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‘Landmark’ Hearing on LGBTQ Housing Discrimination


The House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing Tuesday on discrimination in housing and lending in the LGBTQ community. 

Congressman and Financial Services Committee member Al Green said Tuesday’s meeting was “long overdue.” 

“You are not alone. You have allies in the Congress in the United States of America,” Green said. 

Green said during his opening remarks that those in the LGBTQ community face economic insecurity, discrimination in housing, a lack of legal protection, and that the disrcimination on mortgage exists and is “proveable.” 

“Discrimination based on race, gender, or sexual orientation … is wrong and should not be tolerated anywhere, including in the mortgage and the consumer lending industries,” said Committee member Rep. Andy Barr. 

Rep. Maxine Waters, Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, said the Trump administration has talked of stripping Federal regulations that guard against anti-LGBTQ discrimination in lending and housing. She added that in May 2019 the Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed changing its own rules to allow Federaly-funded homelss shelters top deny admission to transgender people based on gender identification. 

“It is unacceptable that this administration is using taxpayer dollars to put already vulnerable Americans at further risk,” Waters said. 

Testifying during the hearing were Harper Jean Tobin, Director of Policy, National Center for Transgender Equality; Michael Adams, CEO, Sage; Kerith Coonron, Research Director, Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law; Alphonso David, President, Human Rights Campaign; Hua Sun, Professor, Iowa State University; Francis Creighton, President and CEO, Consuer Data Industry Association. 

According to a House memo, a study by Prudential found that nearly half of LGBTQ respondents had household incomes below $50,000, while the median-household incomes for non-LGBTQ people was around $70,000.

The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey revealed that 23% of transgender adults experienced some form of housing discrimination in the prior year. Also, 12% said they had been homeless with 6% saying they were denied housing. 

The memo added that researchers analyzed Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data from 1990-2015 and found same-sex mortgage co-applicants were 73.12% more likely to be denied a loan than different-sex applicants. 

During her testimony, Tobin said there are currently 2 million transgender people in America, but the homeownership rate was just one-fourth of the U.S. population. She added that one-in-four transgender people faced housing discrimination in the past year. 

Tobin also said one-in-four transgender people didn’t try to seek emergency shelter because of fear.  

“For nearly 20 years, Federal Courts have overwhelmingly held that laws such as the Fair Housing Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act, prohibit anit-transgender discrimination,” Tobin said. “Unfortunately, the Trump Justice Department has rejected the majority view of the reports and urged the Supreme Court to strip those protections away.” 

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.

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