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For decades the LGBTQ community has fought for equal access to housing, with LGBTQ homebuyers, renters and advocates forced to exploit loopholes in the 1968 Fair Housing Act to secure some semblance of anti-discrimination protections.
Although the LGBTQ community has experienced several federal victories over the past two years, Realtor.com’s latest survey with the LGBTQ Real Estate Alliance reveals, LGBTQ consumers — especially transgender buyers and renters — are still on the outskirts of the market.
Twenty-seven percent of transgender (i.e. people whose gender identity or expression is different from the sex they were assigned at birth) and non-binary (i.e. people who don’t exclusively identify as a man or a woman) reported being discriminated against during the homebuying or renting process.
“Homeownership is a path to building wealth, so when discrimination occurs and transgender people don’t have the same opportunities to become homeowners as others, it can have a lasting impact on financial wellness for years to come,” the report reads.
Transgender and non-binary respondents said discrimination has forced them to:
- Skip renting or purchasing a home they love (40 percent)
- Use anti-discrimination laws in a potential new city or state as a deciding factor (80 percent)
- Move to another home or apartment due to discrimination (28 percent)
- Bypass living in suburban or rural areas due to concerns about acceptance (53 percent) and safety (38 percent)
As a result of discrimination, transgender and non-binary people’s homeownership rate (35 percent) lags 30 percent behind the national average (65 percent), with more than a third saying they don’t have access to fair housing support.
“While the discrimination faced by transgender people is astounding, there are steps that we as allies can take to help. First and foremost being open, accepting and friendly to all,” the report concludes. “We can also get involved in local groups to show support, take a class or read about how to be an ally and learn about the importance of pronoun sharing as an inclusive practice.”
“Even something as simple as displaying a rainbow flag or supportive sign can go a long way toward creating a community of acceptance,” it adds.