Gay men and trans people face discrimination in housing market

Gay men are less likely to be told about available housing and, when they are, are quoted higher prices than straight men are. Researchers also found that transgender people are less likely to hear about available units compared to cisgender people. Lesbian women and straight women, though, were generally treated the same.

Those are just some of the results of a new study released by the Urban Institute on LGBT housing discrimination. The study recruited pairs of testers who were generally the same in terms of demographics, told them to both contact a realtor and ask to see an apartment, but one person in the pair said they were in a same-sex relationship and the other said they were in an opposite-sex relationship.

According to the researchers, this is one of the few studies on LGBT housing discrimination to go beyond surveys. Surveys are cheaper and easier to run than this study’s methodology, but they can only catch the most blatant forms of discrimination. You would notice if a landlord emailed you and said they don’t want to rent to a queer couple, as one couple who then sued was told. But you would not know that a straight person of the same race, age, gender, and qualifications as you would be more likely to be told about a better deal.

“The pilot study results, though not generalizable, add to the emerging picture of discrimination in the housing market against lesbians, gay men, and transgender people, and lay the groundwork for more expansive studies of this kind,” Urban Institute senior research associate Diane Levy told NBC.

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