A Pride flag waves among a row of businesses on a typical main street.
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

Pride month: Why it matters in real estate 

Support for the LGBTQ+ community can take many forms, from a rainbow flag in a window — a "beacon of safety" — to providing resources for LGBTQ+ clients.

June 23, 2023
4 minutes

Key points:

  • Recent controversies around Pride have impacted the way some major companies show support.
  • The current political climate makes visible support more meaningful, says the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance president.
  • Brokers and agents can build trust with the LGBTQ+ community by completing diversity training and offering relevant resources to community members.

Celebrating Pride Month has come with a rainbow of problems lately.

Just last week, a union representing hundreds of Starbucks stores said that workers in 21 states had been told by their managers not to decorate for Pride. The company said the claim represented "outlier" decisions by local leaders.

The controversy, however, is not an outlier.

The embrace of Pride, and the LGBTQ+ community, has sparked numerous flashpoints for American corporate constants including Target, where displays of Pride-themed clothing have come under fire, and Anheuser-Busch, which experienced boycotts and plummeting sales, and put two of its marketing executives on leave after partnering with a transgender influencer.

So how are real estate companies acknowledging Pride, if at all? How important is it to their identity — and bottom line?

Pride, allyship take on increased importance

Despite the recent controversies, Pride is very important, says Erin Morrison, the National President for the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, who has seen the organization's partners "lean into" Pride this year.

That is especially meaningful, she said, when there is "so much anti-LGBTQ legislation and rhetoric visible today."

And while the current downturn in the real estate market has impacted the group's financial support, "our partners are doing much more today than ever to embrace their DEI groups and support the Alliance," Morrison said.

Many have done this, she said, by taking the Alliance's Certified Ally course, where agents, brokers and real estate company owners can ask questions and learn about "the nuances and history within our community so you can better serve us as clients and consumers."

Beyond that, she advised partners to "Be vocal. Be loud."

She cited a new report by GLAAD showing that 90% of non-LGBTQ+ Americans are supportive of that community.

"This means the majority of Americans support us," Morrison said. "We just need that majority to get vocal, get loud and share the message that hate and discrimination is not OK."

Agents and brokers uniquely positioned to help LGBTQ community

Realtor.com Chief Marketing Officer Mickey Neuberger said that support for the LGBTQ+ community isn't just something the company does for Pride, but all year long.

He pointed to a survey of LGBTQ+ community members co-sponsored by Realtor.com and the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance in 2021 when the organizations announced their collaboration. They found that 77% of respondents wanted their agent to understand the local LGBTQ+ community, and 61% said that they would like their agent to have completed diversity training.

"To build trust and genuinely show support for the LGBTQ+ community," Neuberger said, "agents can do things like complete diversity or other trainings, and readily offer resources like information about LGBTQ+ legal protections in the state and local community, articles about LGBTQ+ friendly neighborhoods within a city, articles about the home buying experience and tips written by LGBTQ+ homeowners and agents, information about loans and local financing programs, and links to the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website and information about legal protections."

Agents can also engage with local organizations that are supportive of or welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community, he said.

Realtor.com, Neuberger added, "aims to be an open marketplace built for everyone."

'You need to stand with us when times get tough'

Morrison agreed that support is an ongoing process: "We've always said that Pride and support for our community goes far beyond the month of June. It needs to be 365 days a year."

To be an ally, Morrison said, "you need to stand with us even when times get tough," adding that if you see pushback or experience fear or hate because of your support, "remember that's just a glimpse of what we're experiencing."

Small gestures like a Pride flag in a window or saying "Happy Pride" still matter, she said. In times of controversy, it's important for members of the LGBTQ+ community to know that the companies they work for or choose to do business with — within the real estate industry and beyond — are allies.

"The rainbows and 'Happy Pride' are almost a beacon," Morrison said, "to let us know we are safe when working with you."

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