage you to look towards your neighbor on the right. Then the left. Look towards your own family and close friends. Regardless of if you’re aware of it or not, LGBTQ+ people live amongst you and you likely already know us well and love us. We need you to continue to be an ally and take steps forward to help eliminate hatred against us.

The word “ally” — the term we use to describe those who stand with our community — may be the most important word in LGBTQ+ circles. You have no idea how much you mean to us.

Whether you cheer for us in pride events, welcome us and our kids into neighborhoods, or love and support your own children as they self-identify and begin their own journey, you play a very powerful role, and your voice carries great weight.

Where Pride came from

How did Pride start? It was June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village when LGBTQ+ patrons and some allies finally had enough and took a stand against discriminatory police raids at the bar.

A year later, the LGBTQ+ community gathered at Stonewall to mark the one-year anniversary of the resistance. These gatherings were replicated in several major metro areas around the nation. This ultimately led to June becoming known as Pride Month — a time that is now celebrated around the world.

And where we’re going

I want to thank the real estate industry for your outpouring of support as the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance formed, launched in October 2020 and today has more than 1,200 members.

The National Association of Realtors came on as a full partner with The Alliance last week, joining so many state and local associations, real estate brands, lenders, title companies and ancillary services who are working side by side with us on advocacy, education, business development and training for our members and our community.

The Alliance and the entirety of the LGBTQ+ community cherish the outpouring of support that comes with Pride Month. We see June annually as an opportunity to ignite love in hearts and minds to last us a year.

Society is increasingly supporting our community which is evident as 70 percent of Americans support the Equality Act, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the leading non-profit civic organization supporting the LGBTQ+ community.

This bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives, currently sits in the Senate. If passed, President Biden has said he would quickly sign it making discrimination against LGBTQ+ people illegal in almost all aspects of life — including housing and credit.

This would go a long way in helping the community increase our homeownership rate beyond the 49.8 percent mark cited by UCLA’s Williams Institute.

As society changes, more and more people are living as their authentic selves. Here are a few stats that showcase this trend:

  • Gallup recently estimated that 5.6 percent of all American adults identify as LGBTQ+. This is up from 3.9 percent just five years ago.
  • The younger generations are fueling acceptance levels. Gallup shared that 15.9 percent of those in Gen Z (those born in 1997-2002) are in the community, followed by 9.1 percent of millennials (1981-1996). These numbers drop dramatically for older Americans — Gen X (1965-1980) is 3.8 percent followed by baby boomers (2 percent) and 1.3 percent for those 75-plus.

How you can help

Seeing this momentum, it is unfathomable why there remains such venom against our community. HRC has shared that 2021 stands to be the worst year on record for anti-LGBTQ+ bills with more than 250 bills introduced in state legislatures around the nation.

Again, this is wrong and senseless.

Realtors know the NAR Code of Ethics prohibits a wide swath of discrimination, including that against sexual orientation and gender identity. I believe the 1.5-plus million Realtors and millions more in the lending, title and other ancillary services should band together and denounce and discourage discrimination. It’s not only the right thing to do ethically, it’s also good business.

Remember with $1.7 trillion in estimated spending power according to the NGLCC, the American LGBTQ+ population has the 10th greatest collective purchasing power as a community in the world, only rivaled by the economies of the globe’s largest countries themselves.

As I’ve shared previously in Inman columns, I hope you will take some time to reach out to your U.S. Senators and encourage them to pass the Equality Act. HRC has made it so easy to make these two extremely important phone calls.

Even if a Senator has already publicly shared support, they still need to hear from us. They need to know we have their back as they work to convince others to vote in support.

Although some will stand on religion or personal privilege, there are those in the Senate who I believe are just looking for their constituents to allow them the ability to break party ranks and do what they know to be the right thing. These Senators have children and grandchildren, and their legacies are still being determined by the actions they take today.

These two calls would make a great Pride gift to all of us in the community.

Thank you for being an ally and thank you to the leaders of our great industry for taking a stand and joining The Alliance as we work to move our nation forward.

Happy Pride!

Ryan Weyandt is the CEO of The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, a 501(c)6 nonprofit dedicated to empowering the LGBTQ+ community on the path to homeownership through advocacy on behalf of the community on housing issues. The Alliance, founded in June 2020, is an all-inclusive organization that works to improve the professional lives of its members through a public-facing Alliance Referral Community.

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