Fair Housing Act: Ending housing discrimination in the LGBTQ+ community

Understanding your housing rights and resources

Did you know 22% of LGBTQIA+ adults reported experiencing discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity when attempting to rent or buy housing?

Fortunately, this is no longer has to be the case and everyone can finally access fair housing, thanks to the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

What is the Fair Housing Act? 

The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination when buying a home, renting, applying for housing assistance, or engaging in other housing activities, including federally assisted housing. 

This means, it is illegal to be discriminated against based on:

  • Color.
  • Race.
  • National origin.
  • Religion.
  • Sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation).
  • Disability.
  • Family status. 

Additionally, last year the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) added the language “Sexual Orientation” and “Gender Identity” to the Fair Housing Act’s sex section to broaden LGBTQIA+ housing rights to eradicate discrimination once and for all.

What does this mean to me?

If you identify as transgender, gay, lesbian, or bisexual, fair housing is now possible for you.

In other words, you cannot be denied housing because of your sexual orientation or gender identification, you are now protected – regardless of who you are.

What’s the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity?

Knowing and understanding your rights is how you beat discrimination and stigma.

Not sure what sexual orientation and gender identity mean? Keep on reading:

  • Sexual orientation: Sexual orientation refers to a romantic, sexual or emotional attraction to another person. Your sexual orientation may be heterosexual, gay, bisexual, pansexual or queer, curious, or asexual – or no labels.
  • Gender identity: Gender Identity is how an individual perceives themselves and what they call themselves. Your gender identity might be the same or different from your sex assigned at birth. 

So, what are my rights?

Under the Fair Housing Act, a housing provider or landlord cannot discriminate against you for your sexual orientation, gender identity or if you are HIV+/AIDS.

Some examples of housing discrimination include being given false information about the availability of housing, steering home seekers away from certain areas, or pricing discrimination.

Is my type of housing covered?

Yes – but it may vary. 

The Fair Housing Act covers most housing, except for:

  • Single-family houses sold/rented by the owner without a realtor.
  • Owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units.
  • Housing managed by religious organizations.
  • Private clubs with occupancy limits.

I’m protected under the FHA, if: 

  • A realtor refuses to show me houses listed for sale because I’m transgender.
  • A housing provider refuses to rent a house to my family because we are gay/lesbian. 
  • A realtor only shows me houses in a part of town where most LGBTQIA+ reside. 
  • A housing provider evicts me because I’m bisexual. 
  • A building manager refuses to authorize unit repairs because he disagrees with my sexual lifestyle.
  • A leasing manager refuses to add my boyfriend/husband/fiancé to the lease.
  • A landlord denies me housing because of my HIV/AIDs status. 

I think I am being discriminated against – what can I do?

For help to connect with housing opportunities and other resources, visit Take Control HIV.

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