This is the fourth in a series of profiles of the multicultural allied real estate associations in Texas.
LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance
Mission: Advocate for fair housing for all and promote LGBTQ+ homeownership; elevate professionalism in the industry through education and networking; celebrate diversity and inclusion in members and allied partners.
Focus: Enhancing the professional lives of members, providing consumers with the proper resources to assist in buying, selling, and enjoying their home.
Local Chapters: Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Houston
National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals
Mission: To raise awareness and educate the public on behalf of the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community as it related to housing and discrimination laws.
Focus: Increasing LGBT homeownership rates; sharing referral network of real estate professionals; advocating for LGBTQ rights; raising awareness through education and events; legislative advocacy
Local Chapters: Austin and San Antonio
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community faces housing discrimination as homebuyers and sellers, and professional challenges as real estate practitioners. According to a 2018 Freddie Mac report, the LGBTQ homeownership rate was 49%—significantly lower than the 64% overall U.S. general population homeownership rate.
The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance and the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) work to increase LGBTQ homeownership and advocate for fair housing rights. Both groups welcome all real estate professionals and seek allies outside of the LGBTQ community.
The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance wants to eliminate real estate discrimination of, and highlight inclusion opportunities for, the LGBTQ community. Advocacy areas include issues facing older LGBTQ demographics, youth homelessness, and underserved groups within the LGBTQ community.
Founded in 2020, the Alliance is building out its organization. It hopes to grow from 50 to 70 chapters nationwide by mid-year. The Texas chapters launched in November, says Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter chairman Bob McCranie.
The Alliance is partnering with REALTOR® groups, nonprofits, and sponsors. “We’re not going to exclude allies,” he says. “I’m a member of a lot of the other diversity groups, too. I think it’s important to support these organizations.” It plans to host a policy summit in April and a conference in the fall.
The Alliance is developing a CE course on the challenges the LGBTQ+ community faces, overcoming unconscious bias, and the impact of housing discrimination. It also plans to publish an LGBTQ+ First-Time Buyers Guide this spring.
More generally, the Alliance will promote the idea that inclusion and diversity are important goals to pursue, and that LGBTQ people should have a seat at the table in the real estate industry and the community at large.
“I would love to see more training for professionals and broker-managers to be more comfortable with serving and hiring LGBTQ people,” he says. “There are a lot of brokerages out there where we are not welcome. Or if we are allowed in the door, we’re to keep it quiet. That’s not inclusion. At most that’s tolerance, and tolerance is not the same thing.”
NAGLREP was part of the effort to amend the NAR Code of Ethics to prohibit REALTORS® from denying professional services to individuals based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The group has lobbied elected officials to put LGBTQ protections into law, says Jamie Zapata, San Antonio Chapter founding president and the association’s first openly transgender leader.
“What a lot of people don’t know is the federal Fair Housing Act does not include protections for LGBTQ people, which means we can be denied housing or mortgage loans because of who we are,” Zapata says. “The NAR Code of Ethics does go above and beyond the Fair Housing Act, and all REALTORS® agree to uphold that code, but it’s not a law. It only applies to our industry, and it doesn’t apply to buyers and sellers.”
Texas REALTORS® Diversity Committee
The Texas REALTORS® Diversity Committee supports activities that encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion in member involvement and leadership opportunities.
The committee works with local associations through education, sponsorship, and communication endeavors. Visit texasrealestate/inclusion.
NAGLREP has hosted LGBT Housing Policy Summits and published an annual LGBT Real Estate Report. The association’s chapters have taken part in networking and educational events, such as Lunch and Learn with the San Antonio Board of REALTORS®.
“LGBTQ consumers are constantly looking for agents they can trust, with whom they can be themselves without judgment. Joining NAGLREP is one way that real estate professionals can support equal access to the American dream of homeownership for all people,” she says.
The homebuying and selling process can be anxiety-provoking for LGBTQ consumers, Zapata explains. LGBTQ clients have told her they had been turned away at open houses and made to feel unwelcome in neighborhoods.
“We’re not asking for special treatment. We’re asking for equal treatment,” she says.