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This has been a very disconcerting Pride Month. Rather than being able to celebrate who we are as a community, enjoy the support of millions of allies and recognize the strides we have made, the LGBTQ+ community has been forced into a defensive posture. It is a stark reminder that while the overwhelming majority of Americans are wonderfully welcoming, there is a loud minority that is creating another barrier of full acceptance.
Things have gotten so bad that Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group, issued a travel advisory cautioning members of our community in relocating or traveling to Florida. At the same time, Texas continues its onslaught of laws openly discriminating against our community. And it’s not just in these two states. There are currently more than 400 anti-LGBTQ+ bills being debated and/or passed around the nation.
This anti-LGBTQ+ movement has become a real estate issue. Real people. People I, and others in the Alliance, know are working with are being discriminated against and forced from their homes.
These concerns are definitely your concern too. The anti-LGBTQ+ movement violates the core of what being a Realtor means. Just look at NAR’s “About Us” page:
- Mission: To empower Realtors as they preserve, protect and advance the right to real property for all.
- Vision: Our vision is to be a trusted ally, guiding our members and those they serve through the ever-evolving real estate landscape.
- Diversity and Inclusion: NAR fully embraces perspectives from all walks of life — regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, national origin, socioeconomic status, political affiliation or any other qualities by which we may define ourselves.
See what I mean? Today’s discriminatory rhetoric goes against who we say we are as Realtors.
This isn’t who we are
I want everyone reading this to remember that every member of the LGBTQ+ community is a person. We did not choose to be LGBTQ+. It is who we are, who we were born as. And we are comforted that there are now more of us simply because societal acceptance allows us to be who we are and not “be in the closet” hiding. The recent Gallup poll showed that the LGBTQ+ community is growing and has more than doubled to 7.2 percent of all U.S. adults from 3.5 percent in 2012 (the Human Rights Campaign says it’s 8 percent).
Thankfully our nation’s younger generations are leading the way. Gallup shared that Gen Z has dramatically more who self-identify as LGBTQ+ than any other group. In fact, 19.7 percent of Generation Z (born 1997-2003) identify as LGBTQ+, a significant increase from 10.5 percent in 2017.
Additionally, 11.2 percent of millennials (born 1981-1996) identify as LGBTQ+ today, up from 10.5 percent a year ago. Unfortunately, older generations were/are nowhere near as accepting as showcased by only 2.7 percent of baby boomers and 3.3 percent of Gen X sharing they are part of the community.
Society is behind the LGBTQ+ community!
GLAAD just came out with a survey that found 91 percent of non-LGBTQ+ Americans agree that LGBTQ+ people should have the freedom to live their life and not be discriminated against, while 84 percent support equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community. And 80 percent are comfortable having a gay, lesbian or bisexual person at their place of worship, with 76 percent reporting being comfortable with a non-binary and/or transgender person there.
We are headed in the right direction, but this year, Pride Month has the LGBTQ+ community in another huge fight. The ACLU recently shared the list of the states participating in the 491 anti-LGBTQ+ bills. Here are the greatest offenders, ranked by the number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills each has:
- Texas 51
- Missouri 35
- Oklahoma 35
- Iowa 29
- Tennessee 26
- Mississippi 24
- Indiana 18
- South Carolina 18
- North Dakota 17
- Kansas 13
- Virginia 12
- West Virginia 12
- Arizona 11
- Kentucky 11
- Florida 10
Unfortunately, our own industry is supporting elected officials who are fueling the vitriol against the LGBTQ+ community. That is why the Alliance is working to get our “Article 10 Rule” passed by local, regional and state Realtor associations and their RPACs.
As an industry, we can no longer stand idly by as those elected officials and candidates who gain our industry’s support by being “pro-housing” also openly discriminate.
Our idea is simple. Just as Realtors cannot discriminate under Article 10 of the Realtors Code of Ethics, we must ensure those elected officials RPACs support are also non-discriminatory. Momentum is building as Phoenix Realtors has become the latest group to adopt the Alliance’s policy, joining the Greater Palm Springs Realtors, DC Association of Realtors and Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors.
Be a part of the vocal majority
This brings us to a larger question. Why is there so much hatred against the LGBTQ+ community and a desire to make us feared?
There are parents with transgender children in my own state of Texas wondering how they can care for their child or if they need to leave their home to get their child the medicine and care they need to allow them to be who they are.
What would you do if that transgender child was your child?
And what about Florida, where 73 percent of LGBTQ+ parents have considered or taken steps to move out of the state?
I need to reiterate LGBTQ+ people are people. We are who we are. We want the right to live our lives just as everyone else does. We want access to education and great, well-paying jobs. We want a relationship and love. We want to own a home in a welcoming and safe community. We have dreams for our futures. We have moms and dads, brothers and sisters, family, friends and colleagues, just like everyone else.
But unfortunately, there are too many loudmouths in the minority stirring the pot. In these last few days of Pride Month, I hope you will join me in a start to quiet them and end their stage time.
I want the overwhelming number of supporters reading this to know the LGBTQ+ community needs you. Please take a minute and submit a comment in support of our community. You are the majority as 91 percent of you are supportive. Go ahead and raise your voice too!
You matter to us. Together, we can denounce the minority and ensure that every person has the right to live freely.
On behalf of the entire 3,100 members of the Alliance, thank you. Happy Pride.