Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

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In 2020, sexual orientation and gender identity became two new protected classes covered by Virginia fair housing laws. Members of the LGBT+ 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.



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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.

Have you experienced discrimination based on your sexual orientation or gender identity?