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  • Writer's pictureChristy Murdock

It’s Pride Month. Get over it

I was appalled to read a recent story in Inman about how an innocuous Pride Month post from the National Association of Realtors was inundated with nearly a thousand replies (and counting) — responses castigating the organization for “going woke” and the LGBTQ+ community for “sharing what’s in their pants.”

I say I was appalled. Of course, I was not in the least surprised. The only thing even marginally surprising about bigotry in this Year of Our Lord 2024 is when you don’t encounter it.

The crazy thing, however, about so many Realtors venting their spleens in such a public setting is that, in doing so, they’re violating Article 10 of the Code of Ethics. Read the article above for an in-depth breakdown of the issue and for responses from the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, but just to give you the basics:

REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Amended 1/14)

REALTORS®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Amended 1/14)

According to NAR’s posted explanation of this portion of the Code of Ethics:

Standard of Practice 10-5 directly flows from the requirement to not deny equal professional services or be parties to a plan to discriminate. Specifically, disparaging a particular protected class is evidence of one’s inability to treat them equally.  In addition, bias against protected classes revealed through the public posting of hate speech could result in REALTORS® not taking clients from certain protected classes or not treating them equally, which would lead to violations of the Fair Housing Act due to overt discrimination or disparate impact. [Emphasis mine.]

So it’s not enough to say that you’ll work with an LGBTQ+ person to buy or sell a home. The posting of vitriolic responses like the ones on this NAR IG post is evidence of an inability to accept members of the LGBTQ+ community and treat them equally.

The thing that gets said again and again whenever NAR posts something about the gay community is that they’re being “political” or “woke”. Yet those same folks say nothing when RPAC spends its money in support of anti-LGBTQ+ candidates.

Another frequent opinion is that just having Pride Month on the calendar constitutes a desire to “share what’s in your pants” or create a conversation about sex.

I am old enough to have grown up in a time when June weddings were the norm. June was, in fact, widely thought of as THE wedding month. And of course, back in those days, weddings were only legal for straight couples. Yet I don’t recall anyone railing against the wedding industry for politicizing or sexualizing June to further the heterosexual agenda.

When straight couples share their joy, they’re celebrated. When gay, lesbian and queer couples share their joy, and strive to carve out a place for themselves, they’re often ridiculed at best or legislatively, socially and violently ostracized at worst.

The first Pride Month celebrations were organized as a commemoration of the Stonewall Uprising, a series of standoffs between police officers and LGBTQ+ protestors. The Stonewall Uprising (not Riot, it was never a riot) protested decades of “police and state brutality, harassment and entrapment of the LGBT+ communities in the U.S. in the years before Stonewall.”

But this isn’t really about arguing for the right of our fellow Americans to exist or to celebrate. It’s about recognizing that, as a Realtor, you have a responsibility when it comes to the words you use and the way you treat LGBTQ+ people. Not just clients and colleagues, either, but all people. 

Connecting with LGBTQ+ buyers and sellers

Here are five ideas for effective marketing during Pride Month that show genuine support and inclusivity without pandering:

Highlight LGBTQ+ stories and voices

Share authentic stories and experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals within your community or industry. Feature interviews, testimonials, or guest blog posts from LGBTQ+ employees, clients, or partners. This approach demonstrates real commitment and celebrates diversity by giving a platform to voices that matter.

Support LGBTQ+ organizations

Partner with or donate to LGBTQ+ non-profits or community organizations. Publicize your support and involvement in meaningful initiatives, such as fundraising events, community projects, or advocacy efforts. This not only contributes to a good cause but also aligns your brand with genuine support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Create inclusive content and imagery

Develop marketing materials that reflect the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community. Use inclusive language and visuals in your campaigns that represent a wide range of identities and experiences. This helps ensure that all members of the community feel seen and valued.

Educate and advocate

Use your platform to educate your audience about LGBTQ+ history, rights, and issues. Share informative content, resources, and advocacy messages that raise awareness and foster understanding. By doing so, you position your brand as an ally that is committed to making a positive impact beyond just the month of June.

Host inclusive events or campaigns

Organize events, webinars, or social media campaigns that celebrate Pride Month in an inclusive and respectful manner. Consider hosting panels with LGBTQ+ leaders, virtual pride parades, or workshops on topics relevant to the community. Ensure these events are accessible and welcoming to everyone, creating a space for celebration and learning.

These ideas focus on authentic engagement and support for the LGBTQ+ community, helping to build a lasting positive relationship with your audience.

Throughout my life, I have done my best to be an ally to gay and lesbian friends, family members, colleagues, clients and audiences. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve increasingly identified myself as queer, the Q in LGBTQ+.

I don’t care about this issue because of my personal context or life experience. I care about it because I cannot conceive of a reason that anyone should be treated as less-than simply because of who and how they love.

I’m not telling you what you have to believe. You are entitled to your own beliefs and moral code and to live by that personal code.

But when it comes to the Code of Ethics, there’s no wiggle room.

If you can’t abide by the Code of Ethics and you have to be a real estate agent, you’ll need to leave the NAR and find a brokerage that will let you be free.

If you’re a member of NAR’s leadership, you should be combing that IG post and following up with disciplinary action against members who publicly posted hate speech and anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric.

If you’re a consumer, you should look askance at real estate professionals who openly profess their discriminatory beliefs in a public forum. “When people show you who they are, believe them,” inimitable ally Maya Angelou once wrote. Maybe you’re not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but that doesn’t mean that people with hate in their hearts won’t find a reason to hate you.

For those of you who are gay, lesbian, transgender, queer, questioning, ally, or something else known only to you and your Higher Power, it’s a scary time to represent your reality — but then, it always has been. I hope you’ll find a Pride Month celebration to participate in, an organization to volunteer with, or just someone to be kind to this June.

Happy Pride


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