The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance will hold its first national in-person event with its second annual LGBTQ+ Housing Policy Symposium on April 27-28 in Washington D.C. Former Realtor® Jim Obergefell, who won the historic 2015 Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage is one of dozens of speakers who will participate. The event will address such critical issues as discrimination against LGBTQ+ real estate professionals, improvements in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), the impact of housing discrimination against buyers and sellers along with the status of the Equality Act and the barriers of entry in the effort to increase LGBTQ+ homeownership rates.
Obergefell, who is running for a seat in the Ohio State House, gained worldwide acclaim in June 2015 when he won his Obergefell vs. Hodges Supreme Court case. He will be joined by another prominent LGBTQ+ activist Jonathan Lovitz who is running for a seat in the Pennsylvania House. Lovitz currently serves as a senior advisor to the National LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and holds a seat on the Alliance’s national Board of Directors.
The Symposium will also feature numerous thought leaders in the LGBTQ+ community including Elliot Imse, Executive Director of the LGBTQ+ Victory Institute and Elana Redfield, the Federal Policy Director of the Williams Institute at UCLA. Reggie Greer, Senior Advisor to the U.S. Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons, U.S. Department of State, is also scheduled to speak.
“These are unique times where the number of people self-identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community is rising dramatically in parallel to societal acceptance of our community being at record levels. But, at the same time, the LGBTQ+ community is under attack in State Houses across the country with nearly 300 pieces of legislation that are anti-LGBTQ,” said Ryan Weyandt, CEO of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance. “The younger generations are dramatically more accepting than older Americans and, as they enter their home buying years, should not have to face housing discrimination against their sexual orientation and gender identity. Even with the dramatic improvement in local and national justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) efforts, the real estate industry has a lot of work ahead of us to create a more inclusive industry and society.”
Weyandt pointed out that Gallup’s annual poll found that the number of U.S. adults identifying as other than straight has nearly doubled in the last 10 years to 7.1% of the adult population while 20.8% of Gen Z self-identify. Gallup’s Mood of the Nation poll showed that a record 62% of American’s considered that the LGBTQ+ community is “not an outsider group but a normal, mainstream group of people in the U.S.”
Joe Carlisle, Senior Advisor to the Secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), along with Jorge Andres Soto, Associate Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs at the National Fair Housing Alliance,
will share examples of housing discrimination and how President Biden’s Executive Order to protect the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination has been enacted.
The National Association of Realtors®, which has anti-discrimination language in its Code of Ethics and publicly supports the Equality Act, will be represented by Chief Advocacy Officer Shannon McGahn and Vice President of Policy Advocacy Bryan Greene. The Housing Symposium will also feature NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith and Scott Reiter, CEO of the D.C. Association of Realtors®.Attendees will learn about how major companies are engaged in DEI efforts and growing their presence in the LGBTQ+ community. Notable leaders will speak including Tanya Reu, Realogy’s Chief People Officer, Teresa Palacios Smith, Chief DEI Officer at HomeServices of America, Brad Baumoel, JPMorgan Chase’s Global Head of LGBT+ Affairs, Fee Gentry, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at eXp Global, and Steve Ducos, LGBTQ+ Segment Strategy Leader at U.S. Bank. Coldwell Banker Real Estate CEO Ryan Gorman will share his personal motivation to best serve the c