In 2020, sexual orientation and gender identity became two new protected classes covered by Virginia fair housing laws. Additionally, The Federal Fair Housing Act bars discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.* Members of the LGBTQ+ population are now protected from housing discrimination.
Sexual Orientation: It is illegal to discriminate against a person for their actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality. This includes discrimination due to someone’s physical appearance, mannerisms, the partner they are with, or any self-identifying symbols or flags.
Gender identity: It is illegal to discriminate against someone for their gender-related identity, appearance, or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth. This includes discrimination due to someone’s gender non-conforming appearance, their apparent gender not matching their legal identification (drivers license), or any self-identifying symbols or flags.
Examples of discrimination include:
A landlord starts charging different fees or making rules and conditions for a transgender tenant after they transition.
Differential treatment, such as a property manager offering appointment times and rent specials to heterosexual couples, then avoiding giving specific information to same-gender couples.
Using homophobic or transphobic slurs to refer to an applicant or tenant.
Other tenants harass and intimidate a neighbor because their same-gender partner moves in with them.
Refusing to accept same-gender spouses as tenants in senior housing communities.
Harassing a tenant by not using their correct pronouns or chosen name on purpose.
A real estate agent suddenly changes attitudes and stops accommodating a potential buyer after realizing their driver’s license does not match their apparent gender.
*Sexual orientation and gender identity housing protections are law in Virginia since 2020. Additionally, per guidance from HUD, based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bostock decision (Bostock v. Clayton Cty., 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020), the Federal Fair Housing Act also bars discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity based on sex discrimination.
The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.
Have you experienced discrimination based on your sexual orientation or gender identity?