July 9, 2012 | by Michael K. Lavers
D.C. Office of Human Rights launches campaign to fight LGBT housing discrimination
Gay News, Washingon Blade, Discrimination

Courtesy of the D.C. Office of Human Rights

The D.C. Office of Human Rights on Monday unveiled a campaign designed to reduce housing discrimination against LGBT Washingtonians and groups.

A key component of the “Fair Housing Is Your Right” campaign are advertisements that feature “Straight couples only!” and other phrases and language commonly used to discriminate against prospective tenants. These spots will appear in the Blade, City Paper, Washington Afro, Washington Informer and four other D.C. newspapers throughout this month and August.

“For some residents, the ads in this campaign will appear to have blatant discriminatory language, whereas other readers may be surprised it is discrimination,” said Gustavo Velasquez, director of the D.C. Office of Human Rights. “Unfortunately, housing discrimination still happens, and we hope this ad can educate both the LGBT community and those who may have lending or rental practices that discriminate against LGBT people.”

The D.C. Office of Human Rights received a $270,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Fair Housing Program to fund the campaign. HUD in February officially codified a rule that bans anti-LGBT discrimination in federal housing programs.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

1 Comment
  • This sounds a little like bureaucrats looking for a way to justify their budgets and existence. I spent years showing gay people houses in Petworth and Columbia Heights and Logan where the non-gay residents were complaining that the gay people were moving in and displacing them. And where gay clients would ask me if a certain building or block or developer etc. was gay friendly or had gay people on it and I would have to tell them that I could not answer that question, because my answer would be “commercial speech” which has no First Amendment protection and I would lose my license, since our mandarin, overly expanded Fair Housing laws make it illegal for anyone working in loans or real estate to comment on anyone’s sexual orientation. I had one lesbian client say “oh no, you can tell me, that law is meant to protect me.” But in fact the law simply violates free speech and prohibits sharing information about sexual orientation. I told her I could answer any such question in Virginia, because there gays have escaped the classification of a second class of victim sub-citizens protected by fair housing. It is folly to assume that laws and bureaucracies do what you think they do or what you think they were intended to do.

    And why shouldn’t a lesbian landlord be free to only rent to gays and lesbians if she wishes to do so?

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