Article Courtesy of Inman News

On June 1, The National Association of Realtors marked the beginning of Pride Month with a post highlighting the importance of equal rights for the LGBTQ community. “Join NAR in celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride Month and support the equal rights of all people regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation,” the Instagram caption read.

However, the relatively innocuous postquickly dovetailed into a breeding ground for anti-LGBTQ comments from nearly 900 Realtors, agents and industry professionals who lambasted the Association for allegedly failing to uphold Christian values and push identity politics on its 1.5 million members.

“As a 20+ year member of NAR, I hope it goes broke. Look at the comments … you are not speaking for the membership. You are feeding into a woke agenda,” @jolson93631 wrote. “Extremely disappointed in this group and our leadership. Let’s get back to real estate and keep sexual preferences where they belong … in the bedroom.”

Although a majority of the comments accused NAR of playing favorites with the LGBTQ+ community — “Where’s straight pride month?” multiple commenters wrote — others used the post to lash out about their feelings regarding the Association’s $418 million buyer-broker commission lawsuit settlement, which will go into effect on August 17.

“NAR chooses not to defend its Realtors and caves in court resulting in massive litigation and a strain on buyers’ agency. Yet when it comes to a political agenda, they jump on board,” @charlestonrealestatetoday said. “My company requires me to be a member of NAR and I wish I could quit!!! Stick with the profession of being a Realtor, hiring Realtors for the homebuying and selling process, and the benefits of homeownership. Do better!”

“This is truly obnoxious. As a gay man, I am more concerned with the massive litigation you caved on,” @brandon.polley added. “The litigation that ultimately harms consumers and forever alters our business. You’ve spent years pandering to the left and woke ideology rather than doing your jobs and protecting our industry. You are a joke and I [loathe] the day each year when I have to pay you $600, so you can post pandering nonsense like this.”

In an interview with Inman, LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance CEO Ryan Weyandt said he watched the vitriol grow in real-time, as commenters accused LGBTQ+ people of just wanting to “share what’s in their pants” or “push their [personal] business” on cisgender (i.e. a person whose gender identity corresponds with the sex registered for them at birth), heterosexual people.

“[I was] stunned, but not surprised,” he said. “We have pointed out examples of discrimination to NAR, state, regional and local Realtor associations for four years. Far too many in our industry are anti-LGBTQ+ and proud of it.”

“Taken a step further, we have demonstrated that REALTOR PACs around the nation are supporting discriminatory candidates and elected officials,” he added in reference to the Alliance’s years-long Article 10 campaign. “But now, on NARs own Instagram and Facebook pages, there are hundreds of inflammatory, discriminatory and hateful comments authored by Realtors themselves.”

When asked to recall the anti-LGBTQ comments that stood out the most, Weydant said there were “too many to cite.”

“They were beyond hurtful and extremely damaging to many we have spoken with within our membership and within NAR’s membership,” he said. “The fact that a simple recognition of Pride Month brought such venom and vitriol from so many Realtors shows how the real estate industry is not immune to the hatred being projected at the LGBTQ+ community in America right now.”

Weydant said polls show increasing acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community; however, the comments section under NAR’s post proves more work needs to be done, especially in the real estate industry.

“We are still not welcomed in many places and by too many people. Think about how many Realtors have kids who are part of the community,” he said. “Think about your colleagues who are LGBTQ+. Think about your friends and family who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. Why are we allowing hatred against them?

“Our 2024 LGBTQ+ Real Estate Report showed that real estate professionals are second on the list of where discrimination shows up in the buying and selling process for LGBTQ+ consumers,” he added. “This is visible in the comments on NAR’s post.”

Although many of the comments were negative, Weyandt said he was encouraged by the number of commenters who stood up for the LGBTQ+ community and reminded colleagues of Fair Housing and NAR Code of Ethics rules, both of which prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), familial status and disability.

“A lof these comments tell me that a lot of these agents need to have their license revoked. Clearly they will not treat those who are gay with a code of ethics,” @tim_realestate_az said. “Pride month isn’t about sexual orientation. It’s about equality and ending social stigma.”

“It’s why gay marriage is now legal, it’s why it is illegal to discriminate against someone who is gay in the professional work world, it’s letting people know they don’t have to live in fear pretending to be who they are not!” he added. “They can live their lives [and] be who they want to be. Pride Month is for those who turn the other cheek when they get judged simply for who they love. I could keep going…”

Another commenter, @rm123atl, said NAR should follow up with members who made anti-LGBTQ comments and remind them about Article 10 and the Standard of Practice 10-5, the latter of which is known as the hate speech provision.

The Standard, which was passed in November 2020, cracks down on racist and discriminatory speech and behavior and applies to all Realtors’ activities, not just what they do on the job.

“If NAR wants to investigate potential Code of Ethics, they need to look no further than some of these comments,” he said. “The call is coming from inside the house.”

As the post continues to draw more attention, Weydant said he wants NAR to take action against anti-LGBTQ Realtors.

“We encourage NAR to be outspoken in its support of the LGBTQ+ community as we have asked in the past. We invite them to acknowledge that hate and discrimination have no place in our industry,” he said. “Those who clearly violated the NAR Code of Ethics should be brought up on formal ethics charges and lose their membership rights and their brokerages should disassociate from them.”

“We deserve the same protections and defense shown to other communities, such as the support the [Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander] and African-American communities have received,” he added while citing NAR’s formal apology to the Black community for decades of redlining and NAR’s pushback against anti-Asian housing laws in Florida and other states. “We deserve the same support.”

Lastly, Weyandt encouraged straight, cisgender people to support Pride events in their cities and join the Alliance as allies to their LGBTQ+ counterparts.

“We encourage all who are supportive to participate, join the Alliance — remember that 23 percent of our members are allies — and take the pledge at,” he said. “Your membership in the Alliance is an action that shows you are committed to allyship and committed to standing with the entire LGBTQ+ community in our time of need. The time is right for action.”

NAR declined to comment on this story.


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