Finding LGBTQ+ Friendly Neighborhoods
One of the biggest concerns for LGBTQ+ couples in the home buying market is discrimination. It’s not an unfounded fear.
HUD has performed matched pair studies that conclusively revealed discrimination as a significant barrier faced by LGBTQ+ couples that their cisgender counterparts don’t have to deal with.
Another survey sponsored by the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance in cooperation with Realtor.com found that members of the LGBTQ+ community were less likely to become homeowners amid ongoing discrimination in real estate. More than half of survey respondents didn’t own their primary residence, compared to 66% of the general population.
Of course, not all the news is bad. There are many cities and communities with welcoming LGBTQ+ cultures where the housing stock is good, community life vibrant, and prices are as affordable as any in the nation.
The Municipal Equality Index
Late in 2020, the HRC Foundation released its ninth annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI), which is the only nationwide assessment of LGBTQ+ equality regarding municipal policy, law, and services.
The results of the Municipality Equality Index show definitive evidence that local leaders across the nation are standing up for equality, even as Federal and State governments lag behind.
Using the Municipal Equality Index as a starting point, Realtor.com used U.S. Census Bureau data and signs of civic gay pride activity to create a list of LGBTQ+ friendly cities.
These cities include:
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Andy Warhol, Gertrude Stein, and Willa Cather have all called Pittsburgh home at one point, and the arts scene is thriving today. For LGBTQ nightlife, Shadyside is the neighborhood to visit, a historic and walkable area that feature some of Pittsburgh’s most notable galleries and restaurants.
Providence, Rhode Island – PrideFest in Providence attracts more than 100,000 people every June. Providence has a thriving, diverse and dynamic LGBTQ+ community, the influence of which is evident in the nightlife and events throughout the city.
Virginia Beach, VA – Virginia Beach, is one of Virginia’s prime resort towns. Famous for its historic sites, three military bases, and tons of restaurants and bars, Virginia Beach also has a growing LGBTQ community.
For a list of the 10 top cities in the US with LGBTQ friendly neighborhoods, visit this article on Realtor.com: These Gay-Friendly Cities Have Lots to Offer LGBTQ Buyers—Including Affordable Homes.
Another article on Insider Monkey lists 20 Most Gay Friendly Cities in the US.
The Human Rights Campaign has also created a resource page so that you can research an LGBTQ+ friendly score for your city, or a city you are considering making your home. Visit: MEI 2020: See Your City’s Score.
That cities all across the US have taken steps to become LGBTQ+ friendly shows that social dynamics in the United States have changed significantly over the years, with local communities taking the lead. While it’s obvious that much more needs to be done and discrimination continues to exist, the movement toward equality has come a long way in a few short decades.
Enforcing the Fair Housing Act
In 2021, the Biden administration has decided to enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. A person who identifies as LGBTQ+ who believes they are experiencing discrimination may file a complaint with Housing and Urban Development. HUD is committed to investigating violations of the Fair Housing Act against all individuals regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The next step is federal legislation. Without actual laws in place, a future administration could reverse this interpretation, and that’s where the Equality Act comes in.
The Equality Act is an amendment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The House of Representatives voted on February 25, 2021 to pass the Act. It has moved on to the Senate, where its fate is uncertain.
The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance
The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, a 501(c)6 organization, was launched in June 2020 by leading members of the real estate industry. Influential real estate professionals and allies joined with other members of the LGBTQ+ community to create this new voice in real estate.
The mission of the Alliance is to Advocate, Elevate, and Celebrate. The Alliance advocates for fair housing for all and promotes LGBTQ+ homeownership. The Alliance elevate professionalism in the industry through education and networking. And they celebrate diversity and inclusion in our members and allied partners.
The Alliance’s website connects you with housing and real estate professionals, nationwide, from Real Estate Agents and Lenders to HUD Consultants and Tax Advisors.
Looking for Real Estate Professionals in our National Chapter Program?
The mission of the Alliance Chapter Program is to provide local gathering points for LGBTQ+ and allied real estate and housing industry practitioners. If you are looking for engaged professionals who believe in the mission of the LGBTQ + Real Estate Alliance, then visit out National Chapter Program page.