A Bumpy Road to LGBTQIA+ Housing Rights

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A Bumpy Road to LGBTQIA+ Housing Rights

Did you know that one in five transgender people in the U.S. have been discriminated against when seeking a home, and one in ten have been evicted because of their gender identity?

Under the federal Fair Housing Act, it is now illegal to discriminate against a person based on their gender identity. However, there have been many ups and downs along the road to equal protections that have led us here:

 

1957

1968
   

1970

1988

2007

 

2017

2021

Oregon passes its first fair housing law. However, it does not include protections for the LGBTQIA+ community.


The federal Fair Housing Act is passed, still without protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity.


The gay rights movement includes the fight against housing discrimination.


Measure 8 reverses Oregon’s statewide order that banned discrimination from state agencies.


The Oregon Equality Act is passed, banning discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity.


A federal court rules a lesbian couple in Colorado cannot be denied housing, extending protections for the first time under the federal Fair Housing Act to people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.


The Biden administration interprets the Fair Housing Act to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. 


Former Education & Outreach Specialist Dario Hunter provides an overview of existing protections, gives insight to recent changes in Federal Fair Housing protections for the LGBTQIA+ community, and discusses a brief history of housing discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community.

 

Current Protections Under the Fair Housing Act

On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued the landmark Executive Order 13988 on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.

In accordance with Biden’s Executive Order, HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity issued a memorandum on February 11, 2021, “Implementation of Executive Order 13988 on the Enforcement of the Fair Housing Act,” which addresses discrimination because of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity under the Fair Housing Act.

This legislation was a long time coming within the broader scope of the fight for fair housing for marginalized communities. Under this new ruling, HUD will accept and investigate all jurisdictional complaints of sex discrimination, including discrimination because of gender identity or sexual orientation. It will also enforce the Fair Housing Act against instances of such discrimination.

On top of that, state and local jurisdictions funded by HUD’s Fair Housing Assistance Program that enforce the Fair Housing Act through their HUD certified substantially equivalent laws will be required to administer those laws to prohibit discrimination because of gender identity and sexual orientation.

Organizations and agencies that receive grants through the Department’s Fair Housing Initiative Program must carry out their funded activities to also prevent and combat discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity.


Lasting Discrimination Based on Gender Identity

Despite the recent implementation of Executive Order 13988, there is still a need for fair housing protections that support the transgender community specifically. Based on a survey by Realtor.com conducted in collaboration with LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, 44 percent of transgender respondents reported having experienced or suspected housing discrimination.

It’s also estimated that one in three transgender people are living in poverty and the stigma and discrimination they often face puts them at greater risk of economic vulnerability. Transgender individuals are also on average less likely to own homes than other members of the LGBTQIA+ community and non-LGBTQIA+ and cisgender communities.

At the legislative level, 35 states have proposed anti-trans legislation in 2022. There have also been a handful of proposed anti-trans bills in the Pacific Northwest in 2021 and 2022.

To combat anti-trans policies, Basic Rights Oregon, a social welfare organization based in Portland, has been fighting for LGBTQIA+ rights since 1996. It was the first statewide political organization in Oregon to work on the behalf of LGBTQIA+ rights.

 

Housing Resources for LGBTQIA+ Individuals

 

 

Report Housing Discrimination

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